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, August 25, 2011

Michelin girl

Just call me the Michelin girl. Not the green travel guides that are stacked neatly on my bookshelf, although I did schlep 3-4 of them with me over the Atlantic on my recent vacation.

It's the arm.  I'm not sure what exactly is causing it. Perhaps its a combination of several factors: the travel; the heat; probably gaining a couple pounds from the different diet during vacation.Whatever it is, my left arm is noticeably puffier. Last night, I was flossing my teeth and zoning at my image in the mirror. Not really thinking, just wanting to get into bed as soon as possible.  I'm still jet-lagged and had been up since 2 a.m. the night before.

Since both arms were bent with elbows facing the mirror, I was able to compare the two. The left was much rounder than the right on the inner part of the elbow. I could feel the puffieness when I bent my arm throughout the day. Kind of like having a swollen joint from a bee sting (without the pain.)

Sigh. I've been massaging daily and wrapping each night.  I even did it when we arrived home after nearly 24 hours in transit. 

I need to be a little more aggressive. Last night I did a really thorough manual drainage and concentrated extra time on the problematic part of the arm. I decided to attack it with a chip bag on the forearm and foam on the upper arm.  That isn't an easy maneuver-I need Eric to hold the bag and foam in place while I secure it with the bandaging. I finished wrapping around 9 p.m. and wore it until after my workout this morning at 10:30 a.m.  It was a little difficult to work out with the wrapped arm, but I remember my physical therapist telling me that the best thing I could do is work out in the bandaging.  After my shower, I did manual drainage again and put on my Juzo compression sleeve. Perhaps I should have re-wrapped. But it is very hot right now and the thought of doing my child-fetching errands this afternoon with 5 layers of bandaging on is not very appealing. Plus, some of the bandaging was wet with sweat. (It was a good workout!)

I have not yet measured the arm. I'll do that later when Eric gets home. It will be interesting to compare it to the measurements I took when the swelling started in France.

My prayer request is that this episode of swelling goes away. I need to have it under control before the 3-Day Walk in November. I would rather not be messing around with bandaging at that time. Its going to be exhausting enough just walking 60 miles in 3 days. I don't mind wearing a compression sleeve, but the bandaging is unwieldy and cumbersome. I'll do it if I have to-I'm not going to let lymphedema interfere with my plans!

Thank you for your support!


  1. I just left this comment and it disappeard, so if it shows up twice, apoligies. Just getting back to blogging and stopping by to see how you're doing. Sorry to hear the arm's been acting up, but perhaps you have just been over doing it as you said. Hope it's better now. My best.

  2. Oh and maybe you can fix my spelling error. Apologies again!