I was sure I’d written about this before, but i can’t seem to find it so I’ll write it again. I had sentinel lymph nodes removed during my breast cancer-related lumpectomy. When you remove lymph nodes, lymph has a harder time moving through your body. Thus…lymphedema becomes a new problem in your world.
Overview from Mayo Clinic website:
“Lymphedema refers to swelling that generally occurs in one of your arms or legs. Sometimes both arms or both legs swell.
Lymphedema is most commonly caused by the removal of or damage to your lymph nodes as a part of cancer treatment. It results from a blockage in your lymphatic system, which is part of your immune system. The blockage prevents lymph fluid from draining well, and the fluid buildup leads to swelling.
While there is presently no cure for lymphedema, it can be managed with early diagnosis and diligent care of your affected limb.”
But the problem is, at least in my experience, and that of a friend who recently lost 20+ lymph nodes to a mastectomy, your surgeon does NOT recommend exercise on your affected side.
That seems counterintuitive to me. So I actually started exercising like one day after my own surgery (disclaimer: I am NOT a medical professional, also people tolerate surgery by different degrees and I totally do not recommend doing exercises that hurt in a bad way (as opposed to stretching muscle way). You know your own body best).
And what did I do? Excercises I got free off of Youtube that are part of this Healthy Steps program specifically designed by an ex ballerina for lymph moving. These are almost all upper body movements you can do in a chair or standing. They are gentle and slow. And I attribute them to why I have never experienced lympedema so far (although now I’ve graduated to yoga and don’t do theses exercises anymore) and also had good range of movement in my surgery shoulder/side.
So here’s my playlist. Each video starts with her answering a lympedema question, so I would mostly just move the little player nodule to the middle where the actual exercise would start on each video.