Has anyone really used 5th grade math since the 5th grade? #52

Back in August I had a severe staph infection in my left breast. While on Zyvox, the antibiotic, I had worse side effects than the damn chemo. I couldn’t wait to be done with the ABX and start chemo again! One of the SE’s I noticed was my  left thumb was swollen and sore. I honestly didn’t think anything of it and just attributed the swelling to the antibiotic I was on. However, over the past 5 months my left thumb has been swollen and sore off an on. It wasn’t until my hand was very swollen in December at the Rick Springfield concert did I mention something to The Blood Guy.

He immediately sends me for arm ultrasound and there is not blood clot. So, now I have Lymphedema. Lymphedema is a condition that can start in people who have damage or injury done to the lymphnodes in that area. I had 16 lymphnodes removed with my lumpectomy 4 years ago. Lyphedema can start immediately after the damage or injury or show up years later or not at all. What it is our lymph fluid is backed up like it’s clogged and can’t move because the lymph system has damage to it. Lymphedema can be controlled so long as I play by the rules. I’m not going to fight this as it can cause major QOL issues.

I’m in physical therapy monthly now and have to perform MLD, manual lymph massage daily. It’s a slow process and there is a learning curve I am mastering every morning with my coffee. I have mild lyphedema and can still lift weight no more than 10lbs. right now. I also have to measure my arm daily to keep track and tell my oncologist and PT if there is a sudden change. Now, I live alone and I don’t know if you’ve tried to measure your arm with one hand, ensuring it’s accurate but it’s very difficult. I tried looping the flexible measuring tape around the towel holder to measure or holding it with my mouth but only getting drastically different numbers. I even used a Sharpie marking my upper arm to mark my starting point and measuring point only to recognize I had drawn 7 different black marks and couldn’t remember which one was which! It took 3 1/2 weeks to get into my PT appointment and she showed me how to do it the right way – tape! OH. LOL! I was gonna get there I promise!

So, after learning how to perform MLD (manual lymph drainage) and practicing with the tape meaure and actual tape it was time for me to show my PT I knew what to do.

PT: ” ok, Shelby, I want you to show me and walk me through how you are going to do this at home.:

Me: “Ok, I TAPE the meauring tape between the 3 freckles I have for my starting point. I wrap it around my upper arm and…. (I’m so proud of myself and feeling very confident I announce….)  IT’S 5 CM!” …. no wait….

PT: (laughing) “That’s not possible, try again.”

Me: “Wait (laughing) I haven’t used 5th grade math since the 5th grade, I have to think about this!

 

 

” We are all special cases.”  –  Albert Camus

 

 

 

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