National Lymphedema Network
 Lymph e-Channel vol. 10October 2013  
In This Issue
· Welcome
· Therapist's Article
· Therapist's Article
· New Product

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Welcome to Lymph e-Channel   


Dear Friends and Colleagues,


In this issue we are covering the steady evolution of garments for patients with lymphedema, including the availability of colors and patterns. I can still vividly remember the tears of my patients when I told them years ago that they would have to wear a skin-colored sleeve or stocking-not just temporarily, but for the rest of their lives. Thanks to our industry partners who have worked diligently over the years to change the face of garments, many patients are now able to wear aesthetically appealing garments. Not only are they more compliant, they are even happy to talk to strangers who often ask, "Where can I buy a similar garment?" 


In this e-Channel we include a wonderful therapist perspective by Jeannette Zucker who, like many therapists, has the goal to not only help her patients with treatment, but to also empower them. She also has a conversation with a patient, who candidly responds to her particular situation and feelings about new garment options.


We love to hear from patients and therapist alike, so please consider sharing your experiences living with or treating lymphedema. Do not think it has to be positive experiences, we can all learn from the more difficult times as well. 


Saskia R.J. Thiadens R.N.

Executive director and NLN staff


Modern Day Compression Garments


by: Jeannette Zucker, PT, DPT, CLT-LANA


"Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions."  Pablo Picasso


Although my specialty is lymphedema therapy, my treatment philosophy has evolved to guide patients along a healing path so that each individual can actualize their health potential on multiple levels:  certainly physical, but also emotional, spiritual, and energetic.  That is I do not limit my view and interventions to just the part of the body that is affected with swelling.  Rather, I take a couple of steps back and look at the entire patient. 


A series of questions automatically goes through my mind whenever I treat:  How are patients holding their bodies and what does it reveal about the inner self? What is the patients' general energy level and how can I empower them to elevate it if it's low?  What is the patients' general appearance and what does it say about their specific needs?


Achieving maximal volumetric reduction is a relatively easy task for the experienced lymphedema therapist.  Helping a patient undergo a transformation requires a little more love and care.  But the interventions required to accomplish this need not be herculean in nature.  It can be something as simple as adding color into patients' lives.  And by this I mean educating patients on the benefits of choosing color over skin-toned compression garments.


Compression garments are a necessary component to a patient's home program for managing lymphedema  It provides the needed support to the soft tissues so that lymph fluid does not re-accumulate.  When the discussion regarding compression garments takes place, frequently patients express that they would like something inconspicuous, something as close to the color of their skin as possible.


In the past, there was no option and "medical-looking", skin-toned garments were the only choices available.  However today there is a spectrum of colors and patterns that patients can choose from.  I often tell patients that wearing the skin-toned garments often produces the undesired effect of drawing more negative attention to the part of their bodies that they are trying to conceal.  People seem to have a keen eye for the attempt to mimic skin when indeed it is not skin.  Color, however, has the opposite effect.  People perceive colored fabric to be a part of your wardrobe, a fashion piece, something of your choosing. 


Time and time again, the feedback that I get from patients is the same.  They are grateful that I encouraged them to at least try a colored garment even if they insist on obtaining a skin-colored one.  They experience how they elicit different reactions from people depending on which they choose to wear.  Going back to Pablo Picasso's quote, having different colored compression garments affords you the ability to have your outward appearance accurately reflect the different emotions you feel day to day or to better achieve invisibility.  My point being that you are in control.  You can decide.  Color can be the tool that you use to your advantage, a power that you wield as you see fit. 


I think that having the ability to choose is an important concept to highlight.  Why impose limitations unnecessarily on any aspect of life?  If there are options, explore what's available to you and then you can decide afterwards whether or not it is for you.  Alluding to Dr. Seuss, you may actually discover that you like "Green Eggs and Ham".


Garment Review Q&A Between a Patient and Therapist


by: Jeannette Zucker, PT, DPT, CLT-LANA and Teresa


Q: Where on your body are you affected by Lymphedema?

A: My body is affected by lymphedema on all four limbs. The swelling started in my feet. One day I noticed I could not put on my shoes and I thought it was due to my salt intake even though it really had not increased significantly. The thought of having lymphedema did not occur to me even though I was told about it at after my surgery. Then some time later my hands became "swollen" after a taking short flight. Again, I didn't realize this was lymphedema. It was not until I mentioned the swelling to my physiatrist that I was referred me to a lymphedema therapist who confirmed that indeed I had lymphedema.

Q: What expectations, if any, did you have about compression garments before having a discussion with your therapist?

A: I really had no idea how they would work but I thought that I would only have the choice of medical-looking flesh-colored garments.

Q: How do you feel about having color options to choose from for your compression garments?

A: This is very important to me. Skin-toned garments make me depressed! I HATE them! I associate them with old ladies, even though I am one of them. I can't wear them. Looking at them on me reminds me that I have lymphedema and that have the issues that many cancer survivors experience. Until I found colored and patterned garments, skin-toned garments were left in a drawer to be forgotten.


Q: Do you get a different response from people when you wear colored or patterned compression garments versus skin-toned garments?

A: Of course, I get compliments when wearing colored or patterned sleeves and gauntlets. People ask about them rather than averting their eyes as they did when I wore the flesh-colored garments. Young people want to know where I got them. The tights I wear with skirts and dresses and no one knows they are "medical garments". They are simply part of my wardrobe.

Q:  If so, why do you think that is?

A: Patterns and colored garments do not scream " YOU ARE SICK!" There is a variety to choose from to match your mood or the style of the day. Even though colored/patterned garments are more noticeable than flesh colored the message they give is one of health. They invite conversation rather than awkward stares and silence. With flesh-colored garment people often avoid speaking to you about the reason needed for wearing garments even though they are so curious.


Q: What would be your advice to other patients recently diagnosed with Lymphedema?

A: Honestly, it is something you CAN live with even if it is something you'd rather not have to deal with. During the worst of times, I find it very unnerving to watch my limbs swell. I wonder what I did to cause the flare up. I question how long will it last. I worry about the long-term effect this flare-up will have on my body. I feel sluggish but am not sure if it is physical or mental. But then I wear my garments and get my body moving and manage to get the swelling back under control.



We believe that a majority of compression sleeves prescribed are worn a few times and then hidden in a drawer because of distaste and discomfort. LympheDIVAs created a sleeve that patients actually want to wear by combining fashion and superior comfort. A LympheDIVA enjoys wearing her sleeve because not only is it fashionable but it also offers breathability, an accurate fit based on delivered compression, 360 degree stretch, moisture wicking and is infused with microencapsulated aloe vera. Our DIVAs are more likely to derive the benefits of wearing a compression sleeve simply because they are more likely to wear it! We offer over 80 patterns, 5 solids colors and crystal designs that we hope inspire our customers to feel beautiful, strong and confident. Find out more about us at





When I'm out in the garden or running errands I have to use compression to control my swelling. As any lymphedema patient knows; bandages and sleeves can be unattractive and bring attention to my arm. When my therapist first told me about LympheDIVAs, I was concerned that it was just another "thing" for me to buy. Now, I proudly wear my LympheDIVAs sleeve and people stop and ask me where they too can get my awesome arm sleeve! Thank you LympheDIVAs, you changed my life!

Staryl C.



As a therapist who specializes in treating patients with lymphedema I constantly hear patients complain about the unsightly appearance and discomfort of sleeves that make compliance a challenge. LympheDIVAs stylish prints and vibrant colors are a great way to encourage compliance. My patients are excited to try different styles, which change with seasons and have made sleeves an extension of their wardrobes rather than a medical bane. The different sizes are ideal for arms of all shapes and sizes. With my patients happy and lymphedema in control, I could not ask for a better product.

Cynthia J. Shechter MA, OTR/L, CIMT, CLT-UE

Shecter Care










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