Lymphedema and the struggles that are associated with it!

I am a breast cancer survivor that developed lymphedema approximately five- six months after breast surgery. It didn’t help that I was also going through chemotherapy at the same time. In fact, it caused my extremities to swell even more. It all started when I took a nap one day and woke up to my arm being swollen beyond belief. I couldn’t believe it!  I thought to myself this cant be happening…but it surely was. 

I went to the emergency room to get it checked out and it seemed like forever before they confirmed what I’d already figured out. I now had lymphedema and needed to start treatment as soon as possible and I did but I didnt know what to expect. I was nervous and anxious to find out what my treatment plan was because I wanted to get this thing under control.

                           
I read about this condition when I was first diagnosed but no one ever thinks its going to happen to them until it does, including me. I was a little naive when thinking about it but the reality is that there are people living with this condition that aren’t breast cancer patients. 

According to http://www.mayoclinic.org, Lymphedema refers to swelling that generally occurs in one of your arms or legs. Sometimes both arms or legs swell.

Lymphedema is most commonly caused by the removal of or damage to your lymphnodes as a part of cancer treatment. I had a lot of lymph nodes removed which caused my lymphatic system to be impacted severely and I developed lymphedema in my arms and legs plus I was going through chemotherapy which also made the swelling worse. My feet swelled so bad that I could only wear flip flop sandals not to mention the pain associated with it.

I had lymphedema treatment three days a week which included deep tissue massage to move the fluid and alot of bandaging on my right arm and compression stockings on my legs and feet. I felt hot and uncomfortable all the time and it didnt help me that it seemed to be a hundred degrees every damn day lol! I was going to make it through this and I was determined to.

                                 
It wasn’t easy especially since theres no cure and it can last for years and even a lifetime. I went to lymphedema therapy and eventually I was able to get out of the bandaging for part of the day by wearing a compression stocking and glove in the daytime and having to bandage up at night. 

Part of my therapy included learning how to bandage my arm myself and it proved to be very difficult for a while but I did get the hang of it. But I noticed something, when I all of the bandaging came off, my arm would appear small but my arm would fill up with fluid in under 20 minutes. 

The compression stocking and glove would keep my arm from swelling up but I wasnt to wear it all the time so this made it difficult to do things like wash the dishes and I wasnt allowed to carry anything heavier than a gallon of milk. 

That was so challenging because I had very little strength especially in my right hand and arm. I would constantly drop things all the time so I used paper plates and styrofoam cups alot. I started picking up one bottle of water and curling it 5 times each arm. I needed exercise and to follow the Dr’s orders and I did talk to him and he ok’d it as long as I didnt over do it.

I did that for a while and it made me feel better but I was still dealing with my arm swelling regardless of the garments and bandaging that I wore to get this thing under control yet none of this was working anymore.  I even tried custom compression garments that didnt work and no to mention at that time $828 that wasnt covered by my private insurance. Another bill I rambled to myself!

                             
I finally decided to go without my lymphedema bandages and compression garments totally and just elevate and exercise it as often as possible. The result is that my arm is actually smaller and remains the same size unlike when I wore compression garments. I dont recommend doing this without consulting your doctor.

I was just tired of doing what wasnt working for me and until I find something that helps, I wont be wearing any garments for my condition that are not working for me. I couldn’t work and wear the compression garments in the jobs that I worked in because the garments are easily stretched out shape, stain easily and definitely wear out quickly.

Overall I have more peace with my decision and I feel a lot better without all of that and its allowed me to have some sort of freedom and to do a little more than I had been previously. I’m beyond grateful to still be here!

                              

                                   Until next time…with Chocolate on top!

Reconstructive surgery after breast cancer!

So I’ve been thinking again (Oh Boy, don’t judge me lol! I was really excited about my reconstructive surgery…until afterward. I recovered well but then something happened!!!

I went walking with my BFF Rob around our local lakeside and got bit by something that ended up causing a six day hospital stay, emergency surgery and removal of the right breast implant, a staff infection and all the painful needle sticks. Oh and lets not forget that I have lymphedema in my right arm and hand, and the people prepping me for surgery stuck an IV in my right hand!

I can’t begin to tell you the horrors that I’ve experienced with this journey, man it was no joke! I didn’t even know I was sick until my right breast implant became visible to me. I know what you’re thinking…how did I not know? Well , I had no symptoms and remember I’m a month out of reconstructive surgery so I thought that all of this was just my body adjusting to all of the surgeries (2) at that time.

Be advised that the pictures may be sensitive in nature, if I’m going to tell you how it all went down then I need to show this. It could help someone else!

 The radiated tissue didn’t really allow for the implant to stabilize like the left one did, it healed really nicely but not the right side where I had radiation therapy.

So this is how it looked after I got bit by that nasty insect after two weeks, and if it weren’t for my incision leaking and this looking this way I would’ve never gone to the doctor. The Doctor looked at it and said pack a bag youre going to be in the hospital for a lil bit!

I had no symptoms leading up to I woke up like that on this day. And when youre fresh out of surgery there are always different things to take into consideration with your doctors orders.

It produced a small rash on my arm but since I was already scheduled to see the Doctor the following week I knew that I could talk to her about it then. We decided to try cortisone to see if it went away but she also told me if that if it didnt, I should head to the emergency room. When youre me you nurse yourself back to health unless it’s something serious! I dont just run to the Doctors office for nothing and besides, its expensive too.

Yes that’s my right breast and keep in mind that I had radiation and that radiated tissue played a big part in my not healing properly. Radiation is no less harder than chemo-therapy it effects your body terribly! I just dont want to sugar coat it peeps, this shit is real!

Its hard to explain going through all of that and you have to find your strength in all of it at the same time. I found it diffficult but I also knew that I wasnt given anything that I cold not handle! I picked myself up and dusted myself off and forged ahead.

I knew that I needed to recover from this and the best way to do that is to think positive. That’s the thing that’s kept me going these last 3 years. But honestly im thinking about being bold and without breasts! I spoke to my husband about having the left breast implant removed since that’s all I have and forfeit any further surgeries in the matter. He agreed and told me that as long as im alive, healthy and happy its all that matters!

I’m really glad because I want to be done with surgery and I dont mind wearing the prosthetics. Ive had three surgeries in two years and I just want to get back to my life, that’s all!

Until next time…..with Chocolate on top!




Surviving Breast Cancer and wanting to share my story…should I???

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My journey with breast cancer…should I share I or not??? That is the question!

I realized that after everything there is always something that helped you cope with a situation, mine being breast cancer for the last almost three years but who’s counting! Im no different than the next person to experience this! Meaning I dont think that im special or better than anyone. I keep it 100 about the things that went on in this journey!

Im slowly getting comfortable making videos and talking about my experience in this matter because even if it helps one person, Im content with that because you never know how your experience can help another person. The grattitude that comes from that is irreplaceable, you cant buy that its real!

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I wont lie and say that im not nervous to show the pictures and videos of my journey but if I dont, who am I helping??? Its very personal and I dont want to be judged and thats the biggest challenge of this journey. I just don want to be labeled but at the same time sill be respected…Can you understand that!

Feel free to comment and let me know your thoughts. I can always appreciate another opinion regardless.

 

Until next time…with Chocolate on top!

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My Review of Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl!

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This show is amazing and funny as all hell! She says things that a lot of us are thinking and with a sense of humor. I can’t stop laughing because its absolutely hilarious and she rocks out in her adventures. I started watching this show on youtube when I heard about it on the morning news outlet.

This show has been picked up by HBO and while im not a subscriber I may have to on my mobile device so that I can watch the show.  This show is definitely entertaining and Issa Rae shines and I cannot wait to watch her on HBO.

If you haven’t checked it out look her up on Youtube trust me, you won’t be disappointed     

Until next time…With Chocolate on top!

 

 

Drama! If you bring it then…You gotta be ready 4 the Turn up!

  

Dont bring the groceries (drama at its finest!) If you dont want me to unpack them! You cant bring the drama and not expect someone to try to rationalize it all…there’s bound to be questions! I love people and that can be a downfall at times, but I keep doing it! No sense in making everyone pay for things that happened in your past.

Getcholife aint nobody perfect and besides…you brought the drama! Now you dont expect me to disect it…really???

Youre tripping without the lugggage!


Until next time…with Chocolate on top!