February 08, 2009

53 days bandaged

Seven and a half weeks of this lymphedema flare up and still not as significant relief as I'd hoped for by now. I'm still bandaging as much as I can. I wear my sleeve daytimes so that I can accomplish some household tasks, but around 3 PM it's too tight to be comfortable. I re-bandage until the next morning when the cycle starts all over again.

My therapist and I were speculating if the stubborn nature of this flare up is due to one or more of the following reasons --
1) the fact that the new sleeve I got in November is a different brand than the kind I've worn for 10 years
2) the new primary tumor diagnosed in December around the same time that I noticed increased edema in my hand
3) change in drugs
4) air travel
5) second and third new primaries diagnosed in January
6) stress related to all of the above or
7) everything combined.

I'm sure it sounds like I kvetch (complain) about this a lot, but part of the reason I decided to blog about dancing with cancer is to give you, my family and friends, and readers I haven't met, a sense of what living with advanced cancer is really like.

Sometimes I think that if my cancer had never come back but I was still dealing with lymphedema to this extent, it would be almost as bad as having more cancer. Te daily impact on my life is literally stunning. Some days I feel totally immobilized by the lymphedema and its treatment.

And yet I am particularly stubborn. I don't want to end up with one arm the size of my thigh, swollen from not treating the edema. So I wrap, I bandage, I take the occasional "chill Jill" pill, and I kvetch about it. A lot.

Thanks for listening.

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I dance with cancer. Oy!