Thursday, July 24, 2008

Check out my latest accessory. Soon it'll be all the rage. Bergdorf's will be stocking them next to the Loro Pianas on the first floor, you'll see.

This is the prize at the end of the lymphedema rainbow. Nice, huh? I had my phys therapy this a.m.; I woke up on time. These bandages, which run from the tips of my fingers to the top of my arm, are the first step of treatment. Soon they will be replaced by compression garments. I'm supposed to wear this thing as much as I can, but it will probably wear out by Saturday. Thankfully, because Saturday we'll be having a Ta-Ta to the Tennis Ball Titties night out.

Fuck me. And fuck lymphedema. These bandages are very uncomfortable and seem to be deferring pain to my back, behind the left tit. I have a feeling I'm going to rip this thing off in a fit of rage later on today. I have to go to the gym, drive, walk around, eat, type, shower--the whole nine with this mummified arm.

"Tell everyone you got attacked by a shark," Phys Therapist said.

"Can I take it off before it wears out?"

"Yes, if your fingers turn blue."

"How blue? I'm really paranoid about stuff like this. My fingers are tingling already. Is that normal?"

"Yes tingling is normal. Bluer than they are right now. "

They were already a little purplish.

"Okay, so blue, blue, like your scrubs?"

"Yes, but you'll know. You'll have intense pain."

Happy, happy, joy, joy. Good god I am getting sick of this shit. Really, really, really sick of it. You assume that after the really annoying stuff like, you know, the chemo, the mastectomy, the expanders, the hair loss, the bloating, the nausea, the fatigue, blah, blah blah, that things will lighten up. But nooo, there's more! You get an encore composed of physical therapy, more nausea, colds, sweats, pain from your port moving around, dry mouth and more. AND you have to start shaving again. (God is definitely not a woman, people.)

Seriously though, this lymphedema seems like it's going to be a real bitch. There's no "cure." And there's no way to predict how long it will last or whether it will go away for good one day. My therapist is very well-respected and well-known down here. And, from what she tells me, it's a chronic condition that you can maintain and keep at bay by avoiding certain things. One of those things? Steam rooms. I heart steam rooms. I'm a spa whore. There are few things I like more than a eucalyptus-scented steam room. Especially since I'm retaining so much water now. Whenever I make it to Equinox, I use the steam room. Often, I bring my own eucalyptus spray bottle with me in case they didn't disperse enough. (Eucalyptus is a great, natural way to repel fleas and tics, so I mix it with water and spray it on Wally before walks.)

Now, I'm advised to never use steam rooms.

"Never?" I said, almost tearing up. "Never??" Even in September when I'm at the Four Seasons in Costa Rica or Canyon Ranch in Vegas? Seriously?

"Well, I'll put it to you like this. People who have high cholesterol aren't supposed to eat certain foods. And if they do it's at their own risk. So, an occasional steam might not hurt, but you just never know. You're taking a chance."

Fuck it. Bring on the cholesterol-filled omelette with a side of greasy fries and Ben & Jerry's for dessert. Beauty is pain. Never has there been a truer statement when it comes to breast cancer.

Oh, I thought you might want to see my hair-growth progress, so take a gander. There's not quite enough hair yet to make me want to sport the bald head in public, but it's almost there.