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Topic: Swelling of the hand - lymphedema?

Forum: Lymphedema — Risks, tips for prevention, and info about products that can address the symptoms of lymphedema.

Posted on: Jan 21, 2010 12:11PM

Sher wrote:

I work on a computer and use my left hand as a kind of marker, while my right hand types.  While at work Monday, I noticed pain and discomfort in my hand which made me aware that I was holding it in an odd position with fingers sliding down lines of paper, palm and wrist elevated.  Tuesday my hand was still uncomfortable even with pain meds even though I was trying very hard to alter my position.  Maybe at this point I was not using my hand enough and letting it sit idle?  Wednesday morning I noticed when I washed my hands - a one hand over the other movement, that there was a spot on top, down from ring finger but closer to wrist that hurt to the touch.  An hour or two later, my hand was swollen in thumb, base of thumb and across top over to ring finger and it continued to swell a bit more throughout the day.  When I got home, I elevated, did MLD, etc and this morning (I always sleep with the arm elevated) it was a little better but still swollen.

I had an episode about a month ago with a swollen spot just above outside of the wrist on the same hand which lasted a couple of days and then went away.  I suffer from pretty severe osteoarthritis, and often have pain in my neck and shoulders and because of this, I'm not sure what to think or what to do about my hand at this point.  The arthritis in that area can definitely affect the arm and so could holding my hand in that odd set position for most of the day Monday.  I do have a LE therapist (don't see her regularly) who feels I will likely develop full blown lymphedema at some time.  She keeps insisting that I do MLD daily (which I don't) and tells me I do not need to use a sleeve or glove.  I'm going to look for another therapist for a second opinion and options, but in the meantime, I'd certainly appreciate any advice, suggestions, tips, etc.  Thanks!  :-)

Dx 8/28/2000, IDC,
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Jan 21, 2010 01:03PM Binney4 wrote:

Well, bummer!Frown

Sher, you're doing just about everything you can until you can see a good therapist. You might get an Isotoner therapeutic glove for that hand until you can get seen. Stay very well hydrated, stop and take a few deep abdominal breaths throughout the day (stimulates and pumps the thoracic duct, which is the biggest lymph vessel in our bodies).

Here's the page about finding a therapist in case you need help finding one near you:

http://www.stepup-speakout.org/Finding_a_Qualified_Lymphedema_Therapist.htm

The "Therapist Locator" there is especially helpful as a starting place.

PHOOEY!!!Yell Keep us posted.

Big but very gentle (((((hugs!)))))
Binney

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Jan 21, 2010 01:04PM kira wrote:

Sher, it sure sounds like lymphedema. Lymphedema is a moving target--it changes over time. There was a study by Andrea Cheville from Mayo, and the biggest risk for getting more sever LE was having mild LE.

So, if your therapist thinks you're at risk, why isn't she teaching you how to wrap? Therapeutic exercise? And getting you compression garments?

We need all our tools to manage this.

While you are looking for the second opinion, you might want to contact her and let her know that your hand is acting up.

MLD is the least proven modality in LE treatment, because we all do it differently. Compression garments are proven, wrapping is proven.

There are light compression  gloves from isotoner, and we have links to them on the stepupspeakout website.

Good luck

Kira

Knowledge is the antidote to fear, Ralph Waldo Emerson Dx 5/10/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 21, 2010 01:47PM Member_of_the_Club wrote:

My LE started in my hand, so it is certainly possible.  You really do need to see a new therapist -- a sleeve and glove have helped me tremendously.  Until you can see a new therapist, try to take periodic breaks from typing where you raise you arm and squeeze the hand over and over in a pumping action.  Thats what I did and it helped tide me over.

Dx 9/30/2004, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 1/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 21, 2010 05:30PM kira wrote:

This "what to do while waiting" has links to the compression gloves-but they're a stop-gap measure while you get a properly fitted one from your therapist.

www.stepup-speakout.org/How_Yo... 

Kira 

Knowledge is the antidote to fear, Ralph Waldo Emerson Dx 5/10/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 21, 2010 06:52PM jinky wrote:

Hi Sher, In 2004  I got le in my arm and in 2005  I began knitting and my 4 knuckles swelled and i thought it was my arthritis as I have it everywhere. Within  a week my hand from my knuckles to my wrist swelled and I knew then, I had le in my hand. Wish I had known to wear a gauntlet or glove  with my sleeve. I have to wear a swell spot with my glove to keep the swelling down. Thanks to Binney and this board my le is good. Once i learned to wrap my arm i felt in control. Le hugs jinky

age 2, grade 1, 4 chemo, 5 yrs tamoxifen, femara 48mts, preventative mastectomy 2005 Dx 4/30/2002, ILC, 2cm, Stage II, Grade 1, 1/11 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 22, 2010 05:01AM konakat wrote:

My swelling starts in my hand.  If you get a compression garment, make sure it's a gauntlet and not just a sleeve.  I started with a sleeve only and it seemed to trap the lymph in my hand and made it worse!  Anyone at risk should start wrapping as a preventative.  I think that's what has helped me a lot, starting early before it got too bad.

Elizabeth's Mantra: When in doubt, eat cake. When you haven't a clue, add ice cream. Elizabeth's Mets: Liver, bones, brain (yuck), and lungs (more yuck). Dx 5/2007, ILC, 3cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 13/19 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Jan 22, 2010 12:08PM Sher wrote:

Thanks everyone!  My hand swelling is staying about the same - reduces a little overnight, but increases back during the day.  I'm trying to get a referral in place so I can try a new LE therapist (darn insurance referrals anyway!) and hopefully it will happen very soon.  In addition to your suggestions, guess it would be a good time to dust off my LeBed dvd, right! 

I have a gauntlet from years ago and just tried it on, but it's too tight, so will check at my local store to see what they have in stock.  Maybe they will carry the Isotoner as well?   Can you wear just the Isotoner or gauntlet without a sleeve?

Guess I've been in denial about my LE.  These subtle symptoms and swellings I've had are probably why my therapist thinks I'll end up with full blown LE someday.  The part that gets me the most upset is wrapping.  I can deal with wearing a compression sleeve and glove during the day and even wearing a night sleeve, but wrapping is just too much for me to deal with myself.  And going to the therapist daily is out of the question. 

I can manage an abbreviated massage - lymphatic duct by collar bone, shoulder, axillary, arm and hand, which I can do while sitting and watching TV, but I usually eliminate the rest - abdomen, chest, down along side and inguinal nodes which I had been taught to do.  Is just doing a shortened version of massage  (including deep breathing) helpful at all? 

Dx 8/28/2000, IDC,
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Jan 22, 2010 12:31PM konakat wrote:

I have found a shortened version of massage helps a lot -- I do it, and a shorter version than yours! 

Elizabeth's Mantra: When in doubt, eat cake. When you haven't a clue, add ice cream. Elizabeth's Mets: Liver, bones, brain (yuck), and lungs (more yuck). Dx 5/2007, ILC, 3cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 13/19 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Jan 22, 2010 01:07PM kira wrote:

Sher, there's "ideal" and there's doing the best we can do--it's best if you clear the trunk, because the lymph fluid will flow into that area. Some therapists would rather have you clear the trunk/neck than work on your arm.

I say, you do what you can do, and ideally clear the neck, pump the axillary area, and clear across the top of the chest, and the inguinals--it really doesn't take long. But as Konakat says, even a short version can help.

You can wear a glove without a sleeve--you don't want to do the reverse, because you can trap fluid in the hand.

I wrap every night, and it no longer bothers me--but if my jovi or solaris did the job for my hand, I'd toss the wraps in a drawer. It is physically and psychologically hard.

My LE therapist taught me how to wrap, by kneeling next to the bed and using the bed in a way so the wraps don't go flying. She also has women sit next to a table and use the table.

After a year, I don't mind the wrap--I don't LIKE it, but it is comfortable and it works.

But, the good news is that there are night garments, and they are easy, and comfortable.

Kira

Knowledge is the antidote to fear, Ralph Waldo Emerson Dx 5/10/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 22, 2010 01:12PM Binney4 wrote:

Sher, good morning,

Several years ago the research group at the U. of Arizona did a small study of MLD and found that the most effective single component was the node clearance. It was not as effective as full MLD, but more effective than JUST doing the arms without clearing the nodes. So they tell patients to do that part several times a day. The effectiveness of MLD, especially as done by patients, is variable: we forget things, or use too much pressure, or skip it for several days in a row, or generally don't have the experience to tell which areas may need more attention than usual like a well-trained therapist would. Norton School-trained therapists don't encourage patient self-MLD because as a group we're sort of undependable.Undecided But if you learned it well and do it attentively it can be a huge help with self-management. And once you learn it, it also helps to recheck your routine with your therapist from time to time so she can see if you're still doing it correctly.

I too use a somewhat shortened version, but I can't skip chest and side because those are the areas that are hardest for me to control. And I clear nodes before showering or putting on lotion, then gently wash, dry, and apply lotion in the direction and order of the masssage. For me, that's very effective, but we're all different.

We do all have to work out a self-care routine that works for us, and I think it's really important to have a therapist you can be honest and straightforward with, and not have her (or him) put you down. A good therapist has to be realistic too -- it's not just us patients who struggle with denial!

(In all fairness, of course there are those who simply won't carry out the things they need to do to manage their LE -- also their choice, but no therapist will continue treating someone who doesn't care to do their part.)

Just as wearing a sleeve without hand protection can trap swelling in your hand (bummer, Elizabeth! That happened to me tooTongue out) wearing a gauntlet instead of a glove can trap fluid from your hand in your fingers, so do be careful about that.

Oof! Side effect indeed! In terms of self-management, LE is a whole production in itself!

Hugs,
Binney

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Jan 23, 2010 12:42PM Sher wrote:

Thanks Ladies!  I think in addition to the time, what always turned me off to self massage was the fear of doing it wrong and actually making things worse, so I'm very glad to hear that clearing just nodes can be helpful. 

In addition to the swelling in my hand, the top of my arm, just above wrist is somewhat swollen.  I do have fat pads there, but the tissue feels firmer to the touch - can't grab just skin in a pinch.  Bending my wrist down or touching the wrist top and fat pad area hurts a little on the surface - feels kind of like a mild burn on the skin.  Actually, the skin is very slightly reddened in that area across top of wrist and up that fat pad area.  Does lymphedema cause this type of discomfort?  Guess the denial part of me is still thinking about other possible causes.  

Dx 8/28/2000, IDC,
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Jan 23, 2010 02:07PM Binney4 wrote:

Sher, I find that new swelling can make my skin feel tender. The slight reddening is more worrisome, though, for cellulitis, so keep a very careful eye on that. If the redness spreads, if there's any pain or warmth to the touch or itching or fever, high-tail it to the ER, yes?

So sorry, Sher! Keep us posted. Be well,
Binney

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Jan 25, 2010 09:39PM - edited Feb 12, 2010 11:28AM by Sher

Hi,

Well, I went to the doctor's today, who said I had wrist tendonitis, but that wouldn't cause the amount of swelling that I have.  She also sent me for a dopler on my arm just to make sure there wasn't a blood clot - that was okay.  I seem to remember reading about a connection between tendonitis and lymphedema, so would it be right to assume that maybe the tendonitis instigated or set off the lymphedema?  

I made an appointment with a new LE therapist, but she didn't have an opening until Thursday.  Most of the swelling is on the back of my hand, fingers up to the first knuckle, and forearm about 4" up from wrist.  The only pain I have is on the top of my hand, possibly due to the tendonitis, but no redness.  Since I don't have a compression sleeve that I'm sure is the correct measurement and only a gauntlet that seems to me a little too tight (makes a bulge at wrist end), should I attempt to buy a glove or sleeve at the store before seeing a therapist?  Maybe I'm just panicking since I am no longer in denial about my lymphedema and worry that my hand will keep swelling more and more if I don't do something immediately.  I'm thinking a glove and/or sleeve would keep it from swelling more...........is that right?

Right about now I'm feeling pretty dumb!  I read these boards all the time and know that I should have been better prepared.  Maybe I should have been wearing at least a glove while working............what's that saying about 'hindsight'? 

Dx 8/28/2000, IDC,
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Jan 25, 2010 09:54PM Binney4 wrote:

Aw, Sher, I'm sorry!

No need to panic if your appointment is only three days away. Elevate that arm as much as possible -- always supported, though, so you don't strain it. Stay out of hot water. Stay well hydrated. Don't wear garments of any kind if you aren't sure of the fit -- could do more harm than good. Rent a couple of funny movies to take your mind off it for now.

And quit beating yourself up!Wink

Facing off with this is tough. There's no way to be prepared for it until you actually have to deal with it, and you're doing great! Stay loose and look forward to Thursday -- it'll be good!

Real gentle hugs,
Binney

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Jan 25, 2010 10:12PM Member_of_the_Club wrote:

Getting an appointment Thursday is actually really good.  Many of us had to wait weeks.  Don't try to get compression garments on your own.  Done incorrectly it could cause more problems than what you have now. 

Dx 9/30/2004, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 1/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 26, 2010 11:16AM - edited Jan 26, 2010 11:19AM by kira

Sher, may I second the quit beating yourself up part--I do it all the time, and then frantically email Binney for help. She is infinitely kind, but I wish I wouldn't panic and get so upset, and blame myself all the time.

I have to say, that we do the best we can with the information available to us, and there is no blame here.

I work in health care and have issues with wearing my gloves while I see patients--but after a long struggle (mentally) I'm getting ready to wear it while I work in my office. It feels like a stigma to me, and yet I don't want my hand LE to suffer from my work. Tough balance. 

Here's a great information page on lymphedema,written by Jane Armer PhD, and she says "no one is to blame"

www.livestrong.org/site/c.khLX... 

Kira 

Knowledge is the antidote to fear, Ralph Waldo Emerson Dx 5/10/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 30, 2010 02:59PM Sher wrote:

Thanks Ladies................I've put away my baseball bat, but am still struggling coming to terms with this.  I went to the appointment Thursday with the new therapist and it didn't go well.  Maybe it was more a personality thing or the way she handled the assessment, but I won't be going back.  All through the evaluation, measuring etc., whenever I asked a question she put me off with "wait until I'm through with my evaluation".  She did later answer a few questions, but it was like pulling teeth.  She wanted me to come daily for treatment - MLD and wrapping and since I didn't think I could commit to that because of both time and expense, she didn't seem to want to offer any other help or information.  Part of the evaluation included questions that were to justify my need for therapy and had to do with ways I was limited because of the swelling and tendonitis too I guess.  Anyway, my hand and forearm is uncomfortable and achy, but I'm still able to do normal activities.  She kept insisting I needed a "goal" and reducing swelling and keeping it from getting worse didn't seem to be the right answer.   Something like I can't drive or use a hair dryer, feed myself with that hand, or stuff like that was what she wanted me to admit, which I honestly couldn't do.  She did accept that I can't write or feed myself with that hand, but that's something I could never do.  So back to my former therapist on Tuesday.  I spoke with her and she also will want to start wrapping, but 3 days a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  I would leave the wrap on from one appointment to the next.

Wrapping is what has me most upset.  I can deal with sleeves, gloves, night sleeves, but wrapping is something else.  My problem is that I'm kind of a personal hygiene clean freak and would never, ever crawl into bed without a shower, which I should still be able to do with some kind of baggie thing over my arm, but the wrap won't be clean.   Sounds dumb, huh, but that is a real hangup for me.  If I get to the point where I would need to wrap myself, I worry that I won't be able to do it correctly because of my arthritis. 

Any suggestions for me in preparation for having my arm wrapped in the way of clothes, baggies, gloves, etc?  I'm already thinking it would be good to have some of the medical gloves on hand to keep the hand wrap clean and dry for stuff like hair gel, meal prep, bathroom, etc.  Am I going to be able to, or should I use my hand normally?  Probably typing won't be easy.  Other stuff I should know?

 

 

Dx 8/28/2000, IDC,
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Jan 30, 2010 05:08PM Binney4 wrote:

Sher, I hear you -- hygiene is an important issue, and not easy to handle with the wrapping, or even with gloves and sleeves. This page has suggestions on such things as your emotions with LE, getting through the day with a wrapped arm, some hygiene suggestions, self-consciousness in public, and lots more.  The vet gloves under "Getting through the day with a wrapped arm" may be really helpful for the issues you're concerned about.
http://www.stepup-speakout.org/How_You_Can_Cope_with_Lymphedema.htm
As you find ideas that work for you, Sher, do share them with us and we can add them to our common knowledge base.Smile

Here's another page about wrapping that might give you some ideas (and maybe some more questions, too!) about the therapy process:
http://www.stepup-speakout.org/wrapping_bandaging_for_lymphedema.htm

The mistake I made when learning to wrap my own arms was in thinking it should be as easy as the therapist made it seem -- NOT!!! Besides her years of experience and practice, she gets to use two hands and I have to do it with one -- and when I wrap my right (dominant) arm, I even have to do it with the "wrong" hand. Very clumsy -- very maddening. What I didn't know was that I could take my own sweet time, both to learn it and to do it. Arthritis is a (literal!Frown) pain, but as long as you're giving yourself time and room to do this, it's definitely something you can accomplish. Now when I have to wrap I set myself up to succeed by cutting the tape first, arranging everything in order, laying the instructions handy in case I forget something, and doing it seated in the middle of my bed so if I drop a bandage roll it doesn't hit the floor and unroll. I plan plenty of time in case I goof up and have to rewrap a gauze roll of bandage, and I make myself relax before I start so I don't get frustrated and find myself wrapping too tight. It's fine to pause after each step and give your hand a rest -- nobody's timing us! All that sounds like a lot of bother, but it gets to be second nature. A sense of humor helps!Kiss

I'm sorry about the new therapist, btw. Having trouble getting your questions answered is more than a "personality thing," because this is a long-term relationship and we have LOTS of questions we need to feel comfortable asking. 

You can do this, Sher! And we're all here to cheer you on.Cool
Big gentle hugs,
Binney

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Jan 30, 2010 07:31PM Sher wrote:

Thanks Binney!  I didn't see a price or how to order the Palpation Sleeve from Agri-Pro, so I Googled and found another site - ARS where they sell a box of (150) 34" small hand palpation sleeves for $24.95.  Does that compare to the Agri-Pro sleeve? 

Dx 8/28/2000, IDC,
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Jan 30, 2010 07:56PM - edited Jan 30, 2010 07:57PM by kira

Sher, I don't know about the vet sleeves price, but I just wanted to say that this stuff is HARD, and being wrapped for days is very, very hard. Perhaps she'll teach you to wrap early in the process so you can take a shower. But the vet sleeve is a great idea.

I hate not being able to wash my hands. 

I wrap nightly, and recently I had a flare and my LE therapist had to gently do a remedial wrapping session, and teach me again that too much pressure is a bad thing.

It's a long term relationship and you have to feel comfortable with the person.

I have an LMT who has been with me from the start, and she keeps making me make PT appointments, and I've met some doozies: set your goals! Try, get my LE under control.

150 sleeves for $25 dollars seems reasonable. I used to watch the horse vets put them on and probe all sorts of unmentionable places.

Hang in there. We're here and we care and it does get better.

Kira 

Knowledge is the antidote to fear, Ralph Waldo Emerson Dx 5/10/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 30, 2010 10:22PM Sher wrote:

Kira, I hope you are right about learning to wrap myself fairly quickly.  My first thought was "no way I can do that", but now I'm thinking If I can master it,  I will be able to get it off to take a complete shower, arm and all.  I will shower one way or the other (usually I take 2 a day since it helps my arthritis), even if I have to cover my arm with saran wrap, but then my arm won't be getting washed.  But then, people who have their arm in a cast don't wash their arm for quite some time, so I guess a couple of days shouldn't seem so bad, right.  I can always take a washcloth and my bar of Dove to appointments so I can wash before rewrapping :-)   Where there's a will, there's a way!  And it is possible that I misunderstood since it was actually the appointment scheduler who told me the therapist removes the wraps herself at the next appointment.  In any case, I've quit beating myself up, so now I should probably quit obsessing about the wrapping too! 

Dx 8/28/2000, IDC,
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Jan 31, 2010 10:11AM kira wrote:

Sher, during the intensive phase of CDT, they do keep you wrapped 24/7, with a break for a shower, and it's variable how long that lasts.

Showers are very important to me also.

Hopefully the intensive phase won't last too long and the therapist can address your need for hygiene and also, what if you get discomfort while wrapped?

This will pass, as MOTC wrote to me when I was really unhappy about my LE--in my hand--last week.

Kira 

Knowledge is the antidote to fear, Ralph Waldo Emerson Dx 5/10/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 2, 2010 06:34PM - edited Feb 2, 2010 07:04PM by Sher

Well, I'm wrapped!  Now the question is, how much discomfort is normal?  I have some areas that are fairly comfortable and others not so much and am having a hard time trying to find a comfortable place to put my arm.  The worst spots are the knuckle at the base of little finger area, up to wrist on the edge of my hand and the edge around the very top of my arm.  Inner fold at elbow too, especially when bent, but I'm thinking that is normal.  I'm sure sleeping tonight will be not fun at all!

Dx 8/28/2000, IDC,
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Feb 2, 2010 08:18PM kira wrote:

Sher, I'm going to ask Binney to respond--personally I don't think you should be in any pain: it sounds like there's a pressure spot on the outside of your hand. Hopefully it will get better as the hand shrinks down, but I'd check in with the therapist tomorrow, because you don't want bad chafes.

Are the tips of your fingers okay? Not too cool or dark purple?

The bend of the elbow can be tough.

I was just talking to my LE therapist about another therapist's wrapping that was so tight it made me ill, and she doesn't ascribe to that theory. She creates more pressure through more layers. Her argument is that the superficial lymphatics are delicate and near the surface of the skin, and pain is a sign that they could be being harmed.

Let's ask the expert to weigh in.

Kira 

Knowledge is the antidote to fear, Ralph Waldo Emerson Dx 5/10/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 2, 2010 08:52PM Binney4 wrote:

Geesh, I'm not an expert!Embarassed Just unfortunately experienced.Tongue out

Discomfort, for me, is something different from chafing or pain (although doctors tend to use the terms interchangablyFrown). Usually when I wrap it feels like good support, but that's it -- it for sure doesn't feel normal. I can identify with that sense of not knowing where to put this huge, awkward bundle of bandages that used to be my arm. I do a lot with pillows.Undecided

I agree you need help from the therapist with both the knuckle problem and the top of the wrap. No therapist can get it exactly right the first time, because we're all different in what we can tolerate and how it affects us. She needs your feedback, and it needs to be soon so no damage is done. If it's worrisome tonight, undo it and call her tomorrow. Maybe, though, when you support the arm well and aren't trying to to anything much with it, it will feel okay for the night, and if so it's fine.

I'm hoping you'll surprise yourself with a good night's sleep in spite of all this, but don't feel you should tough it out if it's chafing or ouchy. Let us know how it goes!

Big hugs,
Binney

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Feb 2, 2010 10:05PM Sher wrote:

Hi Kira and Binney.....thank you both so much for your help!  This is such a tough thing to deal with, no matter how you try to learn and prepare yourself ahead of time.  Probably I'm just tired and stressing a bit and the bandaging is all okay.  We were running a bit short on time, so my therapist didn't explain too much about the technique today, but I seem to remember that she left off a layer or two for the first time?

My fingers seem normal in both color and temperature.  My little finger, knuckle, base of hand definitely is more uncomfortable/painful when I'm trying to bend my fingers down to do something, (like typing), but better when resting or holding fingers straight.  Is it possible I held my finger funny (arched up) while being bandaged?  The area across my palm just below fingers might be more swollen, but that's hard to tell for sure under the bandages. The top of my arm feels like there is a slight rolling/bunching/pinching going on at the edge and I keep trying to stick my fingers in there and straighten it out.  I was thinking about trying to unloosen just a bit at the top and flatten it out some.  There is also just a little wrinkling at the wrist, so maybe the bandages have slipped down a little?  

I'm scheduled back with my therapist tomorrow late morning, then the plan is to skip to Friday.  Thanks again for being such great supporters and mood boosters!  It really helps so much just to have someone to talk to about all this.  

Dx 8/28/2000, IDC,
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Feb 2, 2010 10:28PM Binney4 wrote:

Aw, Sher, this is hard stuff. You're doing great with it. Your determined spirit definitely shines through! Yes, to maybe you held your finger funny, but then maybe that part is just wrapped too tight for you. And yes, the bandages could have slipped at the wrist (and that might be an indication that they're loosening due to reduction of the swellingWink), but then again that too may just be too tight, or you may need to get more used to the extra effort involved in moving your fingers and hand when you're wrapped. If you can rest and it isn't irritating you, fine. If not, do remove it, but make notes of all the areas of concern and your specific questions so you can ask tomorrow.

At the top, if it's uncomfortable you can for sure try loosening the top wrap, just on the upper arm. Rewrap a bit lighter and smooth everything carefully. You don't want bunching at the top in particular, because that's where it should have the least compression. 

My therapist didn't do a lot of explaining my first day either -- or if she did I sure didn't take it in. The learning curve is very steep and these things just take time. Besides, she needs some feedback on this initial wrapping experience in order to adjust her technique to your specific needs before she can teach you how to do it yourself. Between now any your appointment tomorrow, if it causes you pain or feels like it may be chafing or restricting, take it off, roll everything up, and take it in with you. Tomorrow when she wraps you can you have someone with you to help to learn along with you? Most of us find that helps a lot, as we're perhaps a bit too...uh...emotionally involvedTongue out to take it all in.

It gets better, honest!
Binney

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Feb 2, 2010 11:03PM Sher wrote:

I loosened the top, straightened it out and taped it back together and it feels MUCH better!  See Binney, you told me it would get better and it has already.  Little steps, one at a time................

Dx 8/28/2000, IDC,
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Feb 3, 2010 09:23AM lvtwoqlt wrote:

Sher, I have been following along but not posted before now. I had some swelling in the back of my hand last spring (brought on by using my electric weed-eater and raking). My therapist had me doing the wrapping like you are doing only just to my elbow. It did take me a little getting used to typing while wrapped. I am now in a gauntlet only. He said to watch for any swelling up the arm before he would put me in a sleeve. It is a problem to take one baby step at a time.

Sheila

Women are like tea bags, we don't know how strong we are until we were thrown into hot water. Eleanore Roosevelt Diagnosed ADH Feb 2005, ADH Sept 2006 Surgery 2/11/2005 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 9/9/2006 Lumpectomy: Right Hormonal Therapy 10/11/2006 Dx 4/27/2007, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 1, 0/7 nodes Surgery 5/31/2007 Mastectomy: Left, Right
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Feb 4, 2010 04:01PM - edited Feb 12, 2010 11:26AM by Sher

I was hoping to have my hand and arm wrapped only to the elbow, but there was a measurable difference in whole arm size since early December, so had to go the whole nine yards........probably literally in bandage length. 

Wednesday, I was taught to wrap (fingers included) and practiced several times with therapist coaching.  There had been a little more swelling at my palm under fingers, so she used 2 rolls of the gauze stuff on my hand.  It all felt a little too tight when I left and later that night, my hand was very uncomfortable and achy.  With all the wrap on it, I could hardly bend it at all, typing not just difficult, but impossible - and also thought my fingertips looked more swollen and purplish.  So I unwrapped and removed down to and including the second layer of gauze on hand, then proceeded to rewrap with the rest.  What a job!  Taping the ends with one hand is unbelievable and of course, the ends always happen on the back side of my arm.

This morning my hand was even more uncomfortable and fingertips seemed more swollen.  So I unwrapped and found the swelling had increased in my hand and fingers over what it was to begin with.  Panicky, I called my therapist because I was afraid I put the bandages on too tight and she calmed me down and went over the how to's and encouraged me to try again.  1/2 hour later, I still hadn't even managed to get my hand and fingers wrapped successfully - kept ending up with not enough to wrap my thumb.  Finally I got that part done and started the other bandages.  The first roll went on rather nicely (only had to restart 3 or 4 times to get the hand right) and then I realized that I forgot to put the stockinette on first!  The whole thing is on now, feels pretty comfortable (I can bend hand and arm and type with limited amount of flubs) and so now I'm second guessing and worrying that maybe it is too comfortable and so not "snuggly" enough - what my therapist calls it. 

Through this all I have managed to yell, swear, cry, laugh and keep reminding myself that since you all wrap successfully and competantly,  hopefully I will too!   

Dx 8/28/2000, IDC,

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