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, April 14, 2011

Maybe once in awhile is okay

I am not going to make a habit of this. But yesterday, I did not do any manual lymphatic drainage nor did I bandage my arm at night. For the first time since the start of the year, I left it all alone.

Call me lazy, but I have good reasons.

I drove up to LA and back to attend the funeral of a dear friend's father. When I got home, I was greeted with a sick two year old. As I was holding him on my lap to comfort him, he puked all over me in my black dress. Lovely. Our dinner turned out to be delivered pizza, and we ate it a bit later than usual because I took some extra snuggle time with Jean-Marc before putting him to bed and ordering dinner.  I was pretty tired, so I plopped down on the couch to watch this week's installment of "American Idol" before dragging myself up to make lunches for the next school day. By the time I got up to bed, I was exhausted. Eric was already asleep with the lights out. I had not rolled my bandages earlier in the day because we left so early to get up to LA. Did I want to spend at least 30 minutes on my arm? Or see if I could get away with ignoring it?

I chose the latter.

Of course, I was paranoid all night and didn't sleep as well as I could have if I had taken the time to take care of my arm. I can feel tingling in my hand and arm that I associate with lymphatic fluid either building up or draining. I felt little tingles all night and was paranoid that I'd wake up to a Michelin man sized arm!

Thursday is my usual day to measure the arm. Thank the Lord, the measurements were all good. One place on my upper arm was 1 centimeter bigger than last week, but it is still under my target size. I'll get back into the routine tonight. I don't want to repeat this very often.

My physical therapist thinks I could qualify for a custom sleeve that would be quicker to put on at night. I'll have to wait until the end of the year for Kaiser to pay for it, but when that time comes, I think I will order one. I can still bandage when I need to in order to customize the wrap when needed. But during times when my lymphedema seems to be under control, it would be a lot easier just to strap on the sleeve and turn out the light!

By the way, Jean-Marc seems to be doing okay today, a severely diarrhea diaper this morning notwithstanding. (TMI??)  I'm not sure he is out of the woods yet, though. Eric suffered through these same symptoms all week last week. Prayers for healing are appreciated, as are prayers that the rest of us stay healthy!


  1. Once in a while I just use my regular day time sleeve b/c the hot flashes with the bandaging or compression garment are just too much to deal with. However, there are other garments besides bandaging and the garment you depict in the photo on your post and my therapist made me a great one that has small ribbing that helps guide the fluid in the right direction and it's a ribbed foam sleeve over which you put on a standard compression sleeve of a bigger size and lower compression level to provide the right sizing/compression against the ribbed foam sleeve and it works better than all the high priced garments out there. I bought a Solaris Tribute sleeve thinking that would be even better and I was way wrong so if you are interested in talking to my therapist and trying out one of her custom sleeves I bet she'd be happy to send you one to try it out - if you want to get together and have me show it to you I'd be happy to do that too - we're taking Cooper down to Disney the Saturday before Easter and I could meet up with you while we're in the area if you'd like and show you both the one my therapist made and the Solaris Tribute one I bought. Email me or FB me to let me know if you're interested :). I don't do the bandaging anymore because the ribbed foam sleeve actually does a better job for me -- when I'm in intense flare-up therapy I use the ribbed foam plus bandaging over top of it for optimal results. ;) xoxo

  2. Hey... I'm new to your blog (paula@peaceantigo.org). I've had a lymphedema flare up that's lasted all summer (on and off). I'm a BC survivor,45 years old, 2 years out of treatment, bilateral mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation (which brought on the lymphedema). The reason I'm posting is to comment on garment choices. I have a tribute and love it - much better than bandaging at night, especially with hot flashes. I also just bought a juxta-fit armsleeve, which is what you pictured in your blog. I am reserving judgement for now, because I ordered it before I got out of control and now it doesn't fit properly . I also just ordered a caresia sleeve from solarus, it goes under bandaging instead of the foam. It works really well, but it is super-puffy. I thought the bandages made me look like the michilin man... I keep hoping the garment will "save me" from the evil that is lymphedema without putting in the work ( self massage and vigilance). So far... Some work great, some work OK and some didn't work for me. Can I ask what kind of arm sleeve & gauntlet you are using? Know anyone who used lymphedivas? I am plauged by hot flashes due to medication issues, and the website says they are breatheable. Hope you enjoy the rest of your summer!