Lymphedema: Top 5 Essentials
Cancer teaches us to “Clear the Clutter.” All of us are experiencing a similar time now. So, while we simplify life to the essentials, what do we keep?
For those with lymphedema, here are the top 5 essentials:
- Keep compressing! Whether it is a compression garment, compression wrapping, or an alternative compression…compression is an absolute essential.
- Keep moving! Research tells us that a BMI of less than 26 and a higher muscle mass decreases your risk of lymphedema. Remember that exercise should be done with compression in place. Join me virtually on Monday mornings at 8am through the YMCA of Southwest Indiana Facebook page for a low impact "Cancer Thrivers" workout. These workouts will be archived on the YMCA website as well: www.ymcaswin.org/virtual-y if you are not on Facebook.
- Skin care. Moisturize your skin and watch for signs and symptoms of infection, which includes redness, temperature, and increased swelling.
- Lymph drainage. Use your compression pump as instructed by your therapist, if you have one. Don’t have a pump? Make sure to perform 10 diaphragmatic breaths (inhale and make your belly rise; exhale and pull your belly in as tight as you can) 3 times each day.
- Stress-reduction. What makes you happy? What makes your heart sing? Don’t forget to embrace the good in your life. Enjoy the extra time to learn a new hobby or give life to an old hobby. Sing along to some music. Laugh at a joke. Look for cute animal pictures. Smile.
Stay healthy, stay home and clear the clutter!