My clients with similar surgeries benefit great from Pilates. It is gentle and provides the core work, as well as flexibility they need.
Initially we work on range of movement without pain with very light resistance. Core work is mostly isometrics, incorporating lots of deep breathing.
Once the client reaches a comfortable level in Pilates I am incorporating light arm work with weights.
I would recommend to look for a Pilates teacher that has experience with breast cancer survivors.
This link might help you find someone in your area. http://www.pinkribbonprogram.com/
my suggestions is that you check out the MELT Method techniques. It is a self-treatment technique for the connective tissue using balls for hands and feet (may help with the lymphedema) and a soft foam roller. Beyond the connective tissue, it has core techniques and can help with neck, low back, hip and shoulder issues.
Maybe you are lucky enough to have an instructor near you. There is also a book and DVD, and some instructors offer training via Skype.
Hello Eva Anderson,
You could also find a homeopath and/or naturopathic doctor to add to your sources; there are remedies for edema.
Please remember to listen to your body, do what you can without discomfort. If it causes pain, do something else. You will heal, it just takes time. I know it must be frustrating; but, slow and steady truly does win the race. Hang in there, look at all you have overcome.
Natalie aka NAPS 2 B Fit.