Double cancer survivor, lymphedema patient enjoys life after treatment

When a patient has swelling in their extremities, specialized lymphedema treatment and management reduces swelling through: manual lymphatic drainage, multi-layered compression bandaging, compression garments, lymphedema exercises, patient / caregiver education, and skin care.

“We provide the patients all of the tools and strategies necessary to ensure positive outcomes. Follow up visits are recommended to ensure the patient is managing their lymphedema, and ongoing support is provided,” said Tripler Certified Lymphedema Therapist, Eileen Itamoto-Gaza. “The goal of therapy is for the patient to be independent in the long term management of lymphedema.”

Kane said, “If I didn’t have access to this program at Tripler, I wouldn’t be able to move my arm. I was in so much pain because of the swelling in my elbow where I couldn’t carry anything; I couldn’t hold anything.”

It wasn’t until Kane started seeing a little progress, that she realized lymphedema is a condition that she is learning how to manage.

“I remember just the smallest thing initially where I cried … where I could actually take my left hand and put my deodorant on under my right arm,” Kane said. “Something as simple and little as that.”

Initially, after surgery, Kane was told she wouldn’t be able to put any weight on her shoulder because of the excess fluids, but she found through the program, and with the help of her therapist, she could actually live and enjoy her life again.

“So I’ve actually been scuba diving now, and I’ve been diving for over 30 years … so to be back in the water again, it’ an amazing experience – You’re weightless; you’re breathing … you don’t have to worry about anything else when you’re under the water,” Kane said with pride and joy.

“It’s been a long journey … but Eileen, and actually, the whole Tripler staff has been there for me,” she added. “So I just feel blessed.”

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