March is definitely Women’s month! So much to celebrate and so many women’s health awareness events happening this month! On this blog I’m mentioning two important Women for Physiofit Woman and its patients. Through their knowledge and expertise on their own field they have been able to help so many women and present them with realistic health solutions.

On the 8th of March we celebrate International Women’s Day and the 15th of March is Mother’s Day.

It is also Lymphoedema and Endometriosis awareness month. Two conditions that are very common, I’m quite familiar with as a sufferer myself but unfortunately there is not enough awareness or care available out there.

Endometriosis can be a very debilitating condition. A woman may suffer for years without having a proper diagnosis and subsequent treatment. Needless to say that the quality of life for a woman who suffers from endometriosis is quite affected. Who wants to spend one or more weeks during each month in terrible pelvic pain and abdominal cramps? Who wants to have their fertility compromised and get little to no help from the healthcare system? Well, no one! More research is needed to find out what really causes endometriosis and how it can be prevented and treated. Surgery may not be the best option unless alternatives providing no results were explored.

I wonder if the medical team take in consideration the scar tissue that is left behind each intervention; the visceral fascia that is also affected with every surgery and the adhesions that can result from it. I wonder if they know the functional imbalance, the pain and the impact on the body of having such a surgery. I wonder if they know that with every surgery there is a risk of developing lymphoedema, a condition that has no cure and requires appropriate Physiotherapy treatment for the rest of your life.

I wonder if surgeons and other medical professionals even know what Lymphoedema is! Or even if they care to know…I wonder! I may sound a bit harsh but I know what I’m talking about not only from first-hand experience as a patient myself but also from dealing with patients in my clinic daily.

Lymphoedema is a lymphatic condition characterised by excessive swelling in the body’s tissue. Again, more research is needed and general education is required on this topic.

Lymphoedema is also a very debilitating condition to women who undergo cancer surgery or cancer treatment such as radiotherapy. I’m being specific to breast cancer surgery but any cancer surgery may lead to lymphoedema and of course this is not exclusive to cancer surgery or exclusive to women. Men can also develop post-surgery lymphoedema after cancer surgery or any surgery for that matter. This type of Lymphoedema would be classified as secondary lymphoedema, where the lymphatic system became compromised as a result of surgery, radiotherapy, infection, injury or trauma.

Primary lymphoedema occurs 1 in every 10,000 people and may develop at birth or during puberty as a result of genetic changes.

The main message that needs to be shared about Lymphoedema is that treatment is available and Lymphoedema needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

After 8 years working in Ireland and with 18+ years of experience as a Physiotherapist dealing with lymphoedema, only once have I received a referral for Lymphoedema Physiotherapy from a consultant in Ireland.

I have three main Lymphoedema referral sources. The majority of my Lymphoedema patients are referred by friends and family, so basically word-of-mouth.

Also another source is through Cunningham’ Pharmacy in Bray which is owned by Regina Quinn, PSI. Regina is a very knowledgeable pharmacist who is familiar with Lymphoedema and always goes that extra mile for her patients.  Her pharmacy sells the compression garments for Lymphoedema and when she is aware that a patient is in need of Physiotherapy for Lymphoedema she refers her patient to us. All of our common patients refer to Regina as a angel on earth and a life saver.  Regina is our March “Women Expert’s Corner” contributor where she explains about compression garments for Lymphoedema.

Also a high percentage of patients attend my clinic because they read about me through the amazing WOMAN, brilliant Irish writer and nine times breast-cancer survivor, Emma Hannigan who wrote her cancer memoir, “Talk To The Headscarf”.

For many of my patients, Emma’s best-selling book is probably the first acknowledgement and reference to Lymphoedema. I don’t even know if she realises that many people found relief from their lymphoedema discomforts for the first time in their lives after reading her book.

Some actually found the name for their condition after years living with it but simply were not told what Lymphoedema was, how it could be prevented and what treatment was required.

Emma Hannigan is not only an excellent ambassador for cancer awareness in Ireland but through her book, her cancer series and articles on TV shows and magazines, she is also a true ambassador for Lymphoedema in Ireland. If you were diagnosed with post-cancer Lymphoedema or know anyone in your family or friends who were, I would encourage you to read Emma’s book “Talk To The Headscarf”. You will cry but you will also laugh with Emma’s humour in her cancer memoir, a must-read book to anyone facing cancer.

I wish everybody had Emma’s strength, courage and light to keep fighting cancer the way she has been over the years. I cannot thank her enough for her role in educating and sharing her knowledge with patients and healthcare professionals alike. Thanks to Emma, more patients are exposed to the current treatments available in our clinic for Lymphoedema. This includes Manual Lymphatic Drainage, Multilayer Bandaging, Pressotherapy and Exercise. Not to mention the amazing Reflexology therapy that Michelle offers to both Cancer and Lymphoedema patients.

Emma is writing a series of cancer related articles for Xpose Magazine and they are offering a very special prize package of treats (which we are part of) to give to one special lady – Check out Xpose March issue for details on how to nominate a deserving winner. 🙂

Emma Hannigan, what a truly inspirational and fascinating woman! That’s why I chose to feature her on my March Blog. For me Emma represents all of us women who are juggling with family and work life balance while facing health adversities… and always with a smile on her face! Her new novel “The Secrets We Share” will be available from April 9th. The book was inspired by her grandmother and holocaust survivor Tomi Reikental during World War 2. Can’t wait to read it as I heard it’s a love story! <3

Speaking of love, I mentioned at the start of this blog post that Mother’s Day is on the 15th of March. It is a big celebration day for Physiofit Woman since we have been offering maternity services such as Physiotherapy, Pilates and Massages for 7 years now! Last year we celebrated this special occasion with our Mother’s Day event which was a huge success. This year we celebrate this special day by offering all mums a 25% discount on our exclusive Pregnancy Massages and our amazing Postnatal Ritual.

This offer is valid until the 28th of March and I would encourage you to book in advance as we are already quite busy for this month. Alternatively, you may want to give a hint to your other half and get our gift voucher so you can avail of your massage later during the year.

And because sharing is caring, Physiofit Woman is going to give a total of €500 to be shared between Lymphoedema Ireland and Endometriosis Ireland as a contribution to promote awareness of both conditions in Ireland.

Healthy wishes and Happy March to you all!

Deborah xxx