I have been reading a bit about lymphedema lately and I have come to the conclusion that I am suffering from a bit of it in my left arm. I find that if I overuse my arm it starts to hurt, actually throbbing at times. It is odd, I don’t really experience swelling in my arm but I do experience swelling under my arm close to my rib cage.
I first noticed the irritation this spring. I was playing in a tennis clinic once a week and then I was asked to be on a tennis team. I was nervous at the prospect of playing matches, having never done so before, so I went out to the tennis courts to practice, practice, and practice. After playing four days in a row one week my arm began to hurt.
I thought that it was odd but didn’t pay too much attention. I tried to elevate it when I could and rest it when I wasn’t playing tennis or doing yoga. It continued to bother me and actually hurt more and more. Finally, I came up with a self diagnosis of overuse which has required a hiatus from tennis this summer. The pain subsided.
On our recent trip to Hawaii, I irritated it once again. Lifting bags and toting various suitcases caused the pain to return. I should have known better but I keep thinking that my arm is almost normal and not “damaged goods.” As my energy level has steadily increased over the past few years I mistakenly think that I can do all of the things I did before my surgery. The throbbing is a painful reminder to be gentler to my new body.
This week I have decided to try to rest my arm and myself and not overdo it. As much as I want to run, play tennis, do yoga and of course clean the house(ha,ha), I need to give my arm a rest. I will try to enjoy this time and perhaps read a book. I know for certain I will not miss cleaning the house.