Anne’s story begins in 1989 when she had a lump removed from her left breast. “I just had a quick follow up appointment where the surgeon confirmed he’d got the lump out, but there was no after care and a lot of scar tissue.” In 2017 Anne found another lump. The cancer was back and she was given tablets to stop the growth. “I also had radiotherapy to try and suppress the lump,” says Anne. “It wasn’t particularly successful and then I got an infection. There’s a running sore under my arm and I’m in constant pain. It’s hard for people to understand what it’s like to feel pain all the time, it wears you out. Then I found I couldn’t lift my arm.”

Anne lives overlooking the sea in Penzance and in January of this year was referred to Chris Jones, Lymphoedema Specialist at St Julia’s Hospice in Hayle. “I told a friend I was going to see Chris and she immediately said I’d like him and that everyone who’s referred to St Julia’s speaks well of him.” Following an assessment, Anne began her treatment. “I’ve got some hope now. I know there’s a long way to go and a lot to deal with in terms of the pressure and the constant pain in my armpit, but I have some peace of mind.  Chris is sincere and clearly enjoys his job. I feel he wants to do his very best for me and that’s wonderful.”

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So what is Chris doing for Anne? “I have magic tape wafting across my shoulders,” Anne explains. “It seems to shiver every so often and that gives me hope that things are responding.”  Chris explains; “The tape is called Kinesio Tape.  It’s a treatment we use to help reduce oedema and fibrosis and it works well on any area of the body.  We apply the tape lightly onto the skin to encourage the movement of lymph fluid from an area of congestion to an area where the body can deal with it more efficiently.  For Anne we’re using the tape to reduce the oedema and discomfort at the top of her arm and shoulder.  We’re also using manual lymphatic drainage (MLD), a type of massage and intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC), which is a sleeve that has 12 chambers that inflate and deflate. Both approaches aim to reduce oedema and the discomfort in Anne’s arm.”

Anne admits lock down has been tough and a difficult time in which to be ill and in pain, but she says it helps to have renewed hope; “I know there’s a long hill to climb but if we can somehow reduce the pain and ease the pressure, I hope I’ll start to feel more positive and find my way back to my old self.”

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