Seven years ago, a fall on a patch of ice chanced Susan’s life forever. Before that incident, Susan enjoyed an active lifestyle just outside Toronto, with a career in the fashion industry, and a thriving young family. “I considered myself fit and healthy”, she said. “I took a pride of that”. Everything changed after the fall. Although it didn’t injure her too badly, the x-rays she got in the hospital revealed a much more serious problem: breast cancer
A year of battling the illness with harsh chemo and radiation therapy finally culminated in a complete mastectomy of her right breast. The drastic treatment worked. Susan was cancer free. But another diagnosis followed shortly there after – lymphedema.
To remove Susan’s breast, her surgeons also had to remove some of the lymph nodes under her right arm. These nodes help to filter and circulate lymph fluid around the body, which is critical for clearing away debris, and warding infections. Without these lymph nodes, a reservoir of lymph build around Susan’s arm. The arm swelled up, and became extremely vulnerable to infection. “It was like a handicap”, Susan said. “I hated it. My arm ballooned, the skin looked off, and I couldn’t lift more than five pounds with it.”
Susan’s condition also came with serious risks. Three or four times a year, her arm would inflame with cellulitis – a potentially life-threatening infection of the skin. The condition requires immediate hospitalization, and a strong battery of antibiotics. The repeated experience made Susan miserable. Her frequent hospitalizations also started to affect her career, Susan had to miss important business trips to New York City. She couldn’t reliably keep appointments.
Worse, her friends didn’t understand it. They didn’t grasp the underlying causes behind Susan’s illness. “They couldn’t understand that these flare-ups were mostly out of my control”, Susan said. Even her husband and son, who she could always count on support, had started to see her differently. Susan noticed a new note in their relationship – pity. Instead of the lively, vivacious professional she used to be, now she seemed like a frail, sickly woman. This was devastating to her.
I hated being seen that way, as “the sick person”. That’s not who I am. Certainly not who I want to be.Susan
Years of battling the disease, of the exhausting trips to the hospital every quarter, finally came to a head two years a go. A new bout of cellulitis struck her arm – this one much worse than the others. Clinical staff could not reduce the swelling. The bacteria in her skin resisted antibiotic treatment. At no point could her doctors deliver her any reassuring news. For her entire 13-night stay, Susan was warned that she stood a good chance of loosing her arm, or even dying.
Luckily, Susan was discharged intact. But the experience shook her fundamental sense of well-being. More than sickly, now Susan felt afraid and hopeless. Even worse, she lost any sense of safety. The next encounter with cellulitis could be mere months away – and there was no guarantee she’d survive it.
To Johns Hopkins, for LymphaTouch therapy
This frightening revelation motivated Susan to take drastic action. Se flew down to Baltimore, to see an oncology rehab specialist at Johns Hopkins. On the specialist, Kathy Mc Ginty, introduced Susan to LymphaTouch.
When I first met Susan I could tell she was feeling pretty despondent. She was at stage II or early stage III lymphedema. Parts of her arm had thick, doughy feeling consistent with fibrosis. That was the first symptom I knew the LymphaTouch could help with.Kathy McGinty
The specialist observant meant that protein-heavy lymph fluid had gathered around Susan’s arm, and started to turn her tissues fibrotic. But when Susan first clapped eyes to the LymphaTouch, she had skeptical reaction. ” I didn’t want to try it at first”, Susan said. ” I had tried other therapies and nothing was working. I didn’t thik this new machine could help.” Kathy has noticed this reaction from most of patients who come to see her.
Manual massage can be therapeutic, and they’re gentle, so patients can get attached to how they feel. But the LymphaTouch does work things that hands just cant. I coaxed Susan into giving it a try.Kathy McGinty
During that first session, Kathy used the LymphaTouch’s negative pressure to lift the fibrotic tissue of Susan’s skin. This expanded the space for blocked-up lymph to circulate. Then, a gentle mechanical vibration shook the fibrotic tissue, softening it almost immediately.
I noticed a change in how my arm felt right away. Honestly I was shocked.Susan
The LymphaTouch started to give Susan’s arm tissue some pliability and suppleness. LymphaTouch was doing its job in the first session. With continued session, Susan started to see other important improvements. Her arm lost its discolouring and it regaineed mobility and function. Before long, Kahty observed an even bigger change, Susan was getting happier every time she came in and her emotional strength was coming back. Susan also felt that the first sessions had a big impact on her mood and she started to feel hopeful and safe again.
More therapeutic possibilities
Kathy reports that Susan’s results are typical for her patients. For Lymphaedema patients, it used to take five or six weeks to get them ready for discharge. But with the LymphaTouch that time’s down to three weeks.
She’s also been continually delighted at the range of applications for the device. Device has helped her patients for example
- to get off feeding tubes after treating myofascial restrictions of fascial muscles
- taking off Foley catheters after treating lymphedema of the genitals
- irradiated tissue after cancer treatment
- restore proprioception with peripheral neuropahthy
- treating Lyme disease.
Also device has helped Kathy to feel her hands much better end of the day, because the reduction of manual massage. She couldn’t imagine working without LymphaTouch.
A new life after treatment
But for Susan, The LymphaTouch’s most important effect wouldn’t become obvious for a while. It’s been almost a year and half since those first sessions. In that time, Susan’s arm only went through one mild boult of cellulitis. That’s enormous improvement from three or four serious infections every year.
I’m not that sickly person anymore. I’m at this new plateau of health. And it take work to maintain it. But the LymphaTouch is what brought me here, and it’s what’s keeping me here.Susan