Supporting women whose lives have been touched by breast cancer


By rb

I've had only one attack so far. It started from a tiny crack in my thumb and within hours my wrist was badly swollen, hot and painful. Within 8 hours of onset, the infection had spread almost to the inside of my elbow. I called NHS 24 and went down to the local hospital for an emergency appointment. The doctor knew straight away what it was and gave me a prescription for two lots of antibiotics. I was off work for a couple of days as I felt dreadful. Once the ABs kicked in, I felt a lot better.

Following the infection, the lymphoedema was significantly worse than before. I had to keep my arm elevated as much as possible and once the inflammation had gone, i wore my sleeve almost continuously. It is much less swollen now, but the affected area is quite squidgy and it's "pitted" i.e., if I press on it, it stays indented for several minutes. It doesn't bother me as long as I wear my sleeve and avoid hot water.

The British Lymphology Society has produced a consensus document on the management of cellulitis in lymphoedema lymphoedema

I have a copy to hand - just in case it happens again and I end up with a less knowledgeable (!) doctor. The document sets out the best antibiotic regime and recommends that people at risk of cellulitis should have an emergency supply.