Lymphatic Cording

Does the post op trauma never end?! It’s been just over a year since I had surgery and my arm and shoulder have had issues on and off ever since. Recently these issues have gotten worse. I’ve been dealing with FROZEN SHOULDER for the past few months. I’m still going to physiotherapy and massage therapy. It’s getting better but it’s a slow process. Last week I noticed pain in my wrist area, which progressed and when I straighten my arm there is pain from the axilla all the down my arm to my wrist. This happened several months ago and resolved in a few weeks with stretching. It’s now come back and seems to be a bit worse than the last time. My forearm is swollen and in pain. It seems to be from LYMPHATIC CORDING or AXILLARY WEB SYNDROME. The below explains a little bit about what it is.

“Axillary web syndrome (AWS), also known as cording, sometimes develops as a side effect of sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) or axillary lymph node dissection (ALND). Both procedures involve removing just a few (SLNB) or many (ALND) of the axillary, or underarm, lymph nodes. Most people with breast cancer need to have at least one of these surgeries. Scar tissue from surgery to the chest area to remove the cancer itself also can contribute to cording.

If you develop axillary web syndrome, you’ll often be able to see and/or feel a web of thick, ropelike structures under the skin of your inner arm. Lymphedema therapists often call these “cords.” (In some cases, you may not see or feel the cords, but sensations of pain and tightness will tell you they are there.) You may first notice them when you’re doing something that involves raising your arm to shoulder level or above your head. If it happens, cording typically occurs anywhere from several days to several weeks after your surgery, although there have been individual cases where it appears many months later.” – breastcancer.org

I’m trying to exercise 3-5 times a week but when in pain with arm/shoulder issues it can make it very difficult. I’ll try to continue my modified workouts and hopefully at some point things will get back to normal or should I say my new normal.

All of this is exhausting. Every time I start to feel better and feel like I’m making progress something else happens. If it’s not one thing it’s another. Since November I’ve been sick (cold/flu) every few weeks. Each time I get sick it takes me forever to get better so then it feels like 1 step forward 2 steps back. On top of all that, the emotional effects of everything are also there to deal with. SIGH … Right now I feel drained. Part of that is because I’m physically really tired. Didn’t get enough sleep last night. That never helps.

At the end of the day, I’m still here living my life and I’m happy! 🙂
Looking forward to dinner with a friend tomorrow and also excited planning my trip to EUROPE in August. London Paris Milan Rome and Florence! Can’t wait!!

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To be or not to be A MOMMY!?

For some reason today’s been a difficult day. Actually, let me correct that, today I had some difficult moments. The entire day overall was fine. I’ve learned not to let things get to me and have gotten better at letting things go! Since I’ve applied these strategies I’ve been a much happier person.

Woke up feeling good and actually woke up early which is tough since I still sleep 9.5 hrs on average. This is normal for me right now and is slowly getting better so hoping that another 6 months and I’ll be down to 8 hrs. Again I wish that someone, like my previous oncologist had mentioned this. Oh well I’ll ask my new oncologist how long this dreadful fatigue could potentially last.

Back to my difficult day. I was in the shower and for whatever reason starting thinking about my cousins, my brother and their kids. I’m referring to the cousins I’m close to as I see them often even though they don’t live here. There are a few weddings this year and if possible we will all be there. Although I don’t think everyone will be at each wedding. Even still what happens is, when my cousins and brother are there with their kids and then there’s just me, I feel very excluded. Because their kids are all younger it feels worse. Then along with that, I’m sure there are people judging me and some feeling sorry for me. Don’t need anyone’s pity, I’m perfectly fine. A lot of people are also so insensitive and have no self awareness. This makes things tough because I could be fine and someone could say something thoughtless and then all of a sudden I will feel very sad about not having any children. Thanks to Breast Cancer I never will. The gift that yet again keeps on giving.

I’ve accepted this part of my story but I have moments where I want to be Mommy and not just Aunty. Especially when it’s always around me. I’ve made new friends who don’t have kids and even met up with an old high school friend I hadn’t seen in 20 yrs. It was so nice to see her! She is also single with no kids. So we were able to relate on a lot of different levels. She also wants to just travel and maybe even move from here. We were so on the same page haha.

I really am fine and this was just a bad day. Tomorrow is a new day. Who knows what exciting things will happen!

It’s OK … I’m HAPPY I’m Alive!!!

I wrote this last JUNE … Summer is here and with that comes summer clothes that are less bulky, where it’s noticeable that I have one breast. The radiated skin is sensitive and wearing a bra for too long is uncomfortable. Because I don’t have big breasts, most of the time I’ll just wear a sports bra and tank top … Like right now as I’m getting a pedicure. I’m also socializing a bit more now so it was time to finally get the prosthesis I’ve gone without for 6 months! Sometimes I’d just put some material in my bra and it worked lol. Oh well … It’s OK, I’m happy I’m alive!
I’m now living in the suburbs with my parents and will be in my own place and still out of the city for at least another year. It’s OK … I’m happy I’m alive!!
Was so interesting to read what I had written 3 months post treatment!

I’m so glad that I started writing this blog. It got me through some rough days since writing helped get it out. It’s also something others can read, whether it’s something they can relate to or whether they’re learning about another persons journey through breast cancer treatment and life afterwards. I also love to write so it was (and still is) a great way to document everything. Reading the above reminded me of where I was and where I am now. I will only continue to feel better.

A lot of things still don’t bother me because I’m truly just thankful and happy to be alive. There are a lot of things I don’t care about anymore, insignificant things that may have bothered me in the past. I try to live in the present and not worry about the future as worrying isn’t going to change it. I’m also more focused on doing the things that make me happy!

And as for my one breast, it’s been a year and 2 months since the mastectomy and I don’t really care that much. Yes I want to feel normal again with two breasts, and I don’t want to worry about wearing my prosthesis and thinking about certain clothes that may be too low in the front. Actually I don’t really care about the ‘being low in the front’, I usually will wear it anyways. The hassle of the right bra with the prosthesis is a pain, especially when I want to wear a strapless! Ugh. Still working on that one. I’d like to just look and feel like myself again but if I have to wait another year for the reconstruction it really doesn’t matter to me because I’M HAPPY and GRATEFUL FOR MY LIFE. 😊

Oversharing

I’m a very open, honest person and sometimes I end up speaking freely and sharing too much. Then afterwards I regret it. There are those close friends that I can freely share things with but with most people it’s best not to. There are also those people that make comments that aren’t positive which leaves me feeling a bit irritated. I’m still sensitive at times and really need to remember to be careful about who and what I share. I guess it’s not natural for me to hold back too much so I have to make a conscious effort to do that. Of course I don’t share everything with everyone but I think sometimes I need to remember to keep certain things to myself. I’ve gotten better but still working on it.

I’ve also realized that most people are not as honest as I am and aren’t as open. That leaves me at a disadvantage because then they end up knowing far more about me than I know about them. Things are always best when balanced.

I just need to work on thinking more before speaking. My brain is still not what it was so thinking too much takes energy. Sounds so crazy to say that!! I have blonde moments and can’t remember things. A lot of the time I want to turn off and I can’t focus as well as before. Talking even takes energy and sometimes it’s not something I’m up for. Wow even mentally I feel like I’m 40 going on 80. Haha. It’s something that I laugh at rather than letting it frustrate me. 😉

I will try to be more discerning with what I tell people. They don’t need to know everything. Funny that I’m saying this as I write my blog lol. BUT the thing is when you’re writing you have the option to go back and change what you’ve written or delete it completely. Gives you a minute to think about it. Wish I could do that in my head. The key is to think before divulging anything too personal and to know who you can openly share with.

I’m exhausted and going to bed now. Yes I still have fatigue 11 months post treatment. However, I’ve been sleeping well which is a really great thing!!

Skinny Girl Diaries #6 – MY Normal Weight

I’m still 130 pounds, which is fine but it’s not my normal weight. So it’s not totally fine with me but it’s not something that I’m worried about either. The thing is I am still recovering so I’m not back to normal in a lot of ways. Being 10 lbs more than before is adding to that feeling of not being my normal self. I can’t do any workouts that are too strenuous and due to my energy levels I can only do so much in one day so sometimes exercising just doesn’t happen. I remember days where I’d be tired after work and I would still go to the gym … SIGH. Those days are definitely over!

I keep telling myself I will get there but it’s been a struggle. I know I will get there but it will take time and as I’ve said before BEING HEALTHY is my priority. The reason I’m feeling more bothered today is that I saw some pictures from a girls night last week. I look fat!!! OK I don’t look fat but I don’t look like myself! Looking at that picture and another one from a year ago was a bit shocking! I look like a chubbier version of my previous ‘skinny girl’ self. Truth be told I really want to get back to ME! Looking at the pic reminded me that I’m not back to MY NORMAL SELF.

I know that a lot of things will never get back to being exactly like before. I have major joint pain in my knees and the fatigue is definitely still there. I’m now 11 months post treatment and I hope that in another 6-12 months I’ll be closer to my normal. I’ve accepted that things have changed and it’s OK. I’m alive and well enough to be enjoying my life. I’m fine with having a new normal, however that new normal includes me being back to 120lbs! Eventually I’ll get there and be able to wear all the nice clothes I have but can’t get into! I’m going to be wearing those cute white pants I have very soon!! 😊