Our People

Why I Came, Why I Stayed: Lymphedema Therapist Wendy Buchholz Supports Others and Feels Supported

Published: Oct. 17, 2023

In “Why I Came, Why I Stayed,” you’ll get to know people who are making a difference every day at Methodist and how they contribute to providing The Meaning of Care. To explore career opportunities at Methodist, visit bestcare.org/jobs.


Wendy Buchholz, OTR/L, CLT-LANA
Occupational Therapist and Certified Lymphedema Therapist
Methodist Estabrook Cancer Center

Tell us more about yourself and your background.

After my three children were in school, I returned to college at the University of Nebraska Omaha and then at Creighton’s occupational therapy (OT) program. I graduated in 1996, then completed certification in lymphedema therapy in 2001 and lymphedema board certification in 2002. Just prior to starting OT classes at Creighton, my husband was diagnosed with metastatic cancer. His surgery was performed at Methodist Hospital, and his cancer care completed at Methodist Estabrook Cancer Center (MECC) with Dr. Margaret Block. That experience, as well as helping care for other family members during their cancer journeys, propelled my interest in pursuing cancer rehabilitation, including lymphedema treatment as an area of OT practice.

Lymphedema treatment has become my "passion" in the 22-plus years I have been practicing it.

Thankfully, my husband survived, and together we've been able to watch our three children grow into adulthood, add three daughters-in-law and welcome four granddaughters to the family. In addition to spending time with family, I enjoy baking, gardening, walking with my greyhounds, reading with a cat (or two) on my lap and, occasionally, "jumping out of a perfectly good airplane."


Why Methodist? What attracted you to the organization?

I was contacted in 2015 by a friend with whom I had completed a Methodist-hosted lymphedema training in 2001. She told me about an opening for a lymphedema therapist. I was working at another local hospital that had recently cut some of its lymphedema services, and I was anxious to be in an environment that was more supportive of this care. My friend had been with Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital for many years and spoke highly of the organization. I was familiar with the wellness classes and programs offered for cancer survivors through another former coworker and had often referred patients to those services. During my interview, I was impressed with the culture of Methodist and the other lymphedema therapists. Patient care was top priority and the position offered an opportunity to provide full time lymphedema treatment. Growth and further development of the lymphedema program and cancer support services was a long term goal and experience was valued. Additionally, there was flexibility with schedules, as I was committed to caring for my granddaughters.


What is it about Methodist that keeps you coming back?

Methodist has made a significant commitment to expand its lymphedema program and services as well as other cancer rehab programs to support the growing number of cancer survivors in our community. We encourage opportunities to participate in community events with the Komen foundation, Project Pink'd, A Time to Heal, the American Cancer Society and Wings of Hope. We also encourage speaking at support groups, and provide continuing education about lymphedema and cancer support services and rehab programs at Methodist. Methodist has hosted several lymphedema certification programs and has significantly increased the number of certified therapists to treat the growing number of lymphedema patients. The lymphedema team shares information and works together to provide better care for our patients. There is support from my department to seek out new research and information in the field and attend conferences and continuing education to stay abreast of advances in the field. We have great support from multiple clinics in the cancer center, especially the breast clinics at Methodist Estabrook Cancer Center and Methodist Women's Hospital, as well as the head and neck clinic, radiation oncology and the medical oncology clinics. We all collaborate for the benefit of cancer patients. When I underwent cancer treatment myself last year, I experienced the services at Methodist from a patient perspective and was equally blessed and impressed with the staff who live the Methodist motto, The Meaning of Care.