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Lymphedema recurrence after 10 years..

PostPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 3:00 pm
by reykjavik
Hey all, I'm new here, and have a question.

in 2000, i was diagnosed with, and treated for, malignant melanoma. As there was axillary lymph node involvement, i underwent complete lymph node excision in my left axilla, leaving me with edema that fortunately settled down to only very light swelling, only really exacerbated when very hot or after exercise.

a couple of days ago i noticed that my left hand was much more swollen than normal, yet it wasn't hot, and I hadn't been exercising. I elevated my hand like i usually do, and massaged it a bit, but it didn't go away.

the next day it was still swollen and this was unusual, my wrist had also started hurting, so i went to see a doctor. he poked my and pressed me to make sure my blood and nerves weren't being affected, and sent me on my way telling my that this was normal for someone with chronic edema.

the thing is: i'm freaking out a bit because of the suddenness and persistency of this new swelling. why, after 10 years would it swell up to post-operation level? surely only if there were another blockage?

what should i do guys? :-(

Re: Lymphedema recurrence after 10 years..

PostPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 11:58 pm
by blubrdfrend
Welcome to the family. I hope that you will find that someone on this site that will be able to help.
I am not familiar with your condition but I would suggest that you consult another physician.

Re: Lymphedema recurrence after 10 years..

PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 5:23 am
by reykjavik

i have booked an appointment to see my GP tomorrrow, and I'm waiting to hear back from my oncology department from all that time ago.

i'm not really looking for medical help here- more just for the hope that someone else has gone thru this and has a non-cancer related outcome.

:? :? :?

Re: Lymphedema recurrence after 10 years..

PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 11:43 am
by patoco
Hi Reykjavik

Keep meaning to respond, but right after you had originally posted, I went into the hospital.

The first "stage" of lymphedema can actually be years of what is called transient (or latent) lymphedema. During this period, swelling very often comes and goes. The fact that your original edema settled down doesn't surprise me as what you described sounds much like the transient stage..

What finally can and does happen, is that the swelling (LE) suddenly and without warning hits hard and the limb will stay swollen. At this point, the damaged lymph system simply has reached a point to where it can longer keep functioning properly.

I suspect that this may be what has happened to you and may well NOT be related to a recurrence of cancer, so be encouraged on that. Since I too have a history of cancer (lymphoma), for sure I would check things out with the doc, but again, it is probably the transient lymphedema simply changing to a more chronic state due to the lymphatic damage.

What you may also want to do, ASAP, is to get an appointment with a certified lymphedema therapist to see what actions you can take now to hold down or even reduce the swelling - and to protect yourself from it getting severe.

My best to you - and let us know how you do!!!!