Sunday, April 27, 2008

He He He

So, why am I chuckling to myself? Well, I'm messin' with ya. I decided to change my template for the heck of it. Got tired of the little dots. Wrote a new title description. What can I say? I like to change things up once in awhile. As I play with blogger more and more and I'm getting more proficient, I figure, "Why not? It's my blog, after all?" He he he.

As you can read, I'm doing fairly well. My lower back is still sore - the massage helped on Friday, but the back still aches. I think I may have mentioned that I overdid it in painting the bathroom last week-end. Not only is my back sore, but I ended up with more lymphedema in the area of the red rash, under the tissue expander, and above my right ribs. My massage therapist did some lymph massage there and she showed me what to do. So, I have decided to continue trying to drain the lymph in that area.

Now, conventional thinking is that when a person has cancer in a particular area, it's better to keep it contained in that area. In my case, since we know cancer is in that area, we should NOT do lymph massage because if we do, that encourages lymph flow and hence more cancer cells circulating in my body. By not doing lymph massage, we keep the cancer relatively contained, and then it'll be easier to treat.

However, as I discussed with Dr. Kenyon a few weeks, we know that the cancer is already elsewhere in my body - it got to my bones. So, why not decrease the lymphedema? As I discussed in an earlier post, when tissue has had radiation, it scars the blood vessels (and I think the lymph channels, too), which means there is less blood and lymph flow in that area. I think that if there is more fluid than the system can handle, it creates traffic jams and then the meds cannot get to the cancer cells to kill them. (And, BTW, Dr. Kenyon thought that my thinking sounded just as logical as conventional thinking as conventional medicine really doesn't know the answer to the question. But remember I'm not medically trained.)

By decreasing the lymphedema and encouraging more fluid flow, I am encouraging cancer cells to start flowing through my body. But I also allow the meds to have better access to the cancer cells since the meds are also flowing through my system.

My massage therapist (who was careful to say she really doesn't know the answer but was just thinking out loud like me) also felt that maybe that area was still red and looked like a rash because the lymph fluid was all backed up and not able to flow. In other words, she questioned whether or not it was cancer causing the swelling, but rather lymph fluid getting all jammed up.

At any rate, I figure I can try this and see how the rash responds. We do know that the meds haven't quite been doing the trick in that area without the lymph massage. So, it's another experiment. I figure I have nothing to lose, since I am taking meds that are supposed to kill cancer cells when they encounter each other. I might lose some containment of the red rash, but it's a risk I'm willing to take since I may be able to opt for more aggressive treatment down the road. But I may just save myself a lot of grief with the radiation AND allow the meds better access to the cancer cells by doing the lymph massage. I'll let you know what happens!


jeanne said...

Ooohh! I like the new look! Happy you're doing okay, tho I wish I could take some lymphedema or back pain off your hands. nyc jeanne

Carver said...

Dee, I like you new look and your laughing, that made me laugh too, and I've always considered laughter a good complementary form of medicine.

As far as the issues with lymphedema and active cancer, I've heard different things. I do know that you are more prone to infection with lymphedema which is why ordinarily lymphedema clinic is prescribed when it backs up (or it was for me). Mine started several months after I had recovered from my groin lymph node dissection and I was sent to a hospital outpatient clinic for massage, water therapy and, wrapping compression, etc. I suppose the difference was that my nodes with cancer had been taken out and I didn't have any other active cancer, however, there wasn't any guarantee I didn't have cells that hadn't formed tumors yet circulating in the fluid.

I'm thinking out loud here and trying to figure out why my doctor didn't think lymph massage was a risk. Maybe since it was months after all active cancer was able to be surgically removed.

I had surgical drains in a long time to get rid of all the lymph fluid that was draining after surgery (it took 9 weeks and injections to dry me out because I was soooooo wet) so maybe the assumption was that any cancer cells were in that fluid that got drained out. As you know, I don't have a medical background and knocking wood I don't have active cancer. In my case lymphedema has been an example of "cancer the gift that keeps giving".

Take care of yourself, Carver

Dee said...

Hi NYC Jeanne, Thank you! I wish you could take some of this lymphedema and back pain away, too! I played softball today . . . and it was tough to run! Now I know better what it feels like to be old. BTW, congrats on the Fulbright coming through! I hope it all works out for you.

Hi Carver, I guess it's sort of a mystery to me, too, why they don't want to do lymph massage in that area. Since I've been learning some about traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture, and after everything I've been taught about lymphedema in the arm post-sentinel node biopsy, it strikes me as backwards to NOT want the lymph drainage. So, like I said, I figure I'd try it and see how the red rash responds.

And, I'm glad the both of you like the new look! I do, too. It was fun playing with it this morning . . . anyway, I hope you both had a good week-end and thanks for visiting.