LSN
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Kayaking

Hi All at the moment moment I have got cellulitis and lymph fluid leaking from my right leg so I can't kayak which is my hobby. Its great as I have very limited mobility but once I am in the kayak nobody can tell. The club I belong to are great and will carry my kayak down to the get in, which usually is the river adur, a tidal river in Sussex and where we kayak it's salt water.

What I want to know is when can I start kayaking again do I have to wait for the wounds to heal totally or can I start when they are healing and not leaking lymph fluid anymore.

Thanks

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Are you using any dressings? Bandages? How much longer is your antibiotic regime to run?

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Antibiotics until Monday even though I am still leaking fluid but I am being seen by a nurse 3 times a week to have the zinc impregnated bandages changed I am changing the sterile pads 3 times a day. I have been told not to use my compression bandages on the leg. On Tuesday morning I took off my bandages this was before I had the zinc impregnated one and I was smothering my leg with diprobase, then put fresh pads on and all the skin that had blistered etc came off with it. This made it very sore but when the nurse saw it she was impressed with how good the skin was underneath. I was told today that it can take months for it to stop leaking fluid.

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Where are you based Loramay? Lymphorrhea needs dry absorbent dressings to keep the exudate off the skin.

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In West Sussex. I was fitted with compression wraps 3 years ago and then nothing since until I asked to be seen again as from LSN I found out that I should have been measured every year. On my first appointment I turn up take my wraps off and get told that I have cellulitis and a temperature of 38.4 and needed to be treated straight away.

Not only that but the wraps I have are the wrong size. So I went back to my GP and told him what had been said. Evently they had discharged me once they had measured me up for the wraps and if they hadn't maybe they would have known that the wraps were wrong. He is not impressed with them, especially as they have told him what they want the surgery to do.

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You need to be meticulously careful here as leaking lymph will corrode healthy skin if left on it. Yes it can take months but I cannot emphasise enough, that you must take an active role in caring for this yourself, it’s great if you do have healthcare professionals to help, but it’s critical to keep behind it and make sure the correct dressings are being used.

I only speak from bitter personal experience as months of weeping wounds have left me scarred and some of it was made worse but well meaning but not specialised nurses. And it’s not until I did my research and took control that things improved.

This is just my story, but hope it helps. It took me 9 months of pain stakingly sticking to a regime of changing dressings multiple times daily and using waterproof shields to shower (such as you can get for showering if you have a cast on) and only wetting skin when carefully cleaning for wound dressing. so I would not recommend partaking of your hobby until healed. Apart from keeping dry, river water would be a terrible source of bacteria and that’s the last thing you need.

The dressings I used was a three layered concoction I invented myself through trial and error and anytime I have even the tiniest leaking wound I immediately set to with it, and it sees it off.

I use the cream around the wound area but not actually on it, as it would need to dry to heal.

I apply an iodene infused gauze which I cut to shape to fit only the wound area it’s not adhesive, just sits on the skin

On top of this I put an absorbant pad which has a film layer that allows the moisture to be absorbed but not allow that exudate to sit on the skin. Cut to size and not adhesive mine was called melolin

I top this with a mepore dressing in the closest size to either 1 wound or maybe multiple wounds (so you might have two or three piles of gauze and melolin shapes under 1 mepore) which holds it all in place and absorbs any excess.

Of course you can switch brands, but this works for me.

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When kayaking I use either a dry suit in the winter mainly or in the summer dry trousers and a short sleeved cag. And as I don't do the white water anymore due to osteoporosis it's touring the chances of getting wet are minimal.

In fact I stand more of a chance of getting wet having a shower as I can't get one of those things to fit due to the swelling on my right leg so I use a bin bag and an elasticated bandage. I did find one that came up to just above my knee when it should have come to the top of my thigh and it was so tight that 2 hours later there was still a mark.

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Hi Loramay, sorry here you are struggling with lymphorrhea. The advice you have received so far regarding kayaking sounds spot on on. I’m not sure if it would help you but the lovely people at St George’s prescribed a MCT diet for my diet who was struggling with lymphorrhea and within a week the leakage had stopped. My daughters lymphorrhea exits her body through her uterus and therefore obviously the normal treatment for lymphorrhea can not be applied. I’m not sure if the MCT diet is only effective for her because of where she is leaking from but may be worth a try as within a week it would be obvious if it was going to work. There some information about the diet online and it is a challenging diet so may be worth seeing a dietitian before embarking.

Hope you can return to kayaking soon.

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