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Backpacking and Lymphedema
Living successfully with lymphedema is a balancing act between being active without overdoing and making the condition worse. The following are the steps I took that made it possible for me to successfully go backpacking with my son's Scout troop!
When I developed lymphedema as a result of breast cancer surgery, I thought that I would not be able to backpack any more because of this condition.
As I learned more I became more confident with my ability to manage my lymphedema. As more information became available about the importance of exercise, last year I decided to go on a short, overnight trip with the troop. We hiked 7 miles the first day. My pack weighed about 25 pounds. The second day was only a few miles hike back to the truck, but it was all straight up to get out -- so it felt a little longer than it was.
I did not have any increased swelling after the trip. (I know this because I keep a measurement diary and measured several times a week.) I would like to offer some tips that I think helped me.
I've struggled with depression on a regular basis since I developed breast cancer and lymphedema; however, I learned that professional lymphedema treatment, education, self-management, and common sense can go a long, long way in controlling even lymphedema and making it possible to continue to hike and have fun with my son. It worked for me!
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