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, February 4, 2011

Asked and answered

I asked the radiation oncology nurse this morning about leaving the Mepilex pad off at night and putting Aquafor on my burns.  Her answer was a swift and decisive "NO."  Hmmm.  I'd better not mention that I did exactly that last night! She said that the pad has everything needed for the skin underneath. It's even better than Aquafor. Hopefully I didn't hurt anything too much by doing that last night. I hope the one pad I have lasts the weekend.  Working out every day is kind of taking its toll on the poor thing. At this point, I really appreciate the protection from chafing.

Today was my sixth straight day of radiation. I had to go in last Sunday to make up for last Friday when their machine (which I now know is a linear accelerator) was down.  I'm very glad to have the next two days off to give my skin and body a break from the treatment.  I'm not in too much discomfort. It's probably a good thing that I have nerve damage from the surgery and have a large portion of my chest and underarm area that is numb. Burns hurt like the devil, and with what it looks like, I should be in a lot of pain. At least one would think. The lack of sensation is probably a good thing for me right now.

The red patch is turning a dark purple.

I was reflecting on the toll that cancer treatment takes on the body. It's like using a nuclear bomb to take out a single terrorist cell in a city.  It gets the bad guys and prevents them from recruiting more, but leaves the city and surrounding landscape barren, scarred, burned and weakened for a period of time. I especially feel that way as I examine my ever darkening burns each day. Don't get me wrong. I am grateful for the advances that have been made in treating breast cancer. But it is strange to watch your body go through so many adverse physical changes and all you can do is stand by and watch it happen. Maybe that is another reason why I enjoy exercising. At least I can have some influence over my body when I work out. By the way, I am very sore in the legs from the workout yesterday!

But I digress. Thinking about modern cancer treatment reminds me of scenes from the old original Star Trek series. (Yes, I've been known to enjoy Star Trek in all of its various forms.) Dr. McCoy often talked with disgust about the "primitive" medical methods of the 20th century. How they would cut someone open to heal an organ, and so on.  I wonder what he would say about chemotherapy and radiation?

1 comment:

  1. As always, thinking of you! And marvelling at the whole new language of fighting you are having to learn!
    Shannon Mitchell