I am so sorry you have gone through all of that without the doctors or nurses explaining the future possibilities. My health carrier is Kaiser Permanente and prior to any surgeries, they have patients attend classes guided by physical therapists. Another health carrier, Sutter, also offers classes and I found their lymphedema class was even more educational. Kaiser also offers their patients an "after breast surgery" training class by the physical therapy department whereupon one does a series of stretching, core, weight training (stretch bands and free weights), and then finishing with stretching exercises. Once the month-long class is completed, as patients we do those twice weekly at home and for me it takes about 30 minutes. I have not had lymphedema per se, but twice now have experienced axillary web syndrome or cording and cannot express to you how important the exercises are. I am so thankful you found a therapist who has helped you. Follow your instincts and if your doctor isn't responsive enough, keep looking for one who will attend to your health needs. All the best to you.