Wednesday, June 18, 2014


One of the biggest fears for survivors is recurrence. But another huge fear is the dreaded lymphedema (link). Obviously even survivor hopes neither happens. Unfortunately I'm one of the ones who now has to deal with lymphedema.

Its been a crazy month for us. The Tuesday after Memorial day my husband, George, was hospitalized with bleeding ulcers. He was in the hospital until Friday. The stress of your husband being in the hospital, plus holding down a full time job and being a parent is overwhelming. But we did it. He was treated and is now on medication (maybe for life) and he is feeling much better. The week after that I had what I thought was a sinus infection. It was a rough week. I also noticed that week that my right arm looked a little larger than my left arm.

I emailed my physical therapist on Tuesday and told her about the swelling and she brought me in on Friday for an appointment. She measured my arm and then did manual lymph drainage (link). Its interesting because MLD is very soft massage but it gets your lymph system moving. We decided that since the lymphedema was an early stage we should be aggressive and that I would get bandages on my arm the next week.

When I went in on Tuesday I had MLD again and then we started bandaging. I had NO idea how involved the bandages would be. I went back on Thursday to have them removed, have MLD again and get re-bandaged. I took them off on Saturday when I just couldn't take it anymore (I was allowed!).

I have to say that Tuesday and Wednesday were REALLY hard emotionally. I felt SO defeated by this stupid thing on my arm. It gave me such anxiety that I couldn't take it off- I mean I could have taken it off but I wasn't supposed to. I kept thinking I beat CANCER! Why do these foam and ace bandages have such a hold on me? It still really surprises me. I was totally fine with the bandages until I got it on on Tuesday and then I kept remembering all of the things that would be really hard for me to do- write, type, start my car, take my contacts out, put on make up! Oh and did I mention my husband was out of town that entire week? On top of barely having use of my right arm, I was all alone.
How my arm looked on Tuesday.

Wrapping my arm to shower by myself- seran wrap, garbage bag and medical tape. 

Everything that was on my arm. 
I go back this Friday to see my progress. I should be getting my sleeve in the mail tomorrow or Friday that I will wear everyday for the rest of my life. I am really hoping the rest of the swelling goes down soon and then we can just work on keeping the swelling gone and keeping the lymphedema at an early stage. Another option is to rebandage so that we can hopefully getting the swelling all the way down. We will see how the appointment goes on Friday.

On a happy note- I'm so excited that next month I will be holding my 2nd annual Fund It Forward event! I hope everyone can come and having a great time and spend a lot of money!