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, June 24, 2011


The kids and I finished our first week of summer swimming lessons today.  I signed the two older kids up for the advanced class which gives them 30 minutes of lap swimming and help refining their strokes. Olivier is going to be doing the lifesaving merit badge at boy scout summer camp, so this will help him get familiar with swimming again.  I am doing a mommy and me class with Jean-Marc. He's technically old enough to do a preschooler class on his own, but this is his first time in a swimming class, so I'm doing it with him. I did it for the other two kids as well. We weren't able to do any lessons last summer...I was in the thick of cancer what-ifs, decision making, and surgery.   My mom referred to it as "the lost summer."  That is a good description of it. Life came to a screeching halt and nothing was normal.

So we are back to life after taking a summer off.  The novelty for me is donning a bathing suit with my foobies. I was told that I could wear them in the water, I just have to wash them off and let them air dry afterwards. It looks kind of bizarre to see these disembodied boobs drying on my bathroom counter, I must say.  I have 3 suits from Land's End. They make several of their suits with mastectomy pockets on the top. I actually had a bikini from last summer that, upon inspection, had the pockets. Nifty. I was able to buy a top to match a new suit that I bought last summer, and then I bought a whole new suit.

This week was my "test run" of the of the foobies-in-water.  So far, I've worn two of the three suits. I realized something today, though. Jean-Marc and I were in his class, and I'm leading him around doing our activities. I glanced down and noticed that the tops of my foobies were coming out of the dark navy blue suit top. Yikes!

Note to self, as well as bathing suit manufacturers:  Put the pockets on the side of the suit, not the top.  I think that navy suit will be relegated to sunbathing and not water activities. The rest of the class, I was self-conscious and kept having to tuck the foob back in the suit.

That's right. Foobies float.  And they will float right out of the top of my suit if I'm not careful!  If I thought they looked strange on my bathroom counter, imagine the shock of the teenage swimming teacher to see them floating in the pool!


  1. Hi. First time I have read your blog which I found through your comment on Julie Goodale's blog, Fitness for Survivors. I am at high risk/borderline for lymphedema and do manual lymph drainage massage 2X a day. Do you wear the bandages all the time (saw a pic on your site)? Do you wear a compression sleeve?

  2. Hi Gillian! Right now, I am down to just bandaging at night. I wear the compression sleeve when I work out. I measure my arm in 5 cm intervals and monitor my swelling. If it starts to creep up, I bandage longer and spend more time on the manual drainage. It's just a matter of keeping an eye on it and managing it as my arm/hand change.

  3. Thinking of your foobies floating on the water, yup I can only imagine the surprised look on the faces of those in the pool. This is my first summer post mastectomy (I had bilteral)Even though I have implants I have found bathing suits to still be quite a challenge. It's just not as easy as picking up where you left off BC

  4. Tonya,
    I have never been a fan of bathing suits and now even less so. I, too, have one from Land's End that is pretty good. With young kids you can't really stay out of the water, so good for you!! I love your sense of humor about your floating foobies. The shocked look on one of those teenage faces would be a sight to behold! And last summer really was a dud for both of us wasn't it? That's putting it mildly! Hope you enjoy this one.