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, March 17, 2011

Another good week

At the end of the work week is time for me to face reality.  Forget how I feel or how I may think things are. It's time for the verdicts from independent sources. On Thursdays, I measure my hand, wrist and arm to see how my lymphedema is doing. On Fridays, I step on the scale for my weekly weigh-in.  I'll admit that it does give me a little bit of butterflies. But its important to me to catch things before they get out of control.

Since today is Thursday, I asked Eric to help me with the arm measurements. I'm very happy to report that there is no significant change in my measurements from last week. Thank the Lord!  I have scaled back a little on my lymphedema regimen. I'm only doing the manual massage at night, and I'm not always wearing my compression garments. It feels good to have my arm and hand bare, especially on sunny days. I'm thrilled that this little bit of respite did not result in swelling. I still massage and bandage at night, though.

We'll see what the scale says tomorrow. Last week, I was down 2 pounds. I'd like to lose 10-15 more to get to my ideal weight. Maintaining an ideal weight is important not only for preventing a recurrence of cancer, but also for lymphedema. My physical therapist told me she had at least one client whose lymphedema problem would probably go away (or at least be greatly relieved) simply by losing weight.

I'm approaching this weight loss differently than I did last year when I lost 50 pounds.  Last time, I religiously counted calories in (eating) and calories out (exercise). I tried to keep the intake between 1,200-1,400 calories a day and burn 500 through exercise. It works!  I could do that again, but I'm trying something new. I've been focusing more on eating whole, organic foods, mostly plant based. I'll have a little bit of meat, but honestly I don't miss it. The only reason I make it is because of the rest of the family. It's hard to count the calories in a green smoothie! It is a lot of volume, but veggies are pretty low in calories. Its a new eating style that I'm working on, not a diet. I'm also trying to limit sugar. Sugar feeds cancer. But that is really hard, especially at night. Especially when your French in laws literally send pounds of delicious French chocolate to your house. I'll admit that I probably have had a few more of those than I should this week! Hopefully the excellent plant based food I eat for the rest of the day will allow for a little bit of indulgence.

One thing that I'm doing the same is exercising. Although, even in that area, I'm doing it a bit different out of necessity. Last time, I did Jillian Michael's circuit training workouts from her website 4 times a week and did cardio alone once a week. I'd do extra little power walks with the dog too. I'm a little hesitant about going back into circuits full time. Weight training is okay with lymphedema, but you have to be careful and work your way there. I'll do a circuit workout once a week or so and see what happens. I mostly do cardio with a lot of abs and lower body exercises (lunges, squats, etc.)  I'm not sure if I mentioned it here, but I entered my first race! On April 3rd, I'm going to run in the Carlsbad 5000. It's a 5k. I've never run in a race, so I'm a little nervous about it. I know I can run the whole time, its just getting out there and doing it! After the race, I'll focus more on long distance walking.

So today's measurements were good. We'll see how the scale treats me tomorrow after my chocolate-fest this week!  Maybe I need prayer for some willpower!


  1. WOW, way to go Tonya! Lots of praises this week! I love that you have a plan! You do need to treat yourself too...like you said...lots of plant eating is great and you can indulge a little. What an inspiration you truly are! I'm proud of all of your milestones! God is faithful, that's the TRUTH! HUGS!

  2. Tonya, You are one determined woman! I think I need to step it up a bit after reading this! Glad your arm is getting a bit of a break.