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Lymphedema and Menopause
In 1983, when I had just turned 26 I had cervical/uterine cancer. Lymph node removal caused lymphedema to occur in my lower extremities (legs, hips & groin). Within three years it became chronic. The surgery also left me with just one working ovary, which served me well, that is until I reached the age of 46. In my research, I was within the normal age range, which is around 45-55.
Lymphedema and Side Effects
Lymphedema is a condition caused by lymph node removal during surgery. When lymph nodes are removed, the lymphatic system is compromised and cannot work properly. Tissue deep within the body is engorged with lymphatic fluid that cannot flow normally. In my case, my groin, hips and legs were affected. I had to wear a full-length compression garment during the day to support my lymphatic system and help it flow more normally. The breakdown of the lymphatic system led to a breakdown with my immune system, so I had to be hospitalized numerous times for systemic blood infections, called sepsis. These adjustments were hard to get used to physically, emotionally and psychologically. In time, I learned to adapt.
Menopause and Side Effects
One of my ovaries had to be removed during the surgery, so the one that was left served me well, until I turned 46, which is a normal age range. The
menopausal symptoms began in early 2003. I first noticed changes in my skin. One second my arm would be hot, and the very next it would be ice cold. Soon I began to have a sickening pain deep within my stomach, followed by a strange nervousness which seemed to shake me from the inside out like the eruption of an earthquake. Then around midnight, the hot flashes started. I knew what was happening, and in my mind all I could think of was, ďFor years, Iíve been hot all day wearing the compression stockings. Now, Iím going to be hot all night?Ē I shook my head as if in a terrible dream, trying to throw off such insanity. But this was for real, and I knew that there was nothing that was going to stop the process.
Menopausal Relief - Natural
I had learned that Asian women did not experience menopausal symptoms like American women did, mostly because of their diet based on soy. Americans diets are based on wheat. So, I thought I would try adding soy to my diet. I went to the pharmacy and after reading at least ten bottles of labels, I picked a product called Soycare, which was a capsule formula. The first time I noticed a hot flash coming on after taking my first dose, it was like throwing water on a fire. I couldnít believe how effective this formula was. After realizing it would help, I kept a bottle beside my bed, and one in my purse at all times.
For three years, I took a capsule in the morning, and one at night. This controlled the hot flashes. My doctor had recommended that I not take a hormone replacement because of my history. I was fine with that, because I had heard about too many bad side effects women were having that were using them and I didnít need any more side effects. I know there are some women who benefit from using Hormone Replacement Therapies (HRTs), and Iím glad they get relief.
Fibromyalgia, The Heart, and Prescription Medications
I also developed fibromyalgia, which was very painful. My doctor prescribed pain medication for that, and also a muscle relaxer for the nervousness. I also watched my diet. I avoided salt, sugar, alcohol, and anything with MSG, or other preservatives. All of these not only make menopausal symptoms worse, they aggravate lymphedema. With these two conditions, itís always better to stick with fresh food as much as you can.
The fibromyalgia and nervousness took a toll on my heart. After a few months, I began to have heart pain, and fatigue. I had to rest more, and make sure I avoided emotionally stressful situations. The lymphedema fluid increased, which affected all of the other symptoms, and in turn, the other symptoms aggravated the lymphatics. I had to learn how to keep my emotional stress down. I also became forgetful while I experienced these symptoms. The forgetfulness subsided when the symptoms did. I avoided places where the temperature was hot, either inside or out. You should try to keep your body's core temperature as low as possible. Tip: I freeze bottles of water and lay them in my lap during the hot summer months! I wrap them in handkerchiefs to absorb the "sweat".
Natural Supplements for Relief
If you are having heart pain, I highly recommend that you order the B-12 Plus from BeeAlive. This formula has fresh Royal Jelly, their trademark ingredient. That plus the B-12, helps reduce cortisol. The body produces cortisol during stress and it is hard on the cardiovascular system. It comes in a single squeeze sublingual formula and is perfect to stow away in a drawer, zip pocket, or travel bag.
Along with the supplements, a cut-to-fit diet, and the meds I described above, I was able to live through three horrible years. It took alot of medical care, self-care and prayer but I made it through and was finally able to gradually get off of the medications in a step-down process, and I eventually didnít need the Soycare anymore.
Sidenote: Warning About Soy
If you are at high-risk for breast cancer, you do NOT need to take soy. It has a natural estrogen in it and adds to your risk. I did not have the high risk. Each woman is physically different and has individual needs, so search out what will be best for you.
If you are dealing with this combination of physical distress, I feel for you. But you will get through it, it will pass.
Content copyright © 2013 by Rann Patterson. All rights reserved.
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