Monday, June 20, 2011

yoga vs lymph massage

The Yoga Man said that if only I could put weight on my arm and do inversions, I would not need to do manual lymph drainage massage.  That the inversions would do the trick and help keep lymphedema at bay.
Asked The Lymph Lady about it today and although we didn't discuss the value of yoga in fighting lymphedema (she has previously said it was good for me), she did say:
* yoga inversions help oedema/edema (swelling as opposed to lymphedema swelling); and
* the manual lymph drainage scores 'cos it opens up lymph nodes so that the lymph has somewhere to move to.
Apparently the internet is abuzz with how yoga helps lymphedema.These benefits are ,however, general ones rather than "as opposed to massage". Will research it, get The Lymph Lady's opinion, and report back.

Grrrr! Cross with myself

Now before I even start please don't write saying that I am hard on myself. I am causing my own hassles so need to reprimand myself. Basically my arm is up in a million places but luckily not so bad that I need to wear a compression sleeve - and my weight is also up. And that is what I need to control because my weight affects my arm. So those two handfuls of pitted dates I ate just now were not one bit necessary and I need to translate the refrain "Oh I must lose weight" into concrete action ie avoidance!!
Meanwhile had an annoying day. Someone asked me to do something and instead of being the enthusiast they expected, I said "no" and explained why. They walked off saying they would speak to XXX, in other words,
talk to somebody who would make me do it. Dunno why people cannot cope if someone says "no" but I also know that I am far more aggressive than I realise and maybe I should have handled it more sensitively. But I have no time for people's sensitivities over junk - ok ok, intolerant but see no reason why I have to agree to everything that is proposed.
Then I went to testdrive a car and everything went wrong - from the sales assistant not knowing something about the car I did (from reading their website on the internet), then her showing me a car which was out of the price range I requested, then when we did get a car for me to testdrive, it had no petrol!!!!!! So after one minute, I drove back to the dealership.
So it has been quite a day. But inside me am fine. Just a little annoyed. And at least can just chill tonight. Gonna make salmon and steamed veggies for supper. And that's not any different to what I normally make........

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A few more details re my visit to The Tango Man

Was so relieved that I was ok on my four-monthly checkup that I posted on my phone from the reception of the oncology centre and never really wrote anything else about my visit, beyond the fact that now allowed to up my cardio (exercise) by 5 minutes provided I do it gradually.
(Whew! That was a long sentence...)
Anyway,when you know you ok - at least for that day and can go off and do your thing for the next four months till the next visit - nothing else matters. So I forgot to discuss the oral thrush I had - and why - which had prompted me to go for a diabetes test on a doctor's recommendation. Forgot to discuss my nails which are still splitting a little. But did mention how the fingers on my right hand (the one not at risk of lymphedema) are slightly swollen and one ring broke and had to remove the other. The Lymph Lady had said it might be from tamoxifen which can cause water retention but The Tango Man said he really didn't know and was so unconcerned, so was I. If he is not worried about something, why should I be but it is maybe worth noting that now those fingers are slightly sore when I bend them.
Anyway, the visit started with the usual blood pressure and weight test. Weight was the same as four months ago although for me I was up a kilo (then went down again and now up again - I hover within a kilo at the moment). Blood pressure was the usual excellent - 110 or 120 over 70 I think. Nurse said it was the same as last time, or more or less the same.
Then I spent some time trying to catch the eye of the other, more senior nurse: was she meeting my eye or was she avoiding me, because I know they have a meeting every morning and each patient for the day is discussed. What did she know that I didn't?
Then he saw me early, as usual, and to me he looked a little older. Guess we both are. Then he said well you know your tests are fine - and I interrupted in my usual rude manner to say - no, I don't - and he said the doctors would have told me and I was confused and he was referring to the colonoscopy and I guess he would have gone on to discuss the diabetes test but I interrupted again and said I didn't know about the blood tests. They're fine, he said. And suddenly life was fine again. (The blood tests include liver and breast cancer marker). In fact, I asked him, when he handed me the form for the next set of blood tests before my next visit, why it was one particular cancer marker and not another, and he said that it tested for breast cancer antibodies.
Anyway, then came the examination and he was pretty thorough, checking everywhere in the relevant area. Then I asked about exercise and he asked if I had enough energy to do more - I think he was joking - and he said as long as I felt fine. But not to increase intensity. Just the duration.
And I walked out feeling like a million dollars!!!
Looking at my blog the other day, I realised it is not clear from the heading that I am now fine. In fact, worked out after this visit, that it is now more than 2 years that I don't have cancer in my body. Cos it went away completely after four chemo treatments and that was in about April 2009 so now it is more than two years of, to use the American term, NED (No Evidence of Disease). May it continue.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Has it taken over my life?

The happiness I felt at being told I was ok on Friday, after seeing The Tango Man for my four-monthly check-up, was kinda overtaken by what The Yoga Man said to me later that night.
He seemed really reluctant to discuss it - I was overjoyed, so relieved that I was still ok and also that I can now increase my cardio exercise by 5 minutes - that I was kinda miffed he didn't seem to share my enthusiasm and relief.
"Do you realise that not a day goes by when you don't talk about cancer?" he said. I was shocked. It doesn't feel that way at all. Yes, I was anxious about my check-up 'cos when I was diagnosed I felt perfect and had just had a mammogram and scan and been given the all-clear (under two months before I found a lump) and so I know that feeling fine means bugger-all; and yes, I have been anxious about developing lymphedema 'cos I am borderline and did spend about 6 weeks last year wearing a damn compression sleeve. But I have recently reduced my appointments with The Lymph Lady to every second week and feel that I am getting better about my anxiety re my arm.
Furthermore, it feels like the treatments like chemo and radiation and herceptin are becoming more of a distant memory, I barely complain about tamoxifen, so what's the big deal? I thought I am handling it fine.
Wrong, it appears. Every single day I say something about it, it appears, even if it's a "damn, I have to do my lymph (massage) now" or "shit my arm feels awful, look it's thicker here, what do you think?" or "oh no, listen to what happened to XXX... on her (cancer) blog she says.....".
Then to top it all I went to a breast cancer awareness breakfast today. Not that into going and find it ludicrous to dress up in pink for the occasion and wonder where the money actually goes, but I do enjoy it I guess although sometimes the speakers annoy me as they talk rubbish (the breast surgeons appear to the worst), but my sister goes with her friends and how they all know I have had breast cancer so how can I not go? And listening to a man talk about having had breast cancer was interesting.
Anyhow, The Yoga Man did ask how the breakfast went, which kinda surprised me.
However, it does appear I am not so "over it" as I thought. Oh well...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Am fine!!

Saw The Tango Man and I am perfect and can up cardio by 5 min!! Soooooooo relieved. Felt sick driving here to oncology centre.
Sent via my BlackBerry from Vodacom - let your email find you!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

went to the oncology centre today

Had to have blood tests, prior to my appointment with The Tango Man on Friday. Quite a big deal to go to the oncology centre again. It's been months.
Feeling kinda sick re Friday's appointment. One of the scariest things about breast cancer is that how you feel is no indication. When I got diagnosed about two and a half years ago, I hadn't felt better in years.
I know there are cancers where the lousy way you feel drives you to the doctor but it wasn't like that with me.
So I can only pray that I am fine.