I went to the hospital today for Physical Therapy and we started out by fitting with an arm sleeve. The sleeves are designed for cancer patients to wear while taking radiation and any time that you fly or will use your arm in any rigorous exercise. The idea is, if you wear this arm sleeve you have a better chance of not getting lymphedema which is swelling caused by an obstructed lymphatic vessel. When you have a mastectomy they take some of your lymph nodes to test them, I had 16 removed which is quite a few. People usually have around 20 or 22 so my few that I have left, have a very high chance of getting obstructed because they are trying to get rid of the waste in your body but instead of the normal 20 or more to do that with, there are only a few. Every morning I have to spend time massaging the arm, chest and other lymphatic areas, trying to reroute my waste and filtering to be done on the other areas of lymph glands. It is still tender some, to constantly be rubbing and massaging it but I certainly don't want lymphedema, I already still have swelling under my arm pit and it is very tender. That is why it is still more comfortable to wear sweat suits and something big, rather than something fitted, especially under the arm. This sleeve comes down past my wrist and all the way up to my arm pit, is it comfortable? NO! But like everything else, I will probably get use to it. I am always sore after my Physical Therapy days, because she is working so hard on trying to get the swelling down and also to build up my arm muscles. Those muscles haven't been used in quite some time so on top of everything else, now my back and neck are flaring up ... my grandmother used to say "IF IT WEREN'T FOR BAD LUCK, YOU WOULDN'T HAVE ANY!" Some days it really feels like that.
Tomorrow is my last free day, then on Weds. I start radiation every day for 7 weeks or so. I am still dreading it, but I need to remember that this was my decision and I need to go with that. I pray that it doesn't take such a toll on me that I can't take care of my family. I don't think I would be nearly as worried about it, if I wasn't already struggling with energy from my MONO. Oh well, I am sure it will be fine. I am grateful that we have insurance for all of this. Today I found out the price of the arm sleeves. I didn't have to pay anything, but if we didn't have insurance it would have cost me $60.00 each, that is crazy. I hope there are foundations who help the poor women who don't have insurance.
I need to head to bed but want to remind myself that I need to have COURAGE to face what is a head. I will do it some how, I need to do it... because I have my family, friends and neighbors who still me. And that is a good feeling.
It takes courage….(author unknown)
It takes strength to be firm,
It takes courage to be gentle.
It takes strength to conquer,
It takes courage to surrender.
It takes strength to be certain,
It takes courage to have doubt.
It takes strength to fit in,
It takes courage to stand out.
It takes strength to feel a friend's pain,
It takes courage to feel your own pain.
It takes strength to endure abuse,
It takes courage to stop it.
It takes strength to stand alone,
It takes courage to lean on another.
It takes strength to love,
It takes courage to be loved.
It takes strength to survive,
It takes courage to live.