Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cartoon Arm

One of the young men that carry my groceries out at Kroger's, told me one day that I had a cartoon arm....I told him, yes, it was my Popeye arm. That has been a joke among family and friends for awhile.

I saw the new physical therapist yesterday. He was very nice. He told me that my "cartoon arm" was about 70% larger than my other arm, and had fluid in it that was equal to four 20 ounce bottles of coke. He said that my Lymphedema is Stage III, making my immune system equal to that of a HIV patient, and that I could be at risk for some types of rare cancers. My breast cancer was Stage III, so guess my body likes that stage, huh? I knew that my lymphedema put me at risk for infections because I have had them, but didn't realize the other risks. He said that he studied lymphedema in Germany for a month last year, and is up on all the newest techniques. I will have to have massage therapy, then wear compression bandaging while trying to reduce the fluid, then will have to wear a sleeve the rest of my life. This news is pretty hard to accept, but I will do what I am told, and be a good patient. Jennifer was not thrilled with all of her treatments and therapies, but she did the best she could. I am still drawing on her strength to get me through things. Troy, the physical therapist, says that he believes he can get the "cartoon arm" reduced sixty to seventy per cent in about six weeks. I will pray everyday that it works. One of my main concerns is that I will have to be able to wear a glove at work to care for my patients. Hopefully, this will be possible. I will put it in God's hands, and know that He will take care of me.



Lisa Bylander said...

Debbie, you are one of the strongest people I have ever known. You never cease to amaze me! I'm so glad Troy has something that will help. My prayers are always with you, but there will now be some special "cartoon arm" prayers. Heaven will be so overloaded with "cartoon arm" prayers (maybe a unique prayer like this gets special attention?). Don't let this get you down. You have survived so much worse. "The Lord is my light and my salvation. Of whom should I be afraid"
I love you,

Janna said...

I didn't know that there was such an association between lymphedema and decreased immunity. I sure hope that the treatment helps and that your cartoon arm improves, along with your immune system. You are such an amazing person to be able to endure all you endure so gracefully. I'll keep you in my prayers.


ScrapbookDBA said...

Debbie -
One of things I love about you so much is your wonderful sense of humor in midst of the challenges that you face ...

Let's all try some focused prayer at 10:00 p.m. central time each night that the cartoon arm will soon be normal once again!


Sherry B. said...

You will remain in my prayers as you have for so many years now. We know that our God is the Great Physician and He can take all that fluid and reduce it to nothing. So my prayers will now include asking that the lymphedema be totally relieved, that your immune system is strenthened, and that you are encouraged daily. I love ya my friend.