This weekend was probably the first weekend since the op where I’ve taken my eye off the ball in terms of my diet, going out for pizza and drinks with the girls, having bacon sandwiches for breakfast and afternoon tea with cake. I did get a couple of healthy meals in but on the whole, I was no where near as good as I have been.
It didn’t take long for my arm to feel the effect. Cramping pains around my elbow and occasionally in my hand and fingers. I know now I should have been more mindful about what I was doing. More than anything else, the link between what I eat and drink and how well my arm is doing is a reflection of how good my lymph flow is, with alcohol and sugar being the biggest culprits.
Im not going to cut these things out completely but I think I will have to plan my weekends a bit better in future, making sure that I still get my 5 a day, drink plenty of water and don’t have too many treats all in one go.
Things That Cause Lymphatic Stagnation
White sugar, white flour, white rice, refined table salt, processed meats, greasy and fatty foods, too much alcohol (apart from the occasional glass of red wine), dairy products, artificial additives, preservatives, colourings and flavourings.
(Source: Wise Geek and Gorgeous Skin)
Something I hadn’t really thought about until I saw the Wessex Cancer Trust choir sing at a Christmas fundraising service, were the benefits of singing.
Of course, being Christmas and a charity event in a beautiful abbey, it was always going to prove to be an incredibly moving experience, not only because the choristers had all been affected by cancer in some way or other or because the lyrics of the songs they were singing were particularly poignant, but because I could really feel the emotion that went in to their every word of their performance.
As I was sitting there soaking up the atmosphere becoming more and more engrossed, it dawned on me that singing is something that not only brings people together but is actually a great way to breath deeply and as we know, breathing deeply is good for lymph flow!
So, sing! Sing a song. Sing out loud and sing out strong!
Benefits of singing:
- Increase self confidence
- Lower feelings of isolation
- Natural anti-depressant
- Reduces anxiety
- Improves interpersonal skills
- Feelings of empowerment
- Improves posture
- Creates endorphins
- Improves circulation
- Stimulates lymph flow
(Source: Bupa and Telegraph)
Back in the summer I bought a second-hand mini trampoline off eBay. It was probably the best £10 I have spent over the last 6 months. Not only is it highly recommended to aid lymph flow but it proved to be a lot of fun too, and, helped me stay physically active post surgery despite struggling with severely low energy levels at times.
I can honestly say I’ve used the trampoline most weekday mornings. Just a 20 minute workout has helped me wake up, feel positive, alive and in control of my health.
For those days when my arm ached I knew that with a quick blast on the mini trampoline it would feel an awful lot better. It has been a huge help to me physically and emotionally and has also proved to be a lot of fun when friends have come to visit too – watching them bounce around, laughing and grinning from ear to ear within seconds of trying it out.
It is addictive and so, when I was asked what I wanted for Christmas, I knew… a brand new trampoline please!!
Having been following Jason Vale’s Rebounding DVD for months, I had worked my way up from the “easy” bounce to the “medium” quite quickly but had struggled to get through the “high bounce” workout. I couldn’t figure out why it was proving so difficult, I was trying to jump as high as Jason was but I just couldn’t get the momentum to keep up. I thought maybe the trampoline had lost its bounce over the years so when I tried the “medium” workout on my new trampoline I was delighted that I was able to jump higher than ever before with less effort and without even breaking a sweat!
The new trampoline seems to me about 5 times more bouncy than the old one. So, today I thought I would give the “high” bounce routine a go. To my surprise I got through the entire workout only stopping occasionally to regain my posture and position because I was bouncing so high I was nearly falling off!
Using the second-hand trampoline for so long had really paid off. The extra effort I was putting in trying to keep up meant that the higher workout with the new trampoline was a piece of cake.
I would definitely recommend trying a second-hand trampoline before buying new. If you like it or even love it, then invest in a new one and you will love it even more.
I’ve been using a grounding mat at home near my laptop for a few months now but wasn’t really aware of how much of an affect it had been having until I went back to work full time 2 weeks ago. For the last 10 days I have been experiencing increased pain, swelling and cramping in my affected arm, so much so I knew I had to do something to help myself otherwise work would be unbearable.
Having moved my grounding mat from my laptop at home to my bed, so I could get the benefits of it while I slept, I not only noticed that my arm felt so much better in the morning, near on “normal” in fact, but that the quality of my sleep had improved dramatically too. So I decided to order a grounding mouse mat to use at work (as I work on a PC all day and am surrounded by multiple monitors).
Today I went for my monthly MLD session and was delighted to hear the therapist confidently tell me that the swelling and pain I had experienced was not lymphoedema but was more likely to be nerve related. The grounding mats obviously hadn’t cured me of lymphoedema because I hadn’t had it but what they had done was help to alleviate the pain and discomfort.
Intrigued at the dramatic effect the grounding mat was having I decided to see what further evidence I could find as to its effectiveness. Interestingly, grounding technology is already in wide use throughout the sporting fraternity and in particular on cyclists during the Tour de France.
Having developed some mild swelling around my arm pit over the last 10 days I was keen to do as much as I could as soon as I could to reduce it. I revisited the SLD videos I had but was finding them very lengthy and a bit boring. That’s no good to me. I need to have something that’s easy to follow, can be done at home or at work if needed and gets results quickly.
I came across the video below and tried it yesterday to great effect. Not only was it easy to follow but the swelling has noticeably reduced and my arm is not cramping as much and so far isn’t as stiff either. Result!
The clip also contains a section for those who want to try massage with a partner or carer.
I’ve been getting unusual sensations in my affected arm for the last 7 days so the question is…
What do I do now if this is the start of Lymphoedema!?
Ok, first and foremost, don’t panic! The sooner it’s treated the better the outcome. This is what I’m going to do…
- Call the Breast Care Nurse and explain what I’ve been experiencing and for how long. Arrange to see the hospital’s lymphoedema specialist.
- Call my MLD therapist and tell him all of the above and bring my monthly appointment forward.
- Continue with my rebounding workout because it’s a great lymph mover and keeps my arm supple.
- Revisit the YouTube links on SLD (simple lymphatic drainage).
- Throughout the day do the post-op physiotherapy exercises whenever I can. Aim to do these at least 3 times a day now.
- Take a flask of boiling water to work with me so I can de-congest my lymph whilst at my desk.
- Put sliced lemon in my filtered water whenever possible.
- Make sure I eat one banana a day.
- Drink pineapple juice.
- Move my grounding mat from my PC to my bed so I can get the benefit whilst I sleep.
At the moment I think that’s the best I can do whilst waiting to see the specialists.
According to the video below, research shows 74% of the world’s population have an iodine deficiency and that when levels are low there is an increased risk of breast cancer, but when levels are high tumor growth is decreased. Not only that but it appears that iodine is a great lymph mover too!
In the Orient, sea vegetables have been used for centuries in the treatment of cancer. Women in Japan for example, who live on average to be 80 have the lowest risk of breast cancer simply by including seaweed in their diet. It’s the anti-cancer compounds found in sea vegetables such as kelp, which inhibit oestrogen-dependent cancers and that makes eating them a really powerful way to reduce the risk of breast cancer. The mineral salts found in sea vegetables also help to move lymphatic fluids by enhancing lymphatic drainage.
In the West we don’t tend to eat sea vegetables but there are other foods we can eat which contain iodine:
- Sea bass
- Salt (iodized), not exposed to air for more than 4 weeks
- Baked potatoes with the skin on
- Cow’s milk
- Fish sticks
- Tuna, canned in oil
- Boiled eggs
Source: Natural Body Healing