Archive for December 20th, 2012

The big L – that could be so many things, I’m not even going to venture a guess as to what you’re thinking! In my world right now it stands for lymphedema. Did you guess it? It’s not exactly a roll-off-your-tongue every day word, and I personally wish I didn’t know what it meant. But when I realized last night that the phlebitis had traveled into my hand and I held my two arms together, I had the feeling this might be happening. Then at work today my right arm was considerably more swollen than my left, and was confirmed by several of my colleagues. Off to Dana-Farber I went (hey, I had to be there for radiation anyway, so why not?) and it was confirmed: yup, lucky me, I can add lymphedema to the list!

It is early, so hopefully it will be contained. Without going into a ton of detail, I need to:

  • Wear my compression sleeve and glove during waking hours. Good thing I got it for the plane! Guess it’s not just for travel any more…
  • Keep doing the lymphatic massage that I learned last week at PT, as well as the exercises. Of course, this would be easier with a partner, but since I’m not with someone right now, it’s all me!
  • Ibuprofen – thank goodness I’m done with chemo and can have it again!
  • Warm compress

None of this is convenient or fun – especially this time of year when things are crazy enough. But it is what it is and I will deal with it and hopefully prevent it from getting worse. That’s kind of the name of the game right now – just deal with it. The daily trips to Dana-Farber for radiation – just deal with it. Taking the Tamoxifen (which I started Saturday) – just deal with it. The hot flashes – just deal with it. At least my hair is starting to grow back…

Oh! Speaking of hair, I got the sweetest compliment at work the other day: this older gentleman, who I have seen around but don’t really know, came up to me in the cafeteria and said, “I hope you don’t mind my saying this, but I have to tell you. I’ve always thought you were an attractive woman, but now that you’re bald, it’s obvious that it’s not hair that makes you attractive.” It was so nice of him, I really appreciated hearing that, especially so randomly.

Now speaking of random (or not so random) acts of kindness: I know I said I was done soliciting donations for Dana-Farber, but this is too good not to share. If you haven’t finished your shopping, consider giving the gift of a donation in someone’s honor. Now until December 31 you can use this special link www.dana-farber.org/yearend and your gift will be doubled! It only works through this link, and only until the end of the year, so don’t wait! And I guarantee anyone you give this gift to will truly appreciate it… I know all of us who frequent Dana-Farber thank you!!!

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