Strong But Gentle - Lymphoedema Nurse

Erin Barker - PDH Lymphoedema Nurse
Nellie Devries - Lymphoedema Patient
General
Friday, 25 October 2013
The first thing that Nellie Devries notices about PDH lymphoedema practitioner Erin Barker is her strong hands.

The first thing that Nellie Devries notices about PDH lymphoedema practitioner Erin Barker is her strong hands.

Those hands have had a tremendous positive impact on Mrs Devries' health over the past three and a half years since she was diagnosed with breast cancer and later lymphoedema.

Each fortnight Mrs Devries attends the lymphoedema clinic at the PDH community health centre in Otway Street for a specialist massage to control fluid in her arms.

"Erin has very strong hands but she is also very gentle to make sure it is easy for me," Mrs Devries said.

"Without the massage my arms would swell up because of the fluid build-up," she said.

"It's a fantastic service and Erin is a fantastic nurse."

Mrs Devries had more than 20 lymph nodes removed from her arm in an operation that followed her diagnosis of breast cancer.

She now wears a compression sleeve on her arm throughout the day to help with the drainage, removing it only for showers and when she is sleeping.

Ms Barker said the massage was important for stimulating the lymphatic system and draining the fluid and moving it to where it should be going, her heart.

“It is like teaching the fluid to take a different road to the right destination,” she said.

The manual lymphatic draining procedure continues to keep Nellie and others in good health.

The lymphoedema clinic provides specialist treatment for people with lymphoedema, and post-operative care following plastic surgery, knee replacements and venous surgery.


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