Last Sunday (Father’s Day), I had to go to urgent care. I felt bad that morning and was pretty sure I had a bladder infection. Normally, I would have probably waited to go in, but I can’t wait with any medical issues. Turns out I have a form of strep. Luckily the antibiotics seem to be working and I should be on track for my next chemo treatment in a week. But despite this, we did have a great visit with Ian and his family. My sweet grandson is almost 2, and I love every minute I get to spend with him.
Another thing thing that has been keeping me busy is physical therapy. I’ve had 4 sessions so far and will be going for another month (I think my last appointment is July 19, 2 days before I head to a work conference in California). I go twice a week. The goal is to increase range of motion in my left arm, lymphodema prevention, and strength training on my left side. I have been doing my exercises (which are hard!) and have already met 2 range of motion goals. One of my issues is that I have cording in the spot where I have my lumpectomies and lymph node dissection. This is a type of fibrosis. So Kate, my therapist, has to break up the fibroids that are intertwined and preventing my arm from moving the way it should. This is not a pleasant process! It’s been 3 days since she started this part of the therapy, and I am still bruised and sore. But it will be worth it in the end. So instead of working this area yesterday, we talked about lymphodema. Because I had radiation and lymph nodes removed, I am at a slightly higher risk. As of now, I don’t have any symptoms, but there are a lot of things I need to be careful about. One thing I need is a compression sleeve. I won’t need to wear it all the time, just when I am using my left arm or flying (it has to do with the pressure in the plane). Unfortunately, insurance most likely won’t cover this, which I find upsetting.
This leads me to my final topic. Cancer is expensive! I naively thought that with good insurance, we would not have the financial issues I have heard other people have had to deal with. But that’s not true. Granted, we are so fortunate to have coverage and I am thankful I did not lose my job like others who battle this wretched illness. But I was not prepared. I think this is because when Sam was sick (my reference point), it was mostly in the summer and I had already banked my income. I also worked intermittently, never ran out of FMLA (which kept our insurance paid), and had sick leave to cover my time home with Sam. That is not the case this time around. That being said, we are working on solutions and it is temporary setback. We will be back on our feet in September, we just need to make it until then (which we will). I hope this doesn’t sound like complaining. It’s just our reality at this time, and I want to keep this journal as honest as I can. I guess what I’m trying to say is the medical treatment is just a part of this whole cancer experience. I’ve talked about some of the other facets before too. It is truly a complete lifestyle change in every way imaginable. And for a girl who has issues with change unless I initiate it, this has been very emotionally trying.
Today when I was spending time with friends and coworkers I won’t see for awhile, I was called strong. My strength is not mine alone. I make it through each day with the help, love, and support from Troy, my family, my friends who are family to me, and God. Thank you, all of you, for your love. I know with that and your continued prayers, we will make it through every challenge and obstacle in our way.
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