Dear breast and uterine cancer veterans and lymphoedema victims,
let me tell you about my experience with the lymph node transplant.
In 2006 a friend of mine ( a neurologist in Paris) recommended seeing Dr. C. Becker. I had been suffering from great pain in my right arm and my right breast as consequence of a breast cancer operation and post- operation radiation. In fact, I already had had a number of post-operation surgeries, trying to reduce the pain. I was at the point where I simply couldn’t take any more operations. When Dr. Becker told me that I could be helped by a micro-surgery nerves operation and eventually a lymph node transplant, this seemed like the last straw. I decided to go through with it.
Up to this point I hadn’t had any lymphatic problems (I didn’t even know what it was!). Dr. Becker made the surgery and transplanted lymph nodes from my (up to date) healthy left groin to my right armpit. At first, the pain on my right side vanished . I left the hospital one night after the operation!
But then, the place in my groin where the lymph nodes had been taken out started to swell !...an infection!. The wound had to be punctured because fluid was gathering. Then the wound under the right arm started to fill with fluid as well and had to be punctured several times. Then my arm started to swell a little.
In my left groin, where the lymph nodes had been taken out, a painful little lump developed. My right arm kept swelling, getting more and more painful.
The pain from before the operation had returned completely, only now amplified by the pain of my groin and in my right arm. The pain was so bad that sometimes I hardly could stand it. Because I didn’t know what else to do, I went to see Dr. Becker a couple of times .
She punctured the groin gave me injections against the pain, to numb my nerves and prescribed strong medication. None of which helped. The injections, if at all, only worked for a very little time. Dr. Becker convinced me to have one more little surgery, the carpal tunnel cut on my right wrist. It didn’t make any difference in my condition of pain. Finally, the only advice I was left with, was to get a good manual lymphatic drainage regularly. Finding a good therapist for manual lymphatic drainages is not an easy task to accomplish.
Still looking for help and solutions, I came across Dr. Etelka Foeldi,in Germany (Hinterzarten) who runs a clinic especially for people with lymphatic problems. She is an expert in her field, with world-wide recognition, a competent doctor with a sharp and exact diagnosis. She told me that I had developed a lymphoedema in my right arm and a lipoedema in my left leg as a consequence of the lymph node transplant.
Today, I have to see my therapist at least 3 times a week in order to get a lymphatic drainage. When I go on vacation, I have to make sure that there will be a therapist available to give me the lymphatic drainages, sometimes not an easy thing to find, depending on where I go. I have to wear a full arm compression glove every day. If I don’t, the arm just keeps on swelling and swelling, getting more and more painful in the process. Regularly, I need have my whole arm bandaged in order to stop the swelling.