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Feb 13, 2012 05:09PM
, edited Feb 13, 2012 05:54PM
Mam - I noticed in your sig that you had 3 lymph nodes removed. That puts you at an increased risk for lymphedema. The first few weeks after surgery are critical to recovery of the damaged lymphatic system. If you push yourself too hard now, you could set yourself back and if you try to do too much with your upper body, you risk triggering LE - something you definitely do not want.
Unfortunately, surgeons know very little about lymphedema, and too often do not provide us with the education we need to reduce our risk of developing LE. You may want to ask your surgeon for a referral to a Certified Lymphedema Therapist. The CLT can take baseline measurements, evaluate your risk, and help you develop a safe, effective workout program. My surgeon gave me no info about LE precautions when I was cleared for activity. Unfortunately I did way too much upper body work too soon, and now I have LE. Any weights should be done slowly with light weights (like one pound) or even no weights, and very few reps. Build up very very gradually. Your upper body and lymphatic system have had quite a shock - give them time to recover.
Check out the Lymphedema section on BCO for more info. There's also a great website written by LE women for LE women - http://www.stepup-speakout.org/ It has great info about the precautions you need to take about LE and what to look for. It also tells you how to find a Certified Lymphedema Therapist near you.
All that said, you've been through a lot. I promise you that it does get better, physically and mentally. I'm almost exactly 4 years ahead of you (I was dx 12/31/07), and I currently do yoga, weight training, swimming, mountain hikes (I just climbed a volcano in the Caribbean last week) and I recently signed up to run a 10K in April. But you can't expect to do all that just 2 weeks out of surgery! Listen to your body, rest when you need to, and take care of yourself. As Kim says, walking is great exercise. It doesn't strain the upper body, and yet gets you moving.
Hang in there!
Edited to add: You may want to check out the Let's Post Our Daily Exercise thread over in the Exercise section. That's all we do - post whatever exercise we've done that day. We're in all phases of b/c treatment - some finished active treatment years ago, some just finished surgery, and some are currently going through chemo or rads. It's a supportive group - we've all been there and know the frustration of dealing with the after effects b/c surgery and treatment.
12/31/2007, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/15 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
1/29/2008 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement
3/3/2008 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
6/30/2008 Femara (letrozole)
10/8/2008 Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap