I had an axillary lymphnode dissection on the right arm (14 lymphnodes removed), 3 sentinel nodes from my left side and 1 from my internal mammory gland. This is where they had to crack open my chest during surgery in order to remove this node to test it. Now I know how my dad felt when they cracked open his chest, pain. Lymphnodes are thinner than your hair strands and because of all the lymphnodes I had removed in my right arm, it's causing a traffic jam for my fluid to drain out of the right side. I don't have lymphedema in my right arm but this does increase my risk since we know my breast is not draining well.
In order to help with draining, I need physical therapy (PT) to help move the fluid to the healthy lymphatic areas like my left arm and right groin. Unfortunately the radiation has caused so much aggravation, PT would actually make it worse right now. The area I'm having radiated also needs 6 weeks to heal before PT can start. The area that is being radiated is quite large. Basically the entire top right front side and back side from below my breast to the top of my neck and from my neck to my shoulder. Yea...big area! In the meantime, I wear a compression bra to hopefully stop it from getting any worse. I do stretches throughout the day and I rub my arm all day. I think this has helped keep my arm draining. If I knew about the Breast I would have been doing things in that area too. In 7 weeks I'll start PT to assist moving the fluid out of the breast and unclog the traffic jam.
Learning to others, start physical therapy at the beginning of radiation!!! Have your radiologist put in the orders well before radiation starts so you don't have to wait 4 weeks before you can start like I did. And rub all areas being radiated and your arm along with stretches.