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.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The thorn on the rose

I'm writing this post from France.  We are having a pretty good time so far, having been here for nearly a week now. Everyone is getting along, and even the in laws and I are getting along. Jean-Marc is charming the socks off of them, of course.

We've been pretty busy. Every day has some sort of activity or destination.  We've biked the gardens of Versailles, walked the streets of Paris, toured the battlefields of Verdun, and toured the Loire countryside. This week, Eric and I will take a few days to ourselves and go to Strasbourg. In between, there have been the typical French lunches with family and friends that take hours.

I'm trying to get my workouts in as much as I can, but it is really hard. Another difficult thing is all of the delicious food that is being presented to me by our French relatives. It is yummy, of course. But it is also very lacking in vegetables and whole grains. I was happy today to be given some fresh from the garden beets from Eric's uncle. I sauteed some of the greens with garlic and had that for dinner. I was really missing my greens.  Despite this, it has been a pretty good trip.

There is one thorn in this rose, however. Yesterday while we were in the Loire Valley celebrating my mother in law's 80th birthday, I noticed that my left forearm had a different texture to it. It didn't look huge, but it was "harder" than the other arm. There was some swelling that was noticeable to my eye. We were spending the night in a hotel and planning on coming back "home" today. After I noticed this I was preoccupied for the rest of the day and was anxious to get back to the hotel to do a good session of manual drainage and bandage for the night.

Once we got back, I discovered that in the chaos of packing and getting everyone out of the house early, my bandages were left back at the house. I kind of flipped out. All I could do was to massage and hope for the best. As I massaged, I did not feel any kind of tingling or movement. All I felt was the hardness of my arm.  It had been two days since I had any significant exercise. I was missing my vegetables and feeling like an overfed piggie.  I resolved to get up early the next morning and do some Jillian videos in our tiny room.  (I would have run, but was afraid I would get lost in the village we were in! Instead, I did level 2 and level 1 of the 30 day shred from my iPod!)

As I tried to sleep in the uncomfortable bed, I tried not to freak out. All I could do was to try and rest. I also planned to drink extra water the next day.  The lymphatic system drains into the bladder so the more you pee, the better you can drain.

We are back at Eric's parents house now and will measure my arm tonight before I massage again and bandage. I'll add some foam to the forearm and wear it longer tomorrow morning.  I think I'll also wear the compression sleeve most of the day as well. That is, when I'm not fully bandaged.

I'd appreciate your prayers that this swelling get under control.  I'm not going to let it ruin the trip, but it is a thorn on an otherwise pretty lovely rose.

Jean-Marc and I right before I noticed the swelling

1 comment:

  1. Tonya,
    I know this must be kind of freaking you out, but it sounds like you're doing all the right things. Ten days ago I flew from Texas to California and back and for the first time in seven years, forgot my lymphedema sleeve. Eeek!! Thank you, God, that I had not problems, but I did my exercises as well.

    So wise of you not to let this spoil your trip. I have lifted you up in prayer.