"Lymphedema was more of an issue 20 years ago than it is now," he said, as doctors used to dissect higher into the armpit, involving more lymph nodes and raising the chances of blockage.
But within the last five to seven years, surgeons have focused on evaluating the sentinel lymph node, which is the "watchdog node" that controls the specific area of the body under siege by cancer, he said.
"If you remove the sentinel node and the biopsy is negative, then no further nodes need to be removed," he said, making it easier for the patient to recover and greatly reducing the chance of lymphedema.
"The key is to just not let it happen," he said.
The Bolduc Center, which employs seven therapists, handles eight to 10 patients a month, estimated Braun.
"One of our aims is to empower patients to continue their treatment at home," Braun said, since health insurance will only cover a set number of appointments.
For Gray, that translates into continuing to do what she has been doing and focusing on the power of positive thinking.
"I have never asked, 'Why me?'" she said. "The important thing is to control your mind and not to worry. You cannot heal what you do not acknowledge."