The compression wrapping and I aren't getting along very well. The first wrapping rubbed around my thumb and I felt like I was getting a blister there so I ended up putting a big thing of gauze under the wrapping to provide some padding around the thumb. After I cut off the first wrap yesterday morning I noticed that the skin along my inner forearm was red and bumpy. I think it was a heat rash since I've been known to get them.
My physiotherapist and I decided to try wrapping the arm again for the weekend even though I'd developed the rash. She put an extra layer around the thumb to provide padding so that it wouldn't get blisters. Unfortunately, my skin became unbearably itchy yesterday afternoon underneath the wrapping. It felt like there were things pricking my skin and the slightest movement registered as pain. I ended up taking Benadryl to try to calm the reaction a bit and it did work alhough it left me very sleepy. I ended up asleep for most of yesterday afternoon and evening but at least I didn't feel the itch or pain while I was asleep so that's ok, right?
Then last night I woke up in the middle of the night because the tip of my thumb on the wrapped arm was numb. I fell back asleep and woke up a few times because it was still numb. I tried to shift the wrapping a bit to relieve the pressure on whichever nerve was making my thumb numb but nothing worked - my thumb was still numb. I looked up numbness and this wrapping online and found that if the patient experiences tingling or numbness in the extremities after the wrapping, the wrapping should be removed right away and the doctor contacted.
I don't have a direct phone number for my physiotherapist and by the time I realized that the wrapping needed to come off, it was 4pm and the cancer center switch board was closed. I removed the wrapping anyways because I figured that it was the right thing to do. Now, six hours later, the tip of my thumb is still numb which is a little worrying. I hope that I can recover sensation in it before Monday. I have Raynaud's phenomenon in my hands and feet; could that have contributed to my numb thumb?
My forearm was also quite red and bumpy for a while but it seems to have settled down.
My physiotherapist did say that if this type of wrapping didn't work, we could do the kind of wrapping that they used to do. This other wrapping is changed daily and uses a different product so it might be better for me and my thumb. After this experience I'm wondering if it would be better to go a different wrapping route.
In other lymphedema treatment news, my hand and forearm were measured yesterday for a compression sleeve and glove. There has been no real change in the measurements in the one week but it's important that I have something for my travel in three weeks. The person checked and my measurements don't fit into the ready-to-wear measurements so my sleeve and glove need to be custom-made. It's going to take about two weeks for them to arrive so they'll be here in time for my trip.
Lymphedema and its treatment both suck. Wah!