I’m not sure what I want to talk about tonight, I just feel the urge to write. So here I am.
Lymphoedema. For those who don’t know, this essentially means that the lymphatic system doesn’t work correctly. It manifests as swelling in affected limbs. The lymph fluid pools in the limbs because it is unable to get to the lymph nodes, from where it travels to appropriate parts of the body to be ejected as waste. Most people who get it have experienced some kind of trauma to the body. Women with breast cancer who have had the lymph nodes removed, for example, often get it in their arms. People who have been in some kind of accident can get it, depending on which part of the body has been traumatised. And sometimes, as in my case, there is no known cause. I’ve had it now for 17 years. Since 1995. Treatment for it includes wearing compression garments on affected limbs (in my case for 24 hours a day, except whilst in water), lymphatic drainage massage and a stringent skin care routine to prevent infection.
In recent years, for the most part it is kept under control, though sometimes it can be a little draining to maintain the routines on a regular basis. Occasionally stuff happens to mix things up and upset the status quo. Several years ago I became ill with the flu and the infection left me with a pocket of fluid in my belly (apron), which at the time was very inflamed and infected. The infection cleared itself up, but the fibrous pocket of fluid remains. Occasionally I’ll have some trouble with this (has only happened twice before), as I do now. Since yesterday I have had some pain (not huge amounts, but definitely noticable) around my navel, the pocket has been more swollen than usual, and there has been some seeping of lymph fluid from my navel. With a small amount of blood. The times this has happened before have been when I have received new compression garments (have to replace garments every 6 months or so as they wear out) and they have been tight enough to push extra fluid out and it ends up coming out in odd places. It has only lasted for about 2 days and then goes away on its own. I’m told by my physio that it’s normal given the circumstances.
This time is a bit different. No new garments, so in theory there shouldn’t be any extra fluid to get rid of. That said, the fluid is still seeping. So in looking at what could possibly be the culprit for it, I was looking at the recent changes I have made with my lifestyle. Primarily the new exercise habits. One of the nurses on the forums assures me that when you increase your exercise it can be common to retain extra fluid due to increased blood flow. I am trusting that this is true and just taking things easy for a couple of days in the hope it clears up soon, and just focusing on the skin care routine and taking care of myself. I’m told that it shouldn’t seriously interfere with my new training routine, but I am backing off slightly for a couple of days. Especially since my new PT will be thrashing me on Thursday with another boxing session!
Added to that, I have had a Bowen treatment today and have been told to not train for 24 hours. So I’ll do a shorter session when I get home from work tomorrow (Wednesday) and then straight into the PT on Thursday.