We are 211,400 members in 82 forums discussing 151,463 topics.

Help with Abbreviations

Topic: Mild lymphedema after exercise

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

Posted on: Jun 21, 2018 03:09AM

Cyto_Destructo wrote:

I'm a 3 yeah survivor and have started trying to exercise more. I did upper body exercise and it triggered some swelling in my armpit on the affected side.

I only had one or two lymph nodes removed so my lymphedema isn't a chronic problem. I mainly noticed swelling if I wear a bra too long. And recently, when I do push ups or weights.

The swelling and pain started in my armpit and the next day I could feel it in the back of my arm and the day after that was even lower. By the fourth day, the pain and swelling reached just below my elbow then it all started feeling better and going back to normal.

I have an appointment with my oncologist next week to try and find a solution but I'd appreciate advice and opinions from others with lymphedema.

Would a compression sleeve be a good idea for exercise, and if so how long should I wear it?


Dx 2/2015, Right, <1cm, Stage IIA, ER+, HER2- Chemotherapy 4/23/2015 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 2/5/2018 Surgery Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary Radiation Therapy Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole)
Log in to post a reply

Page 1 of 1 (15 results)

Posts 1 - 15 (15 total)

Log in to post a reply

Jun 21, 2018 03:33PM gb2115 wrote:

Hi and welcome to BCO! If you have noticeable swelling, do consider seeing a lymphedema specialist for help. You would need one to properly fit you in a sleeve (you don't want one that is ill-fitting), and they can assess and keep an eye on you. Your oncologist should be able to refer you to someone! Until then, maybe skip the upper body exercise (or keep it light), and skip the bra when you get a chance. I get truncal swelling if I wear a bra for too long, so the first thing I do when I get home from work is take it off. I also skip it when I'm home over the weekend. It's like the fluid needs freedom to drain from the area.

Hope it all gets better!

Dx IDC in October 2016, stage 2A, 1.2 cm ER/PR+ Her2-, Grade 2, 1/3 nodes. Mammaprint low risk luminal A, Lumpectomy + radiation + tamoxifen. Age 38 at diagnosis.
Log in to post a reply

Jun 30, 2018 12:32AM kriserts wrote:

Hi, yes, I've been instructed to always wear a sleeve when I exercise. I lift weights (kind of start and stop) and I race bikes so I'm out cycling for hours at a time. I have lymphedema in my upper arm, and it's kept fairly stable. I think everyone reacts differently though. I'd get fitted for a sleeve, wear it when you exercise, and see if you still have swelling.

Log in to post a reply

Jun 30, 2018 07:00AM DATNY wrote:

I was also told to stop the exercise if I notice swelling. And to increase exercise intensity slowly. I was told that once the lymp vessel have increased in size they cannot go back by themselves because the walls are not elastic. Thus, the need for compression sleeves.

Log in to post a reply

Jun 30, 2018 09:08AM beach2beach wrote:

I'm not a year out yet, but I noticed the same when I use arm weights. I have not gone back to doing arm exercises I used to do at the gym and since i notice swelling after using little home arm weights, I don't think I want to. I'm trying to find other ways to tone my arms. I only had sentinel node removal and i think one more on the affected side.

Dx 7/28/2017, LCIS/DCIS/ILC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/8/2017 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Hormonal Therapy 9/12/2017 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
Log in to post a reply

Jun 30, 2018 03:56PM Cyto_Destructo wrote:

Thanks for everybody's input :)

I saw a lymphedema specialist this past week and they measured me for a sleeve. The doctor said to wear it when I exercise.

My insurance won't cover the cost of a compression sleeve but I've found a local BC charity that will help me with the cost.

Dx 2/2015, Right, <1cm, Stage IIA, ER+, HER2- Chemotherapy 4/23/2015 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 2/5/2018 Surgery Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary Radiation Therapy Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole)
Log in to post a reply

Jul 8, 2018 06:12PM Doc wrote:

I started doing weight training 6 weeks ago after being pretty sedentary. It has been going well and I was feeling proud of my progress, but this week it took me longer than usual to get over muscle soreness after a workout. One more day of weight lifting gave me swelling of my right arm starting around the elbow but progressing down almost to my wrist, with pitting edema.

After realizing that it was not just my muscles getting bigger Sad, it finally occurred to me that this was lymphedema. I am 13 years out from my lumpectomy/chemo/radiation and only had a sentinel node removal.

I plan to see my oncologist to check things out, and get fitted for a compression sleeve. Can anyone comment about continuing to do weight training despite a lymphedema issue? Do you wear the sleeve during weight training as well as during the day? Would wearing a tight sports bra during exercise add to the problem?

I was surprised and bummed out to have this happen so many years later.

Doc Dx 2/8/2005, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
Log in to post a reply

Jul 9, 2018 04:29AM - edited Jul 9, 2018 04:39AM by Cyto_Destructo

@Doc, we have a similar issue I think.

My lymphedema specialist recommend I wear a sleeve during exercise and for about an hour after I get done.

It's important to gradually increase exercise. For me it's been trial and error figuring out how much I can do and how quickly I can increase.

In my experience a bra will make it worse. Even a well fitted and comfortable bra. I've been wearing a bra as minimally as I can.

After you consult your oncologist for a compression sleeve, I'd suggest waiting for the swelling to go away completely before you start arm exercises again. Once you feel normal again, try just half of what you were doing for a while and see if you can do that for a while with no swelling. Then gradually increase with caution.

Dx 2/2015, Right, <1cm, Stage IIA, ER+, HER2- Chemotherapy 4/23/2015 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 2/5/2018 Surgery Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary Radiation Therapy Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole)
Log in to post a reply

Jul 24, 2018 05:37PM lmurphy wrote:

@Cyto, glad you started this thread because I have had a question for awhile and would appreciate any input. It has been 8 mos post-surgery and I have noticed that after a day of working in the yard my left underarm area is swollen, sometimes extending to just under shoulder blade. I suspect mild lymphedema. There is no arm involvement. The swelling doesn't really bother me, but I wonder if it is progressive and if wearing a shoulder compressive bandage would be advantageous? If it isn't something that might eventually spread, can I just ignore?

Thanks!

62 y.o.warrior wanderer: OncotypeDX score=52 (ER≥12.5; PR<3.2); Path (ER=99%, PR=0%, Ki67=55%) Dx 10/2017, DCIS/IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Surgery 11/14/2017 Mastectomy: Left Chemotherapy 1/13/2018 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 3/31/2018 Aromasin (exemestane)
Log in to post a reply

Jul 24, 2018 06:52PM Binney4 wrote:

lmurphy, hello,

I hope you'll consider getting a referral to a well-trained lymphedema therapist. Here's how to find one near you:

http://www.stepup-speakout.org/Finding_a_Qualified...

The swelling you described is very likely to be lymphedema. When it's in that area of the body it's called "truncal lymphedema." More information about that here:

http://www.stepup-speakout.org/breast_chest_trunck...

As to your question about possible spreading, it can definitely do that if you leave it untreated. But lymphedema does more than that. It is not only a chronic condition (even if it only swells noticeably occasionally), it is also progressive. What progresses is sometimes the size or extent of the swelling, but also (and definitely) the condition of the skin and underlying tissue. Lymphedema that is left untreated results in a hardening of the tissues beneath the skin, further limiting lymph flow, and possibly arm function. It can eventually result in skin changes (peau d'orange and/or caustic lymph fluid leakage through the skin).

Yikes! I just reread that and I sound like the Bad News Bear--sorry! The GOOD news is that with prompt professional attention and consistent self-care none of that needs to happen. (Whew!) So in answer to your questions, a shoulder compression bandage is likely to cause more problems, since it would further inhibit lymph flow to and from the area. And, please do NOT ignore this new swelling--getting help promptly will keep this to an easily managed problem. All good!

Gentle hugs,
Binney

Log in to post a reply

Jul 24, 2018 09:03PM lmurphy wrote:

Thank you, Binney! That's a lot of new information and now I need to put on my 'research hat' and see what I can do for myself. I am in rural Alaska for several more months and found no LE expert within 600+ miles. SO, will see if there is an instructional youtube video that might help. You've been very helpful!

62 y.o.warrior wanderer: OncotypeDX score=52 (ER≥12.5; PR<3.2); Path (ER=99%, PR=0%, Ki67=55%) Dx 10/2017, DCIS/IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Surgery 11/14/2017 Mastectomy: Left Chemotherapy 1/13/2018 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 3/31/2018 Aromasin (exemestane)
Log in to post a reply

Jul 24, 2018 11:42PM Binney4 wrote:

lmurphy, here's a good instructional on youtube. Just remember the touch for this "massage" has to be kitten-petting gentle:

Rural AK is a challenge in a lot of ways, but resourcefulness is a big virtue there. You can do this! Please let us know how we can help.

Gentle hugs,
Binney

Log in to post a reply

Jul 25, 2018 01:27PM PaulaAtlantaGA wrote:

Thank you, Binney4! I've been fitted with a sleeve by my PT who gave me similar exercises, but this is more thorough.

DX 10/2017; Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 2 nodes, TNBC Chemo A/C 9/2017; 12 weeks taxol w 4 added 4 carboplatin 1/2018. Surgery 4/2018 included axillary node dissection with 2/14 nodes, 2 cm tumor remaining; radiation 6/2018, Xeloda 7/2018
Log in to post a reply

Jul 25, 2018 01:53PM - edited Jul 25, 2018 01:56PM by JO-5

You have already gotten a lot of good answers, so I won't repeat.

I will second everyone on wearing a sleeve when doing anything strenuous.

I wish I would have!

Even back before my mastectomy when I just had a lumpectomy I could nort wear a tight bra because it ALWAYS caused truncal LE to be worse.

Since the mastectomy and lat flap that is even more so.

I buy bra extenders at JoAnn Fabrics and that allows me to go tighter or looser according to how bad the truncal LE is on any given day. When I wear a front hook sports/ leasure bra I often leave the bottom hook undone. Anything tight around that area it causes swelling for me.

Joanne

Org dx 04 lumpectomy rads arimidex stage 1 grade 3 no nodes er+pr+her- 2014 rads induced angiosarcoma, wide excision 2015 angio recurrence, rt mast. Lat flap, 1/3 flap went necrotic, skin graft leg to chest Seeing dr every 3 to 6 months.
Log in to post a reply

Aug 28, 2018 10:40PM Changed wrote:

Thank you for all the info. Jo-5, I am so glad to know about the bra extenders. Great idea. I just got a sleeve and really poor fit... I think... I am not exactly sure how it is suppose to fit. I actually remeasured myself and the company could not recommend a size. My lymphedema therapist has not been very helpful. Is any one else having this issue? The two times I have been there was mainly paperwork and measuring. Visit #2 was mainly looking on the internet with her to pick a sleeve. I could do that myself I think. Very frustrating. I am trying to get back to hiking but this is also when I swell the most. I do have Lt lateral trunk edema but have been offered no solid solution to that.

Log in to post a reply

Aug 28, 2018 11:03PM gigibee wrote:

appreciate all the info. Having similar issues , more trunk related than arm after weight bearing arm exercise and lifting weights. I so badly don’t want to give up what I enjoyed prior to my diagnosis.

Dx 8/31/2017, DCIS/IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 10/29/2017 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary Radiation Therapy 12/11/2017 Whole-breast: Breast

Page 1 of 1 (15 results)