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.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Taking a day off

Yesterday was a beautiful and sunny day here in San Diego.  I usually dress up a little for church, and almost always wear my wig. I kind of take a mental day off from looking like a cancer patient.  I don't wear my wig all the time-I don't mind the visual reminder to the world that things aren't completely peachy for me right now. I'm not complaining, that is just what I'm dealing with. I've worn scarves to church before and I seem to cry during worship when I do. I'm not sure why.  I don't worship any differently, my heart is the same. But something about raising my hands in praise while I'm covering up a bald chemo-affected head. I don't know. I usually end up with tears streaming down my face while I sing. Then the nose starts to drip. It is distracting. The wig works for me on Sundays.

Anyway, because of the glorious weather, I decided to wear a dress that was sleeveless. After putting it on, I realized that a compression sleeve that goes all the way up to my armpit would really spoil my fashion statement, so I left it off.  Why not let my arm get a little sunshine?

So it was a day off from cancer AND lymphedema treatment.  Another reason I decided to do it was because my forearm tends to swell right at the point where the sleeve and the gauntlet meet, about 5 c.m. up from the wrist. Why not give it a break?

Of course, I kept a close eye on it all day and did two good sessions of manual drainage.  It didn't seem to swell at all.  Thank you, Jesus!

In the afternoon, I sat out in the sunshine in the backyard and let my arms soak up some sun.  I'm always looking for some Vitamin D, you know. It felt wonderful.  The only thing that came close to spoiling the day was a fussy and demanding 2 year old. He is a blessing, but requires a lot of attention right now. But I digress.  My arms, especially my left one, are so pale. The left one can look shriveled up, especially when I take off the bandaging.

Ah yes, the bandaging.  After my treatment free day, I dutifully wrapped my arm from finger to armpit in 5 layers of bandaging before going to bed and am still wearing it now as I type.  It is Monday, after all.  Back to radiation, and back to lymphedema.

But it was sure nice to have a day off from it all.


  1. Hey Tonya I wanted to suggest the brand of Vit D we use it Thorne, you take it once a WEEK 25,000 IU. It's awesome. Did you ever have your levels tested?

  2. Tonya, I am envious of your CA sunshine, well actually the warmth of it. We do have sun here in WI, just not much warmth these days. It's snowing now as a matter of fact. Anyway, glad to hear you took a day off. I wish you could get more time off, for good behavior or something, ha.

  3. Krista, I did have my levels checked last October. I was at 16. The standard range I understand is between 30-100. I'm very low, which was surprising considering where I live! I'm taking about 3,000 IU through supplements, plus a teaspoon of cod liver oil (which gives me another 1,000).