By: Janet Vanderveen
I remember the shock I experienced when I learned about lymphedema, a chronic condition with no cure that I would be dealing with the rest of my life. I was at a high risk for it as I had stage III Inflammatory Breast Cancer and I had all lymph nodes removed from my left arm pit. Twenty-five rounds of radiation to my chest and upper back also put me at a greater risk. At the beginning of treatment I naively believed I would be able to put cancer behind me, after treatment I believed I would return to the life I had, maybe somewhat diminished but I was not prepared for the numerous issues that would continue after treatment, the most impactful being fatigue, chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy, ongoing brain fog and secondary lymphedema.
Numerous health professionals have helped me manage the issues that treatment for cancer caused. My lymphedema is managed with the care of my exceptional physiotherapist, Ann DiMenna, Clinical Director of Markham Lymphatic Centre, who has taught me and my husband how to best manage it. We have been well supported and learned what works best for me with Ann’s guidance.
Now she shares her wealth of knowledge and excellent advice in a book she has coauthored with dietician and cancer survivor Jean LaMantia. The book titled, The Complete Lymphedema Management and Nutrition Guide provides up to date information and instruction for managing lymphedema. With straight forward information and attention to detail this book is essential for lymphedema patients, health practitioners and those who support people with lymphedema.
Much of what Ann has taught me over the years is in this book, important points about skin care, exercise, massage, taping and information about the lymphatic system. The diet advice from Jean has expanded my knowledge of how my diet impacts my lymphedema, her advice has helped improve my arm volume and lose weight (being overweight can have a negative impact on lymphedema). I am so pleased to have this informative book to refer to and have provided copies to my Doctor, my Naturopath and my public library.
To learn more about this book and to order a copy of your own, click here.