Patricia Anderson was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998. At the time, she underwent surgery that included removal of 13 lymph nodes under her left arm.
In the decades since, the Murrells Inlet resident has happily lived cancer-free but has dealt with a common side effect of her treatment: lymphedema.
Lymphedema is a type of swelling that can occur when lymph nodes, which are small, bean-shaped structure that are part of the body’s immune system, are removed and fluid accumulates in a nearby body part – often a limb.
For Anderson, it was her left arm that was affected. The arm would swell so big with fluid that she would have to wear shirts three times her regular size just so it would fit in the sleeve.
“My clothing didn’t fit right, I couldn’t wear rings, my arm was achy and painful all the time and the swelling was very noticeable,” says Anderson.