Monday, June 29, 2009

my swollen arm

Just been to see the lymph lady. Found out - from the reminder SMS i received just after 7am this morning - that she is an occupational therapist, rather than the phyiotherapist I presumed she was. But super qualified and liked the fact that when i filled in th obligatory form at the practice, it included a pamphlet about who is she and what she does and where she has studied etc. Very helpful - and reassuring.
Anyway, here's the situation (and for once I did not take notes): my left arm is swollen. In one place it is 1/2cm more than the right arm. Thought my t-shirt felt a little tight yesterday but thought I was imagining it. It could be caused my the infection I have cos my chest area is badly burnt. (I phoned the radiotherapists today to check if it was usual to have such a rapid deterioration - a week ago when I went for my last treatment it was light pink - and they said, yes, cos now have full dose of radiation in me and the effect is accumulative. Was told not to worry if it peels but that my week three it should start getting better. Great.)
Anyway, am seeing the lymph lady again next week, on Tuesday, and will know then or the week thereafter if it's lymphoedema. Until then, have been given massaging exercises to do at home, twice a day, and no arm cycle or anything with weights in the gym.
Forgot to ask re yoga so think I had better not go.
Oh and was given reading and quite frankly, if i do have lymphoedema it is far far worse than just a swollen arm which does not go down. Prone to infection and anything can set it off, and so on. Fakking dreadful.
And the words which kept echoing all the way home was: "Many people who have had breast cancer say the lymphoedema is the most challenging part. You brace yourself for chemo and you get over it. Then you get over the radiation. Then comes the lymphoedema."
She also explained why I was prone to it. First, the cancer was found in the lymph. Secondly, I was radiated over such a broad area. So they have whacked all the lymph glands there. Then they don't know how many lymph glands i have in that area. If only a few, and they are all whacked, then I am fakked. Also, some people have another pathway or something like that around the upper arm area. Don't know if I do.
Either way, all sounds bloody dreadful. Not sure how much more I can deal with, how much more I feel like dealing with but obviously will fight this with everything I have.

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