Thursday 24th April
For the last three months I have been going to see my lymphoedema nurse on a weekly basis. At first I hated it. To admit that one of my legs was fat, swollen and heavy was not an easy thing to do. To be fitted with a surgical garment that I must wear every day is even less appealing. To know that it is probable that I will have lymphoedema for the rest of my life takes an awful lot of getting used to.
To begin the session, the nurse uses manual lymphatic drainage massage, followed by zipping my leg into a full length inflating wader type contraption. The machine inflates and deflates, moving section by section up my leg. Intermittent, pneumatic compression! It feels very therapeutic, and hopefully the lymph fluid is being encouraged up my leg, to find new nodes into which to drain. Following a thirty minute session on this machine, the nurse then uses Kinesio taping from the top of my leg, around my hip to my lower back. This is another way of trying to channel the lymph fluid away from collecting in my leg, and finding a new drainage route.
Back in January when the nurse measured my leg for the support stocking, my left leg was found to be carrying 800mls more fluid than the right. In February it had dropped to 266mls, so I felt really good about that. However, today, upon a new set of measurements, my left leg is heavier by 1100mls. What on earth is going on? Yes, I have been trying to exercise by taking walks around the town, probably lasting between thirty and fifty minutes. Most afternoons I have rested up my leg by lying on the sofa in the lounge. Not very exciting, but it’s all I can manage at the moment.