Yesterday’s Overdue Appointment

It's been a while since I've gone to my lymphedema clinic — three years, to be exact!

I feel so fortunate to live near a lymphedema clinic, especially one as personable and competent as GBMC’s. My appointment yesterday went really well: they said that I had done a good job maintaining my swelling since my last visit three years ago, and that made me feel a lot more confident about my ability to take care of myself. I truly have made a daily effort to wear my garments and to have that recognized is super encouraging!

I met with a nurse, a doctor, and a lymphedema therapist, and between the four of us it was decided I’d start a physical therapy program where, in addition to the physical therapy itself, the therapist will be wrapping my leg in tight bandages each day for about a month. This process (“wrapping”) will allow for smaller measurements and a garment with tighter, more effective compression.

I’m excited to get this started; I did wrapping three years ago but am definitely overdue and in need of another new garment. I start sometime next week – hooray! Although I’m not relishing the idea of wearing layers of bandages in 90+ degree weather, I know it’s going to help me a lot in the long run.

What’s your experience with physical therapy and wrapping?

5 comments on “Yesterday’s Overdue Appointment

  1. Hay hon! Didn’t know you were a Baltimoron….was at Mercy with my face Lymphedema and it’s under control. Just a little chin puffiness and a lot of aging. Now doing GBMC for swallowing (been on a feeding tube for a year until I got the lymphedema under control) and they ROCK! Said I might be able to eat by Labor day!!!! Love your blog girlie……good to see you here on FB.
    PS nice peddie

    • Hell yeah I’m from Baltimore! :) Born ‘n raised, hon. And I agree – GBMC really knows what they’re doing. I went to them for physical therapy a couple years ago and had a great experience – I’m looking forward to working with them again. Congrats on your progress!!!

  2. Oh – I got lucky and ended up with a terrific Lymphedema specialist but at Mercy…Maureen McBeth. She is awesome and so dedicated even though it doesn’t affect her. She actually marches on Washington for legislation regarding the issue. Incredible woman. But for the swallowing (she actually recommended) GBMC plus they have a voice ctr that I’m getting hooked up with as I’m a prof (well was) singer. Keep the faith and thanks for all the time you spend

    • That’s so great to hear. I’m excited for you! You’ll have to keep us posted. Thanks for reading and participating on the site :)

  3. It’s natural when you start a new program for the therapist to wrap you, in addition, to providing you with Manual Lymph Drainage. MLD + wrapping + therapeutic exercise + skin care = Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT), i.e. the “gold standard” for LE care. Each therapist has different techniques depending upon which school they were trained at, and each program works a little differently.

    Yes, I agree you ARE very lucky to have a convenient place to get therapy, and it does help if they are encouraging of your progress. If something isn’t working, be sure to address any concerns and ask questions if you’re unsure of something. For instance, I went a long time without including my stomach in my self massage, mainly because I wasn’t sure how to do it.

    For some people who have severe Lymphedema and/or Lymphedema and other conditions such as: venous insufficiency or Lipedema, it’s important to be seen regularly by a trained therapist. For people with milder cases, it’s definitely good to check in with a trained therapist at least once a year. In general, you can take care of yourself at home, if you’re diligent. What works for me is using the Flexitouch sequential pump which targets not only my legs, but my torso – which is important so lymphatic fluid doesn’t pool there. The pump I use provides gentle movement of each section of the legs, feet, and torso – similiar to MLD.

    I notice a difference after using it every day for an hour. Just like after MLD, my legs are noticably more soft and less fibrotic and I usually feel relaxed. I also wear my compression garments nearly every day, and try to wrap my legs as often as I can, especially in the summertime when we need all the compression we can get! Alexa, shout out to you for getting therapy and taking good care of yourself! Don’t forget to drink lots of water, and try to stay cool!

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