Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Good news all around

Yesterday was my follow up with Dr. Kominsky, my Oncologist. He is such a nice guy, I'm glad they put me with him. My follow up appointment was easy and no stress. We had a chat about how I was doing with the Tamoxifen, and since I've got very few side effects, things will stay the same. I have a follow up with him every six months for the five years while on Tamoxifen. Next spring I go for a blood test to check my hormone levels, then go see Dr. Kominsky. Easy Peasy!
My follow up mammogram will be coming up next month, I'm hoping later rather than sooner, as I'm still sore from the radiation. The thought of them taking my breast and trying to flatten it like a pancake between two metal plates is not pleasant! Maybe they'll do a "gentle" mammogram? And maybe I'll loose 40 lbs before Christmas!
The UPS truck arrived at my house just minutes after I got home yesterday. I opened up my box and it was full of goodies. As everyone knows, October is Awareness Month. There have been a lot of articles about corporations just using pink as a draw for customers, so read the fine print if you choose to shop pink to support the cause. My choice is the Komen Foundation. I did a little retail therapy there, and I know 25% of my purchase price goes directly to their organization.
Pictures to follow
Have a great day!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Follow up from Follow Up

Things are going great. I've had terrific results at physio with my arm and the swelling, (or lack there of). Now my program is wearing the glove* every day, and the sleeve two days on, one day off. Today is an off day and it feels really good. Measurements are all in line with what they should be, now the goal is to KEEP it this way. Moving and lifting and generally being more physically active has made the difference.
New tests are showing that moderate exercise with weights is a positive for lymphedema patients. Moving and unpacking boxes falls into that catagory. So does Longarm Quilting. Standing with my arms at bust height, pushing and pulling and dragging the machine in all directions also counts as exercise. I need to exercise more!
This weekend has one chore on the job list. Sort and organize my fabric. I'm hoping to have that done before bedtime on Sunday. And the cable guy will arrive Sat morning and I'll be back to the land of the telephone/internet/cable.
Have a great weekend,
* I want to cover it with rhinestones and sell it on ebay when I'm done with it!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Beta Testing Complete

Yesterday was my physio appointment and the results were exactly what I had expected. My arm became more swollen from the elbow to the hand, yet my upper arm had reductions of almost 1 inch in some places. Plus, the extra soreness that I was experiencing under my arm, along my rib cage and around and under my breast had greatly diminished. I still have the soreness from the radiation, that will take months to go away.
So now what?
Wrapping is a great method to reduce the swelling, but it's a PITA. Compression sleeve is so easy, but giving me side effects that are not good. So my new test is now going to be wrapping one day and compression sleeve the next day. Doing nothing at night is still on my adjenda, as I need to sleep. That is a priority in all of this.
Why am I posting? Because I don't know who will read this or get directed to this blog. Maybe it will help someone else realize that things happen in this journey and you have to roll with it. It sucks, I wish my arm was "normal". But it's not, I have to deal with this. If I leave it, it swells, becomes uncomfortable, and will increase my risk of infection from small issues like a cat scratch or a hangnail. So I am continuing in my quest to make this better with the least impact on my day to day life.
Lymphedema is a strange deal, everyone is different. But it's something that is manageable. Cancer isn't. Would I change any of my decisions, not a chance. I needed the surgery, I needed the radiation. These things have given me life. Without them, I might not be here typing this right now.

^^Click on picture for a better view. From Innovations in Tacoma 2009^^

I'm moving forward, I'm moving into my new home this weekend. My first home, mine! How great is that. A fenced yard for my dog and cat.
Yes, life gives some crap some times, but the best flowers need fertilizer!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Test results tomorrow

Tomorrow morning I have my appointment with the physiotherapist. She has no idea I've bailed on the sleeve/wrap situation so it will be very interesting what my measurements are. My underarm area is feeling really good. I still have to continually stretch, the radiation is still working it's fun effects on the muscles under the arm, but the tenderness to touch has been reduced. I've been packing and moving boxes, I quilted a huge quilt this weekend, and I have not been wearing my sleeve, nor wrapping. So the results will be interesting. I think my lower arm has swollen, and my upper arm has gone down. The proof will be in the tape measurements!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Beta Testing

I'm free, finally free....of any bandages, gloves, compression sleeves. Well, don't get too excited. I'm beta testing why my shoulder and underarm area is so sore and why my upper arm has gotten bigger. OK, I know I need to knock off the bread, but since only my upper arm is bigger, I have to run with "swollen" rather than weight gain!
I know this isn't going to be a long term deal, as my hand is swelling enough for me to notice it as soon as I wake up. But I'm persevering, and LOVING the feeling of freedom that this brings. My arm is as "naked as a jaybird". Hmm where did that expression come from? Wouldn't all birds be naked? It's just something my mom would have said.
The down side of all this is that I may end up back at the wrap, and that will not go over well with me, but I will do it. This month is going to busy with moving and unpacking, I'm hoping all this will help build up more strength in this arm. I know, that's why they have gyms, and weights. Ya, ya, not my deal.
Until next time

Friday, October 2, 2009

October is Here

This is October, so it means that it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It's not like we need a dedicated month to be aware of breast cancer. We are female, we have boobs; that should be enough for us.
There are a ton of places that are involved in supporting the "Race for a Cure" and it doesn't matter who you are, there are companies and products out there that you can buy to support the cause. Do you like chocolate? Buy pink M & M's. On the healthier side? Yougurt with the pink lids Click here. Yes, it's only 10 cents per lid, but they add up. Every dime helps. Lots of people making a small contribution adds up to a very large amount, so be part of the process.
Feel good about "buying PINK" and know that when you hear the news that your sister or friend or aunt or mother has been diagnosed with Breast Cancer, that you have helped work towards a cure for her!
Because it will happen.
You will hear this news again, it might even be you.