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Medical Monday 4.14.14: TAMC Launches News Lymphedema Clinic

| April 18, 2014


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A local hospital is seeing success with its new lymphedema clinic. As Shawn Cunningham reports, the clinic’s patient load is growing thanks to positive word of mouth and a STEP in the right direction. Its this week’s Medical Monday.

For eight years, lymphedema has kept Laura Pike from pretty much living a free mobile life. She used to travel everywhere. But the lymphodema quickly put a halt on that.

She says “it made walking slower much slower because my legs were swollen.”

Lymphedema is a condition that causes swelling and affects approximately 140 million people worldwide. Taryn Everett is a Certified Lymphedema Therapist at the Aroostook Medical Center and explains “The protein that’s left in the tissues draws in water and makes the arms or legs swell it can come from cancers, infections, surgery, trauma some people are actually born with lymphedema so we see that as well.”

Laura developed lymphedema after a surgery. The issue was compounded when she developed breast cancer. She resigned herself to just living with it, until TAMC opened this lymphedema clinic right here in the county last November. Everett says the clinic is busy with more than ten patients being seen every week. Everett uses different kinds of treatments including compression bandaging and lymphatic drainage. But one of the most critical treatments includes exercise and proper education about diet and nutrition.

“People think since lyphedema is a high protein swelling that they don’t need protein but the protein is actually sitting around in their tissue and not ciruclating where its supposed to be so we educate people about eating enough protein in their diet and getting enough water.” says Everett.

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Laura got on the patient list in February, and in just two months has seen a dramatic difference in her legs and her life.

“Its been very very good because my legs do feel better,” says Pike.


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