And not in the good way, either.
I saw my physical therapist again today. There was some slight swelling on my upper arm - about .7 cm. bigger than last time. Great. It wasn't a huge amount, but it is more than we would like. Basically, lymph fluid is getting trapped and not flowing out of my lower arm area. Just what we gals need--more "flab" on the underam.
I need to make sure to really work the area when I'm doing my lymph massage. I also need to start monitoring the circumference of my arm and hand as well. I won't be going back to physical therapy until after radiation starts, unless I start swelling more.
If I do swell more (usually more than 2 cm), then we have to use a bandage to wrap around the upper arm multiple times. The compression sleeve I have now will not make the area smaller, but will keep it from swelling. A bandage will make the area smaller. Hopefully I won't have to go there. But I do need to wear the sleeve, especially when I'm exercising and during radiation.
We talked a lot about exercise and upper body strength work. She made some good points, and I'm going to follow her advice and back off of the upper body work on circuits. The main point was that my focus needs to be on getting through chemo and radiation. Both of those "treatments" are rough on the body, destroying healthy cells and tissue as well as the cancer. While exercise is good, too much upper body work when my body is still recovering from surgery and adjuvant therapy can actually make me weaker in some ways. That isn't to say I never will be able to do upper body again. Just not while I'm in treatment for cancer. Duh. Slap me upside the head, okay? I can still do cardio and circuits on the lower body. But not much upper body, and certainly not with weights.
On another note, I was in the mall today and saw the stores all decked out in Christmas decorations. Any other year, it would have bugged me to see it all out this early. Not this year--I actually liked it. I can't help but identify the Christmas season as being "done" with chemotherapy. Bring on the holly and deck the halls! Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la!
Seriously, though. Chemo is getting old. I'm ready for it to be over. I have 2 rounds left, so there is a light at the end of the tunnel. At first, I was excited to finally be doing it and getting on with treatment. But I've done it. I've lost the hair, the whole nine yards. I'm ready for it to be over. And Christmas for me, is a sign that it is getting close.
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.