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Nov 19, 2014 01:02AM
I did ask my Acupuncturist about whether or not she has treated women for Lymphedema. She has not. She's treated breast cancer patients for other things, but not the swelling associated with LE. I asked her to please ask her colleagues.
Initially, I was referred to this Acupuncturist by my MO. Kaiser has done a clinical research study showing that Acupuncture treatments are effective in reducing joint pain in women who are taking Aromatase Inhibitors. I was very pleased with the results. I eventually stopped taking the AIs because of other SEs, but continued to see the Acupuncturist.
Last summer I suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury. The worst symptoms were loss of memory and complete lack of equilibrium. I still went in for weekly Acupuncture treatments. As the months passed, I began to get better.
Last week, the horrific dizziness came back suddenly, and I made an emergency appointment to see her. She wanted to place a needle in my left wrist, but she knew I was hesitant. She did some Acupressure on a certain spot, then concentrated on different meridians. I did feel somewhat better when I left the office.
Yesterday, I was terribly dizzy as I lay back on the table. I was so desperate I told her to go ahead and use my left (cancer side) wrist. YOWZA! When a meridian is blocked, or stagnated, it can be more painful when a needle is inserted.... and this sure was. However, I had no such reaction in my right (non-cancer) side. I also had needles in my feet, and in my ears. Within minutes the dizziness had passed, and I felt completely normal.
I wish I could find more evidence as to whether or not Acupuncture has helped women with Lymphedema. The treatment itself is so contrary to what we are taught after lymph node removal - take ALL precautions, guard your extremities, LE can come on at any time..... etc.
But the purpose of Acupuncture is to increase the flow of energy in the body, to prevent stagnation - not only of energy, but of blood and lymph. If a tiny, thin, acupuncture needle can be inserted (very shallowly) to break up the stagnation, it would seem that this could be very effective in preventing the painful swelling and daily requirements of MLD and wrapping.
But here you have a direct conflict of Western and Eastern medicine.
I was really desperate yesterday, and it helped that I don't actually have LE. (In fact, I was told by my now-retired BS that I couldn't get LE because I "only" had an SNB !!!!!!) But since my surgery, I have taken all the precautions anyway, thanks to all the incredible information I have gathered on this forum.
I am just so curious as to how I might find more information.... legitimate information, not just "We can cure everything!" put out by some shady online Acupuncture clinic.
I'll keep you informed.....
9/15/2011, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
12/4/2011 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement
8/21/2012 Reconstruction (left): Saline implant; Reconstruction (right): Saline implant
9/4/2012 Arimidex (anastrozole)
10/21/2013 Femara (letrozole)
7/15/2021, IDC: Papillary, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, ER+/PR+, HER2-