After three visits to the physical therapist, it is clear that her suggestion to leave my arm bare at night for a few nights and do the self-massage twice a day did not result in any improvement. In fact, my hand and forearm are slightly larger than when she measured me on the first visit. Not statistically significant, but enough information to warrant going back to bandaging again.
I had a few nights of normal sleep but yesterday wrapped my arm around 6 PM and stayed wrapped all night until 8 this morning. Since my choir has a performance today, I'll do the same this afternoon. I will look for a day when I have no activities planned so that I can bandage first thing in the morning after my shower and stay that way until the next morning. Bandaging is most effective when done 20-22 hours per day, but given how extremely left-handed I am , it's very tough for me to find a day when I don't need to write, type, cook, drive or do anything requiring fine motor control with my dominant hand.
I am back on the ativan as a sleep aid at night because of the bandaging. It's funny: I sleep soundly, but don't remember my dreams, and hardly move. So I wake up with a sore shoulder from not having turned over even once in the night. I am sure after a couple more nights on it I will become used to the ativan again and it will give me sleep more like what I'm used to -- a little twisting and turning, trying to roll over, waking at night from a hot flash, etc.
I have seven more PT visits approved and scheduled, through November 3. That will make a total of eight weeks and three days of dealing with this lymphedema flare up. I need to order new sleeves and gloves but don't want to do so until the PT has told me my arm is back to normal. I just can't seem to catch a break this time.