Posts from the ‘lymphedema’ Category


So, as always, I’ll be plain.

I’ve had elbow pain on and off since about January, so when my oncologist’s office called to reschedule my 6 month appointment (which had accidentally scheduled for 5 months), I declined  because I wanted to ask her about it.

She felt a lump on my cancer side on my rib under my arm.   Which could be pinching nerves in my elbow.


It could be fatty necrosis from reconstruction and a lymphedema issue in my elbow.

Yes, I’m scared.  Yes, it’s more likely fatty necrosis than cancer.  So I’m trying not to freak too much.  But.  The thing about cancer is it seems to be unpredictable.

So chant with me please.  Fatty necrosis.  Fatty necrosis.  F-A-T-T-Y necrosis.


Random last thoughts for 2009

1.  The kids participated in their first Christmas pageant.  If I’ve learned anything as a music teacher, programs go however they go.  Sometimes they way you planned them.  And sometimes not.  Either way it usually makes a good story.  Our good story is this: after two rather flawless rehearsals where J dutifully pretended to eat hay, he melted during the show.  Literally and metaphorically.  Heh.  In his costume, he looked more like Cousin It, than a donkey.  Probably because he wouldn’t wear the ears.  So anyway, we were sitting in the back so this is mostly second hand information.  Apparently, he and the sheep were wrestling (behind the altar of course) and he bonked his head on the floor.  Well add that to being tired and overheated and he was done.  I kind of wish I could have seen the barnyard brawl.

Overheated donkey with a sleepy sheep. (They are friends :) )

An overheated donkey and a sleepy sheep.

L did a wonderful job as Mary.  She took her role very seriously.  And there was no throwing the baby Jesus down the stairs like she used to do with her baby dolls.  Whew.  (Mom!  I’m seven years old now!  Sheesh!  is what she says every time I tell that story.)

Having a little chat with an angel.

2.  Christmas was wonderfully laid back.  I was in charge of bringing the salad and dessert.  Score!  AND I got a Snuggie.  🙂

3.  I was noticing the other day that one of the many “gifts” cancer has given me is the ability to swallow a large amount of pills at once.  With coffee.

4.  Wii Fit Plus is awesome.  I especially like being the bird.  I like the bicycle riding, but I have a tendency to get lost.  So I really get my exercise when I play.  I am also appalled at my computational skills.  There is a game where you have to bump numbers with your behind to add up to 10.  You’d think I’d be able to add to 10.  You’d think.  Darn negative numbers.

5.  I just paid the bill for my lymphedema sleeve.  And now it’s time for a new one.  Woo.  I think I might get a crazy color one this time.  Or tie dye my old one.

6.  I read my horoscope over at  the Yahoo main page today.  It says I’m very productive today.  Heh.  I guess I sort of was.  Still have so much to do though.  Tomorrow. It also says, “Your new commitment to self has given you a renewed appreciation of the your divine wisdom and accomplishments.”  Heh.  I especially like the “of the your”.

7.  Have a Happy New Year, everybody! Don’t let bad grammar or the inability to add ruin your evening.  It’s not ruining mine.  Grins.

Home Again

Today’s blog is not for the faint of heart or stomach, o fearless readers.   So finish your sandwich or latte and come back when it’s well digested.

You were warned.  🙂

So Monday I went to the hospital and spent most of the day under anesthesia while my surgeons did the complete right mastectomy (pathology was clear on that by the way, yay!) and created a couple of  frankenboobs in their place.  Something I did this time around was look for as many pictures of my procedure as I could so I had a pretty good idea what to expect.  There is a thread on the Young Survival Coalition bulletin board that I highly recommend to people that is devoted to reconstruction.  Brave young women post anonymous pictures of themselves at various stages of their reconstruction so that people like me can get a better idea of what it really looks like.  I plan to post mine as well (though I forgot to take a “before” picture).  Paying it forward and all.  So basically my surgeons are very pleased with how the skin looks (I sort of think frankenlefty looks like a baseball.)  And based on the pictures I saw, my recon is right on schedule.

My chest feels pretty tight (ironically like I’m wearing a bra).  The expanders are in place and I’m pretty sure the plastic surgeon said frankenrighty is already 2/3 expanded.  I have a bazillion medicines to take and I have to admit it freaks me out a little.  I made the rookie mistake of taking 4 ibuprofen at the same time as 2 percocet.  My stomach quickly reprimanded me for that.  I have to give myself  a shot of blood thinner every day.  Which also freaks me out a bit.  Better that than clots though.

As usual, I felt like I received great care at our local hospital.  My room was huge.  Corner suite (or “isolation room” as they call it.)  Apparently word got out about what a scary patient I am.  Grins.  By Wednesday I was regularly walking laps around the cancer ward (I started calling it the Poop Loop.  Anyone who has had surgery can figure that one out.)  The hospital was testing their alarm system on Thursday.  Woo.  One time the alarm was Code Red, so I stuck my head out the door and asked the nurses if we were supposed to be walking out single file.  You can take the teacher out of the school and all…

So lots of people came to visit me at the hospital and I thank everybody who came by 🙂  I had been trying to figure out whether to put my compression sleeve back on and my physical therapist (thanks for visiting!) reminded me that I actually have 4 drains on that side right now and that my arm is probably at an all time low in terms of edema.  Which it was.  I could actually slip all the identification bands off my left arm without cutting them by Thursday.  

So I have 6 drains that I will probably have for a while.  Last time I only had 2 and I had them for weeks.  I still think it’s kind of weird that we have to drain and measure the liquid every day. 

So anyway, that’s what I’m doing, where I’ve been.  I am glad to be home again.

The L word

Lymphedema.  Bleah.  Next to chemo it’s sort of the other great unknown in the cancer world.  I know BC (Before Cancer), I had never even heard of it.  I take that back.  I had heard of it by watching those shows about the really big people on the Learning Channel and it was primarily in their legs.  It was definitely not something I associated with cancer.

I had my evaluation last Monday, and I was right.  My left arm was 2 cm larger than my right, and my left hand is swollen.  It hasn’t spread to the fingers yet.  I’m currently in a temporary compression sleeve until I can get the permanent one.  And the gauntlet.  Yep.  Gauntlet.  Awesome.  The lymphedema therapist recommends I wear it 5 out of 7 days.  For the long haul.  I’m not sure how I feel about that.  Annoyed mostly.  I also have been doing Lebed exercises to open the lymphatic channels.

Some of my girls over at Mothers with Cancerhave been dealing with this for a while and have been very supportive.  (Still waiting for that lymphedema post, WhyMommy.  *grins)