rucksacks suitable for someone with mastectomy and lymphedema

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I am serious walker who needs to walk free to feel sane and content. I mean at least 10 miles- up to 25. Not "dog walks" , hobbling slowly around a crowded park- but up in wild places feeling free.

Although there is a good company in Spain ("This is us: WomansBack") that makes rucksacks specifically for people with lymphoedema, in UK I can see nothing. What a sad country where cancer patients are supposed to be curled up invisible and miserable at home, rather than enjoying real walks and wildness?

Rucksacks exacerbate selling and pain wtih lymphedema in my left arm, left shoulder and left side after full lymph node clearance in Nov 2023.

Please can you advise?

Please do not suggest bum bags. I need at least 2.5 LITRES of   gear in wilderness places alone.

Manythanks indeed.

  • Hello Sepharda

    Thank you for contacting us at Macmillan. My name is George, and I'm one of the Cancer Information Nurse Specialists on the support line. It's great to hear how you are enjoying the benefits of being outdoors, exercising, and your joy and commitment to hiking and rambling.

    We cannot endorse companies or products, but I have found your question extremely interesting and thought-provoking today. It's true that there only seems to be one product on the market, which you have referred to in your question above. Interesting, as well, is that they claim to be the first and only company to produce such a specific product. I have noticed that there are UK-based distributors for this rucksack when doing an internet search.

    I have discussed this with the wider Macmillan Support line team in case any of the other nurses could help with this question. Some further signposting was recommended, which I go into below. I have also taken this forward to Macmillan in case there can be any further help and support for people in your situation regarding products for walking in the future.

    In this capacity, I can only direct you to other professionals who can help further. I know you have probably already reached out to some of these I'm going to recommend, but I want you to get the best possible support and advice regarding this specific question.

    It is also helpful to look into balance packs or balance rucksacks mentioned in some lymphedema online communities. You can find such products by searching the internet.

    You could contact Breast Cancer Now on their telephone line or post a similar question in their online community area to see if anyone else has managed to find such a product or solution to this problem. The Lymphoedema Support Network may also be able to help.

    I hope this information is useful. Please don’t hesitate to call to speak through your concerns. If you are unable to call, you might consider speaking to us via webchat.

    The Macmillan Support Line offers practical, clinical, financial, and emotional support. You can call us free from landlines and from most mobile phone networks on 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week, 8am – 8pm.

     

    Kind Regards George

    Cancer Information Nurse Specialist 

     

    Ref GH / VG

  • Thank you for this response.

    I have not been able to fund UK distributors of the rucksack, which does indeed appear to be the only type available. Please can you let me know the names of the UK distributors, or send me the links, or let me know how you found them.

    Many thanks indeed.

    Kind regards

    Sepharda

  • By the way, Montane does not supply these rucksacks in the UK,.

    In my initial appeal for help, which remains open, as no concrete solution has yet been identified, I made an error, saying 2.5 litres. I meant 20-25L!

    Please let me know where in the UK I can buy this rucksack for lymphedema sufferers?

  • Hello Sepharda

    Thank you for getting back in touch on this original question regarding the availability of this product in the UK. I am sorry for the confusion caused by my original post. It seems it was for distribution in the UK shortly after 2019, but there is no further information regarding why it wasn’t introduced to the UK market. It appears they only deliver the product to Spain and mainland Europe. The UK is not mentioned in any of their delivery information and literature. You may have already done so, but you could contact them at their email address on their website. There could be many reasons why it didn’t make it to the UK market, and only Women’sBack could answer those specific questions.

    The Macmillan Support Line offers practical, clinical, financial, and emotional support. You can call us free from landlines and from most mobile phone networks on 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week, 8am – 8pm.

     Kind Regards George

    Cancer Information Nurse Specialist 

     

    Ref GH / LR

  • Thank you for clarifying.

    Yes,what you say here was my initial understanding of the situation.

    And yes i have contacted the firm in Barcelona and the answer to why the rucksacks are unavailable in Britain is Brexit (too much paperwork and prohibitive customs fees).

    So I go back to my original question in my original post!

    Does anyone have any practical suggestions given this impasse, please?

  • Hello Sepharda

    Thank you for getting back in touch with us. I’m Gemma and I’m one of George’s colleagues here at the Macmillan cancer support line

    Thank you for your further reply. I have read back over your conversation here and the signposts already shared. Your passion for being in the wilderness shines through, and I do not underestimate how important this is to you. I can only imagine how frustrating it must be to know a product exists, but not be able to purchase it.

    I have had another look at various UK suppliers of post breast cancer clothing and accessories; it certainly does seem like there is a gap in the UK market for this niche product. I found many garments and accessories for the wearer, but I appreciate this is not what you have asked for.

    We cannot find any UK based equivalent of this rucksack. As womankind has patented their design, it’s understandable that there is nothing with a similar system being sold by another producer.

    My practical suggestion is to ask for a referral to an orthotics specialist, these are professionals who supply and fit devices to be help improve quality of life aiming to keep people independent and mobile.  They may be able to adapt a rucksack you currently own to your specific requirements. 

    I truly hope this suggestion helps, and that you are back to enjoying being outdoors and feeling free.

    Best wishes

    Gemma J, Cancer Information Nurse Specialist 

    You can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or send us an email

    Ref/RH