The fourth week after surgery I decided to do some gardening, aka weeding. I wore my pink gardening glove on only my right hand as a reminder to not use my left hand or arm. I was a sad Michael Jackson imitator as I scooted along the edge of my garden, pulling weeds with only one gloved hand. Last week, my fifth week after surgery, I wore two gloves and did a little more aggressive gardening; transplanting and planting. I felt okay, just a little tired. These last few days I did more grateful dead-heading and weeding.
Yesterday I ventured to the grocery store for some minor, two-bag shopping. The bags weren't too heavy. I carried one bag in each hand.
Last night I paid the price for doing too gardening, too much lifting, too much stretching and too much reaching, too soon. My underarm swelled up to about twice the normal swollen size. My body ached all over, especially my surgery sites. I placed ice under my arm as I went to sleep, hoping to decrease the swelling. When I woke this morning, I discovered that the ice worked, and I am back to my normal swollen size.
My home nurse visited today and was very concerned about the swelling episode. She called Dr. Chief's office and spoke to his nurse about me and my swelling. Minutes after she left, I received a call from Dr. Chief's office. The nurse told me that I was "lucky" and that I am doing too much too soon. Too much? I feel like one spud short of a couch potato. The nurse told me that because I had only three lymph nodes removed, (some women have up to 20 removed,) that the swelling didn't move to the arm - this time anyway. She said that it take 6-8 weeks to recover from this surgery, and I just completed week 5. Okay, I've been warned.
Now, I am back to the one-gloved, sit on my butt and scoot gardening. I need to put a pen back in my left hand and resume my Robert Dole stance. This waiting to recover stuff is the pits. Today, after my little talking to by Dr. Chief's nurse, I was a complete couch potato - complete with sour cream, broccoli and cheddar cheese.
I learned that I have three more rides on this cancer carnival before I start chemotherapy: 1. Chemotherapy Orientation with Dr. Banana Split's nurse - I am guessing that I will learn all the ins and outs of chemotherapy before it begins. (My last orientation was in 1979 - my freshman year at Santa Clara. That was way more fun, and I told a lot more lies!) 2. Heart Scan - Dr. Banana Split ordered a heart scan before I begin chemotherapy. Evidently chemotherapy is not only hard on the hairdo, but hard on your heart too. 3. Physical Therapy - I can only lift my left arm approximately parallel to the ground. This lack of motion is common after a mastectomy and lymph node removal. I need to get my left arm to have a full range of motion for the radiation. During radiation, your arm gets contorted as you are radiated.
I am still fighting this nausea thing. It comes and goes. No, I am not pregnant.
Whacky thought for the day...
Does anyone even use the word "hairdo" anymore? For those of you who don't have a thesaurus, "hairdo" is a synonym for "hair style." Does anyone even use a thesaurus anymore? For those of you that don't know what a thesaurus is: a thesaurus is a book of synonyms - a standard high school graduation gift in the "old" days. It was an essential tool for writing papers in college.