How Sarah reversed her lymphedema

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 cleaneating, 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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5 thoughts on “How Sarah reversed her lymphedema

  1. This is WON-DER-FUL!!! Congrats to both of you, and thank you very much for sharing!

    The most inspiring and uplifting thing I have heard about lymphedema since the summer of 2014 when mine was diagnosed!

    I am re-posting this on my blog, with a few thoughts.

    Wishing you two happy dancing for at least another 50 years 🙂


  2. Thank you Andrea. We had no idea that it was such a remarkable achievement until we received feedback from people like you. We certainly didn’t set out to do anything special – it’s just how it happened! I hope you are well.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mark, the big fuzz is because the official view about lymphedema is that it is incurable: once you’ve got it, you will have to live with it for the rest of your life. Your wife’s example shows that it is NOT TRUE! But the medical profession and 99.9% of those affected with this condition, are holding onto that.

    I am not too popular in the lymphedema community, for I keep saying that somehow it MUST BE possible to get rid of this physical issue.

    In my blog I rant about this 😀 and also, keep track of my progress – which is not as spectacular yet as Sarah’s.

    Now I am sure one thing I have to do is take up dancing again 🙂


  4. I’ve just read your blog. I really hope that it helps other people with lymphedema. I’d like to add that the potential for its return is still there and always will be – I’d hate to mislead people into thinking that Sarah’s lymphedema could never return. Nonetheless, what we have discovered is really interesting. Perhaps we should get everyone with lymphedema to take up lindy hop! Thank you, and well done for persevering 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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