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.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

At my fingertips

Every day is better than the last.  I've still got symptoms, but at least I feel a bit more like myself each day.

First and foremost of the symptoms is discomfort in my fingertips and fingernails.  The bruised look has spread to more of them, and they are very tender.  Deep ridges have formed and they look dry and brittle.  The look is secondary to me.  Having tender fingers is more of a pain, literally.  I work a lot with my hands in the kitchen and with my kids.  It doesn't help that I burned my right ring finger on the oven a few days ago!

I've also got a solid case of "chemo brain."  My memory has huge holes in it.  The kids think its pretty funny, and even have Jean-Marc chanting, "chemo brain."  As an example: last Saturday my brother apparently invited us to join him, my parents and my other brother and his family to go to an Iraqi restaurant in San Diego.  The invite was transmitted via Eric. I didn't get the part that we were invited-I just heard that my brothers were going to eat Iraqi food.  The next day, my mom asked why we didn't go.  I had no recollection of being invited! I was a bit annoyed at Eric and let him know when I saw him again.  He defended himself, and I didn't believe that he had transmitted the invite.  Olivier was sitting there and said, "Uh, yeah, mom.  We were invited."  I had absolutely no memory of it.  That is just one example.  I'm hoping that with time, my memory will not have gaping holes in it.

My taste buds are slowly returning.  They aren't 100% yet, but each day food tastes better and better.  My entire digestive system seems to be getting back on track.  All the drugs around chemo time tend to block my system.  It feels awful.  But that is behind me now.

Physically, I'm weaker than I was.  But getting better.  I did my Jillian "Banish Fat Boost Metabolism" DVD today.  It was really hard, and I had to drop the arms a little by the end.   I sweat like a dog and it felt great.  Almost like I was sweating the nasty drugs right out of my system.

One thing that I haven't blogged about much yet is the menopausal symptoms I've been having, particularly hot flashes.  I seem to have them most at night.  They've started a little in the evenings as well now.  I sleep with a knit cap on my head because of the cold.  But I'm awakened at least 3-4 times a night hot and sweating.  I take the cap off my head, and my head is drenched and the pillow is soaked. If I'm fortunate, I'm able to get back to sleep, only to have the cycle repeated awhile later.  I've had to wash the pillowcases, my pajamas and my knit cap a few times this week.  From what Dr. P tells me about tamoxifen, I might as well get used to it.  If it interferes with my sleep too much, he would be happy to prescribe something.  But I'd rather stay away from drugs if at all possible.

My prayer requests:

  • That the six rounds of chemo that I've gone through will have been effective against my disease.
  • That my family and I can trust God enough not to worry about the cancer coming back after all of my treatment.  This one is huge for me right now.  I'm not even done with treatment, and I find myself constantly fretting about recurrence.  I don't want to live the rest of my life (and a long life at that), in turmoil about cancer. It drags me down and sometimes I feel like I'm marinading in a swamp of cancer fear.  
  • That the pain in my fingertips subside. 
  • That I get my wits about me again...that chemo brain go away.  

1 comment:

  1. On a lighter note, be on the alert that the kids don't use "chemo brain" as a way to get out of things!!! :-) So easy to just say, "hey, we told you all about that" :-)

    Just saying!

    I'm afraid that your menopausal symptoms are probably harder than they would have been had you been able to go into it normally. Hang in there. This, too, shall pass.

    Love you, dear daughter.