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, February 10, 2011

The last phase has arrived

Today as I was going into the radiation room, the tech reminded me that today was the last day of this kind of treatment. I think he said "protons" and that tomorrow we would start with "electrons." Or maybe it was the reverse. I have not taken the time to really learn about what they are doing to me. At some point, you've got to just trust that they know what they are doing, I suppose. He said that the next 5 treatments would be much faster than what I have been doing. Faster? It depends on your perspective. I thought the radiation treatments had been going pretty fast. It certainly beats 3 hours in the chemotherapy suite!

After the treatment, I got to see the doctor. Last week, he was a little impersonal I thought. This week was a bit different. At least he smiled and said hi as I came in the office. He took a look at my burns and said that it didn't actually look that bad. It certainly wasn't enough for him to give me a break. A break? No way, mister! The light at the end of the tunnel burns brighter each day. A break is the last think I want! He said that the last treatments would not be hitting that particularly bad patch under my arm. By the way, he said it was bad there because radiation does not like folds in the skin.

The blister under my arm has gotten bigger. It may have even popped, I'm not sure. After my shower today, it looked a little flat. You can't really see it in this picture, but its on the darkest part of the burn. The Mepliex pads are amazing. I am able to function normally with one on.  Even working out is doable. I took one off so Eric could take a picture, and it really bothered me. I'm going to get a fresh one tomorrow, because the one I have now is not going to last the weekend.

The very bright spot was my physical therapy appointment. We measured my arm and it didn't get bigger.  She thought I had definitely gotten over the allergic reaction flare up. I asked her to check how I measured back in September, before I actually had the lymphedema triggered. In many spots, I was significantly smaller.  ("Significant" = a change of .5 c.m. or more)  Any measurements that were larger were not significant.  Praise the Lord!  I'm not "cured" of lymphedema, it will be something I have to keep an eye on and treat accordingly. But it looks like I have learned how to live with it, and the radiation has not made me swell. Maybe it did swell, but I'm spending a solid hour working on my arm every day, and any daily swelling I've been able to take care of.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, oww oww oww oww oww. That burn looks bad enough to me! Not to stop radiation....I agree, get this over and done with.....but bad enough for major whining rights!!

    Hang in there, hon. It will done with soon enough and life (and skin) will get back to your (new) normal.