Monday, August 16, 2010

From highlights to The Sleeve

Feeling invigorated cos after months and months - well, to be exact, after losing my hair from chemo then it growing back and then having herceptin and being advised not to tint my hair - The Tango Man said I was free to tint my hair. This is despite the fact that Erica, the former head nurse who has since left the oncology centre, advised me to not to. But the doctor said I could, so I bunked a bit of work today and off I went.
Had highights - a mix of blonde, light brown and red - on my now multitude of curls (thanks to the chemo) and I decided I enjoy having different hair (so curly now) and am kinda enjoying growing it.
That's the good part.
The not-so-good part is that I have been wearing a compression sleeve for close to two weeks now. Praying that I won't have to post Wednesday when I see The Lymph Lady but today, for example, arm felt great all day till I got home and it felt like something was tightening around my upper arm. Bloody sore.
When I took it off just now to wash (almost 11pm), I noticed that for the first there are marks on my hand where it fits and also at the wrist - does this mean that my arm is now swollen there too?
Beginning to see how people with HIV/Aids must feel: disgusted with the horribleness in their body. That is how I feel about this lymph in my arm, the so-called borderline lymphedema.
And another dilemma I have is: what do you say to people, strangers like the trainee hairdresser washing your hair who says: "Oh, I just noticed now. Did not see the bandage before. What happened to your hand?" and you say: "It's a long story" which is a far from satisfactory answer. But why should I go into the whole spiel of "Oh, I had cancer and ...". I do not want sympathy.
One part of me now feels I must think of the sleeve as a bandage, that is what people see. The Yoga Man, however, feels I am now the advocate for a sleeve and should tell people what it is, that I am at risk of getting lymphedema but who, apart from those who have it/are at risk of it/know someone who has it, even knows what the hell that means? I need an easy answer for relative strangers eg work colleagues. Perhaps something like "have a problem with my arm/hand".

PS: My hair had a grey sheen to it when it first grew back. Now that is gone and it is very dark, with only a few, single, occasional grey hairs.

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