One of the things that Nancy Roberge said in her Lymphedema presentation at Celebration of Life 5/22/11 was, "Most women with Lymphedema can recall a specific event and sensation that marked the beginning of their problem."
This is from a credible source:
Of note is how challenging some of the recommendations for women who have had node dissections in both armpits... as well as those with just one.
Take blood pressure - nowhere in Boston have I been able to get BP taken on leg. I ALWAYS ask.
The best I have done is to get them to use manual cuff rather than the automatic one that felt like my arm was about to explode.
They are never happy about having to go find an old school manual BP cuff and stethoscope when I tell them I have had node dissections in both arms and do not want the automatic cuff.
Take carry heavy items with arms down - this one is "don't buy groceries and carry them in reusable grocery bags". At the store, I always take the cart to my car to minimize carrying by the handles. At home, I look to see if there is someone else to carry them in. I have a 2 wheel cart in my trunk and suspect that PULLING the cart is no better than carrying by handles. My Spaulding Occupational Therapist says, "Carry them one at a time hugged to your chest."
Take avoid 'deep tissue massage' - This ties back to H's question yesterday: What is 'deep tissue massage'? ... and to my comment about the various modalities within physical therapy that are focused on 'soft tissue' and that help reduce/resolve the problems emanating from post-surgical adhesions.
Are any of those PT treatments "deep tissue massage". My best guess is the following should be avoided: Rolfing and aggressive hands on treatment by a massage therapist, physical therapist, occupational therapist, chiropractor, etc. who does not have training and SKILL in gentle soft tissue treatment using techniques associated with myofascial release, cranial-sacral, Upledger, Feldenkrais, etc.
Avoid breaking the skin - I had an EMG that was very painful and caused bruising. I had no idea before I got to the test that it involved needles being stuck into my arm. In retrospect, that was a high risk test. Right after Celebration of Life, my date for medical acupuncture treatment for pain - by a Spaulding Rehab MD using Japanese style needles came up. After listening to Nancy at CoL, I cancelled appt and focused on mind/body pain techniques like Autogenic Training, Reiki, Body Scans, Guided Meditation, and Self-hypnosis.
And the beat goes on... there are more items within the referenced web page.
There are lots of trade-offs to be made each day. Like would the potential benefit of the EMG results outweigh the risk I could end up with Lymphedema from the test?