I saw the physiotherapist about my lymphedema in my left arm today. Apparently most people are diagnosed with lymphedema when they have a measurable swelling of at least 2cm. My swelling is only 1cm, so it's like pre-lymphedema.
Our goal will be to make sure that the lymphedema doesn't get any worse. To that end, she's given me a set of exercises interspersed with massages to open the lymphatic system and get it to drain better. I have to do these every day, and they take about 20-30 mins. I also have to get a class 1 compression sleeve and gauntlet (to cover the swelling on my hand), and I'm to wear these whenever I do activity - like walking, paddling, curling, or bellydancing. I'm pretty sure that my insurance will cover these items, but I think I have to get my doctor to write me a prescription. I'll have to check that they're covered.
The physiotherapist is also going to try to get me into the Well-fit program, which is designed for cancer patients and is run by the University of Waterloo. It's kind of like having a personal trainer. Each patient has to be referred there by their oncologist, and the physiotherapist will get in touch with my doctor to get things rolling. I hear it's a great program.
I'm happy that we're doing something about my lymphedema. If it gets worse, then we can look at higher grades of compression or a type of massage, but I don't need those right now. This is good - there's nothing like a ginormous arm to announce to the rest of the world that you've had cancer. Not that I try to hide it, of course, but I prefer to tell people when I can, as opposed to having my arm do the talking.