Chris came to me at the beginning of January, having had a squamous cell carcinoma removed and a total axillary clearance with four weeks of radiation last October. The swelling in her breast started almost straight away after the surgery and she had been for a number of treatments with a physiotherapist who diagnosed her with lympoedema. She also has a small amount of cording which doesn’t seem to impact her too much. At the time of her first visit her L-dex was at 19 (it had got as high as 32, so that was a major improvement).
She is a fit, active 71 year old who delivers pamphlets and who goes to the beach every day. She has made a lifestyle choice to be a sun-worshipper and doesn’t use sunscreen because she feels it’s filled with chemicals. Otherwise, she’s really healthy, takes heaps of vitamins and generally lives a very social life.
But the lymphoedema was really bothering her. After her first treatment I sent her to get a compression sleeve and unfortunately she was given one that was not strong enough. I also made her a “swell spot” from Mobiderm bandaging to use in her bra to break down some of the fibrosis in her breast.
At the second treatment she said she was really pleased with the “swell spot”, she felt the swelling was down and she was more comfortable. We added some laser to the treatment and added a homeopathic remedy called Lymphomyosot which she bought from the homeopath next door.
I didn’t see her for about ten days as she was seeing the physiotherapist in that time. Her elbow had swollen up before she saw the physio, so luckily she was given some bandaging at that visit which helped, but there was still significant swelling. She came into the treatment with bandaging just around her elbow which she had done herself, having cut the bandages to size. I explained that bandaging had to start from the fingers and continue all the way up. We discussed getting her a ready-made Mobiderm sleeve to wear at home at night to see if that helped. In the meanwhile I cut a small piece of Mobiderm bandaging to place at her elbow until the sleeve arrived.
At the next visit the following week she tried on her new sleeve and loved it so much she decided then and there to wear it all the time. It was much more comfortable than her usual compression. I suggested she bandage her hand at night just to make sure fluid didn’t make its way down (there had been some the previous week) and gave her a DVD to watch to help her learn how to do it herself.
The following week she had a follow up with her physio who said L-dex had gone down from 22 to 15, great work!
But the best news is, less pain, less swelling and discomfort. All in one week. What more could you ask for?
She also had a consultation with Dr Helen Mackie at Mt Wilga who suggested she think about having one week’s intensive bandaging. She’s seriously considering that when she gets back holiday.
Here she is sporting her Mobiderm garment – out and proud!
2020 update: Mobiderm now has a range of Autofit Garments with velcro, for both legs and arms. Check their website for more information.