This post was orginally going to be written by my very tolerant friend, A. She's been my test dummy since I originally started my massage study back in 2004 - she had a lumpectomy a few years before and had developed lymphoedema as a result. She'd get on my table and let me practice all my lymphatic techniques on her (and her husband donated his body to my remedial massage practice - man they were great friends). Now that I'm qualified in the Vodder technique she's humoured me again.
A. has been coming to see me over the years to help her keep her lymphoedema under control. Sometimes regularly, sometimes not. Life has this habit of jumping in the way of best intentions. She was going to write this post, but again, life has jumped in and the time has slipped away, so I offered to write it from her feedback.
When I got my laser a few months ago, A. was one of the first on my table as guinea pig. We were amazed at how well she responded, there was significant softening of the fibrosis at the top of her forarm and her skin felt soft for the first time in ages.
After the third week of my Vodder course I persuaded A. to let me again use her body in the pursuit of my studies and she duly rocked up on a Sunday afternoon and let me run wild with her.
I explained that the most significant difference in the treatment protocol was the treatment of fibrosis. I would normally go in a bit firmer with her fibrosis but really kept in mind the idea that lymphatic drainage should always be gentle. But with Vodder, "aggressive" is the word they use in relation to fibrosis. Can you believe it? I still have bruises on my leg from where the lecturer demonstrated the fibrosis treatment on me - on someone without an issue it's really painful, for someone with an issue, it feels normal. Ouch.
So, I watched with anticipation as I started giving her the "aggressive" treatment. Her eyes widened and her jaw dropped. Luckily she trusts me. At the end of the session she had a feel of her forarm and couldn't believe how much it had reduced and how great it felt.
Then, because she is so lovely, she let me bandage her. She's never had bandaging done before, nor does she want it again, so she's going to be very regular with her treatments from now on to avoid the possibility of ever having to undergo it. Here's her beautiful arm ...
I spoke with A. on the following Wednesday. She said that she actually felt sort of bruised on Monday and Tuesday but that on Wednesday it felt normal again, but that the arm was still soft and feeling great. Normally she says that she's ready to rip her compression sleeve off by about 8pm, but she was able to leave it on until bedtime. And normally within a couple days she starts to feel congested again, but not this time.
She came in for a follow up after ten days. Progress report - her eczema on her hand was playing up, she had a paper cut (man do those hurt!) and a torn "quick" on one of her nails, all on the affected side. Normally that would mean big swelling and heaviness. While the arm wasn't as good as the week before, it really wasn't that bad, considering all the things that had gone on during the week.
We did another treatment and towards the end my comment to her was "your arm's squidgy". She looked at me like I was a little deranged. Maybe I am? She sat up at the end of the treatment and investigated her arm ... "you're right, it is squidgy, and I have wrinkles". Her sleeve just slid on. She had the cheesiest grin on her face - love it.
So, had third treatment today and at the end she was so amazed she said we should have taken a video of the treatment. Well, too late for that, but we could take a video of her enjoying her soft arm - her favourite spot is the indent that she now has in her elbow, she hasn't seen that for a long, long time. The video's a bit dark, but that reflects the subdued ambience of my treatment room - it's all about comfort!
This is new territory for me - I've just created my first youtube video! Here's the very supple movement of her arm ...