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Living with lymphoedema

When a 23-year-old Beverly Aspin had a cancerous lump removed from her leg in 2003, she breathed a huge sigh of relief.

 

But her relief was to be short lived. The operation had damaged a lymph node and soon after her legs began to swell. Doctors quickly referred Bev to Saint Michael’s for specialist lymphoedema care.

Lymphoedema is a type of swelling which occurs when the body’s lymphatic draining system becomes blocked or damaged leading to a build-up of fluid. It can touch anyone of any age and can affect any part of the body.

Although once damaged the lymphatic system can never recover fully, the affects it has on Bev’s life are limited. 

Bev, now 31 and a nutritionist at Harrogate NHS Foundation Trust, said: “My relationship with the team at Saint Michael’s has been invaluable since the day I walked through the door. 

“I was taught how to manage my symptoms using skincare, exercise and movement, compression bandaging and massage techniques. Their expertise has helped me through and I know they are only a phone call away should I need advice.” 

Bev visits Saint Michael’s once every six months to monitor her progress and often brings daughter Chloe, born in July 2010, along to the delight of the staff. 

The lymphoedema clinic at Saint Michael’s offers specialist care and support for individuals affected by the condition and is the only organisation in the Harrogate district offering help to people with lymphoedema.

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