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.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Thorn in the flesh update

So after throwing myself a pity party on Monday night, I got a good night of sleep. Things definitely felt better in the morning, even if my arm was still puffy.  It helped to go to bible study the next morning and be supported by my sisters in Christ there. I realized that lymphedema is my thorn in the flesh. We all have one. This one is mine. It's a bummer because it reminds me of the fact that my body has been forever changed by what happened three years ago. I can run miles and miles, do things I never thought I could physically do. But I will forever be changed because of breast cancer.

I've been pretty aggressive about staying wrapped in my full set of bandages most of the time. I let my arm out for air for a few hours in the late afternoon. Otherwise, I'm all wrapped up, or at a minimum I have my compression garments on. It is hard to move the arm all wrapped up, but I think that is what helps move the fluid through-the combination of compression and movement.

Is it working? I think so. I just had Eric re-measure my arm. This is now 48 hours since the last measurements.  Here is where I stand as of this afternoon:

goals best 03/25/13 03/27/13
Knuckles under 20.0 19.2 19.2 19.3
Wrist under 16.0 15.8 16.5 16.1
5 c.m. under 17.5 16.5 18.8 19
10 c.m. under 21.5 21.3 23.5 24
15 c.m. under 25.0 24.5 28 26.5
20 c.m. under 26.0 25.5 27.3 26.5
25 c.m. under 26.6 26 28 27
30 c.m. under 28.5 27.9 29.4 28.7
35 c.m. under 30.0 29.7 31 30.6

Numbers in black means that the measurement is on target. Numbers in orange mean that it has improved (gone down), but still is too big. Red means they have increased.

At first I was bummed to see a couple of reds, but when you look at it, they are only up .5 cm at most. My physical therapist always said that a change of 1 cm was the threshold of being significant. So a .2 and a .5 increase isn't a huge deal-in fact, it can be attributed to variances in the measurement. (Yeah...let's blame Eric for bad measuring, lol!)  But when you look at the orange numbers and compare them to the reds from 2 days ago, the decrease is significant in several places.

So we are going in the right direction. I just need to keep doing what I'm doing for awhile longer. Ideally, I'd like to be back in the black in all spots. I'm not sure where I started, honestly. I had gotten lazy about taking care of it and I know my arm was bigger in some places.

I appreciate everyone's prayers and support. I have been blessed this week with so many friends showing concern and love. Thank you so much.

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