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Which activities possible?

jeancmici
Posts: 682
Joined: Feb 2001

Hi Everyone,

I've been reading about many of you who are back to working in the garden - building a retaining wall!! etc etc and I'm asking one and all about the arm = lymphedema.

I thought I'd get back to normal - but when I do almost anything, I notice more swelling in my arm - not excessive -yet- but more when I do all I used to do. No problem until the radiation and the radiation oncologist told me he didn't radiate the node area = maybe he THOUGHT he didn't!

My medical oncologist for the first time in March said to be very careful not to get cuts, scratches, bites etc. I told him I had gotten some cuts on my hand and they healed fast. He said - good, but each time it is a stress on the arm.

Well, I am wondering - do I take life easy now- hire a cleaning woman - someone to shop for groceries - while I do gentle exercises and sit with my arm elevated on a pillow!!!

Would like to hear of your experiences.
With the possibility of recurrence and reading of others, this , I thought, was so trivial but it seems to be getting bigger in my life by the day despite my best intentions of not babying myself.

Thanks,
Jean

jeancmici
Posts: 682
Joined: Feb 2001

Thanks Auntie,

I do move it a lot and have full movement - but when I use it a lot it doesn't seem to like that!! It seems the arm can take very little stress. The doctor just said be careful with cuts etc.

I found that my other arm hurts from putting most of the carrying etc. on it - then I have two bum arms!

Good luck in getting some help with your teeth - sometimes a dental school will help if there is one near you.

God bless you too,
Jean

shirlann
Posts: 235
Joined: Oct 2001

Hi, Jean, do you have lymphedema? Or are you just one of us "tired arm people"? I get along pretty well, but the "cancer arm", is certainly the weakest. If I do too much, it aches when I sit down at night, or just feels funny. I am 3 years 5 mths. post BC and I must say, my arm is better. Being 66, I don't have too much interest in a lot of things I used to do (skiing, boating, fishing) so it is easier. But, I think you maybe are expecting to much too soon. I am surprised that at this length of time I still have pain and I hate the numbness. My whole side sometimes hurts, feels heavy, crawls, you name it. A real mess. BUT, after all that, I AM better this year than last, so maybe patience is the ticket. You are in my prayers, God bless you, Shirlann

jeancmici
Posts: 682
Joined: Feb 2001

My arm has just a little swelling - not enough for the doctor to notice until I pointed it out to him. It's amazing how we have to help these professionals, isn't it? I intend to take an airplane trip this summer and the onco said he thought I wouldn't have any trouble but couldn't be sure - the surgeon said the idea that flying caused lymphedema to occur was absolutely someone's imagination.

I got a sleeve but it seems to cause swelling so now it's in a drawer- but thought I'd get some others' ideas only because so many here were talking about all they were doing.

Grocery shopping wears me out trying to remember not to lift the heavy stuff with my left arm which is the one I used a lot for carrying etc. Repetitive movements are not good either - like unloading the grocery cart.

I finished treatment Sept. 24 - 01. It's funny to get an itch in a numb spot and scratching does not help - but yes, minor. I'm almost 65 - but i'm not ready for the rocking chair yet!

Thanks for your response, Shirlann - you always have good advice.
Hugs,Jean

pippi
Posts: 53
Joined: Aug 2000

Hi Jean
There is a lymphodemea site on the net with 17 ways on how to prevent lymphodema. Check it out it is well worth it. I have an arm that aches if I don't look after it and it feels like a rubber band is on it. That site tells you if it aches rest it, be carefull of repetitive motions(like cleaning the shower with that hand). Look after yourself but don't mollie coddle yourself. Don't lift anything heavy with that arm either.
Godd Luck
Love Pippi

pippi
Posts: 53
Joined: Aug 2000

Hi Jean
There is a lymphodemea site on the net with 17 ways on how to prevent lymphodema. Check it out it is well worth it. I have an arm that aches if I don't look after it and it feels like a rubber band is on it. That site tells you if it aches rest it, be carefull of repetitive motions(like cleaning the shower with that hand). Look after yourself but don't mollie coddle yourself. Don't lift anything heavy with that arm either.
Godd Luck
Love Pippi

ludasue
Posts: 98
Joined: Apr 2002

Hi Jean. What a great topic for discussion. I sometimes feel like my family doesn't understand when I say 'I have to stop - or I can't - because my arm is hurting' ... it is helpful to me to actually see that I am not alone in this. I wish I could offer a suggestion about your situation ... I am not a person capable of babying myself ... being 33, single, with two young children, I do not have much time to slow down or stop. I do all the housework, yardwork, and coach all of my son's little league ball teams ... when my arm starts to swell, numb, or ache, I use a heating pad, tylenol, and rest it when I can. My onc has advised me that I am probably doing too much, but he knows I can't stop .. lol. After my surgery (it's been 4 years) I did the fingertips up the wall exercise, but I also used a can of green beans to do light 'toning' exercises. It sounds silly, but the weight of a vegetable can seemed just right. I still do that occassionally when I'm on the phone or watching tv. If I don't exercise the arm regularly, it gets sore more easily and more often. It's the only part of my body I exercise regularly ... lol. Good luck to you. It sucks to know we have to live with a 'bum arm' ... but at least we're living. Take care, Angie

jeancmici
Posts: 682
Joined: Feb 2001

Oh Angie!

You described the situation perfectly. Sit around and it's not good - do a lot and it's not good - so hard to get it just right! But your're also right that if this is all we have to worry about, we're in good shape.

A word of caution to all tho' - and here's the rub- if the condition gets bad it can lead to all kinds of complications with infections - sometimes life-threatening.

Have you ever had mosquito bites on that arm?

>>It's the only part of my body I exercise regularly ... lol. <<
I can relate to that!!!!!

Good Luck to you too,
Jean

jeancmici
Posts: 682
Joined: Feb 2001

Thanks Ladies - all who had suggestions.

I hate to worry needlessly - but it seems this is important to be aware of. I am going to fly but I got an aisle seat to exercise the left arm. Guess I'd better tell the attendants ahead of time so they don't think I'm waving for attention. :-)
Now - to wear the sleeve or not???

Good Luck to all of us.
Jean

ludasue
Posts: 98
Joined: Apr 2002

Hi Jean, Coaching little boys, breeding large dogs, and living on a farm with horses, I have had alot happen to my arm in the way of bites from dogs, bugs, cats, ... scratches from the puppies ... flies bite me when I feed the horses, etc ... I could go on and on .... I have been very fortunate so far that no infection has really set in ... If I do get a scratch or a bite, I am very quick to clean the area, and always use neosporin ... this is not professional medical advice though ... my onc just shakes his head ... Also, nothing has ever been too serious in the way of bites and scratches. I have noticed on that arm, if I get a mosquito bite, I don't feel it ... I just see it ... weird huh? Well, good luck with your flight. I have never heard that flying leads to lymphadema, but who knows. I don't go anywhere I can't get to in my car ... so it's never been an issue. Take care, nice talking with you, Angie

jeancmici
Posts: 682
Joined: Feb 2001

Hi Angie,

Read your webpage - you're quite a gal! A very uplifting story - thanks - wishing you continued good health.

Jean

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