“My mission is to make a positive difference for patients affected by lymphoedema. I achieve this by providing personal, individualised care; focusing on the goals of my patients, supporting them to manage their health and develop an improved quality of life. I empower patients and whánau to be in control of their disease instead of the disease controlling them.”
lymphoedema care in the
Meet Sarah Shellard
Lymphoedema health care specialist
Sarah has been nursing for over 25 years, and in 2016 completed her Master of Nursing. Her speciality for the past 13 years has been in palliative care, and has developed a passion for lymphoedema treatment, management and early detection. Sarah completed the Klose level one and two lymphoedema training, and is an accredited lymphoedema practitioner and member of the Australasian Lymphology Association. Her Company Livingwell Movingwell has a clinic at Motion Health Upper Hutt, where she delivers individual care and support for patients with lymphatic issues and other related conditions. Sarah also treats and support patients diagnosed with lipodema.
Sarah accepts Sweet Louise vouchers.
Sarah accepts BCFNZ- funded patients for lymphodema therapy. Find out if you are eligible for funding on the BCFNZ website.
Sarah is trained in Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) which includes; manual lymphatic drainage (MLD), compression therapy, exercise, diet, self-care and management. Sarah can also measure for compression garments. The goal is to restore function, reduce physical and psychological suffering.
What are the CDT benefits?
• Decreases swelling
• Increase lymph drainage from congested areas
• Improves skin condition
• Improve functional status
• Relieves discomfort and improve quality of life
• Reduce risk of infection
What is Lymphoedema?
If the lymphatic system has been damaged fluid that is normally carried away by the lymphatic system builds up in the tissue, this is lymphoedema. Lymphoedema results in the swelling of limbs but can also include the head and trunk.
The swelling is generally not painful but may feel tight, heavy and achy. It can reduce movement and increase risk of infections such as cellulitis.
Prevention is the best approach however if you are at risk early detection is important.
Are you at Risk?
You should consider yourself at elevated risk if you have / had:
axillary lymph nodes (from your armpit) removed
radiation therapy to the breast or axilla
suffered from, gynaecological cancers (uterine, cervical, ovarian) prostate, lymphoma, and melanoma.
seroma (fluid collection that develops following surgery)
chronic venous insufficiency,
a parasite called Filariasis.
These all have the potential to damage the lymphatic system causing blockages and swelling. These put you at risk, but do not mean you will develop lymphoedema.
I am happy to highly recommend Sarah Shellard. I started lymphodema prevention treatment and scar management with her 4 weeks post lumpectomy and axillary node clearance for breast cancer. Sarah’s confident and professional manner meant I felt completely relaxed during treatments. I also found the general advice on post operative recovery and the exercises Sarah gave for lymphodema prevention invaluable, all of which was supported by her excellent information pamphlets.
Finally her warm personality was most welcome and reassuring during those initial weeks/months post op when I was struggling to feel “normal“ again.
What I can offer
Completed Decongestive Therapy (CDT) which includes; manual lymphatic draining (MLD)
Measure for compression garments.
Medical taping for lymphoedma, scaring, fibrosis
Treatment of auxiliary web syndrome
Pres and post operative lymphoedema education for cancer patients
Post operative manual lymphodeame drainage (MLD)
Strength after breast cancer exercise
Pre and post vein procedures and liposuction treatment
Photobiomodulation therapy also known as Low level laser therapy (LLLT)
Pneumatic compression therapy
What can you do
Exercise is really important in helping you manage your lymphoedema. Exercise doesn’t have to be running or going to the gym. Focus on movement, activities and exercise. The more confident you get, the more active you will become. Do what you can manage, as you get stronger you manage more repetition.
Moving your body helps your muscles pump lymph fluid through your body. Exercise helps reduce your lymphoedema. Exercise can help you keep your bones strong, maintain a healthy weight or help you lose weight, it helps reduce stress and improves your emotional well being.
Tips for Patients with Lymphoedema
Wear your compression garment or bandages when exercising to get the best out of the muscle
Listen to our body, pace yourself, when it says ‘I am tired’, rest!
Set yourself goals, can be small daily goals and/or long term goals
Sometimes keeping a record of how much activity you do can be beneficial
Start doing a little every day and build up to about 30 minutes of activity, 5 days a week
Drink plenty of water
Wear sensible clothing and shoes, be comfortable
Do not exercise if you feel unwell
Make moving your body a part of your life