Your views on lymphedema and the healing power of cats and dogs

Rick Yount, who links troubled veterans with would-be service dogs.
Rick Yount, who links troubled veterans with would-be service dogs. (Lianne Milton)
Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Living with lymphedema

In regard to "Cancer's little-known aftershock" [Nov. 9], my mother had a radical mastectomy and chemotherapy in 1978 with no resultant lymphedema, even after 18 lymph nodes were removed.

When the cancer came back five years later, she had radiation treatment because she didn't want to go through the pain of chemo again. She developed lymphedema within three months. Her arm was huge, and it felt like touching a rock. The pain was only lessened when I performed massage.

I will never consider radiation, and I will always do my own research when doctors suggest any treatment.

Denise Krisinger, Burke

As a specialty clinician and researcher in lymphedema, I applaud The Post for highlighting this little-known condition. However, the article expresses a significant inaccuracy.

Lymphedema in itself is not a painful condition. If, in fact, pain is present, it is commonly a sign of a more serious medical complication that must be managed, primarily infection, blood clot or malignancy.

You have highlighted a significant obstacle in early identification, that of physician recognition and recommendation for the appropriate care of the condition. However, a larger obstacle is reimbursement.

Medicare pays $0 for the compression garments that are a necessary lifetime tool used to manage the condition.

Nicole L. Stout, Bethesda

Giving pets their due

What jumped out at me in "Dual-duty dogs" [Nov. 9] is that there is a very simple explanation for the power of dogs and cats to heal, reassure and provide a connection and a reason to live. It is simply love. Love is what they give generously, asking so little in return. They love us unconditionally and serve in so many ways, then pass from this world.

Dayna Silberman, Rockville

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