Guest Author - Rann Patterson
A Condition That Begs More Awareness
After reading a blog within the Mayo Clinic website on the subject of lymphedema, I was moved by the pleas for help from others who have the condition. The physical maladies that this one condition causes are many, not to mention the mental, psychological and social ramifications it brings with it.
I am struck at once with wonder and anger why the medical community in-the-know will not step up and sell this to insurance underwriters as a recognized, very serious condition, that without treatment is very debilitating, can be life-threatening, and even fatal. Simply put, this condition is debilitating without a compression garment; but, it can be controlled with the aid of a compression garment. This is a condition that begs to be recognized.
So if you feel frustrated about the lack of attention lymphedema gets on the medical and insurance fronts, I understand. I worked full-time with chronic lymphedema in both legs for eleven years, and all that time only one insurance company paid for my compression garments. Over the years, I have paid a king’s ransom for them, along with the help of some very loving and generous people.
What is Manual Lymphatic Drainage - MLD?
Along with the compression garment, if you’ve never heard of manual lymphatic drainage or MLD, it is a good treatment for managing lymphedema. MLD treatments are generally covered by insurance, but check with your insurance company to see if they will cover the necessary bandages.
The Vodder Method - Germany
The MLD treatment I was taught and prefer, is the Vodder Method. I first heard of it when I attended a lymphedema clinic in 1994. German nationals taught the technicians the technique, and they taught us.
The Vodder School is based in Germany, and they train people h
ere in America and around the world, in the method of manual lymphatic drainage. Students come from all walks of life, some are physical therapists, or nurses, and even some are impassioned spouses or friends of lymphedema patients.
The treatment is non-invasive, and is a “massage and wrap” method. The lymph fluid is moved by gentle massage to decongest tender engorged tissues, so that the limb can be wrapped. The limb(s) is wrapped in a sleeve of soft gauze, layers of cotton and finally rows of stretchy Ace®-like bandages. This gentle pressure helps move the freed lymph fluid travel against gravity to working nodes to the bladder to be removed from the body. The massage gives immediate relief!
A Wealth of Information
I would recommend visiting the Vodder site if you want to know more about this treatment. Personally, I won’t use any other treatment besides this one.
If you live in the U.S.A. and need more information about lymphedema, visit the National Lymphedema Network, The National Cancer Institute, or the American Cancer Society.