3 weeks ago today I was 2 hours into my 7 hour surgery. It seems so long ago in some regards and in others it seems like it was just yesterday. Thankfully I am still healing well overall. My incisions are healing and I’ve had no infections. The numbness is receding quite a bit but some will probably remain permenantly. I noticed feeling improving when using specific essential oils and a mushroom supplement called lions main…all of which help the nervous system. I’ve also been using an essential oil roller my awesome friend Chelsea brought me the day after surgery. I think the oil roller and homeopathic arnica I’ve been taking have helped with th healing process as well.
This week ended up being full of appointments. I started Occupatinal therapy (OT) on Monday and I just returned from my second OT session. Thankfully I don’t have lymphadema but I am at risk of developing it at any time for the rest of my life. I will have to wear compression sleeves any time I fly or am above certain altitudes for the rest of my life. I actually was just fitted for those sleeves yesterday. I will have OT twice a week until August then take a 2 week break while my OT is on vacation and start up with OT again.
Unfortunately, I do have axillary webbing syndrome (AWS), also known as cording. Not all women develop this but I did. Thankfully we caught it early and with PT as part of my OT, it is already improving. It essentially causes the lymphatic system to harden and tighten, causing pain and limited range of motion. It’s something that we will gently and gradually stretch and manually massage to break up. On Monday, I could barely lift my left arm to shoulder level and th right arm just abouve shoulder level. Today after OT I have more range of motion but it is still limited and tender. I actually have two cords in each arm. My OT took a picture and you can see the two cords popping out of my armpit as I attempt to stretch it (this is after she massaged and stretched it out). Also notice the awesome scar from the sentinel node biopsy. It’s much prettier than the one under my left arm.
So this is part of my new normal. I’ll be honest, I broke down crying the other night because the realization of my new normal and the knowledge that I’ll alway need to be mindful of lymphadema just overwhelmed me. I had a good cry and talked through my feelings with Josiah. Somehow he is always able to make me laugh, even through my tears. It felt good to release those emotions and let them go.
My OT is no doubt a Godsend too. She’s a survivor herself and understands what I’m going through. I love that she doesn’t just address the physical wounds but the mental and emotional ones as well. I felt like I was talking to an old friend and it was so encouraging to hear how cancer has been a blessing in her life and totally gave her new direction. I left my OT session feeling such empowerment, strength, and joy. I actually cried tears of joy and gratefulness as I drove home. God knew Exactly what I needed and allowed me to be able to be seen by her (many people are refers out because her program is so new and small at the moment).
Truth be told, it may be better that I have this cording. I tend to be an overachiever and I’m positive that if I didn’t have the painful limited range of motion from the cording, I would probably start overdoing things and end up seriously re-injuring myself. If that happened, they might have to redo the entire surgery. So…this very well may be a silver lining 😜
The song Sparrows came on the radio on my drive home and it was s fitting. God cares for even the sparrows…how much more does He care for me?! I have no doubt that like my OT, this cancer journey is a blessing and something will come of it that I never would have been able to imagine or accomplish otherwise!