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, December 16, 2010


I had my physical therapy appointment today.  She measured my arm, hand and wrist.  This time, she's measuring in more frequent intervals so we can keep a closer eye on my swelling.  Just as I had feared, I had "significant" swelling-at least 2 c.m.  Aaarggh!

We started by doing a session of manual lymphatic drainage.  It really helps to have the therapist do it.  She can use 2 hands whereas I can only use 1.  I'm never really sure I'm using the right amount of pressure.  It has to stretch and release the skin, but shouldn't be too much pressure.  With her, I know its being done right.

Sporting my bandage
Then it was onto being bandaged.  Bandaging is supposed to make the swelling go down. It makes wearing my compression sleeve feel like wearing flannel pajamas. It is no less than 4 layers of bandage and padding.  It goes up to the first knuckle on my hand as well.  It takes a lot of effort just to bend my elbow.  I'm supposed to use my arm, though.  I asked if I could get it wet.  Nope. At least not from bathing or doing something like dishes.  But she said I could work out and sweat in it.  (Although that may be a problem if I can't really bathe!)  I had to work out today, though.  I missed yesterday with all of my errands and really need to get moving.

I also want to work out as planned just as my way of saying, "screw you cancer and lymphedema!"  It has interfered with my life so much, I don't want to let it take this away from me too.  As long as I don't do anything new, its okay. I even mentioned I planned to do a Jillian DVD and she said that was fine.  I was able to do it, take that lymphedema!   I also was able to bathe by filling the bathtub up with about 6 inches of water and using a washcloth and only using my right hand.  I put my left hand up against the wall to keep it out of the water.

I go in again tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. to have my arm re-checked.  They physical therapy department is making special accommodations to let my my therapist come in early to see me.  (Such a difference from the rude urgent care department that wouldn't even see me during their posted business hours!)  Hopefully, I will measure smaller and we can take this bandage off.  I don't know, it may take a week or more of wearing it. I'll probably be going in to see her next week as well.  We really want to address this pronto, especially before I start radiation in January.  A survivor sister told me that if lymphedma is caught within the first 3 months, its reversible. Hopefully my hyper-awareness will pay off and we can fix this.

I found out today that another mom in my daughter's class just found out she has breast cancer and is getting a double mastectomy.  I have other friends who are in the process of finding out if they have various cancers.  Is it just me, or does it seem like we have a cancer epidemic?  I've said it before, and I'll say it again.  I yearn for the day when there is no more sickness and no more tears and we are face to face with our Lord Jesus!

My prayer request is for my arm. That this swelling go down so I don't have to bandage myself up very long.  Pray also that my spirits stay up.  It would be very easy to let this depress me and get me down.  Being able to work out helped a lot.  But I can see this making it difficult to sleep, and I've been having a little bit of sleep problems this week already.

No comments:

Post a Comment