Saturday, April 14, 2012

Life with LE

I promised an upate a few ddays ago concerning the physical stuff, so for those of you interested, here is the scoop currently.

Lymphedema is a huge time-sink.  If you think of the lymph system as a plumbing system in your body, we think that both messing with my lymph nodes in my armpits and the total amount of surgery burden I had in doing basically two major surgeries at once, has clogged up that plumbing.  So I am spending most of my days with lymphedema, not-so-affectionately known as LE in lymphedema circles.  I am either learning about LE, treating LE, or being inconvenienced by LE, almost all day long.  Here are some of the things LE has added to my life:
  • Daily manual lymph drainage (MLD- a series of massage/exercises that open the lymph system and help the fluid to move, (1-2 hours a day)
  • Daily ecxercise that encourages lymph movement (1-2 hours a day) Some of this is my regular exercise.  Some specific exercises for LE have been added
  • Daily compression wrapping of the left arm (fingers to pit) (15-25 minutes a day)
  • Daily washing of compression bandaging (10 min, a day)
  • Research and reading to learn as much as I can (I would hate to estimate the time spent on this over the last week-- but I hope that time will lessen as I learn more.)
  • When I am wrapped, I need help with everything that takes two hands to do, or anything that requires me to hold a bent left arm, or touch my left hand to anything that requires it to bend.   For instance, I can't put deodorant under my right arm, put in my own earrings, or wash/lotion my own hands.
Add to that the hormonal changes of menopause, the side-effects of an aromatase inhibitor, and the brain fog  that comes with breast cancer, and I am in a sorry state some of the time.  But the other part of the time I am awed by God's grace.  I am encouraged by my sweet husband and friends and students, I am reminded of God's amazing love, and I am grateful that things are not worse. 

So if you run across me in the grocery store and I am cheerful and chatty, praise God for His gracious providence.  And if you run across me and I am a quivering, weeping mass because I couldn't get my jacket off and I am about to spontaneously combust right in the frozen food aisle, just help me get the jacket off, pat me on the shoulder with a smile, and praise God for His providence anyway.  I know all things work together for my good and His glory.  But that doesn't mean it isn't sometimes painful or annoying.


Lynn Bruce said...

You just wrote my heart, Chris. Tonight I'm feeling the weight of five years of cancer and all the accumulated debris of it piling up in my heart and my flesh, weary of things I won't let myself stare at long enough to name them. But on we go, dear, on we go. I have learned that these sorts of days pass just like the good ones do.

Tomorrow is the Lord's day -- a relief. Our bodies are irreparably broken, and that will never stop being a aching disappointment, but it is well with our souls.

MagistraCarminum said...

On we go indeed, Lynn, Looking forward to the Lord's Day, too. It is the down payment of what we will know in heaven, and I long to to see the wonders there. Sending you many hugs, my warrior friend!