Posts Tagged ‘lymphedema’

Alternate Title: My Big Fat Arm (now, if I was Greek that would have really worked there)

Jobst Gauntlet



<Actual picture from product box whose caption should read:

                 “Does this gauntlet make my butt look fat?!”

To my detriment, I have ignored my lymphedema (or lymphoedema as some say…but does that make me a lympho?) and it has gotten worse. My left arm is a big, bloated beached whale of an arm now. Of course, I have no one to blame but myself for this, as I ignored what I know I needed to do (much like I ignore the fact that I should stop drinking caffeine and eating fatty foods).

So, I went through (again!) what is called comprehensive decongestive therapy, which sounds like something involving reflective sessions and mentholated cough drops. Unfortunately, it involved wrapping up my arm and hand in 3 layers of bandages that would have made Egyptian undertakers envious. Then, enduring days of “what happened to your arm?” comments as I tried to explain (and just what is it about wrapped appendages that makes total strangers feel they can ask you all kinds of probing personal questions, anyway).

Now I have been outfitted with a custom made “compression garment” that came all the way from Germany special order for me. However, either the woman who measured me wrote the wrong numbers, has sloppy handwriting or someone doing the sewing in Germany had too many lagers for lunch as the glove does NOT fit right. I am pretty certain that my thumb should not be turning purple-black and going completely numb…

Back to the fitting room we go come Monday.

I was perusing the websites of the many fine purveyors of “compression devices” and was struck by how naughty this ailment sounds: there’s a whole assortment of lotions, bandages, padding and gauntlets complete with instructions for “donning and doffing.”

Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, know what I mean…

OK, I’m off to wrestle this arm sleeve on. It requires, and I am not kidding, that I wear rubber wash gloves to help pull it on. I’ll leave you with that sexy image 😉

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lymphatic arm with cellulitis

Frick, frick, frick!!! (for you Scrubs fans;-) I have cellulitis, AGAIN!

So, while the rest of the nation is out enjoying Labor Day weekend, I will be elevating my arm and taking heavy duty antibiotics. 😦

This is all traced back to having lymphedema in the arm that got bit by a mosquito. Now, I have been putting on the bug spray and covering that arm, but with all the rain we have had here lately I guess it was a losing battle. There is some odd medical info here about reactions to mosquitos bites:

Clearly there is clinically useful information in the literature on mosquito bite reactions. The reactions are immunologic in nature to polypeptide antigens in the mosquito saliva. There seems to be the full range of immune responses including immediate IgE-mediated whealing, intermediate immune complex arthus reactions and both late phase allergic and delayed cellular reactions. Fortunately anaphylaxis is extremely rare.

Durn, skeeter spit!……

If you have lymphedema, or are at risk for developing it, be aware that cellulitis is serious and dangerous…seek treatment ASAP!

I caught it early, since I had it once before (where I ended up in the hospital for a few days on IV antibiotics…not fun), so the picture of my arm is not nearly as horrible as the ones you can find searching the web (shudders).

OK, off to bed.

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