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, April 1, 2011

Reality check

Miners take a canary down into the mine with them for safety.  If the canary dies, they know that they have a very limited amount of time to get out of the mine or they will suffer the same fate as the bird.  It's an early warning system.

I've got an early warning system of my own.  It's my left arm and hand.  I measure it every week to keep track of my lymphedema.

Yesterday, my measurements were up in several places.  In fact, on the upper part of my arm, it was over the number my physical therapist gave me as a goal number to stay under.  Darn!

As they told Maverick in the 1980's classic movie, "Top Gun," "You're writing checks your body can't cash!"  Maybe I am as well. I think its time to readjust my fitness regimen as well as my lymphedema management.

I had scaled back the manual draining to once a day. I was bandaging each night, but only wearing it for about 8-9 hours at most. I also was not wearing my compression sleeve all of the time during the day. I had definitely taken a step back just to see what would happen.  At the same time, I upped my activity level.  Particularly regarding upper body exercises with weights. I was using 3 pound weights, but doing the "Ripped in 30" workout every day.  The second level of the workout had a LOT of exercises in plank/pushup position. So even the cardio intervals were hitting my arms, shoulders and chest with strength training.  I don't have sore muscles in my arms, but I suspect I created a perfect storm which allowed my arm to swell a little bit.

It's not a huge deal. Luckily, I measure weekly so I was able to catch it early before it got out of control.  To address the situation, I'm back to twice a day massage, bandaging for longer, and wearing the compression sleeve more during the day. I also decided not to do the Jillian DVD every day like I had originally planned on doing. I can still workout, just not so hard on the upper body. Slow progression is going to be key, I think.  So maybe it will take me 60 or 90 days to get "ripped" instead of 30. It's frustrating, because I could have done it a year ago. But a lot has changed, and I need to meet my body where it is at now.

I'm still planning on the 5k on Sunday.  Olivier is going to run a 1 mile race in the "Junior Carlsbad" tomorrow. It should be a lot of fun for us both. I was looking around a bit online to see what people's times were for a 5k.  Some were talking about 20 minute times. Seriously?  I haven't even broken 30 minutes yet.  Even at that, I thought I was going to die! So now I'm a little worried about coming in last like a snail. Not that I'm competing against other people. I just don't want to embarrass myself! Yikes.

Anyway, please pray that my swelling is able to get under control. I wouldn't mind prayers for lots of energy and endurance on Sunday morning at about 8 a.m. Pacific time as well.

1 comment:

  1. Good that you're being sensible & paying attention to the swelling! You're doing all the right things. I know it's frustrating, though.

    Good luck Sunday! Nobody else's time matters - it's your race. Have fun!