Back in November 2014, I was diagnosed with primary lymphedema in my left arm. Most people - including doctors - aren't familiar with lymphedema. The reason most doctors don't know about this condition is because it usually happens after cancer surgery. So the doctors that are most familiar with lymphedema are oncologists. According to my lymphedema therapist, they talk about lymphedema in medical school maybe for an hour. I'm the one who familiarizes my primary care physician about lymphedema! As you might have guessed, lymphedema has to do with your lymphatic system. It's an abnormal buildup of protein-rich fluid that causes swelling, most often in the legs and arms, although it can happen in the chest, buttocks and groin. The most common type of lymphedema is secondary - which "can develop from an infection, malignancy, surgery, scar tissue formation, trauma, radiation, or other cancer treatment." (From Cleveland Clinic.)
I have the rare kind - primary. It can be hereditary, though I don't know of anyone on either side of my family who had this. Or, it can be an abnormality of the lymph vessels or missing lymph vessels. It can show up right after birth or be late-onset, such as in my case. Back on November 24, 2014, I wrote a little bit about it in this post. I had just gone through five straight days of manual lymph drainage (which is done by a certified lymphedema therapist) and bandaging. Well, here I am seven months later and going through it again. Though the good news is - my arm is doing better (measurements are down), so I only have to deal with everything for three days in a row this time. You see, there is no cure for lymphedema. It can only be managed. And that management is very important, because if you don't take care of it, it will get worse. I am only in stage 1, which can actually be reversible. So anyhoo...this is what my arm currently looks like with the five layers of bandaging. NOT fun. I don't let it stop me from doing most things around the house. Except I won't go out in public. I can't stand the stares and people asking me what happened to my arm. It's not something that can be explained in a few words.
As long as I have lymphedema, I will also have to wear compression garments every day and night. This is the Caresia sleeve that I have to wear at night. I call it my oven mitt. Sexy. (Photo from the November 24, 2014 blog post.) During the day, I wear a beige compression stocking for 6-8 hours/day.
On to better things...I last left you with my chalk-painted nightstand and said that I was painting the three drawers in an ombre fashion.
I decided to go with shades of blue. Looks pretty good, right?
Well, I went to put the drawers back in the nightstand and they didn't fit in the order I had intended them to! I swear that these drawers are all the same size. I even had Brian try to fit them in from lightest to darkest, but no go. We don't know if it has something to do with the paint or what. This was the only way they fit. I am not painting them again! Now all I need to do is to find some drawer pulls. I'm going to look for silver curved ones.
I also spray-painted a little table for the master bathroom.
It tucks in perfectly next to the sink. We lack counter space in this bathroom, so it'll give me room for things such as a bottle of lotion, a box of Kleenex and maybe a pretty decorative item.
Bandages off for good tomorrow ~ which means I can spend all day running errands!