As you likely know, i am a breast cancer survivor of 5 1/2 years. In the process of having surgical treatment , specifically bilateral mastectomy with lymph node dissection, i lost 17 lymph nodes in my right axilla ( armpit). Since then i have been dealing with lymphedema. This is where you get swelling in an extremity or other part of the body due to lack of normal lymphatic flow. The lymphatics are like lace. They are very fragile and in the surgical process they can be destroyed . Something i totally took for granted but have an amazing respect for now.
I have had great control over the lymphedema for the last several years however because of the stagnation of fluid, i am clearly at risk for cellulitis which is a skin infection. I have had this on average once a year for the last several years . It is treated with antibiotics and that is that. But not really. It is a BIG deal.
This past week i flew to North Carolina to see me mom and sisters. We had a great quick but amazing time together. on the plane i wore my lymphedema sleeve as recommended. i was fine for the three nights i was there but at about 4:30 AM the morning i was to leave i woke up uncomfortable and freezing cold, I was under two blankets but was shivering so i got up and put on my serious winter parka. With that and the blankets , i could still not get warm so i got up and made myself a hot tub. Soaked for about 30 minutes. Once out of the tub I could barely stand up. I had severe body aches and headache with nausea and the skin on my arm was tender and started to turn red. Normally i travel with antibiotics but this time i did not.
I had to catch a plane in about two hours. I knew i had to get the antibiotic in my system so at the risk of missing my flight i called in a prescription for myself to walgreens for Keflex. I did get the prescription and ended up making my flight though i thought very seriously about cancelling the travel. At this point I wanted to get home to my own bed, It was a very long day of travel.
I have been on antibiotics for 48 hours. My arm is less red, i do not have fever but my lymphedema has ballooned. the swelling is out of control. I have learned over the years that when the lymphedema flares, I just feel tired. I have had a couple of hard days at work just getting through the day. Today my arm felt like it was huge. I could not stand it. I decided to go to hard core, hot yoga.
I had to get the fluid moving. i sweated and it felt amazing. Tonight as i lay down to bed i feel like the swelling will be better tomorrow. I need rest. Yoga fixes all things for me. Lymphedema cannot be cured but it certainly can be managed.
This evening i also worked on this very impromptu state of the union painting. It is in its infancy but i thought i would share the work in progress.
Grateful for my health
Grateful for yoga
Grateful for family
Grateful for painting
peace out people
love , stacia