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, September 7, 2012

Complacent no more!

I'm happy to report my lymphedema seems to have gotten under control. All it took was taking the time to take care of it: doing the massage nightly; wrapping; and staying bandaged longer. I also started using "chip bags"as part of my bandaging on my hand and forearm.  I can once again wear my wedding rings without worrying that I will be unable to get them off!

It was a wake up call for me, though. I had spent most of the summer not massaging, and only wrapping a fraction of the time. Even with our trip to France, I was spared swelling. So I began to take it for granted. This latest episode has shaken me out of my complacent place. Especially now as my mileage for the 3 Day begins to increase. This week was a "rest' week with only 20 miles, but next week I'm in for 30! Keeping my arm bandaged for some of these long walks has definitely helped, although it has been difficult with the hot weather.

I was not so happy to see that I've crept up a few pounds on the scale today. Yikes. Another place of complacency that is being shaken. Considering all of my exercise, I haven't been careful about what I'm putting in my mouth, and the scale doesn't hide it! So I'm back to counting calories. I'll admit...the past couple weeks, I've indulged in wine, dessert, and too many snacks. (Like the huge bag of yogurt raisins I bought at Costco and pretty much finished off myself in a week!)  I've gone past my "no go" number by a pound and its time to get serious again. Its ridiculous considering the amount of exercise I do!  If I'm careful about what I put in, I should be feeling good again in a few weeks. (Just in time for my 25th high school reunion in October!)

I still am dealing with bursitis in my hip, but that I'm told takes a very long time to go away. I can't exactly stop using it. So I'm icing it, taking anti-inflammatories, and not sleeping on my left side. On the good side, my left foot/heel seems to be dealing with getting back into walking and running.  I've added foot stretches and rolling my feet on a golf ball as part of my cool down.  I guess this is another area where I am no longer complacent!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Status update

It has been a busy few weeks. The kids started school again 2 weeks ago. Isabelle and Jean-Marc are each doing swimming 2 times a week, so I find myself on the road being the taxi again.

My plantar facitis seems to have abated, thank God. However, when it first flared up in July, I compensated by walking on the outer part of my left foot, which caused my hip to have problems. I saw my chiropractor last week to make sure that it wasn't cancer. (I know, I know.) But Dr. P's way of monitoring in between check ups is to tell me, "If you have a pain that doesn't go away, come see me." This hip pain is officially bursitis.  My chiropractor nailed it right off by comparing my right and left side.  I also got a really good adjustment in the process. He did tell me that my foot felt much better than the last time I was in. Yay! Anyway,  Dr. Google tells me the remedies for bursitis are ice, anti-inflammatories, and rest. Hm.  Okay, well 2 out of 3 should help, right? If it got really bad, I could get a cortisone shot in the hip. I don't know if I would ever go there, though. I had one once...and it is a very traumatic memory. 

The thing is, I don't want to rest. I love to exercise. Plus, I officially started my 3 Day training a few weeks ago. While its not as rewarding as running (burning half the calories in twice the time), I do know that it is important if I want to be able to walk the entire 60 miles. So I've been walking a lot more the past few weeks. Rest really isn't an option at this point.  I'm in a groove! Here is my Garmin calendar to prove it for the month of August. 

With my foot problems, I've gotten into other forms of exercise more. I took 3 weeks off of any impact and for cardio did stationary bike riding and swimming. Now I'm all inspired to tackle a triathalon at some point. Yesterday, I swam 2,300 yards in an hour. 1,100 of them were freestyle, non-stop. This morning, a friend from church loaned me a bike that I can try out. I'm excited to give it a try. Cycling is a whole new world for me.  I half-jokingly told my parents this morning...I need a cycling outfit! Maybe something in pink? :-)

Anyway, one problematic issue that seems to have cropped up is my lymphedema. I had a small pain on my left hand for a few days. I'm not sure where it came from, but it definitely felt tender, like a bruise. It also has been very hot, and I have been walking, which tends to make me swell. I noticed last week my hand was puffy, so I started being more diligent about wearing bandages or my custom Juxta-Fit sleeve at night. I even did the manual drainage massage a few nights. But when I do, I'm not getting that "tingly" feeling that tells me that the lymph is moving. So far, it does not seem to have helped. I wore my nighttime wrapping/bandaging the last 2 mornings walking to no avail. Today, I'm wearing my compression sleeve and glove during the day. For the past year or so, I've only worn it while exercising. But I can tell through the glove (even more coverage/compression than the gauntlet) that my hand is puffy. I'm thinking that maybe I need to go and see my physical therapist to get "unstuck" from where I am. She's good at the drainage and can probably get it moving for me. It's not life threatening, but it is a bummer to look down and see my hand all puffy.  Eric and I measured my hand and arm today for the first time in about a year, and I measured a centimeter up at most points on my arm. Sigh. So I guess I need to get more aggressive with my bandaging. Great.

It's a pain, but its okay. I can deal with it. That's life, and it could be so much worse. I'm grateful that at least I know to be on guard for this and can spot it as it happens. I've been given the tools to deal with it too, which is something that many women do not have. In any event, any prayers that you all could lift for me on this would be greatly appreciated.