I continue to struggle with my lymphedema. I'm fairly certain that the swelling is a result of my training for the 3 Day. Last week, I logged over 47 miles. Last weekend, I did my first "back to back" which consisted of 15 miles on Friday (in the rain) and then 18 on Saturday.
Everyone swells when they walk. Next time you walk for an hour or so, check out your hands-your fingers will probably be a little puffy. So part of it is normal. For me, the swelling isn't going down.
I'm not freaking out about it. I know how to handle it and what to do. Although I am swelling, I am doing all I can do to keep it under control. I'm actually enjoying the accomplishment of walking double digit distances, even if swelling is a byproduct of it.
I ordered a custom sleeve-a Circaid Juxta-Fit. It came in last Friday and I had been using it ever since. It is so easy! You just slide the sleeve on, and then wrap the criss crossing velcro straps around the arm. It takes about 2 minutes. But my physical therapist warned me that it wasn't as effective as bandaging. It's a tough thing, because bandaging takes a long time. Not only putting it on, but rolling it back up to be ready for the next time. If you are pressed for time, or tired at night, the Juxta-Fit is better than nothing. I decided to order the sleeve because I didn't want to be messing around with rolling bandages during the 3 Day.
Maybe I'm not putting the Juxta-Fit on quite right. I probably need to schedule an appointment with my physical therapist to have her train me further on it. I could probably benefit from her expert manual drainage massage as well.
Today I did 5 miles. After I showered, my hand and arm really seemed to be swollen. I took the time to do some manual drainage and then put on the bandages. I put some foam on the back of the hand and on the inside of my forearm and bandaged over it. I've been wearing the bandages all day. Tonight, I'll do another manual drainage session and put the bandages on for the night. I plan on wearing them as close to 24 hours a day as I can for a few days and see what happens.
It is a real pain to be bandaged from my fingertips up my arm. Especially when you like to cook for your family and have everyday chores around the house to do.
Despite all of this, I really am excited about the walk. I didn't enjoy training at first. It still isn't as efficient as running, and I look forward to getting back to running later this month. But once I got over double digits, it really feels good. It is amazing to think...I walked 18 miles today! Seriously? 18 miles! For you locals, we walked from Carlsbad Village to downtown Encinitas down the coast. It is incredible what the human body can do with some practice.
I'd appreciate your prayers about my arm. I'm doing all I can do for it, and it is frustrating to feel like its not helping. I have to keep thinking....if I wasn't doing all of this, what state would my arm and hand be in??
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.