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Lisa’s story and journey with breast cancer and lymphoedema

by | Mar 4, 2024 | News, Clinical | 0 comments

Lisa’s story and journey with breast cancer and lymphoedema

WATCH: https://youtu.be/NHPVWm7w8e4

Lisa lives with her husband and 2 children in Ringwood. She’s had a lifelong passion for swimming; a former Bournemouth Beach Lifeguard and previously a member of Team GB’s synchronised swimming team.  She’s now a swimming teacher, working full time in schools across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

Lisa was 42 years old when she spotted a lump on her breast. Within weeks she was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. This was a shock to herself, her husband and 2 kids. Together they faced a gruelling year of treatment for Lisa, including chemotherapy, radiotherapy and lymph node removal surgery.

Sadly, one year later Lisa’s cancer returned. This meant Lisa’s only option was to have an elective double mastectomy, in addition to other treatment.

“It was a shock. Telling the children I had to go through it again was particularly hard.”

“I experienced a torrid of emotions – I was overwhelmed, helpless, angry, sad and broken. This was my next step of dealing with my cancer and another unfortunate opportunity in life to grow stronger and tackle cancer again, with the support from my family and friends. It was brutal.”

“My first experience with lymphoedema was within the first few months after my lumpectomy. My wrist had swollen to the same size as my forearm. Within a short time the swelling and pain I was in became unbearable. It started slowly developing up my arm and into my breast.

“Then my hand began to swell, a little at first. Bacteria got in, and I ended up with a very bad case of cellulitis. My arm and breast were at least three times their normal size.”

During this time Lisa was referred to Lewis-Manning Hospice Care’s Lymphoedema Clinic. Linda, Senior Lymphoedema Nurse said “We started seeing her and delivered some intensive therapies including light therapy, physiotouch therapy, manual lymphatic drainage and SLD.

“Lewis-Manning’s Lymphoedema Clinic support people who experience lymphoedema because of cancer treatments. We help them to manage their symptoms with specialist treatments, drainage massage techniques and compression garments.”

Lisa said: “I count myself lucky because I had early intervention with Lewis-Manning.

“I needed to learn to live with Lymphoedema and to my amazement my swelling reduced significantly in a very short period of time.”

“Knowledge empowers us breast cancer survivors’  to take charge of our own situations and early intervention provides the best chance for living a full life.”

Lisa now uses her knowledge and strength to live her life to the fullest, despite her challenges. Lewis-Manning will continue to support Lisa with check-ups and support in any other way the charity can.


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