I may have figured out that the oldest treatment for lymphedema is still the most effective. Today is day 57, just over 8 weeks of this flare up. I must be particularly slow to learn these days.
Earlier this week I asked my therapist if I should go back to the original treatment of wrapping 22 hours/day for a lengthy period of time. She suggested I do this for one week and then evaluate to see if it's working.
It happens that I didn't have as much going on this week as I thought I did, so I started bandaging for the full cycle on Wednesday. Wednesday and Thursday I spent about 22 hours each day wrapped like a package, with a break only to take a shower. Friday was harder, since I developed a spot on my wrist where something was rubbing the wrong way and irritating my skin. I tried to tough it out but by 3 AM was so miserable that I tore off the whole thing.
Actually, first I dreamed (twice) that I was tearing off the bandages but couldn't figure out why my arm didn't feel immediately better. Then I woke up and realized I had been dreaming. This is not a good repeat nightmare.
When I got out of bed it appeared that the areas of toughest edema had indeed softened after almost three entire days bandaged. So I am going to continue this practice as much as I can tolerate through the coming days and hope that by the next time I see the PT for manual lymphatic drainage, there will be significantly measurable improvement.
Lesson learned? When it's this bad, bandaging at night doesn't cut it and I should go straight to a week in hell. I mean in bandages.