A month has passed already

So its been a whole month since I had my first surgery. I had my stitches out today. I had to go in and see the doctor as I was leaking from my drain so I freaked out thinking I may have pulled it out and went to see him.   He wasn’t all that pleased but luckily it didn’t actually come out and now I have to leave it in till Thursday. My results still weren’t in however as mentioned previously I get them tomorrow and so far they look promising.

I’ve decided that I will use interferon if offered to me.  Side effects means you get to feel a bit crap but at least I’ll be alive to feel crap eh!

My son has started to warm up to me again and give me cuddles! He has been really good with Bob (drain) and hasn’t tried to pull it or lift it or even look at it. Clever little boy I gave birth to! hehe

Hubby has been excellent as usual, cooking and cleaning and ironing whilst I sit and do nothing!  I feel like a princess, till my son farts on me and the dream is over! lol  Too many men in the house.. I’ll definately have to try for a baby girl next time! Even things out a little.

I am completely up to date with Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, Lost, 90210 and Eastenders ombnibuses! Talk about square eyes.  Can’t really do much else as my arm still isn’t strong enough and I am shattered all the time. Apparently having an axillary clearance is quite a major operation. I didn’t realise this till recently. So even though I may look ok, I feel like shit. lol

I cant wait till I can roll over in bed and not worry about ripping Bob out, being in pain and what happens next.  My mind was in over drive this morning after our darling son woke us up playing his noisy toy in bed at 345am.. which indicates he wants a bottle before he will go back to sleep.  I tossed and turned and tried to get comfy and I couldn’t so I asked my husband to give me a hug, which at the present time involves hand holding!  Poor chap. I think its cause I’m nervous again about the whole thing.

So apart from spending a lot of time thinking about life, friends and whats happened to me, I haven’t really been doing much with myself.

I guess life will never quite been normal for me as I will always have this cause Malignant Melanoma is the kind that can come back over and over again. However, in some cases it doesn’t. As it already has for me I guess I am not one of those cases.   I hope this time its gone and it wont come back.  I would very much like to not have to worry about such an awful disease.

So my advise to you is, always where sunscreen, do not use sunbeds, do not sunbathe if really hot.  Because things like this can happen to anyone. At any age.  I was a huge sun worshiper, I remember the days when I’d lie on coral bay, sunbathing with little or no sunscreen on because I have darker skin.  I don’t have to worry about sunburn I used to say.   Stupid me.  I’ve learned my lesson now.  Now I have a sunhat and I will always wear sunscreen every day, even when I am just going to the shops.  Now I don’t really have a choice anymore.

However its not all bad, I’m alive, I am treatable,  I have a lovely supportive family, and real friends that have been there for me during my most difficult time and have visited me in hospital and have made me smile. I will keep saying this but life is so much better when you smile. (ok so I’m a lot cheesy!)

Cant wait till I get my results tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Friday Rambles

So, I went to get my dressings changed this morning.   Getting quite used to the whole process.  I’ve not worn a bra for a week now and I’m sure my boobs are facing the floor with each passing day..

Dr Lucas said I am recovering well but I can’t have my stitches out or my drain out yet.   On Tuesday when I get my results hopefully I can have my stitches out, but the drain has to stay in for as long as I have fluid coming out.   I wonder how long that is then? I wonder if I can do something to hasten it like pee?  Probably not.   I had to go to the shop on the way back, so I tucked BOB (aka drain) under my long skirt and in I trotted with my sunhat on and looking like there was nothing wrong with me.   Cause no one asked what was wrong with me for a change! lol

I just wanted to say, that during this blog, you may find I may recommend a book or an article but this is just something that worked for me so don’t feel upset or any differently because it doesnt work for you.  Do what ever you feel is right for you and follow your own instincts.  As long as you are also following some of your doctors too! lol

My arm is still very sore and stiff to use.  I still tire easily but its been less than a week really so what on earth am I worried about.   My sister’s birthday is coming up and she wants to go clubbing.  So do I but there’s not much chance of that happening as long as I’ve got Bob with me.   Although I could take Bob to dinner..

In the meantime I have become a couch potato.  Once my stitches are out, and Bob has gone I will start to do some exercise.  A healthy body and all that is good to fight off anything really.  And I’ve never really been one for exercise.  Sure I can dance all night and I never sit down when I’m out having a few drinks.  But ask me to go jogging, or do some exercises dvd at home?  I just cant do it.    Problem is I cant afford the gym and thats the only thing that will get me exercising.    So instead I will go walking with a friend of mine with the prams.  I plan on using my sons big pram for weight pushing! haha

I contacted a cancer support group yesterday.  It was really hard not getting emotional on the phone to a total stranger whilst trying to explain my situation. You see I can keep a brave face to those who know me, but I feel differently towards strangers.   Do you? Anyway, one of the nurses will come and see me soon.  They will help teach me more about how to deal with lymphedema and it be nice to talk to someone too.  Once I find out the coffee mornings I may go along with Bob and have a chat.   Perhaps you could try and do the same. Its hard keeping up appearances and remaining strong for the ones you love, so perhaps letting it all out will do you good!

Well have a wonderful weekend.  Try not to be to down on yourself!

Alethea & Bob.  lol 🙂

How to avoid fat arm syndrome aka lymphoedema

Hey

I found this great article that helps prevention of lymphedema in your arms which is one of the side effects that can happen after having your lymph nodes removed!  The internet is a great place to find out a whole world of information so don’t be afraid to read up on everything and anything that applies too you.  Sometimes what you read are just statistics that say you are going to die! Don’t believe that. Don’t listen to anyone who gives you a sell by date cause you have the power to live if you believe in life and believe in a long future. Many have survived worse. Do not give up no matter what. 🙂

Prevention is the best tool against arm lymphedema. Learn the warning signs and the precautions to take. Make these guidelines and a heightened awareness a regular part of your life.

Skin care is your first line of defense. Since the skin acts as a barrier to infection, any disruption of the skin can spell trouble. Burns, chafing, dryness, cuticle injury (such as hangnails), cracks, cuts, splinters, and insect bites are immediate risks for infection.

Learn to recognize the signs of infection:

  • fever
  • redness
  • swelling, warmth, or tenderness in the at-risk arm

Infection and inflammation can escalate quickly. Redness, tenderness, and warmth can spread from the injury up your arm. Call your doctor as soon as you suspect infection. You may need to start antibiotics immediately with any early sign of trouble. If you already have swelling, or if you have diabetes (whether or not you have swelling) you may need antibiotics after just the smallest of injuries—even without any sign of trouble.

If you already have significant arm edema, sometimes a dental procedure may trigger an arm infection. This is because the work a dentist does on the tissues in your mouth may increase the number of bacteria circulating in your bloodstream. Vulnerable areas in the body, like the compromised drainage of a swollen arm, may become hangouts for the bacteria. If you’ve already had an arm infection following dental work, talk to your doctor about whether you should take prophylactic (preventive) antibiotics before future dental procedures. (People with heart valve disease take prophylactic antibiotics before or right after a dental procedure for the same reason.)

Dos and Don’ts: Preventing Lymphedema

Dos

  • Do moisturize your skin frequently and regularly. Use lotions such as Moisturel, Eucerin, Vaseline Intensive Care, or your own favorite brand to make your skin supple and prevent it from cracking.
  • Do keep your hand and arm extra-clean, but don’t use harsh soaps such as Ivory (despite Ivory’s advertised image as a gentle soap) or Dial. Use Dove instead.
  • Do use rubber gloves when you wash dishes or hand-wash clothes.
  • Do wear protective gloves when you garden or do outside chores.
  • Do take more frequent rest breaks when scrubbing, mopping, cleaning, or while doing other vigorous or repetitive activities, especially if your arm feels tired, heavy, or achy.
  • Do wear oven mitts when handling hot foods.
  • Do use an electric razor instead of a safety razor.
  • Do use insect repellents that won’t dry out the skin, such as Avon’s Skin-So-Soft, which actually moisturizes the skin. Avoid brands that contain a significant amount of alcohol. (Any ingredient that ends in “ol” is a type of alcohol.)
  • Do apply antibiotic ointment (like Bactroban) to any insect bites or torn cuticles (as long as you are not allergic to its contents).
  • Do protect your arm from sunburn with sunscreen. Use a product with a minimum SPF of 15, although SPF 30 is much better.
  • Do use a thimble when you sew.
  • Do REST your arm in an elevated position. But don’t hold up your arm without support for a long time because your muscles will tire.
  • Do control your blood sugars very carefully if you have diabetes, to minimize the danger of damage to the small blood vessels and infection.
  • Do wear compression bandages or a compression sleeve and glove on the affected arm when flying in airplanes (if you already have arm swelling).

Don’t s

  • Don’t take unusually hot baths or showers.
  • Don’t go from extreme hot to cold water temperatures when you bathe or wash dishes.
  • Don’t go into high-heat hot tubs, saunas, or steam baths.
  • Don’t apply heating pads or hot compresses to the arm, neck, shoulder, or back on the affected side. Also, be cautious of other heat-producing treatments provided by physical, occupational, or massage therapists, such as ultrasound, whirlpool, fluidotherapy, or deep tissue massage. Heat and vigorous massage encourage the body to send extra fluid into the compromised area.
  • Don’t carry heavy objects with your at-risk arm, especially with the arm hanging downward.
  • Don’t wear heavy shoulder bags on the affected side.
  • Don’t wear clothing that has tight sleeves or that restrains movement.
  • Don’t wear your watch or other jewelry on your affected hand or arm.
  • Don’t use a heavy breast prosthesis after mastectomy. It may put excessive pressure on alternative routes of lymphatic drainage that are already doing double duty. Find a lightweight model or make one yourself.
  • Don’t drink much alcohol. Alcohol causes blood vessels to expand and leak extra fluid into the tissues.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking narrows the small blood vessels, lessening the flow of fluids in the arm.
  • Don’t get manicures that cut or overstress the skin around the nails.
  • Don’t permit blood pressure testing on your at-risk arm. If you’ve had breast cancer in both breasts, ask that your blood pressure be tested on your thigh. If this is not possible, ask that the person measuring your blood pressure inflate the cuff only slightly above your normal systolic pressure (the first, higher number of your blood pressure).
  • Don’t permit the skin of your at-risk arm to be pierced for any reason: injections, drawing blood, or vaccinations. (Don’t trust anyone, not even your personal physician, to remember which is your at-risk arm.) If you’ve had breast cancer in both breasts along with underarm lymph node dissections, blood should be drawn from another part of your body. If blood must be drawn from your arm, use your non-dominant arm (your left arm, if you are right-handed; your right arm, if you are left-handed). If one side had no lymph node dissection, use the arm on that side, regardless of whether it’s your dominant arm.

http://www.breastcancer.org/tips/lymphedema/avoid.jsp

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