So here is a story that is tangentially related to cancer/lymphedema … In late December I fell and banged my elbow. Yes, my RIGHT elbow. It was bruised for a while but I really didn’t think about it too much. It did not even occur to me to mention it to my lymphedema therapist when I was seeing her in regularly January.
But within the last month or so, the tenderness changed from a general bruise to a much more narrow area of sensitivity. The elbow became swollen, and I could feel something at the tip that did not feel right – like something in there that I could move around with my fingers. I procrastinated doing anything about it for a while (kinda sick of doctors at this point) but finally decided it was time.
So last week I had an appointment with a physician’s assistant at an orthopedist’s office. After examining my XRay she told me that I had not broken or chipped the elbow – thank goodness! Instead she told me I have olecranon bursitis – bursitis of the elbow (also known as “Liquid Elbow” which is the name of my new band). The reason it’s swelling up now, months after I banged it, is almost certainly because I stopped wearing my compression sleeve, LOL/duh!!
That was the easy part. As for the treatment, the PA said that normally they would drain (aspirate) the bursa with a syringe … but she had no idea if that should be done on an arm with lymphedema. She stepped out of the exam room – leaving the door open – to go consult with the docs. The conversation I heard went something like this:
PA: “I have a patient with olecranon bursitis, but she has lymphedema in the same arm.”
Doctor #1: “From a lymph node dissection?”
Doctor #1: “Hm, I’m not sure, that’s a new one on me. I know we’re not supposed to use a blood pressure cuff or start an IV on an arm with lymphedema, but I don’t know why. Doctor #2, have you ever encountered this before?”
Doctor #2: “Huh, no, I don’t know either. Have you asked Siri??”
I like a doctor with a sense of humor! I was laughing out loud when the PA came back into the exam room. I explained to her my understanding of the reason for no BP cuff or IV – because trauma can actually trigger lymphedema (bruising my hand is what triggered mine); and the skin wound from an IV or needle poke may take longer to heal or become infected. As I was leaving the office, I overheard the PA repeating this to the docs. Glad I could help!
Anyway … the PA and I both agreed that the bursitis is not severe enough to warrant risking anything that makes the lymphedema worse; and that COMPRESSION will help with the bursitis as well as the lymphedema. I guess I’ll kill two
birds problems with one stone treatment once I get the compression thing figured out…
4 thoughts on “Siri Knows Everything”
Holy Moly. Always something. Wear your compression sleeve!!!
I can’t wear the compression sleeve alone (it makes the hand puff out) and the gauntlet was injuring me. Still working on figuring out an alternative.
Bummer. Good luck figuring out the alternative.
I can’t have any procedure on my right arm either for the same reason, lymph node dissection, and it is amazing how many medical personnel are not aware of the reason why! 😷