Friday, May 6, 2011

Minor Issues

First, I want to say that I think I'm doing okay in the grand scheme of things. My tumor marker is low and most of the elevation is probably coming from the tumor on my breastbone. My energy is coming back (although I didn't feel like doing anything after wound care at 1:30).I am doing more or less normal activities (well, normal for me in the last year or so). Life is sorta getting back to normal.

There are some minor issues that I'm finally getting around to thinking about now that the major issue (the wound) is resolving. I'm still trying to grow skin over the flap. It's not going to be done by the time I see Dr. T. in Portland on Monday but because I know there is an end point in sight, I am continuing to deal with daily dressing changes. It is still bleeding, which then makes me wonder about my energy, so I will continue to rest and not push myself too hard.

The other issues are:
1) lymphedema in the left (surgery) arm. The swelling is mostly in my bicep and tricep area, but on Monday, I must've lowered my arm a lot because when I got home, I couldn't see my wrist bone and most of the bones in my left hand due to swelling. I've spent most of the last few days trying to keep that left arm elevated. Now I can see my wrist and even most of my elbow, although there is still swelling just below my elbow, too. I mist have to wear a sleeve.

2) the tumor on my breastbone. I could tell that it grew after surgery. I hope that Herceptin stopped the growth, but I still have about a 3-4 cm lump protruding from my upper chest. That lump seems to have gotten more purple and blue since Herceptin, which might be death? Either that or it's grown so much that it's bursting the skin at its seems and the skin is bruised in response. I hoped that it could wait until summer started, but maybe well have to do surgery to cut it out sooner rather than later.

3) the right shoulder/arm/hand pain. I am constantly telling myself to lower my right shoulder and relax it. I keep tensing it. I also find myself tensing that right hand. It's one reason why I'm not on the computer (blogging or facebook) as much because it irritates that right arm. Acupuncture the other day helped to relax it some and I'm trying to keep the effects of acupuncture (relaxation) more in play. I think it's better, but I still get numbness and tingling in my fingers.

4) the P.A.S. port in my right arm. The catheter seems to have moved around before and after surgery. There's a slight buckle in it, near the port, where the catheter makes a kind of "s" curve. I can also feel the end of it in my chest - all the skin around that area is tender. It feels swollen to me. And, while I can stretch my arm out horizontally, I can't stretch it out overhead because it starts hurting. I have a suspicion that things shifted somehow. I really want this port taken out. If it gets as painful in my next infusion as the last time, I will talk Dr. K into taking the damn thing out. I don't think I need it after all . . . I don't plan on having chemo again anytime soon. Just the targeted therapies (Herceptin and Zometa).

So, several issues related to my upper body. I hope to gradually work on each of them so they can resolve. : ) Happy Friday!

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