Damn well better at this rate.
I finally caught up with the lymphedema clinic today, and I’ll be going in tomorrow at noon to see what they have to say. I advise you not to look at any of the information or photos readily available on the web; it’s all far too depressing and scary and worse case scenario reality for words.
Unlike the scary photos, my symptoms are barely noticeable from the outside – just the slightest swelling along my left arm and flank. Unfortunately, it is fairly consistently uncomfortable, verging into painful, and I can expect it to get worse as radiation progresses. How perfectly goddamned delightful, to be sure… and I’ll readily admit to feeling particularly bitter about this aspect of the whole thing.
Now that I’ve had symptoms – and early, too! ’cause I’m special! – I’ll most likely need to get a compression sleeve for exercise and air travel, since lymphedema is an additive thing (the more it happens, the more it’s likely to happen). It can’t be cured; the goal here is to manage the condition and prevent further occurrences and worsening.
Lymphedivas, here I come!
The lymphedema also may be aggravating the radiation treatment symptoms, which is what Sandra, the radiation oncology nurse, suggested today. The A-line tshirts or camisole tops which are my normal base layer are no longer an option; the skin is simply too sensitive.
The skin itself is very slightly pinked – as Sandra said, they see much worse (and I do expect it to get much worse); nothing major by any means – but, then again, I still have 32 treatments to go through. The irradiated area feels hot, as a minor sunburn would, only more so somehow – a deeper heat, burning from the inside out.
Two weeks to “side effects”, my sweet white Irish ass. Lies! Lies! Lies!
And damned statistics! A pox on their houses!