Saturday, March 25, 2017

Leg Circulation, Skin Cancer and My Second Pump: Another Three?


The first week in January, I had a squamous cell skin cancer removed from the inside of my foreleg. You could nearly drop a marble in the hole when the cancerous tissue was removed. A vertical incision was done so the edges would come together for healing. Unfortunately, it did not stay that way. I developed blisters, sloughing, excoriation, and eventually an open and deep wound.

Healing Stages

Healing with chronic illness

The surgeon asked me if I had other medical problems besides having thin skin, a history of cellulitis, Raynaud's, and idiopathic edema. Other than having Hashimoto’s, fibromyalgia and ME/CFS I didn’t have an explanation, I didn’t have an explanation. I don’t know if I will ever know why my body reacts this way. I do not take a medication that would cause skin thinning, poor healing or easy bruising. I wonder if the immune factors elevated in my FM/a test might play a role. But, whatever it might be, I needed to manage this wound successfully. As a nurse, I knew it was going to take time and careful attention.

Stagnation and movement

I was sedentary with my legs elevated for two months, and it was grueling. I knew the importance of keeping blood and lymph moving and this is a perfect example of why I write about it. Lack of movement was not only detrimental to my leg healing, it also caused my fibro, arthritis, and myofascial pain to flare. I had to find a way to get the blood and lymph moving for my general health and for this leg!

The second heart pump: a win-win motivation spin

In my search I found many ways to keep circulation chugging along like the little engine that could. Most I already knew but none was as motivating as thinking of my legs as a second heart pump. It made it easy to include mindfulness and visualization with movement and help with mind/ body balance.

*These movement strategies are also helpful for restless leg cramping and more.

Dr. Sam Robbins’ You Tube video gives relatable information on how our legs, as a second heart pump, are important to our health. He gives us three valuable exercises that no doubt help with healing. Once I was able to start my daily walk again, my leg wound began to heal at a faster rate.

A plan

So, how did I go about moving while tethered to a chair?

·        Exercise on the hour.
·        Three repetitions. The number three is my start-low and go-slow strategy. Repetition is not my friend because of myofascial trigger points. So when I progress any routine, I increase the frequency, not the repetitions. Maybe that doesn’t work for you, but whatever you prefer, the goal is to stay movement motivated.
·        When up to the bathroom, I swung my leg back and forth and kicked the air while holding onto something. The “pumping” motion helped return blood and lymph back into circulation. Dr. Robbins inspired me with his information on “rebounding”, which works something like bouncing does for astronauts.
·        In the chair, I did leg lifts, bicycle peddling, flexing and extension of my ankle, etc. These are essential elements for those of us with leg circulation problems. 

This has been a great learning experience for me. Sure, I wouldn’t ask to have this happen again, but it did happen. I practice T’ai Chi, but the conscious awareness I now have for my second heart pump has added a new meditative movement that will help all of my leg problems and I hope sharing my story will do the same for you.

“When confronted with challenge,
I discover my inner strength.”

Celeste Cooper,


In healing,,Celeste
"Adversity is only an obstacle if we fail to see opportunity."

~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~

Celeste Cooper, RN
Author—Patient—Freelance Writer at Health Central & ProHealth Advocate

Celeste’s Website: http://CelesteCooper.com

Learn more about Celeste’s books at her website or find links here on Celeste's  blog. Subscribe to posts by using the information in the upper right hand corner or use the share buttons to share with others.


All answers and blogs are based on the author's opinions and writing and are not meant to replace medical advice.  

2 comments:

dj said...

Ms Celeste,here's what 'fixed/Saved' this ME retired mechanic's recent 3rd degree burn on half the foot [an impossibilty sans antibiotics&grafts, according to the Egyptian MD that works at a local hardware store(sic)]: transdermal coconut oil +a slurry of MgSO4 +a pinch of ascorbic acid powder.3Xpd. Take serrapeptase caps, the gold standard in Systemic Enzymes. ... Wobenzym®,
grams of vit C[bowel tolerance],B100, 'ReMag' Pico-Ionic Magnesium from Dr Carolyn Dean MD ND whose book 'Magnesium Miracle' is a lifesaver... PLUS homeopathics,PEMF & most amazingly LLLT [that foot's edema/compartment syndrome of 5 days, went down 2 shoe sizes in 45 min!with Bioflex b laser] , exercse bouncy ball for lymph circulation & last, but not least, NO Dairy whatsoever: 40 yrs ago 1/2 inner thigh was torn open in a m/bike mishap & there was infection despite doctor's care...now,this aged foot healed by intention mainly because no dairy in diet for 30 yrs. Milk viruses&bacteria were absent in the body, so immune system had plenty of rpms to heal.cheers.ps How is a 3rd deg burn like marriage? The first 3 weeks of a burn are painless...the first 3 yrs of wedlock are fine...but after that it's a PITA.

Celeste Cooper said...

Thank you for the additional info, dj. Great humor too, which is great way to start any day!

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