Over the past few months, I have been learning about the importance of looking after yourself and not just to ignore things. In other words, my mother had a point.
The upshot after a number of tests was that I have lymph oedema (edema in the US) of my left forearm. The best guess is that it is due to an overloading of my sluggish lymph system. The most common cause of forearm oedema is the treatment from breast cancer so thankfully I have not had to cope with that as well. The most common place to get oedema is legs. Think swollen ankles that refuse to go down.
Oedema is controlled not cured. Controlling is several part process including moisturising, wearing a support sleeve and glove, exercise and massage. Losing weight also puts less pressure on the lymph system. The main complication of oedema is a tendency to get cellitus ( a particularly nasty infection which requires 2 weeks of antibiotics and sometimes intravenous antibiotics). Little cuts and breaks in the skin can become a big worry. But once oedema is known about, the treatment is relatively straight forward. It is all physical therapy led. Interestingly, oedema is not caused by water retention and simply cutting salt from your diet/ a low sodium diet while it might be good for other reasons, does not help with oedema.
Because oedema can be a symptom for many other nasties such as cancer, heart trouble and kidney, you have to rule them out first. Basically, if you are suffering from swollen ankles that do not go down over night , or one forearm that is larger than the other, see the doctor.
Repetitive strain injury to the arms, wrists or hands hurts and you have little movement. Oedema does not hurt and you can move. Oedema starts small and takes a long time to progress. You might not even notice you have it, particularly if you think you are gaining weight. But in reality you gain weight all over and not just on one side of your body. So if one arm or leg seems larger than the other, get it checked out. Without treatment oedema just gets worse.
To lessen your chances of getting oedema later in life:
1. Do not cross your legs.
2. If you have to stand for long periods, wear support hose. Put your feet up on a stool at night.
3. Practise deep breathing and laugh a lot.
4. Doing those exercises that they give you when are flying helps. And you can do them at the computer as well in the airplane -- particularly circling your wrists and touching your thumb to each finger and opening your hand up. It is about getting the fluid to flow.
5. Take regular breaks from the computer.
6. Wear gloves when you do the washing up and gardening. If it is cold out, make sure you wear gloves or mittens outside to avoid the risk of frostbite.
7. When flying anywhere, consider wearing support hose etc. Certainly do the in flight exercises.
You can find out other ways to prevent oedema developing here.
Much to my surprise and delight, I discovered that the second Roman set novel I wrote A Noble Captive is an April Harlequin Historical Direct and ebook. Currently it is on special offer at eharlequin.
The blurb reads:
Strong, proud, honourable – Marcus Livius Tullio embodied the values of Rome. Captured on the high seas and brought to the Temple of Kybele, he was drawn towards the woman who gave him refuge.
Fierce, beautiful, determined – Helena despised all that Rome stood for. In sheltering Tullio, she had to subdue her awareness of him – or she might confess all! The soldier‘s strength and nobility tempted her to lean on him, but she knew that to succumb would be to betray her people …
You can read the excerpt here.
I am offering a signed copy of A Noble Captive (or if you have read it, another of my backlist)
The question I would like answering is What are the names of the heroine and hero? (hint: they are mentioned in the blurb).
Please email your answers to michelle at michellestyles.co.uk with March Tote Bags in the heading. I will draw the winner on 23 March.
UPDATE: Denise S was the first out of the hat and I have sent her an email confirming. Many thanks to all who entered.