Monday, August 31, 2009

Thought for the Day

Cancer, it's not for sissies!


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

In case you are wondering

This is what it means to "wrap" my arm. Click here At least I use cotton quilting batting instead of foam, I couldn't imagine using that! It sucks! Friday I go to Seattle to work towards "the next stage".

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Working towards a new goal

This should be my last week of having to wrap my arm in compression bandages. Thank goodness I wasn't doing this during the heat wave in July. Wrapping your arm with quilt cotton batting and then bandages from knuckles to the armpit is not high on the "hot weather" attire! Every Physio appointment my arm is measuring smaller and smaller....hmmmm, I wonder if I could use this for my thighs ;-).
Friday the 28th, I head to the Seattle area to get measured for a custom glove and sleeve and that will be great. I'm having quilting withdrawals, but on the up side, I have given up housework. I figure if scrubbing floors, toilets and doing vacumming is going to aggravate my arm and quilting is going to aggravate my arm, I'm going to pay someone to clean so I can quilt. It was amazing to come home from work this week to a shiny house. The cleaning fairies came while I was at work and did their magic.
I am looking forward to having some more mobility in my arm, at this point I can't even scratch my nose, the lipstick is a little crooked these days, and I would have thought this would result in a few lbs. being lost, not so much!
It's Sunday, we are heading towards the end of summer and that means my favorite time of year is just around the corner. More new beginnings.....

Monday, August 17, 2009

Caution, Speed Bumps Ahead......

Or it could just be my arm that has been mistaken for a speed bump. Lymphedema, the wonderful side effects of the radiation. This started quite innocently. In case you didn't know, I'm a stress eater, so everything it tight! (What a surprise!) but when my arm seemed tight to bend it at the wrist, I thought it was was worth mentioning to the doctor. Skin should not feel too tight!
I'm now at physio and what a joy that it.
1. Take one long cotton tube and insert your arm into it....all the way to your armpit.
2. Take cotton quilting batting,(ok, even for a quilter this is tough to take), cut into strips. make a thumb hole and wrap whole arm in cotton batting.
3. Unwrap batting and insert the foamy disks in hand and inside elbow.
4. Re wrap arm, getting right up under the armpit.
5. Cut all your tape.....necessary to do this now!'
6. Take the narrowest compression bandage and start wrapping, making sure you are NOT bending your arm.
7. Keep wrapping, keep it all even, and keep wrapping until you have finished all the bandage rolls, (4 to be exact). Tape and just try to get a fork to your mouth.
8. Do this every day, sometimes 2 or 3 times a day. Don't get it too tight,your fingers will turn purple. Don't get it too loose, it will shift down and be very uncomfortable. Like it's really comfy when it's on correctly!
9. Enjoy!
10. Wear to bed at night. (I LOVE this step in the program)
All this is to get me to the point of using a compression sleeve. 3 - 4 weeks? Who knows when. This is a long drawn out process and it's a real pain. Advice? Yes, put on the bra BEFORE wrapping the arm in the a.m.
As me how I learned this one!
I'll save my Tamoxifen fun for my next far this "new normal" isn't very normal!

Thursday, August 6, 2009


These lilies are from my co workers garden and they smell fantastic. She brought them in for me to celebrate my completion of radiation. It really was a big day for me. 35 mornings driving almost 50 miles round trip. I didn't miss one appointment, because I knew they would tack it on at the end. Believe me, there were mornings I sat at my kitchen table staring into my coffee cup wondering if it was worth it. I know it was, I'm cancer free and I'm done!These beautiful flowers were sent to my office by my dear friends Paula and Jeff. I know they have bee cheering me on from the middle of their wheat fields in OR. Paula and I have talked and emailed our way through this journey together. She traveled higher mountains and rougher roads with her son, who turned 30 this year. Paula, you've been such a support to me, and I thank you for your friendship!
So once again, I close by saying,
Take time to smell the roses....or lilies...or whatever flower you happen to be passing by.

It's really here

My last day of treatment at the Cancer Center was Tuesday and I couldn't be happier. There is a little bit of sadness in this ending, and that is knowing that someone has been on the waiting list for my time slot. May they travel through their 35 days and quickly and smoothly as I did.
I had an early appointment on Wed in Bellingham so today was my first day to be at work at 8:00 a.m. It's crazy when having to show up for work on time is an exciting thing in your life!
I will continue to post as things all wind down and then I will leave this blog out here in blogland. Hopefully no one will need to read it, but I know better. There is a steady stream of new Breast cancer diagnosis going on all over, not only in North America, but all over the world.Click here to learn more about being a friend/support to someone diagnosed. It will happen again in your lifetime.
We are women and every day we get older. Those are the two biggest factors.
Smell some flowers today, I will!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Graduation day

Tomorrow is my big day, it's my LAST day of radiation. It's not my last day of waking up and thinking that I have to drive to Bellingham though. I start my physio appointments on Wed, the first of four. (if necessary) I'm thinking, yes, there will be four as any time I do anything for over 10-15 minutes my wrist and hand swells a little bit more. Like typing a bunch of emails, or quilting on my big machine, or doing some hand sewing, or, typing in numbers using the keypad on my keyboard at work. So work or play, they both bother my wrist. Maybe an attractive arm sock will be in my future. Once again, I can be thankful for some things; thankful that I couldn't get into the physio last week when it was over 90 degrees outside! Now that would have been fun with a nylon sock on my arm!
Things are definitely on the healing path, I'm peeling in more places and the "hot" has gone away. Now I'm just warm. If only the twinging, jabbing, twisting itches would disappear. They happen whenever, it doesn't matter what I am doing. Sometimes if I bend over it will happen and be strong enough to take my breath away, and other times, like right now, when I'm sitting down doing some typing, I just feel a "pinching" or "twisting" inside. The first reaction is to try to scratch, I've learned that's the LAST thing to do, that just stirs up a whole other situation!
OK enough of the nitty gritties for today.
Hip Hip Horay,
Tomorrows my last day!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

How do you spell relief?

^My New Best Friends^

E-P-S-O-M Salts. Wow, what a difference. The heat and the tenderness has been dramatically reduced by these short soakings of epsom salts. It's an old remedy that still works today. Tuck this in the back of your brain in case you get a sunburn sometime in the future. I have started to peel in some areas so the skin is now brown instead of red, and in other areas I can see the changes, things are on the mend.
Only 2 more days of radiation to go.........whoohoo!
Remember, next weekend is the 3 day walk so check out this post. Glo is walking for me and for everyone else out there who is dealing with this "crap". Help her make a difference, it will make you feel good if you do!