Click to read "I love my Caregivers" by Wanda
River Rafting Fun
I have had secondary lymphedema for a long time. When I was first diagnosed, patients were given a list of activities that they MUST avoid. The list included lifting anything heavier than a gallon of milk. It definitely did not include river rafting which is one of my favorite activities.
Given this information, I felt fully justified in pigging-out on my favorite comfort foods to ease my depression and sense of loss. After all, I had survived breast cancer but now I was going to have to live with a chronic condition that limited many of my favorite activities. A particularly loss was the “girls only River Rafting trip” my friends. I enjoyed it each summer and looked forward to it all year long. These are the friends who had been so supportive throughout the chemo and radiation but what now?
And so I started a cycle of pigging out on comfort foods and feeling sorry for myself. The results were predictable! I gained way too much weight and was felt miserable until finally even my loyal friends, had enough of my moaning and groaning. They suggested, in no uncertain terms, that it was time to move on and “Learn about you CAN DO and then DO IT!”
Even I can take a hint when it is presented so bluntly but with good intentions. I was fortunate since while I was busy feeling sorry for myself, research was being conducted and had proven that exercise is good for you. It is not the enemy, and so I got started working with a knowledgeable lymphedema therapist. She started me on an intensive to reduce my now very large arm. She also inspired me to get help with my eating and depression problems.
One day, early into my intensive, I explained to her that I was feeling particularly miserable because I would be unable to join my friends for our annual “girls only river rafting trip." She asked why I couldn’t go. I was surprised by her question because certainly she should know about the precautions to avoid strenuous activity involving that arm.
Instead she explained that exercise was beneficial in treating lymphedema and suggested that we work toward the goal of my going on this trip. Now I had a real goal to work toward! Also doing the necessary exercises helped me lose the weight I had gained.
When it came time for the final sign-up for the trip I told my friends to, “count me in!” we had a great time and it was a personal triumph for me!
Lymphedema is no longer about a list of things that I cannot do. Now it is about the things I can do!
What a great feeling -- and getting rid of that excess weight helped my morale, it also improved my lymphedema!
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