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August 21, 2014 06:19 PM

Coping With Lymphedema

Sioux Falls, SD

Losing lymph nodes can create life changing consequences.

Kathy Ziebarth was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago. She suffers from Lympedema as a result of losing too many lymph nodes after surgery. This condition causes her arm to swell.

"It's large enough up here where there are lots of times I can't wear a shirt or a blouse because it's too fat to get my sleeve on and so I am getting to the point where I am able to wear some of those blouses I bought just off the rack because they will fit now," Ziebarth said.

The swelling didn't decrease overnight. Along with wearing a compression sleeve Ziebarth gets helps from Certified Lymphedema Massage Therapist, Koni Sims.

"The treatment I do is probably a 90 minute, I don't rush through it so I don't want to bypass the body's mechanizes. I want to make it work properly so it's healing properly," Certified Lymphedema Massage Therapist, Koni Sims, said.

This isn't your typical message treatment. Patients who need this type of therapy may experience pain at first but will have benefits later.

"It's not a fun treatment. It can be very tender but there is specific strokes that I am actually squeezing the muscles and the tissues, the vascular system and the lymph system so it's not just a nice soothing message it can be very painful with squeezing the muscles and the tissues," Sims said.

"It just makes my whole arm feel much better and the biggest thing is I always had this hard lump back here and they hurt and they burned all the time and nothing that I did seemed to bring it down," Ziebarth said.

It has been an uphill battle for Ziebarth but now she's finally able to experience relief. 

"I wanted to make know to people that you can still live after you have had breast cancer and after you have had Lymphedema. It's something you can live with it's not necessarily fun but you can do it. God does wonderful things for us and I am just glad to be here yet," Ziebarth said. 

 

 

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