Monday, August 23, 2010

good news

Am so relieved. My arm is back to normal. That does not mean, however, that I no longer need to wear the compression sleeve. I do. But only until my arm stabilises.
So now I need to pray that it will stay down next week.
It's funny. Funny strange, not funny ha-ha. I had started to develop this habit of pulling down my t-shirt sleeve (long-sleeved t-shirt despite the increasingly hot weather as we approach summer here in South Africa) so that nobody could see the part of the compression sleeve which covers my hand.
Now, because I know there is now a good chance that my arm will stabilise and I won't have to wear this compression sleeve permanently, I no longer mind who sees it for after all, it is just a precautionary, temporary measure. Suddenly I feel lighter in step, things seem better all around... disgraceful that a few millimetres on my arm can do that. But the implications of having lymphedema are too ghastly to contemplate.
It is not just the swelling. It is the infections that can come with disfunctional lymph. Ok, I do have disfunctional lymph, following radiotherapy for breast cancer in the lymph, but if my arm is not swollen, if I don't have to wear a compression sleeve and can wear my normal clothes - that is, short sleeves and sleeveless tops and dresses - and just have to do manual lymph drainage massage twice a day, it's ok. And yes, I do find the massage pretty time-consuming, but it is a billion times better than wearing the sleeve which is not only unsightly, but affects what I can wear and is damn itchy.
The Lymph Lady said she thinks the compression garments absorb moisture from the skin (clearly others find it itchy too). I said I thought it was cos I have dry skin from having thyroid problems. I am covered from head to toe in creams: a multitude on my face, special diabetic cream on my feet (don't have diabetes but it was recommended by a podiatrist cos my feet are so dry although don't have yucky heels cos have regular pedicures), and an endless array of creams on my body - E45 on my neck where it is still itchy sometimes from the radiation treatment, thicky Nivea almond cream where I had radiation cos it's close to normal pH value means bacteria cannot thrive so I cannot get an infection and so it helps prevents lymphedema (lympedema can both cause infection and by caused by it), as well as aqueous cream on the rest of my body and Clarins hand cream.
Oh, it is just too wonderful to think I might not need to wear a compression sleeve. And so, having to get up early to drive to Northcliff to get a special glove to assist with putting on the sleeve is nothing, a minor irritation. The sleeve was digging into my upper arm cos my arms are short and it was reaching to under my armpit, and so this glove helps move it down.

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