I had my first therapy session with the lymphedema specialist this morning at 7. She explained a lot of things, and then did the massage. She massages areas with all lymph nodes that she wants to get moving, and then my arm, trying to push the lymphatic fluids toward those working nodes.
After the 30 minutes of that (it will be 45 minutes during future appointments,) she started the process of wrapping my arm and showing me how to do it. I have to do it alone, because Kevin is long gone to work before I wake up in the mornings. Because of that, I unwrapped and re-wrapped it tonight, to make sure I could. I made Monica take pictures for me so I could remember everything. Wanna see?
First, I put on this sleeve. It's a lot like what they put on you before wrapping you in an old-school cast:
Then, I wrap this foam around me. It's not tight, but it is beneficial in some way. I don't remember how because that was 13 hours ago. LOL
After that, I wrap my fingers in this thin gauze wrap. She told me that it has to cross the back of my hand between each finger wrapping, and if it's done correctly, there will be nothing crossing on my palm. I got it right!
After that, I take the first of three bandages and wrap my hand and wrist. They look like ACE bandages, but they have different properties and push fluid out while keeping more fluid from building up. I have to use tape to hold them in place, because the little clips that you use with an ACE could nick the skin, and that would be a problem. For the rest of my life, I have to make sure that I don't get any injuries to that arm, because it will be prone to infection.
Finally, I use the other two (wider) bandages to go up my arm. They have to be uncomfortably tight. It doesn't hurt, but it's annoying as heck. It's going to be 15 minutes added to my mornings, and it's going to be uncomfortable, and it's hard to type. It's also not cancer. I'm trying to get my attitude in check and stop whining.
I can do this. I did chemo, which made me crawl into bed at the end of each day (sometimes crying) and couldn't move until I left for work the next day. I did radiation, which made my skin so raw that I had to wear special gel pads under my bra. I had 3 surgeries in 3 months. This is a wrapped arm. Just a wrapped arm. I've got this.