Monday, March 17, 2008

Doing Okay, Despite Three Needle Sticks

I am beginning to get more sleep these past few days - I've had at least 6-7 hours in the past 4 or 5 nights and I even had one night of 9 hours. The sleep does wonders for my mood and energy. I have upped my dose to 8mg of melatonin - studies indicate that 75mg can be taken daily without any ill effects, other than feeling drowsy! But that's the point, right?

I also had my Zoladex injection today - that's the pellet that goes into my abdomen and is slowly released over a 28-day period. It shuts down my ovaries. No problems, there. But today was also a day for blood to be drawn for lab tests. Dr. Kenyon wants them drawn every two months. I warned the nurse, Joan, that my veins on the left arm are hard to stick. She found out the hard way. Anyway, I have three needle marks in my left arm. Sigh. That's a long-term side effect - scarred veins- of the adriamycin and cytoxan from five years ago. And, they wonder why my blood pressue goes up whenever I have to have my blood drawn.

I also started Xeloda again this morning. So far, so good. Still seeing improvement in the skin on the right side.

But, I may have some lymphedema from the surgery. I didn't realize until about 2 weeks ago or so that my back - around my shoulder blades and ribs - was tender until Scott tried to give me a back rub. He put a little bit of pressure on that area on both sides and I just jumped. I ended up concluding that I may have some lymph fluid backed up from surgery. I checked with my friend, the surgical nurse, and she said that there shouldn't be any pain from the drain areas, although they are still not completely healed up. And, Debbie, my friend Tammy's sister, who works at the hospital, said lymphedema on the back is a side effect post-mastectomy. I will mention it to Dr. Kenyon when next I see him. In the meantime, I had a wonderful massage from Mary Jane at the Heartspring Wellness Center. Mary Jane (who my friend Don just raved about the other night at cards) did lymph massage on my back, after Brodie (my acupuncturist) rubbed it with a scraper implement last week. I think it helped. Mary Jane also said to wear Under Armor (you know those tight shirts that you see football and basketball players wear under their shirts?) to try to help the lymph fluid move a little bit better. So, I found some of those at Joe's (still G.I. Joe's to me - I know they are getting away from the military connotation of G.I., but maybe if they kept the initials but made them stand for something else like "Game Innovators" or "Got Implements", it'd be easier on those of us who grew up with "G.I. Joe's"). We'll see how they work!

Oh, I forgot to wear green today. Luckily, I had a beaded bracelet with green on it that works. Happy St. Patrick's Day


Carver said...

Hi Dee, I'm glad you are getting some more sleep. I'm sorry you have to deal with the problems with blood draws. I hope the under armor tops help. It helps me to wear bicycle short or running tights when my leg lymphedema acts up so that sounds like a good idea (the tops for your problems). I have a friend you has lymphedema from an axillary dissection for melanoma who has custom bras from a lymphedema supply place which have helped her. Take care, Carver

Dee said...

Good to know that they have specialty bras for lymphedema . . . will look into it if I have to. I'm trying out the under armor for the first time today and will see how that helps.

Hope you're having a good day, Carver!