Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Even the cat is stressed

Yesterday morning I took the cat to the vet and he had his ultrasound, which is fine - no nasty surprises. But he was really mad because they shaved his stomach (and he had to skip breakfast). I asked the vet about his pulling the fur off his legs and she said its probably stress. He did something similar before when I was going through chemo. He doesn't deal with stress any better than we do.

Yesterday I also went to have my arm checked. I have lymphedema in it. This is a long term side effect of breast cancer surgery. There is no cure (gee thanks cancer, the gift that keeps on giving, in more and more ways) and treatment is limited to compression, massage, and exercises. So right now it is mild. The hope is I do more exercises (five more exercises, sets of twelve, three times, twice daily) and manual massage and get a (damn ugly) compression sleeve and wear it daily for a few weeks that it might be managed that way. The next step is DAILY therapy for four weeks to see if that can control it. The goal is to keep my arm from blowing up like a balloon. Did I say there is no cure?

Lymphedema is a result of the removal of lymph nodes. Basically your lymph system is a plumbing system in your body moving around fluid. When they took out 20+ lymph nodes they messed up the plumbing system and the fluid does not drain properly from my arm now and backs up. It can be aggravated by any little thing such as cuts in your arm, trauma, etc. Since surgery I have been told no needle sticks or blood pressure in my arm and to be very careful about heat, cold, sunburn, cuts, manicures, stress on my arm in any way (carrying things), etc. I have been careful (this is one of the reasons I can't shovel snow or rake leaves or carry things). But in the past few weeks my arm has been feeling weird and I tried measuring it and thought it was off and Walter measured it and agreed that it was off so I went for an appointment. And unfortunately we were right.

I did fall a couple of weeks ago (during my week from hell) and strained and scraped my wrist which could be what started all this. The nurse/physical therapist I saw yesterday said that if I continue to fall, I probably shouldn't wait until May to see if my ankle heals but to go ahead and have the surgery so I don't continue to fall. Gee isn't my future full of all sorts of 'fun' adventures? She also said I should step up my ankle exercises.

Walter is stressed. Who wouldn't be? CT scan and then the balloon procedure. We are working on getting through this week.

Now I have to go do three back exercises - 2 sets of 15 each, five arm exercises - 3 sets of 12 each, and six ankle exercises - 3 sets of 20 each and take the rest of my pills so I can go to work. AAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!! And if you see me or talk to me, I am really not ready to talk about this one yet.

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