The past few weeks have been a struggle and definitely relates to the post ‘My body is as Moody as New England’. March 30th I left to visit my dad in Lake Worth Florida. My husband and I try to get away as much as possible and after we parked in JFK I remembered why. The future is unclear and creating memories while we can is our upmost priority.
We parked near where we parked last June when we flew to visit Martin’s mother in Poland. We parked in long term parking at JFK and we got a great spot closest to the train that transports you to the terminal. I could barely make it to the train and surprisingly I had the similar struggle this time but not as excruciating.
When we arrived at my fathers I had tightness in my hip but I didn’t let it stop me from taking a casual walk to the water. At this point it was on and off. Moments of extreme discomfort and times where it was manageable. (If you didn’t read my other post you would have read that I grew up as a gymnast so my pain tolerance is very high) During one of my manageable moments I decided maybe some aquatic therapy would help. I am trained in aquatic therapy after all! Nope it made it worse!
After returning home, my hip escalated. Then one morning I woke up and it was manageable and ok again. Two days later my left arm blew up like a balloon. Since my double mastectomy I've been lucky to have not had any issue on my left side of my body. Majority of my issues are on my right side like my liver, hip and collarbone. Stubborn me finally calls the doctor,
‘Hey its me Larissa, its probably nothing but figured i’d leave a message telling you that my left arm where my lymph nodes were removed is swollen and getting bigger. Its probably nothing but here is my number...’
Moments later the doctor’s nurse called me back saying, ‘you have to come in immediately’. This week was my week off from chemo. Weeks off chemo are my cancer free weeks. Cancer doesn’t follow anyones rules, especially not mine. The nurse practitioner looks me over and sends me off for a ultrasound to rule out blood clots. Back to Jefferson I go, now i’m a regular at many places by this point and this usually doesn’t bother me. Jefferson Radiology though is not my most favorite place to go. Its always a challenge for them to figure out who I am when I check in, on-top of my already growing scanxiety.
Turns out I have lymphedema in my left arm.
Lymphedema, also known as lymphoedema and lymphatic edema, is a condition of localized fluid retention and tissue swelling caused by a compromised lymphatic system, which normally returns interstitial fluid to the thoracic duct, then the bloodstream. The condition can be inherited or can be caused by a birth defect, though it is frequently caused by cancer treatments and by parasitic infections. Though incurable and progressive, a number of treatments can ameliorate symptoms. (Wikipedia)
So now back to physical therapy I go, which we hope will get my arm back to normal. At this point my hip is still behaving but now i’m sick. I have not been sick since my treatments had begun. My eyes and nose are running, breathing is a challenge and maybe i’m having fevers. Seriously, when you have hot flashes a few times each hour how would anyone no the difference between fever or hot flash. But now that my sickness has escalate. Its Friday evening on Good Friday, I'm not going to get ahold of anyone until Monday and Monday my adventure to see Dana Farber happens (which needs to happen i’ll post about my trip next week). I hope its allergies, I don’t usually get allergies but chemo you lose hair in most places you might want to keep hair like my head, nose and eye brows but don’t worry you keep every strand of hair on your legs. So maybe now that I don’t have nose hairs i’m more susceptible to allergies, or I have the flu thats going around or a cold. A cold and even the flu would never be scary to me before cancer. I would fight through a flu and carry on with my daily responsibilities before. But after 10 months of chemo and an altered immune system its is rather nerve racking.