Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Left Arm Up

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.


Chez said...

Jeanne, learning like this is a hard lesson. Fortunately, you did the DIY diagnosis and came up with the goods.
I suffer from lymphoemema and, although I believe that rest is good, nothing keeps me from my yoga. Sometimes the simple things like shoulder rolls and deep breathing make a huge difference.
Like the way you are using the door jam to elevate your arm. Wishing you much success with removing the fluid...

Jeanne Marren Egan said...

Hi Chez,
I actually think that yoga helps. My days of tennis are going to be limited. I agree that the shoulder rolls and breathing help. I will keep working at it.
Thanks so much

BreastCancerSisterhood.com said...

You make some great points about lymphedema. I was shocked to learn problems with lymphedema can happen to us even years out from treatment. After my first scare with lymphedema, I was fitted for a compression sleeve and wear it when I workout, fly, rake leaves, anything that might tax that arm. Unfortunately, it's part of my "new normal."

So glad to find your blog. I identify with so much of what you're feeling. Thanks.


Jeanne Marren Egan said...

I knew that it could happen years out from treatment but of course thought that it wouldn't happen to me. I think that he heat aggravates it too and it has been an extremely hot summer.

Thanks for your comments,