In July 2009 my friend Carrie phoned me to confirm her worst fears that the lump she had found was, indeed, breast cancer. She endured the news, the surgery, the chemo therapy and radio therapy with her usual bravery and stoicism. All appeared to go well and she dutifully followed all the post treatment exercises and advice.
Some months later her right arm and hand began to swell. The dreaded lymphoedema had struck. The surgery had removed all her lymph nodes under her right arm and the lymph fluid stopped draining away from her arm.
Nine years later Carrie is still cancer free but her right arm and hand is permanently swollen. There is no known cure. She has to endure a lovely surgical beige glove and full arm sleeve. Yes, she's alive and well. The condition won't kill her but it is miserable. Painful, sore and really uncomfortable, especially in this heat.
The Lymphoedema Support Network are largely unknown but provide a great place to find out how to manage the condition which can affect all parts of the body, not just arms.
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