Swollen Ankles

I just talked with Carole, one of the gals on this site, and she suggested I write about a different incident I had last week 5/3/19 with swollen ankles.  I usually have very prominent ankle bones, but all of a sudden I couldn't see them at all and I had Cancles! My first thought was that it probably had something to do with the radiation as I've never had this problem before.

I called my radiation oncologist office explained that my ankles & legs were swollen & painful. The nurse took my info and talked to the doctor and called me back and said they didn't think it had anything to do with radiation, but I should call my general physician and tell him what's going on. 

I called my GP's office and talked to the nurse in charge. She told me I should get to the walk-in clinic immediately as it could be something related to my heart. 

My husband and I went to the walk-in clinic, saw Dr. Poirier who ordered an EKG, which was normal, and 4 different blood tests.  The test results were slow to come out so he told us to go home and he would call us.  As soon as we walked in the door, Dr. Poirier called and said the D-Dimer blood test came back ABNORMAL and we were to get up to the hospital so they could do an ultrasound on my legs to see if there was a blockage.  After a 2 hour ultrasound at the hospital, they determined there was no blockage. Dr, Poirier called me as soon as we got home and said there was one more test he was waiting on and he would call me first thing in the morning when he got to the clinic, but to sleep with my legs elevated for the night.  

I woke up in the morning after elevating my legs to my legs throbbing in pain. Dr. Poirier called me and said the last blood test came back normal, so he's going to prescribe a diuretic, which should relieve the swelling and it was his thoughts that this was probably caused by the radiation.

Little did I know... (until I talked to Carol today) there are apparently blogs all over this site about watching for "LYMPHADEMA" because it is common after radiation treatments!

5 people sent you a hug.
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Wow, hope you get an answer to this soon! I didn’t experience any swelling during or after my treatment. Just shows that every individual can react differently to therapy! Good luck Wendy, and keep us posted.
Carol likes this comment
Make sure to eat a banana and some OJ, to counteract the potassium depletion that happens with diuretics. (If you have kidney disease, stop now, and call your doctor before doing this.) BTW, make sure you always have your blood tested for any kidney problems before you have a scan with contrast, and drink lots of water afterwards to flush it out.
If I take Lasix and don't supplement with potassium, I get horrible leg cramps. My feet and ankles swell horribly sometimes, and I normally have tiny little ankles. It happened before treatment too, and it was due to my anemia and standing for hours.
Our groin nodes are radiated, not sure why radiation oncologist did not make the connection! Do him a favor and let him know! I educate doctors all the time! Welcome to the club where we all teach each other, X
7 people like this comment
Wow great info. I haven’t been on. My fil passed my two aunts got sick at the same time have my mil at her house with 24/7 CNAs. I just saw swollen ankles pop up in email. I get them after salty food standing all day and sometimes don’t know why.

It was so bad last Thursday took lasix. I did Urinate a lot after pill but after that’ one pill my legs feet toes were cramping so so bad. I can’t believe one pill this this. So you’re saying it can. Wow makes sense now. I’ve felt so tired since. Dehydrated too? So if you take even just one push the potassium and drink a lot?

Thanks for this info !!! Wendy I’m praying you’re feeling better xo
Carol likes this comment
Here Cindy, is a link. I actually got a Rx for Aldactone, which is a potassium sparing diuretic, so it does not cause cramps. I try everything else before resorting to pills, like elevating my legs. When I recently got home from my annual OR nursing conference, my ankles and feet were huge, because of salty food, and walking for hours. It took 6 days for them to return to normal. I do so much better when I do not eat commercially prepared food, never have this swelling at home.
Carol likes this comment
I have been going through research and it seems that lymphedema can be a side effect of pelvic radiation (lymph nodes). It can be very mild or more severe. Massage (redistribution of fluids ) elevating your feet and warm /cool compresses can help. The articles I have read so far just say to watch for a “flare” up and take the above measures to help it.
Itsme, Kim like this comment
.Some physical therapists specialize in lymphedema therapy
Carol, Donna like this comment
Hope you get some relief and answers soon
Carol likes this comment
Lymphedema is common post pelvic radiation. I’ve had mild symptoms off and in for the last 9 years. Gee whiz you have just been through it, haven’t you?!
Carol likes this comment
Hi Wendy! I am 5 years out and suffer from mild to moderate lymphedema in my ankles and lower legs. It gets pretty bad when I travel or go to a humid area . I was hospitalized for 6 days in the month following treatment due to clots in my legs and lungs. I don't think I have very good circulation/drainage due to damage from the clots and radiation to lymph nodes. Definitely bothersome.
Hope you get some answers soon.
Carol likes this comment
Yes, lymphedema has been a side effect of this treatment for many people. I hope you don't experience any further complications.
Carol likes this comment
That happens with breast cancer patients; when they remove the lymph nodes, and many have treatment; massage pressure sleeves, etc.
They have similar treatments for legs.
On one hand, sounds like the cancer in your lymph; is gone; but, I wonder if the lymph collapses.
It looks like our BFAC peers are covering all the bases, with suggestions. And Tyndall being a nurse; very familiar.
My sister has complications with Lymphodema; and at one point they used these leg simulators, they automatically turn on and off.
Did you also get your exam?
That’s crazy. My radiologist always checked my ankles every time I saw him.
I too had swelling of the ankles and legs and it appeared to be lymphadema. There was a conflict between what the radiation oncologist said and the lymph clinic. Oncologist said I don't have lympadema and lymph clinic said yes I do. So be aware that there are clinics that specialize in working with patients with that type of swelling. You could get a consultation from them for another opinion. The clinic did lymph massage and taught me techniques to manage the condition. Lucky me, the major swelling resolved over a month or so. However, to this day (a year later), by the time I am ready for bed and have been on my feet a long time (dinner, dishes or out dancing, etc.) I seem to have fluid around my pelvic area and lower legs - looks like water retention. After I sleep and then wake up, no water retention. My theory is I'm not playing with a full deck of lymph nodes; however, there are enough undamaged ones to do the job most of the time. I hope this input helps! Big hug!
Wendy likes this comment
Thank you very much.
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Vital Info


March 21, 2019

Everett, Washington 98203

May 28, 1960

Cancer Info

Anal Cancer

Anal Cancer Stage 3A - Squamous Cell Carcinoma

December 2

Stage 3A

4.1 - 5.0 cm


Just the fact I have it!

It sucks!

Providence Regional Cancer Center

March 1

Blood in poo for a couple of years. Assumed it was hemorrhoids. Didn't want to deal with it as I had surgery for that years ago and spent a week in the hospital. Very painful recovery. When the blood started squirting out before pee or poo... I figured there was a problem.


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