A Season for Learning

Conference attendees watching a presentation

I love Fall because it is the banner season for conferences sponsored by outstanding organizations doing research and providing leading-edge education on lymphatic disease.

Lymphological Investigations & Explorations by the National Lymphedema Network’s (NLN) begins in Philadelphia today.  The Boston Lymphatic Symposium, sponsored by the Boston Lymphatic Center(at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School), along with the Lymphatic Education and Research Network (LE&RN) starts on November 10 with a virtual attendance option. Interestingly this year, the focus of both events is almost exclusively on Clinicians and that says a lot about the importance of Lymphedema Therapists.

Lest we forget that Lymphedema is not just an American problem, the 2023 National Lymphedema Conference: Moving Forward Together hosted by the Canadian Lymphedema Framework (CLF) which is part of the International Lymphedema Framework (ILF) will be held in Toronto on November 3-4.  See details below as that event has more options for patients to participate in this year than the others.  All these organizations, however, generously maintain incredibly useful video libraries from past events which anyone can access on demand for free, while real-time conferences come with fees and if travel is involved, other related costs.

Whether in-person or by virtual attendance our own volunteers, as patient advocates, have used these conferences as opportunities to track the state-of-the-art lymphatic research and medicine.  We have met providers delivering the latest in compression and pumps, and beyond, and listened to some of the leading lights and a community at large engaged in lymphatic care and treatment.  It’s hard not to be inspired simply by being in a hall with so many others caring about and trying to unravel Lymphatic Disease.

We have shared what we have learned in turn, to promote patients to Live Well with Lymphedema-— the title of the class which evolved over 30 years that Lynn Fass, Retired Nurse and Certified Lymphedema Therapist, and Julie Venn, Certified Fitter and Licensed Massage Practitioner MLD/CDT, spearheaded with other colleagues, including our Founder Emeritus, JoAnn Rovig, all as volunteers.

Since COVID, we have tailored our educational efforts to 1-hour presentations by a range of professionals before support group meetings led by trained Facilitators from our partners at Cancer Lifeline. This month our regular Facilitator, Vivian Foxx, MSW, LICSW, will speak about palliative care as it relates to life in general, and to Lymphedema.  Ben Soloman, with Right at Home, will share his expertise on fall prevention with implications for Lymphedema.  In November, Taylor Reidel from Mary Catherine’s will address the new 2024 compression insurance changes from the Lymphedema Treatment Act and by special agreement, Susan Baumgaertel, MD, FACP (Owner, myMDadvocate and Past Board Chair of Cancer Lifeline), will speak about how to effectively work with your healthcare team.  In December, Lynn Fass returns on Manual Lymphatic Drainage, and Basha Brownstein, MSW our exceptionally dedicated Convenor will roll up the year with some motivation from Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer.

Please take a moment to consider your learning curve and needs, and how we can assist.  Please also consider the shared rewards of maintaining an engaged and vibrant Lymphatic Community here in the Pacific Northwest.  We would love to hear from you about the possibility of helping each other.  For my own part, the experience of volunteering has been enriching beyond my wildest dreams.