Monday, April 26, 2010

Good Reminders From My Radiation Oncologist

This is what I purchased yesterday. My bathroom needed a breath of green life ... especially since I now spend so much time soaking in the tub. Some Zen.

I saw my Radiation Oncologist today. Not my regular Oncologist. I was mistaken in thinking that appointment was today. It's NEXT Monday. My bad.

So, I saw my Radiation Oncologist and I'm glad I did. He checked me over and told me that I have obviously been taking very good care of my skin and he reminded me to continue doing so and, now that it's summer, to make sure I don't get any bug bites, cuts of sun on the left side of my upper body. He explained that the radiation can continue radiating for up to 18 months. That's a long time to have that still going on in one's body! He said that's why my chest and breast skin is still tender. He said that's normal.

He also reminded me that I must be careful for the rest of my life in terms of lymphodema and just general fluid drainage in my left side. He said even just having 2 nodes removed forever changes the way my body moves fluid and if I overdo things with my left arm, I can increase the blood flow there, which can cause some swelling under my arm. On the other hand, it's important to continue stretching my arm, he says, because both the surgery and the radiation (which is still burning inside) has caused and is still causing scar tissue and tissue tightening inside and that I need to continue stretching that area to maintain mobility. He said the massage and physical therapists are good, considering the situation with my shoulders and arms. He said my left arm is weaker, based on my grip, so I need to be diliegent about strengthening it ... for the rest of my life. It's a lifestyle change, he said, not just a matter of "until I'm better ... it will never be 'better'". Oh. Okay. Gotcha.

He also suggested that I see a "bone specialist" regarding my joint problems. I'll hold that thought and discuss this with the Oncologist next Monday when I see him. I see my Radiation Oncologist again in 4 months. I guess you have to continue seeing him if you're still burning inside.

That was an early appointment. Then I worked in the afternoon. I have a new work space. Movers removed my old office furniture and moved in some brand spankin' new stuff. This is a considerable improvement ergonomically! It also gives me more floor space. YEAH!! And it looks nicer, too. That made for some busy work today getting my office set up again.

And then home ... great fatigue ... and packing. ICK! But that's done. I'm packed for Sault Ste. Marie ... for a social economy policy conference ... and I get back Thursday night. This will be a good test run ... traveling without Kevin to help me get in and out of my jacket and to help with luggage. I have a very small bag packed and I'll check it because of the stuff I have inside that isn't allowed with carry on ... a teeny book (no heavy reading). Just keeping everything as light as possible. Roger has agreed to help me if I get stuck in my jacket, for instance. It will also be a test of my physical and mental stamina ... to see if I can manage whole days of conference type stuff. I'm hopeful, though I'm sure I'll be tired by the time we get home Thursday night. It's a conference where I'll know lots of people, so it will be a comfortable environment, if you know what I mean.

And now I drag myself to bed. I'm SO tired!
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