Last week when I went to visit Ms. Lymph, I graduated – from a fully bandaged hand/arm, to a compression sleeve and glove. The bandage was utterly ridiculous. The compression sleeve is not awesome, but at least it does not cause people to scream, “Oh my god, what did you do to your arm???”
To get the sleeve, first Ms. Lymph wrote me a prescription, then Dr. Zap (the next doc I saw) signed it. I made an appointment at the medical supply store – which, miraculously, was not far from home (nothing is ever near us!). When I arrived, the sales woman measured my arm and hand, and once she confirmed that she had my size in stock, we peeled off the ugly bandages and she showed me how to put on the sleeve and glove. Later, Ms. Lymph added a pad under the back of the glove to increase the compression there, where I need it most.
My instructions are to wear the sleeve and glove during the day, and remove them at night. Supposedly they should be washed at least every other day, which “resets” the compression, since it’ll relax with wear (like a pair of jeans). I got two of each for now; they are pretty expensive and that’s all insurance will pay for.
I do have other options, and Ms. Lymph advised me to experiment to determine what works for me. I could also wear a night glove, which is bulky and has to be wrapped every evening, but then I don’t have to wear anything during the day. I have ordered the glove and will experiment with that (seems like a better option) once it arrives. Also, Ms. Lymph trained me on wrapping myself with bandages which I could do at night – this would be useful if the hand puffs up badly at some point.
Everyone looks at me funny when I say this, but honestly the lymphedema thing bothers me the most out of all the shit that has happened to me with stoopid cancer. Sure, they lopped off my breast, but I’m not really using that anymore; it’ll be reconstructed such that unless I’m naked you really won’t be able to tell. My hair will grow back, and my scars will heal. But this – it’s my right hand for heaven’s sake!! This lymphedema shit is going to be something I’ll need to deal with for the rest of my life. Sigh.