No, I promise you this will not be a biology lesson. 1)I am not a biology professor, and 2)I hated biology in school.
Since I will be living with it the rest of my life I thought I should do some research on it. The occupational therapist in Des Moines threw so much at me the hour I was with her, I came out of there with this deer in the headlights look. Mary had gone with me and when she asked me how it went, I told her it was like years of biology thrown all at once at me.
Our bodies have a lymphatic system that runs through our bodies. These are vessels that carry a clear liquid called lymph to our hearts. There is more than one function for the lympathic system, but I won’t go into that. When a person (me) has lymph nodes removed it causes a traffic jam so to speak of the liquid to back up which causes swelling. With the help of occupational therapists, exercise and massage, we can reroute the fluid into other lymph nodes.
I had about 14 lymph nodes removed when I had my lumpectomy. Years ago doctors would remove several lymph nodes from patients with breast cancer. They really didn’t know how to treat it then, so women had to live with the swelling. Fortunately today surgeons only remove the affected nodes which helps reduce the risk of swelling. You can still have it but there now is ways to treat it.
I noticed my hand was a bit swollen a couple of weeks ago. Not wanting to go back to Des Moines for treatment (gee- I wonder why), I am able to work with the wonderful occupational therapist at GRMC. Along with my fashionable compression sleeve I bought at Stacy’s Bridal and Prom (just where you’d think to buy one ;), I also purchased a ‘gaunlet’ so I am now the one gloved wonder. Fortunately it’s not white like Michael Jackson’s (I’d get it dirty). I do what I call manipulations on my arm to help re-route the fluid.
When people see my gaunlet or my sleeve, they feel sorry for me. Please don’t. The way I look at it is I would rather have swelling than cancer.
Sorry- I started this May 7th and have just gotten back to it. I am working FULL time and I love being back to work. Of course I say this now just as we are in the middle of hail season and have had the busiest week we’ve had in a long time.
My hair is growing and growing. It is really curly and I’ve had my first haircut since last August! I finally had to color it as it came in really gray and of course that’s not my natural hair color!
I am feeling great for the most part- I still tire easily and there’s the neuropathy in my hands and feet that is constant (hopefully it will go away…..). I am working on getting back into some kind of a routine with house cleaning and cooking. (still don’t like to do either!)
I am going to keep up my blog– it just won’t be all about cancer. It is and will continue to be about my walk with God. He is amazing! As I look back over this last year I am in awe of what He has brought me through. A year ago I would have laughed in your face if you would have told me I would kick cancer’s butt and do it with a positive attitude. I saw myself being the type that would wallow in self pity and ask why me all the time. Oh yes, I did ask why but I didn’t focus on why me. I focused on God. God and God alone got me through this. I was just the vessel He used. I believe He used me to show others what God can do when you put your faith in Him. He can take a scared, funny, chubby, little ugly duckling and make her believe anything is possible. With God all things are possible