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.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Falling asleep...

First of all, thank you all for your prayers for my family's struggle with the flu bug.  They paid off.  Everyone had a solid night of sleep last night.  No one has vomited since yesterday morning (when Jean-Marc did on our walk). The older kids are both back to school today and everything looks good.  I was able to go to the gym today and do a pretty good cardio workout as well.   We are glad to have Eric back home too, and we are praying that he does not fall prey to the nasty bug like we did.

I've noticed something really strange over the past 24 hours when I sleep.  I've been paranoid about sleeping on my left side since my surgery.  At first, it was because I was just too sore to sleep on that side.  When I did sleep on my left side in the past, I would sleep on my left arm, which would be under my pillow. Now I am paranoid about lymph fluid getting trapped and not being able to drain.  Whether or not that is a valid concern, I don't know. But this strange phenomenon has nothing to do with me sleeping on the left side, because I just don't do it anymore.

Instead, I sleep a lot on my back now.  (Pregnancy got me out of the habit of stomach sleeping.) Yesterday during a nap and again last night, my left arm fell asleep while I was sleeping on my back. What is going on with that?  I'm not cutting of the circulation in any way, yet it feels like that.  I'm going to e-mail my physical therapist to see if that is normal or not.  It goes away when I turn to my right side for awhile.   Has anyone else out there had that happen to them?

I've been working a lot on avoiding lymphedema in my left arm.  I've been wearing my compression sleeve during the days, especially when I'm working out.  I've also been doing the manual drainage technique after each shower.  At the therapists office this week, she had me put my arms up to compare them in the mirror.  Think of a "muscleman" pose. Sure enough, my left upper arm had some extra "sag" to it.  I've been doing that each day as well to see if there is any buildup.  I *think* I am keeping it at bay.  But the nighttime tingles are a little worrisome.  Maybe I'll try wearing the compression sleeve at night tonight and see if that makes a difference.

The compression sleeve, as I understand it, will help the area not swell.  It won't make swelling go down. There are exercises you can do for that, as well as the bandaging (which I would like to avoid), and the manual drainage that can help with that.  Vigilance is key.  I need to keep it from getting out of control in the first place.  This is going to have to become a part of my "new normal."

Other than that, life is going on as usual. I'll have my next round of chemo a week from today.  After that, it will be just one more round!  Between now and next Friday, I'm working on healthy eating (lots of greens, cabbage and beans) and exercising. It's my "in training" week.

Round 5, bring it on.

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