Improved Edemic Arm Measurement

Saturday, February 12, 2011

I have chronic acute secondary edema in my right arm caused by axial node dissection followed by radiation and, of course, my lifestyle.

After the surgeries and radiation I did not pamper my arm as I perhaps should have. I was adamant that I was not going to let my cancer diagnosis and subsequent protocols interfere with or alter my lifestyle.

Don't get me wrong; I did not deliberately flout the advice I researched (yes, researched, because at the time NO ONE on my health team even mentioned lymphadema or the risk that I may develop it). Naturally, as soon as I was feeling better I was out in my garden, chopping out stumps and digging my pond by hand , . .

Yes, you betcha, I developed lymphadema, big time.

So in the course of having to alter many daily things I sometimes even went in the opposite direction - babying my arm.

Until recently.

I decided that while it could get worse I was going to forge ahead and do more strength training for my upper body, shoulders & arms with free weights. I purchased a Harley Pasternak DVD set that is really, really good. The fact that he's not too hard on the eyes helps as well.

Yesterday I went to my specialist fitter to get the annual measurements taken for the custom compression sleeves I must wear 24/7. Never have the measurements decreased over the past 10 years.

Never until yesterday, that is.

All measurements were down, some as much as 2.5 cm, EXCEPT for my bicep, which had a .75 cm increase. My specialist was thrilled as was I. I can even see musculature in my arm, whereas before all you could see was a swollen mushy mass, and it's only been 5 weeks since I seriously began the program (I used to kinda, sorta toy with weights in the past, again never pushing myself lest I "hurt my arm").

Do I have motivation to continue with the strength training?

Do fish swim in the sea?

Thank you Harley, for an excellent routine.
Thank you Doreen, my amazing sister, for insisting that I strength train.
Thank you SparkFriends for your never-ending support and encouragement.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • no profile photo CD6001879
    This is wonderful news! I'm so so glad things are progressing well!!!!
    3776 days ago
    Great news! By creating my own personal physical training program I was able to walk again when the medical establishment could not help me so keep on doing your own thing as long as it doesn't hurt you... . emoticon emoticon
    3806 days ago
    Hey...this is SUCH good news! You are sooooo amazing to me! I just know you've got this all under control...keep on keepin' on darling friend...anything we can do to empower and improve our health is awesome. After all...we are the keepers of our temples. Have you ever read Suzanne Sommers "Knockout" such interesting and encouraging advise from doctors who are curing cancer...she had breast cancer at one point also...she is a trail blazer on getting the truth out...check her if you find a minute.

    Hugs dear one...and woot...wooooot on the good news! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3808 days ago
  • BETZI01
    That is great news! I started weight trainin a couple weeks ago. Just this past week I got my friend to go to the local gym with me. She has a really bad back so we focused on upper body stuff for her and the recumbent bike. I hit nearly every machine. Fun. Let's all keep up the great work. emoticon
    3814 days ago
    It's wonderful to hear that you are improving your musle tone in your arm - congratulations! Keep it up!!

    3819 days ago
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    3821 days ago
    What wonderful news - I'm so happy for you. How encouraging to see that even after 10 years, the exercise and taking care of yourself makes such an obvious difference. emoticon
    3821 days ago
    I am so happy for you!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3822 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon Hi -- no one ever discussed the lymphedema to me except to tell me a couple exercises and left me in the exercise room to do them by myself. No measuring, etc., had the compression sleeve on my arm a couple days, but it didn't fit my short arm. I just went back to doing my usual busy stuff. Never did lose any weight at all even during 8 days in hospital and 5 out of 12 chemo treatments that made me hallucinate. That arm is still a little flabbier and larger than the other but getting better. I'm working on the weight and lost some. it's been since 1993 and no sign of recurrences at this point. A few biopsies and extra mammo films, but still okay. Never want to go through any of it again.

    I'm so glad you're doing so well. Guess a lot of us have been there and done that. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3822 days ago
    This is great news. I am glad that you are getting such good results. Keep up the good work.

    3822 days ago
    Nanner ~~ Way to go!!! You rock!!! Keep up the good work ~ Remember, we are stronger than we think!
    ((((hugs))) Dee
    3822 days ago
  • SHERRY257
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    3822 days ago
    emoticon on great results!... I know you feel relieved and encouraged. So far, I have never developed lymphedema, but it is always in the back of my mind when I lift weights. I just try to pace myself and not over do it...

    I saw a lymphedema clinician who said that it was ok to lift weights as long as I eased into it... and did it regularly along with cardio. I was measured for a compression sleeve and wore one for preventative measures when I was first diagnosed with bc, however, I stopped wearing it because it actually bothered me. I asked my breast surgeon was it absolutely necessary to wear it and she told me no... She said however, to watch out for the symptoms of lymphedema and if symptoms appear, see the clinician as soon as possible to be evaluated.

    I like the program you are doing, I checked it out when you told me about it. Very sensible program... I am glad that you like it, that's important, especially since you are doing it on your own.

    Keep up the good work and I am sure you will see more improvements as you get stronger and stronger... emoticon ...

    ~ Dee emoticon
    3822 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/12/2011 9:19:56 PM
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    3822 days ago
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    3822 days ago
    How awesome! And what inprovement you've made in such a short time!! You're an INSPIRATION!!!! you friend!! OH and one other thing...I'm ALL for exercising with those okes who are easy on the eyes! Can't work too many muscles at once can you?? emoticon Have a great night!
    3822 days ago
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    3822 days ago
  • JIBBIE49
    My neighbor lady had that from breast cancer & she had a lot of pigment discoloration as well on her arm. I'm glad u got the sleeve. emoticon
    3822 days ago
  • no profile photo CD8471181
    way to go. I am so glad for you. I makes this girl who does not have any serious issue realize how much more i should get off my duff and do my exercises. emoticon
    3822 days ago
    3822 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.

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