After struggling to access therapy themselves, one local has opened a clinic in Te Awamutu focused around helping people with lymphoedema.

Valerie El-Gamel is a two-time breast cancer survivor and when she developed lymphoedema she found it extremely difficult to access information or therapy.

This is why she took it upon herself to re-register as a nurse and set up her own clinic.

"There's lots of information that I as a patient didn't get, and there's lots of ways to
manage it that I didn't know of either and I just think people deserve to know because living with lymphoedema is absolutely life limiting," says Valerie.

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The clinic, Manual Lymphatic Drainage, has been operating for a month now and is run from Health on Mahoe by the Te Awamutu Events Centre.

Valerie uses state of the art machines that help with lymphoedema management including a bioimpedence spectrometer which gives accurate readings of what point a patient may be at and a light enhancing therapy machine.

"I've invested quite heavily in adjunct therapies that can help the patient," says Valerie.

Valerie using one of her state of the art machines she has at the clinic, a SOZO bioimpedence spectrometer. Photo / Caitlan Johnston
Valerie using one of her state of the art machines she has at the clinic, a SOZO bioimpedence spectrometer. Photo / Caitlan Johnston

A primary goal Valerie has is to be able to prevent people from developing lymphoedema and says this can be done with early detection.

"What I am trying to get to is people coming to the clinic before they start radiotherapy, chemotherapy or undergo surgery so that we can get their baseline numbers , see what's happening within the arm or leg that's going to be affected and keep a closer eye on the development of lymphoedema," says Valerie.

"It can be a painful and debilitating condition with no resolution but if we can detect it early enough than it is 99 per cent reversible."

Valerie will also soon be able to offer heart failure monitoring with new software that is currently being developed.

She says there is about nine days between the onset of a deteriorating heart and admission to hospital and having this software means she'll be able to pick up on it before it is too late.

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Treatment prices vary from $35 to $75 plus the cost of bandages if they are required.

To make an appointment contact Valerie on 07 870 4321 or at info@yourmldclinic.co.nz