At a recent lymphedema clinic appointment, the medical staff were impressed with the fact that Sarah has completely reversed her lymphedema. Since Sarah had her lumpectomy and removal of the lymph nodes under her left arm, it is a condition to which she is now susceptible.
Her treatment, which included the aforementioned operations, four months of chemotherapy and three weeks of radiotherapy ended in February 2014. Later in the year she had some lymphedema swelling in her left arm, which measured 8.5% bigger in circumference than her right arm. We had previously bought a multi-gym which is set up in the spare room to help her build up her strength after the chemotherapy. Because of the lymphedema we bought a vibro-plate – a stand-on machine that vibrates your whole body. The vibrations are known to help the lymph fluid to drain out of the swollen areas. “I’m just going upstairs for a wobble,” she tells me.
In October 2014 we took up 1950s-style dancing, including jive, lindy hop and swing dance. In January 2015, she took control of the reins in the kitchen (I have problems with portion control) and decided to embark upon a new healthy-eating lifestyle, cutting out alcohol, sugar, carbohydrates and processed foods. After ten months, she had lost three stone and is now down to a more or less ideal weight. We dance two or three times per week, which keeps her arms on the move. At the lymphedema clinic appointment, they found that her lymphedema had completely reversed – her left arm having reduced in size from 8.5% bigger to 6.5% smaller than her right arm! She was told that such a recovery was rare. Someone told me that they didn’t realise that this was even possible.
I have no idea what all the fuss is about, yet all this fuss is being made. Could the combination of weight loss, proper clean–eating, the vibro-plate, sugar and alcohol abstinence have contributed to the unlikely (bordering on impossible, apparently) reversal of her lymphedema?
I’d love to hear from people who know more about this than I do.
Sarah’s stylish lindy hop 50th birthday dance, December 2015:
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