You’ve had your Mastectomy, now what?
by Robina Hearle
You’ve had your Mastectomy. You have got this far in your journey but things are just not right. The surgeon has discharged you and feels a good job has been done. You on the other hand are suffering from, pain, restricted arm movement, swelling in the arm, and as time goes by shoulder and neck stiffness. It can be up to 2 years later that some of these symptoms manifest. So what can you do about it and who can help.
Firstly you need to see a physiotherapist who has the knowledge about myofascial release and understands that dysfunction arises from tightness in you tissues following surgery and radiation.
Think of your tissues as a garment flowing unhindered around you. When you have surgery the incision cuts in to the garment several layers deep, a piece may be taken out as in a mastectomy or it may be just a straight incision. Which ever it is, a seam, tuck or dart is made in that flowing garment. The effect of that is tightness and restriction at the point of incision and restriction of the unhindered flow of the whole garment. The flowing garment of your tissues is continuous so when you raise your arm after a mastectomy all of your tissues move with it, from your arm and down your back, an incision hinders that flow of movement unless the tissues are released as much as possible. Incisions cause scar tissue and this can lead to adhesions of the layers of tissue that has been cut through, the result is hindered movement.
What is myofascial release? It is a gentle non-invasive massage and mobilisation of restrictions in the connective tissue where the tightness resides. The gentleness of the treatment is the key because the tissues are gradually teased out, rather than forced.
Conventional physiotherapy tends to concentrate on mobilising joints with exercises, but this is not the total answer and often treatment fails. It needs to be understood that surgical intervention causes scarring, adhesions of the tissues and what we call fibrous thickening. This is often compounded by radiation therapy. The long term effects of not moving the tissues properly are compounded by time.
We would like to point out that all surgery causes connective tissue tightening and can lead to pain and problems not only at the site of incision but all over the body.
You can help yourself by massaging your scar and moving it gently in order to maintain the free sliding of the tissues upon one another. This can be done straight away and even up to some time after, you will still gain a positive effect. Do not be afraid to touch your scar or move it. Just be gentle. If you are worried see a therapist for advice.
So your healing “journey” can be completed and resolution can occur with the right intervention at the appropriate time. It’s just that you have to know that help exists in the first place and that you can help yourself.
WISE: AUDIO CD
HEALING WISE ~ Set Three
Susun Weed reads aloud - just for you - her alternative medicine
classic Healing Wise. Her wise observations and warm voice
add special savor to a rich and satisfying feast of ideas
about health and healing.
Herbal Pharmacy, part 2
Making Herbal Infusions, Decoctions, & Syrups
Seaweed, Come Dance with Me
Seaweed Properties and Uses
Making Herbal Tinctures and Vinegars
Making Herbal Oils
Violet Facts and Weedwalk
Violet Leaf: Properties and Uses
Violet Flowers and Fruit
Herbal Pharmacy, part 1
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The Grandmother of Time
A Woman's Book of Celebrations, Spells, and Sacred Objects for Every Month of the Year
In The Grandmother of Time, Zsuzsanna Budapest teaches both beginners and experienced practioners how to intergrate wiccan spirtuality into their everyday lives. Here are new approaches to today's rituals, from birthdays and dedications of newborn babies to purifying our homes and protecting us in travel.
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Partner Earth: A Spiritual Ecology
by Pam Montgomery
Partner Earth provides a wide range of practical exercises, based on traditional wisdom, visualizations, and the author's experience as an herbalist, that enable one to create sacred space, find plant and animal allies, and embrace the spirit in all life that can help heal the rift between individuals and their environment.
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