Archives for posts with tag: Flinders University

Where to begin.  Well, let’s just say there is no way I’m going to cover even a fraction of what I saw/heard at the conference, there was just so much content. I’ve counted that there were 39 presentations in three days, one of those was broken into case studies with different presenters being allocated 2 minutes (in one hour there were 12 presentations)! So I’ll go for the stand-out highlights for me and I’ll do a few different posts over the next week or so to not bombard you with too much info.

I attended three workshops – we got to choose those when we registered and two of them I found fantastic.  The first was on Differential Diagnosis of Lymphoedema, presented by my favourite, Prof Neil Piller of Flinders University, and Vaughan Keeley of the Royal Derby Hospital, UK.  Was really pleased that they focussed on lipoedema and the difficulties of diagnosing some cases.

I found the presentations by Dr Hiroo Suami of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Centre to be very interesting and amazingly upbeat and humourous (quite difficult I reckon when showing slides of cadavers).  He has pioneered The Lymphosome Concept, a way of “visualising the lymphatic system using hydrogen peroxide and a radio-opaque medium injected into cadavers then using radiographs and three-dimensional computed tomography scans to see how and where lymphatic fluid flows, which vessels, nodes and territories it uses.  Fascinating.  He also talked about surgical treatment for lymphoedema, including creating new channels to increase the capacity to transport lymph fluid; liposuction or lymphovenous shunting, lymphatic graft and vascularised lymph node transfer.

One of the most interesting things I heard was in one of the “breakaway sessions” of four talks.  It was by another of my favourite presenters, Alex Munnoch, of Ninewells Hospital in the UK.  He noted that surgical staff who perform long surgeries often complain of leg discomfort and oedema, so they set up a small trial to see whether T.E.D. stockings (those beautiful white stockings you are given when you’ve had some surgery in hospital) have an effect on the level of oedema.  One leg was randomised (by the flipping of a coin, very scientific criteria indeed!) to wear a T.E.D. stocking and the control leg (the other side) would receive no compression at all.  Fluid levels were measured before and after the surgeries.  40 legs were studied in all with an average operating time of 9.5 hours.  Results?  T.E.D. stockings were found to reduce the increase of fluid and interestingly, when they tried the experiment using compression stockings instead of T.E.D. stockings the degree of oedema increased!  What!! That was a surprise indeed.  He conceded that such a small study was perhaps not conclusive and more study was definitely warranted.

On the first day there I also attended presentations on head and neck lymphoedema management; lymphoedema and osteopathic care; reducing oedema after lower limb cellulitis; wounds and lymphoedema; and case study presentations on things such as; TRAM flap reconstruction; layered compression garments; liposuction; bioimpedance spectroscopy; kineseotape post radiotherapy; yellow nail syndrome …. the list goes on.

My head was swimming by the end of the day, that’s for sure.

If you’d like more info on any of the topics I mentioned, please leave me a comment and I’ll add some more infomation.  To access more information about lymphoedema and it’s treatment, visit the ALA website here.

But it wasn’t all hard work – here’s a photo from the closing ceremony of two of my favourites … Prof Piller and Alex Nunnoch, good on them for getting into the spirit of things!

 

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Prof Neil Piller and Alex Munnoch, letting their hair down

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On Saturday 15th March 2014 I attended the first Lipoedema Australia Support Society (LASS) Conference in Sydney.  This was a remarkable event on so many levels.

Firstly, LASS was set up by women who suffer from the condition Lipoedema as a support group, in order to share their stories of diagnosis (or non-diagnosis in most cases), treatment, diets, where to find clothing/shoes/boots that cater for the condition, practitioners who are open to learning about the condition and many other issues.  These women have to fight every step of the way to get their condition recognised and treated and they support each other on their journeys of understanding and acceptance.

Having said that, I need to point out that LASS has no funding.  And the members are not medically trained professionals who can give advice.  And yet, this is a powerful group of women.

Four ladies spent untold time organising this conference, contacting health professionals who came to talk at the conference at their own expense!  Without exception.  Have you ever heard of such a thing?  When they first started organising the event they had no idea how many people would be attending but the room catered for 50 … there was a waiting list.  Besides the committee ladies there were those who brought prizes for the raffles and most importantly, those who made amazing cakes.

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Gluten free, dairy free cupcakes

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Anniversary cake with the LASS logo, how very professional … and yummy

The first speaker was Dr Helen Mackie, who has worked at a variety of hospitals in Rehabilitation Medicine and is now in private practice at Mt Wilga Hospital in Hornsby, Dalcross Adventist Hospital and Sydney Adventist Hospital.  She is the Medical Advisor to the Australian Lymphology Association.  She spoke about surgical options for lipoedema, in particular about tumescent liposuction (here’s a link to the Wikipedia listing on tumescent liposuction).

Next we had a preview of Fat Legs and All, a puppet film created by Avril Lunken in consultation with LASS, to help raise awareness of lipoedema.  Avril  is an OT who usually creates a flyer for lymphoedema awareness month but took a very big leap out of her comfort zone this year, working with writers, puppeteers and musicians to create a visually stimulating, educational, short story.  Amazing job.

Dr Lyndall White then spoke about overcoming the emotional challenges of lipoedema.  Dr White is a Consultant Psychiatrist in private practice at Belmont Private Hospital.  She talked about PERMA – Positive emotion; Engagement; Relationships; Meaning and Achievement.  Most important, talk to you family and friends for support and reach out to a professional to help you come to terms with what is happening in your body.

Then the man who has it all … all the up-to-date scientific research into lymphology as well as a very cheeky sense of humour and an ability to speak without taking breath … Prof Neil Piller, Director of the Lymphoedema Research Unit at Flinders University.  Neil is passionate about lymphology and is a patron for LASS.  He tirelessly educates about lymphoedema worldwide and is very generous with his time.  The take home message (if I tried to summarise his talk I’d never finish this post) is … try and eat a Mediterranean diet – one rich in olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, red wine (after all, it does have Resveratrol), almonds, walnuts, fruits and vegetables and oily fish like salmon, tuna and herring.  And exercise as much as you possibly can.  He had us all up taking five deep breaths, extending our arms as far back behind us as we could go (I give this exercise as homework to my lymphatic clients) to stimulate the lymphatic system.  He recommended swimming, yoga, tai chi but also any activity that your body is comfortable with, so if you like running and it doesn’t cause you pain – then run!  I know the running comment was of particular comfort to a number of women who enjoy running but have been told they should not do it and so were in two minds.

Next up was Kristin Osborn, owner and therapist at Newcastle Lymphoedema Clinic, also a sufferer of lipoedema.  She was wearing a fab tee-shirt with “Hippy Lippy Lady” on it, which is the name of the Lipoedema Awareness Campaign she has created.  She spoke about the Reid Sleeve Compression Garments, the only garments recommended for lipoedema patients (I’ll be looking more into these, that’s for sure).  She has set up a seven step program to treat her clients; anatomy education, products, handy hints & tips, infection control, safe and effective exercise, self massage and diet.  Her website has lots of great information you can take to your GP to try to educate them!  www.newlymphclinic.com.au

Following Kristin, we had Dr Susan Hodson – Medical Officer, Lymphoedema Services, Ballarat Health Services, Queen Elizabeth Centre, Ballarat.  She has written a paper called Lipoedema management: gaps in our knowledge.  At the start of her talk she jokingly introduced herself as “one of them”, as in … a medical practitioner.  But clearly she is different.  She also advocated exercise and diet in the management of lipoedema and spoke about some possible imbalances to look for, eg, check your thyroid function; cortisol levels (cortisol has been linked with weight gain which can play a part in lipoedema); and check the endocrine system as insulin production may be up (also a factor in weight gain).  Yet another passionate professional working to help ease the pain of lipoedema.

Lastly we had three members talk about their personal experiences getting diagnosis/treatment for their lipoedema.  It is not appropriate to relay those stories here but I’d just like to commend these women for their bravery in sharing experiences and photos with the gathering.

Here’s a link to a fantastic YouTube video entitled, You Mean It’s Not My Fault: Lipoedema, a Fat Disorder.  Well worth watching and sharing.

I’ve  barely scratched the surface of the day’s proceedings.  I met many courageous sufferers of lipoedema and some passionate practitioners (and some women who were both) and I just know that we can raise awareness of this condition.  We all just need to get talking.  Who’s with me?