Lymph issues

So for the last three weeks I’ve been having trouble with my left pectoral and under arm. I thought I’d pissed it off at the gym, but didn’t really know what had done it and nothing was helping. Even limiting the mobility of my shoulder. I went to get a massage. She said it seemed like the problem was the lymph glands on that side. So, Tuesday I got in to see my chemo doc … after seeing a couple docs and some blood tests they thought it is lymphedema and sent me to the lymphedema clinic on Thursday. Guess it’s not uncommon for those who get the lymph node radiated like I did.

The Lymphedema therapist checked me out, made some measurements and yep left side is bigger. I had a brief treatment with this German wave machine. It’s amazing. I hold one probe, the therapist has the other one on her wrist. The machine sends waves through her hands as she touches me … strange but felt awesome. It’s supposed to get the lymph system moving. She thinks she can fix it in about three weeks of treatments. Awesome!

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Hair Update

Hair update. Look at all these curls!

Monitoring

I haven’t posted in a while, mainly because it was healing and recovery time. A slow process. I’ve had all kinds of tests in the last month. Blood draws, CT scan, mammogram, etc. Short answer: all good! No sign of cancer and good recovery. Back to mostly normal life, and a head of very curly hair.

I’ve been back to the gym since about September and making progress. Still issues with lung capacity, but gaining strength. Hand and feet still bother me, but they are slowly getting better. I started back to Powerlifting this month. And I’m doing the Crossfit Open. First workout done, wearing my Fuck Cancer shirt and my “super hero” brightly colored compression socks. I did better than I thought I would! 244 reps for 18.1 workout (8+ rounds of 8 sit-ups, 10 dumbbell clean and jerks, 12 cal row for 20 min.) Four more weeks/workouts. Goal is to finish!

Check-ins

So earlier this month I had follow-up visits with both the chemo and radiation oncologists to see how recovery was coming along.  All is going well.  Still need to have patience with my feet and nerve recovery (yes, it may really be somewhere between Feb and Aug before I’m “normal” again). Sigh.  The Doc suggested adding some supplements to encourage nerve healing:  glutamine powder (3g 3x/day in juice), B12 (400 mcg 1x/day), B6 (50mcg 2x/day).  Then I need to watch my feet and hands around cold or ice for a while.  Started on a hormone blocker pill that I’ll take for the next 5 years.  Next month I have a CT scan and blood work to make sure all is well; then a mammogram in February … thanks for the additional healing time before that smash process!  Then I’ll be on the 5 year plan for monitoring and mammograms every 6 months.

Hair is growing!  I currently have very curly, soft “puppy fur” for hair. I had unruley wave before, but this is curly!  We’ll see what happens as it get’s longer.  It’s a darker brown, with a little grey scattered about.  Guess we’ll see if the red comes back with sun exposure or if I have a new color of hair.

I’m back to the CrossFit gym … highly modified.  Thanks to all the great coaches figuring out modifications to the workouts for me.  Heavy bars and hanging from bars still not fun on the hands; running/jumping is nasty on the feet; and my oxygen processing is still slow.  But I got to a 195 lb deadlift (1 rep max), and have gotten some good workouts for where I am.  Making progress, and that makes me happy.  Plus I get to see my favorite people at the gym.

Healing

It has been 8 days since the last radiation treatment.  The healing process is frustrating.  The area around the boost circle is healed, looking like a tan with a little dry skin.  The boost circle is still red, but the very sore part is about the size of two quarters next to each other.  It’s the new sensitive skin after the blister peeled off.  That area is so sore it is messing with my sleep.  Yesterday, I was so sore, I went to see the nurse.  I was able to get more Soothies Gel Pads.  The old ones lost all their staying power.  The Soothies really help. They keep the area moist and keeps the air away.  The nurse told me all looked good; just need to hang on for a couple more days and it will be healed enough to feel better.

D O N E

My very last radiation treatment was today.  Done!  The staff was so great.  The technicians gave me a certificate of merit and a beautiful lap quilt.  The nurses gave me a send off with hugs, confetti and bubbles.  What a nice end to a not so nice process.  Yes, wonderful people at the Cancer Center.


After treatment I went to Coldstone and got a raspberry cheesecake shake to celebrate.  Now to heal and get back to “normal” life!  I can slather on as much lotion as I want on my poor toasted skin, any time I want.  Yes, the treated area outside of the “boost”area has started to peel and fade to not quite so red and angry.  Hopefully in a week or so it will all be mostly healed and I can get a good night’s sleep.

I have appointments with both the chemo and radiation doctors in December to check in and start on Phase 3 of treatment… mostly monitoring.

Week 6

Almost there. Last full breast treatment was Monday. Good thing: skin is cooked. Worse than the worst sunburn I ever remember. No blisters, but so very bright red. 

Now we are doing focused treatments to the tumor area … a circle about 3″ across. Set-up takes a little longer, with me on my side, laying just right against a foam roll, and not moving. Only one “zap” for about 15 seconds, and done. In principle, outside the circle area should start to heal. After today, three more treatments.