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Topic: One Hour Flight and Lymphedema Risk?

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

Posted on: Nov 24, 2017 11:57PM

DancingElizabeth wrote:

Hi - I have to go on a hour flight on Saturday.

I had an axillary dissection last year & radiation...and unfortunately am at high risk

Just wondering if I need to wear a lymphedema compression sleave?? (And, if so, can that be ordered an Amazon?)


Dx 4/13/2016, DCIS/IDC, Right, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 3/23 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/17/2016 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Surgery 5/31/2016 Lymph node removal: Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary Chemotherapy 7/6/2016 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 11/7/2016 Hormonal Therapy 11/8/2016
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Nov 25, 2017 01:07AM Hopeful82014 wrote:

Others may chime in here in a bit. In the meantime: NO do not order a sleeve on Amazon!!! Don't even think about it! That item needs to be carefully fitted by a trained, skilled fitter. Your MO or BS should have given you a referral to a lymphedema specialist and that is who should guide your sleeve purchase. The breast care center you use MAY have a shop with sleeves, etc. or be able to refer you to one. This is a good place to start but let your LE therapist give the o.k. to your final purchase.

It's extremely unlikely that you would need a sleeve for a one hour flight. It's a short duration and you won't be changing altitude very significantly nor for very long.

It's probably a good idea to have a sleeve if you are at risk but I wouldn't worry about getting one before next Saturday.

Again, some of our lymphedema mavens will probably chime in but from everything I've read, been told by my LE therapist and experienced, you should be fine.

Dx IDC
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Nov 25, 2017 12:42PM - edited Nov 25, 2017 01:23PM by Binney4

Hello, Scared67!

I'll second what Hopeful said: ill-fitting compression is worse than no compression at all, so seek out the advice of a well-trained lymphedema therapist before you consider buying garments. It's a good idea to see a LE therapist anyway, for baseline arm measurements for future reference, personalized risk reduction tips, and to learn a simple lymph "massage" that you can use prophelactically to help reduce your risk (and besides, it's gentle and relaxing!).

There are other precautions you can take when flying, though. Here are some:

Don't lift heavy luggage with your at-risk arm, either at home when you're packing, at the airport, or on the plane. Ask for help to lift items into overhead bins, onto or off of the luggage carousels, or in and out of trunks. Wheeled luggage is a help when moving around home or the airport.

Stay REALLY WELL hydrated! This helps to keep the sluggish lymph fluid moving, but it can be a challenge since you can't carry a full water bottle with you through security. As I board I inform the flight attendant that I have a medical condition that requires me to stay well hydrated and they're usually quick to supply me with a water bottle.

Exercise your hand and arm frequently. Stretch your arm above your head and slowly open and close your fingers, moving your arm like a cat clawing. Put your arm out in front of you and wriggle your fingers, then work your wrist up and down, then bend at the elbow and touch your chin a few times. Embarrassing? Yeah, but keep in mind you'll never see your fellow passengers again so their imagined opinion doesn't matter.

Keep up with the hydration and the gentle exercises even after your arrive. If your final destination is at an altitude that is higher than your home, keep that up for the duration of your visit, as altitude can affect swelling.

Then relax, have a great time, and enjoy the get-away. Happy travels!
Binney


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Nov 25, 2017 01:05PM DancingElizabeth wrote:

Thanks SO much Hopeful and Binney!! That is GREAT advice!!!

I'm SO glad that I didn't order that lymphedema sleave off Amazon!!!!

Thanks Again!!!

Dx 4/13/2016, DCIS/IDC, Right, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 3/23 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/17/2016 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Surgery 5/31/2016 Lymph node removal: Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary Chemotherapy 7/6/2016 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 11/7/2016 Hormonal Therapy 11/8/2016
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Nov 25, 2017 02:40PM Hopeful82014 wrote:

I'm glad that helped - and glad that Binney chimed in, too; she's a fount of information and thinks of all the details.

Regarding water - if you have an EMPTY water bottle you CAN take that through security and fill it at a drinking fountain after security. Many airports have made this easier by converting fountains to dual purpose bottle filling stations. That way you'll have water on hand while you wait for your flight. I always do this and see more and more travelers doing so as well.

Have a good trip.


Dx IDC
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Nov 25, 2017 04:25PM - edited Nov 25, 2017 04:56PM by hugz4u

Thx Binney and hopefu for reminders. I'm taking my first trial flight from west coast to plam Springs. I'll drink water like crazy as I know this is must and essential. If they run out I might have to drink from the toilet bowl like cats do but by golly I'll get my water in some how!

Also will wear my too tight underamour brand men's compression tee to control my truncal le. And I will guard and maybe chain to me my le supply's on board so they don't get lost! They will be with me incase I need to don something else if sleeves are uncomfortable.

Do you think a night vest with sleeve would work as an alternative to sleeve glove and tight tee?

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Nov 25, 2017 04:37PM Binney4 wrote:

Hugz, I'm not understanding the "self" part of your post? Night vest and sleeve, maybe? I've done that, but maybe put it on after going through security. People may tend to freak a bit, as it's an unfamiliar fashion statement and can resemble other more threatening things (especially the vest). So if you're not up for explaining LE to assorted folks you might be better off with a sleeve and tee.

JMHO,
Binney

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Nov 25, 2017 05:02PM - edited Nov 25, 2017 05:07PM by hugz4u

Binney. type error. I meant sleeve. Ha!

I see scaring people to death wouldn't be nice but then I could get on my soapbox and le educate.

Ok use imagination here: I thought maybe I could put on night garment under a chunky sweater and just look really BIG and out of shape with all those quilted lines with dips and valleys sewn in. I might look like I have major cellulite though and I already have enough on my legs to share with all.Dang but what if I started sweating to death though.ugh can't win with LE


Can't we get free water cups inflight due to medical condition. I guess I'll have to buy water which is my pet peeve.

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Nov 25, 2017 05:17PM Hopeful82014 wrote:

Hugz - yes, you can get free water during the flight (unless there's an unusual problem with the onboard H2O supply - and I've seen that happen!). You can also take an empty water bottle through security and fill it at a drinking fountain before boarding your flight. See my comment above.

Dx IDC
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Nov 25, 2017 06:26PM Binney4 wrote:

Great advice from Hopeful about filling an empty bottle once you're through security. Also, yeah, you could get kinda hot in night gear. Ugh is right!!

Still, once you get a LE travel plan in place, the next item on the agenda is to relax and enjoy the trip. Heart

Happy travels!
Binney

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