About this blog

I was diagnosed with breast cancer on June 11, 2010. As a result of my treatment, I have lymphedema in my left arm. I draw my strength from the Lord, as well as my family's Scots-Irish heritage. Our Graham's were a tough and scrappy bunch of fighters on the Scottish/English border. They came to America and continued to fight when necessary: in the American Revolution; the Civil War; and my brother is a Captain in the U.S. Army. My ancestors settled this country against all odds. My great-grandmothers on both sides of the family were pioneer women who settled the West. Along with that heritage, and the full armor of God, I am walking the walk and fighting the good fight.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A pain in the back

I thought with the drains out, I'd sleep better. I'm pretty much still confined to sleeping on back, though. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a horrible night. But I woke up with an achy back. I tried sleeping flat, rather than on an incline pillow. I still had my various little pillows around to support my arms. At one point in the night, I stretched my arms up a bit in my sleep and was met with a firey-knife feeling in my left lower armpit. Ow! I also tried to gently roll to my right side. Nope. That wasn't going to work either. The site where the drain was hurt too much. It also probably has to do with the fact that over the course of the night, the painkillers wear off and by early morning, I feel pretty fragile. My mother in law this morning asked me why I don't spend more time in bed in the mornings. Pretty simple-it just hurts my back to be in bed that long.

What I would LOVE to be able to do right now is some yoga. Especially for my upper body and back. I just feel really compacted. This surgical camisole doesn't help. It comes up pretty high into the armpit area and chafes a bit. I'll check myself for swelling this morning and wear it another day.

I did start some of my post-op stretches last night. I'm actually not as stiff on my left as I thought I would be. There is one broom stretch where you put your "bad" hand on the end of a broomstick, and then bring it up over your head as far as you can. I was able to extend it up all the way. Granted, I did have pain meds in my system. I'll keep doing these exercises, though. I really do not want to lose mobility in my upper body. I'm supposed to do them once a day for 10 days, 10 repetitions each. Then I can do it twice a day. There is a video I checked out at the library on post-mastectomy exercises that looked lame a few weeks ago. I may re-check it out now and try it. One thing I didn't like was the lady on the video, a breast cancer survivor, refers to women with breast cancer as "victims." That turned me off. I'm not a victim! I'm a warrior! But I could do the video with the sound down, I suppose.

Mom and I are going to go for a longer walk this morning around Discovery lake. I'm hoping that will get the blood flowing and help this feeling of stiffness and compaction. A brisk walk with some stretching afterwards will probably help me feel much better.

1 comment:

  1. It seems there's lots of post-mastectomy exercise sites on-line, too.


    http://www.bolithomd.com/procedures/post-mastectomy-exercises/ - which, oddly, shows a man doing the exercises... yeah, I know men can have mastectomies, too, but still.


    And on and on. The video might not be your style, but I bet you can find some helpful, yet challenging ones on-line. Without the "victim" affirmation.

    Not knowing how much room you have to put anything to help with the chafing, but moleskin can help with that.


    I *am* listening... not always trying to fix things.

    I was telling Sarah that you were doing so, so phenomenally well because of your fantastic pre-op health and fitness level. I promise, many (if not most!) women would still be barely up and around, yet here you are, doing exercises (and well, too!) and going for a walk! Fantastic, Tonya. You really are doing great... and I am totally inspired by you!