Sharon from Mayo

My name is Sharon.  My Lymphoedema is Secondary post cancer, it is Breast Cancer’s ugly reminder each and every day.  

I was 43 when diagnosed with stage 3 Hormone positive breast cancer, all nodes were removed on my left side as well as mastectomy. I am five years cancer free and live with a daily routine of self-care, each morning & evening massaging my arm, dry brushing and wearing my compression sleeves.  

Some days I don’t do it as I ignore it and want to be normal. Some days I’m not as good as I should be, but I feel like we all need a day off. My arm is painful and heavy at times. The fluid catches in my implant and causes the implant to harden and feel heavy also. Each and every waking minute it is a constant reminder and live with pain each day.  

To overcome the pain I try and just ignore it, what else can you do?

I don’t know how I would cope if my arm got so big from swelling, that is why I do wear compression each day. Very little is done for post cancer survivors, it’s here is a sleeve and good bye.

This needs to change, we need more support, we need treatment, going private for MLD is expensive. We need to be educated about it, we need to have support.

I attend MLD when I can but it is costly. We live in fear of cellulitis a skin infection, we must be careful not to get cuts or stings. I am fearful, I hate this condition. I survived cancer but going through that if I’m honest was easier than what I live through each day.

I am actively a member of the Grainne Mhaol Dragon Boat Team in Mayo that is a great benefit for those with Lymphoedema, it really helps with the movement of the fluid. Most of us in the area with Lymphoedema are on it. It’s the only support network, other than online support.

I am angry of the constant reminder, but every day is a new day.