by Carol Adams, tongue cancer survivor and Bloomhill lymphoedema client 

I first came to Bloomhill for support in 2020, the year after I was diagnosed with tongue cancer.  

I didn’t know much about lymphoedema but someone at the hospital – the Adem Crosby Centre – told me about Bloomhill, that I could get help there for what I was going through. 

I had undergone surgery on my tongue, and 36 rounds of radiation, by this point. The surgery removed all lymph nodes from one side of my neck, which I later learned is what led to this lymphoedema.  

These days I go and see Debbie Myers at Bloomhill every month, and she uses decongestive techniques on the radiated side of my face and neck that redirect the fluid away from the treated area - transporting it to the viable lymph nodes on the opposite side where it can be effectively processed. It helps a lot.  

It’s been really quite bad, it feels like I’m being strangled around my throat sometimes, it gets so tight.  

Debbie provides manual lymphatic drainage for me every month, helping move retained fluid causing pain in my neck, shoulders and back.  

I can get coughing fits because the mucous can’t get away. I know a lot of people with head and neck cancer get swelling in the face, too – and Debbie can help with that.  

Her massage has a purpose, it’s moving fluid. When she does it on my back and neck it feels really great. It takes away the pain. 

Sometimes the lymphoedema is getting bad at home, my husband will try and give me a massage as well, because Debbie’s shown him what to do.  

I think it’s something I have to live with, it’s not going away.  

Bloomhill is great because they seem to understand. They deal with people who have similar cancers, and they know what you’re talking about.  

Debbie deals with a lot of people who have head and neck cancer like me, and she has that knowledge. She gives me some information. 

I would definitely recommend contacting Bloomhill if you have lymphoedema – and supporting their fundraising campaign this month.  

Getting a massage for lymphoedema outside of Bloomhill costs a lot more money. Bloomhill provides subsidised care and can do it cheaper, and it really helps because you need regular treatment and every treatment adds up.  

It’s just a lovely atmosphere too. It’s peaceful and pleasant, and I often sit in the café.  

To find out about Bloomhill Cancer Care's lymphoedema services please click here.

To donate to Bloomhill's Lymphoedema Awareness Month Appeal this March, please click here. Your donation will make a difference.

Author: Carol Adams Image: Bloomhill clients and Head and Neck Cancer Sunshine Coast members (from left): Carol Adams, Christina and Chris Fletcher, Julie and Peter Lewis, photo by Patrick Woods. Published: 1 March, 2022