I woke up this morning determined to walk my boys to school. It’s about a half mile walk. I used to walk it briskly but today I was a bit slower. Just a bit.
I am excited to say that I did it with minimum pain. Yippie! See, yesterday, I learned about lymphatic massage. Apparently, it was something I was supposed to learn in my mastectomy class that I didn’t attend. This mastectomy was scheduled so quickly (thank goodness) that I didn’t have time to attend the class that happened between my diagnosis and surgery because I had other doctor appointments. My Nurse Navigator sent me the packet of info from the class but I’ve been so out of it, I didn’t really have a chance to review it.
I missed a lot
I had heard about lymphatic massage and I knew I would learn about it in physical therapy but that appointment isn’t until tomorrow.
Over the weekend when I was trying to “handle” the pain myself is when I really notice my right arm was the worst of it all. It was slightly swollen and very painful. I emailed my surgeon asking if perhaps I already had lymphedema which is a welling of the tissues due to lack of lymph nodes.
Yesterday my Nurse Navigator called me and explained that I am still healing and do not in fact have this horrid condition. She asked me if I had been doing my lymphatic drainage massage exercises. Honestly, I thought I was supposed to wait until physical therapy to do those. Nope. According to the packet she had sent me from the mastectomy class I missed, I should have been doing them from the beginning. Doh!
So I started last night. My husband helped me by reading what I was supposed to do. See, you need to do each exercise in order so that the extra fluid from the surgery and whatnot has a place to go. Basically, I was channeling the fluid to places where I still have lymph nodes.
So I started with head shaking and nodding, went through a whole series that ended with me rubbing my arms up to the arm pit. And you know what?
I felt so much better!
Here I have been reading and researching and somehow I missed lymphatic massage.
Because it sounded gross. And that’s the one thing I really, REALLY needed.
Man! I was missing out. And it’s so easy and not gross at all.
My advice for those of you stumbling onto this blog because you have a breast cancer diagnosis is try to go to that mastectomy class I missed and do your lymphatic massage from the minute you leave the hospital (or even sooner if you can).
I walked the boys to school and walked back and then I got in my recliner with my new quilt. My husband had meetings with a couple of contractors to get estimates to have air conditioning installed in our home. We are anticipating a hot summer and he wants me to be comfortable during chemo. BTW, did you know one of my three upcoming chemo meds is nicknamed “The Red Devil” and is supposed to be just horrible? Yeah, I can’t wait. Anyhoo, eventually, I started watching Cinderella, oh around 10 am and the next thing I knew, “Good Luck Charlie” was on and it was 1:00. Three hour nap. I had a dream that I went to the dentist and she told me that since I was doing chemo, she would have to pull all my teeth out and give me implants. First my boobs, now my teeth! I was relieved to realize it was a dream.
But I do need to go to the dentist before chemo starts and I’m almost more afraid of going than I am of the chemo…almost.
I like my dentist a lot as a person, but I am afraid to go. Really afraid. I’ve been like this for years. My husband does not get it and honestly, I don’t either. I readily endured four shots to my nipple, no problem but I cry when I get my teeth cleaned.
I am an enigma.
Always have been.
May 7, 2013 at 5:23 pm
Love reading your blog. You have a way with words. Being cancer free, why do you have to do such a horrible round of chemo? I thought maybe it would be easier for you because of that.
Take care and keep writing,
May 7, 2013 at 6:09 pm
Because I am Stage IIIC.
It is not good.
If it had been Stage IV and in my body and/or bones, they would not have given me chemo but because I am Stage III, it reached my Lymphatic system so now they are going to try to wipe it out.
I just wrote a post about this. So check it out if you need more info. 🙂
May 7, 2013 at 5:29 pm
Sounds like a good day…. We got air conditioning about 3 months after M started chemo, it was hard for him to regulate his body temp and it had been a hot few months. It was money well spent
May 7, 2013 at 6:14 pm
Beth, have I told you recently how much I admire you, your strength, and your honesty? Any woman who finds this blog will find hope, wisdom, and strength. You’re doing an amazing thing here and I, for one, want to thank you, When I grow up, I want to have your chutzpah! Three times a day I face Israel and pray (what can I say, the Judaism runs deep…it’s in my damn DNA). We have a special prayer called misheberach (pronounced: me-sha-bare-ick) for those who are ill. We pray for the patient (for healing and to lift them up emotionally/spiritually) and for their families; we pray for doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals to do what’s very best or their patients…to guide their hands, heads, and hearts. I’ve got every Jew I know praying for you 3 times a day…in two different languages for you…we’re covering all the bases. When my friends and loved ones are ill, I spread the word. You have a whole group of crazy Chicago area “members of the tribe” pulling for you. They love me, I love you…therefore they love you, too (they’re a wonderful group of loving, kind people). Speaking of love…
I love my friends, old and new, and I’m at that age where I am no longer squeamish about expressing that. I do love you, my friend. And remember, when things seems bad…just think of this slightly crazy, foul mouthed, middle aged Jewish woman praying in broken Hebrew. Never known for my grace, I tripped over my prayer shawl the other day and fell flat on my butt. So there I was, wrapped up like a mummy in my shawl, prayer book launched across the room…half laughing and swearing like a sailor on the floor. It was pretty funny…I wish to God I had video, you would have laughed.
Stay strong…keep on keeping on!
With Loving Friendship… Rhonda
May 7, 2013 at 6:39 pm
Thinking of you. Good for you getting out and walking! I am sure the boys loved it as much as you did.