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Topic: Tips on managing LE during radiation

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

Posted on: Jan 15, 2018 10:37AM - edited Jan 15, 2018 10:49AM by Manuella

Manuella wrote:

Hello, beautiful ladies,

I have mild LE in my left arm due to mastectomy with Axillary Lymph Node Dissection in Nov 2016. I had discomfort in my arm and slight swelling in my hand so had an ICG in May 2017. It showed two small stardust patterns, one in elbow and one in upper arm. Surgeon said we would check my arm every six months.

After my exchange surgery (June 2017), all physical symptoms of LE went away. I would wear my sleeve for traveling (I travel a lot/long hour flights +10 hours), when my arm felt “weird” or during exercise. All good for a while (perfect arm/hand, no pain, swelling or weird feeling!).

Last month, a week after a small surgery in my mastectomy breast, I traveled to Europe with a layover (wore my sleeve and glove, like always) but for a week after, my arm felt sore and bruised from my elbow to my wrist. I could also see that clothes left marks on my affected side and not on the “good side”. Still, No pitting or visible swelling. Went back for ICG last week and it shows “diffused” back flow pattern between wrist and elbow (this is the worst type of back flow: splash -> stardust -> diffused). My arms still measure the same but that water measurement thing they do, while still lower for my left arm has increased by 35% compared to beginning of Dec 2017. Seeing surgeon this week to talk about possible next steps.

Now, on to the even worse part lol, I have a local recurrence in my mastectomy breast and will be needing “extensive and aggressive" radiation 6 weeks to breast and all lymphnodes (underarm, clavicle, and breast bone). Worried about what his will do to my LE. Wondering what precautions I should take to help lessen the impact. Recommendations? Advice? Anyone else who had radiation after LE have comforting words or words of caution/advice?

Thank you, all. Hugs

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Jan 15, 2018 12:26PM Shellsatthebeach wrote:

I saw a lymph therapist throughout radiation and afterwards so she could get the fluid moving and keep a close eye on it. It waxed and waned, but got better once radiation was completed. I wish you luck

Dx 3/2017, IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, ER+, HER2- Surgery 8/28/2017 Lymph node removal; Mastectomy: Left Dx 9/15/2017, DCIS/IDC, Left, Stage IIIB, Grade 3, 6/10 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Targeted Therapy 9/24/2017 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Radiation Therapy 10/17/2017 Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Targeted Therapy Perjeta (pertuzumab) Chemotherapy AC + T (Taxotere)
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Jan 15, 2018 10:28PM hugz4u wrote:

You will want to see a lymphedema therapist to watch things and drain your lymph fluid and get educated. Sounds like you had one before so go back and ask what she/he wants you to do during rads. Unless you have stage 0 lymphedema it’s usually not reversible so caring for it now is prudent so it doesnt get worse.

Drink lots of water and put the meds on your skin if you get burnt. Watch for any signs of infection and report immediately to doc or ER. Light exercise to keep lymph moving to. Elevated arm.So sorry dang cancer bit you again. Rats anyway.

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