So if you start to develop lymphedema you may start feeling like your affected arm is heavy. There are a few symptoms and some are hard to describe. It is quite a weird feeling to have your arm feeling like you have weights attached to it. I have found that when I lay on my arm my fingers get all tingly and my arm just hurts all together and I hate the feeling. My left arm recently started to swell and it is now doing what I call a play dough type of feeling. If my arm lays on anything, even now while I am typing, it is leaving indentations in my forearm.
I went to a lymphedema specialist last week and she said that I definitely have stage 1 lymphedema. She says it is reversible but I will have to go 3 times a week and she will do what is called manual lymph node stimulation and massage. She did the massage the other day and I must tell you I was a little weirded out by having this lady rub my chest and lymph nodes. I am after all a rather shy person.
Starting this week I have to go every Monday, Wednesday and Friday to get rubbed down and then she will put my left arm from fingers to shoulders in foam and compression wraps that have to stay on 24/7 except when I am in her office. She then takes it off, lets me wash my arm and then she massages me and re-wraps me . She said that I will need to do it 3 -4 weeks and after that time I will need to wear a compression sleeve on that arm during all waking hours for at least 6 months straight. I am hating this this is going to be going on during the Christmas season and I am tired of it. The only positive thing is that I am right handed but for the next month I am not going to be able to bend or use my left arm.
I am really rather angry about this because I have tried so hard not to develop it and here I am with it. If I don’t get it treated I could progress to what they call elephantiasis of the arm. If it goes untreated it may never go back to normal and can actually progress to a form of cancer I do not want this so I will do it but I am not happy about it.