Archives For lymphoedema

The 12th of September.

Today has been fairly acceptable, pain-wise. I had to bend over this morning which my back didn’t like, and I’ve had the occasional twinge, but moving has been much easier. I had a longer sleep, which I think helped too. 

Quiet day for me; this morning, I wrote up a blog post, and tried on two dresses that I had ordered. Keeping one, sending the other back. Chatted with the kittens. I think bribery is working on Hugo, as he’s not running away from me quite so much. 

After lunch, I perused some crochet patterns and did some experimenting with different sized hooks, eventually deciding to just make a scarf/snood with some wool I bought to get free delivery on an order. I watched some Bones, then went to sit and give Hugo treats while I stroked him. He’s getting better at it. Even Harvey wanted to come and join us watching Buffy, although he doesn’t care about Dreamies. 

The 13th of September. 

Well it’s been a rather productive day. I saw Anne Dancey this morning about my arm. I explained my situation, and my history, and she examined me. She was pleased to hear that Andrew is organising this nuclear medicine test, as she would do something similar, and would like to see the results when they come through. Let’s hope the appointment materialises soon. She thinks it is probably vascular, but that a proper compression garment and seeing specialist nurses will help me, so it’s handy that I’ve got St. Giles (who are the same team she uses anyway) next week. If I do need lipo, she will provide it, but I have several other avenues to try first. 

We popped into town before going home, to take back two of the three coats I’d ordered from Zara, then had to get straight back home so Mommy could get to Grandma’s for 12. 

This afternoon is used up a second ball of wool on the scarf, so that’ll be done by the weekend, and I had a bit more Hugo petting time while listening to PM. I think we’re making progress. Henrietta, not so much. 

The 31st of August. 

Mild improvement today? My eyes don’t hurt quite as much, and my sleep wasn’t as terrible. I suppose you can call that progress. 

This morning I had an appointment with Andrew, post-venoplasty. I showed him my still fat arm and he was very disappointed. I was surprised that he had expected it to work, frankly. The next option for him would be to put a stent in, but it would be pretty massive and made of metal, and it would stop any central venous access from my left side, which could be problematic. He has a multi-disciplinary team meeting on Tuesday with other interventional radiologists, surgeons and haematologists, and he is going to present my case to them, and see me again in six weeks. In the meantime, I’ll see Anne Dancey and the lymphoedema clinic, then we’ll see where we are. 

Popped into town afterwards where I bought some hand cream, moisturiser, and some drawers from Muji to tidy my make up area. Back home, I spent forty five minutes sitting on the floor sorting it out, which was very satisfying but very painful for my back. 

Had a breakthrough with young Hugo! I went to give the kittens some more food, and he came up to me with his brother and lay down near me, even allowing me to stroke him! I have no idea why or how, or even if it’ll happen again. I hope it wasn’t a fluke. 

The 1st of September. 

Another trip to London! This time, it was Daddy’s belated birthday present: the Pink Floyd exhibition at The V&A. Half ten train, arrived at Euston just after twelve. Train manager got the ramp for me because, quelle surprise, nobody there. We got a cab to the museum, when we met up with Christine and went to get some lunch in the café. I got a ham and Emmental baguette because everything else had spice and stuff in, then there were secret herbs in the butter that nearly made it intolerable. You think you’ll be safe!

Our tickets were for 2.30, and we had to get headphones for the exhibition (very clever, they could pick up where you were and play the appropriate audio), so we joined the queue of other organised people. We got in promptly, as did many others, so it was quite slow to get around – especially for me, as I can only move at the speed of those around me, and only see stuff when people aren’t in the way. I liked what I knew of them already, and there’s some stuff I heard that I’m going to look into more. I took a lot of photos. 

I bought two books on the way out (not Pink Floyd related) and waited for the others. They were watching the film at the end, which I had to leave because of blinding light. When they eventually emerged, we went to get coffee and cake. We decided to sit outside, which was a mistake because the wind was freezing. 

I wanted to see the Rachel Kneebone sculptures, and so Christine and I went to find those. The first one was fairly obvious, a giant column by the entrance hall, and there was a sign saying the rest were in room 21. However, once there, we could not see them. A volunteer saw that we were confused, and she went off to find out where the other sculptures were. It turns out that one of them got a bit broken, and they got taken away. She could see I was disappointed, and asked if we were interested in the Balenciaga exhibition. I said yes, but we hadn’t bought tickets. However, she said that was fine, and she’d get us in. Okay! So then we got to look around there at all the beautiful dresses. I discovered that Cristóbal and I share a birthday, and found a dress by Oscar de la Renta that I would gladly get married in. So stunning. 

We met back up with Mommy and Daddy, and it was time for us to return to our respective homes. Christine poddled off back to Twickenham, and the rest of us back to Euston. I bought some Pom Bears and a green juice for dinner, and a New Scientist to read on the way home. Pooped. 

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The 30th of July. 

Not quite one’s average Sunday. The morning was fairly standard – Sunday Brunch, blog post. This week’s comedian pal appearing on the show was Joel, who ate some chips in order to make Nish lose a wager. 

After taking Grandma home from church, Mommy and I went into Sutton to get Pandora charms for today and August. I also got a chocolate dreamcake Krispy Kreme because it’s a day to celebrate. In the end, I went for the anchor charm at Pandora, because they describe it as the “symbol of hope” and hope was all we had at that point. My chances were 20% of 20%, which works out at 4%, and yet somehow, nine years since my second stem cell transplant, I am still here. 

When we got back, we had lunch, and I spoke to a girl who is interested in adopting Betty. She actually happened to be very near my house when we talked, so she came round straight away. Betty was her usual charming self, coming straight up and purring away like a champion. It seemed to go well; she’s gone away to think about it and fingers crossed she wants her. 

The 31st of July. 

My brain was very busy in the night, dreaming about all sorts of things. 

This morning, I worked on the panda head while communicating with Philippa to find out if James had sent my referral to the lymphoedema clinic. She said it had definitely gone, so then I rang the clinic who confirmed that they’d received it, but I won’t get an appointment until October! SIGH. I’m going to have to find someone else to see because I can’t do nothing for another two months. 

After lunch, I went up to the QE to see Dean. He was starting his chemo today so it was a good day to go before he starts feeling too ghastly. Although he wasn’t feeling wonderful today, bless him. Issues with chemo timing hadn’t helped, and pharmacy were being dreadful – his chemo was meant to be at one, but it still hadn’t appeared on the ward when I left at twenty to five. He is taking his mum to see Miss Saigon tonight and I really hope they got there because he’s been looking forward to this for ages. It was nice to meet his mum and younger brother; I have heard much about them so it was nice to have faces to put to names. 

Tonight I’m off to Denise’s for a Cats Protection meeting to try to work out what we’re going to do about homing. 

The 14th of July. 

I have not really felt up to participating in life today. Not quite under the heavy cloud, but definitely not feeling myself. 

I didn’t have a great start to the day; up early again for the dentist this time. I saw the dentist first, and that was fine, but then I saw the hygienist and it wasn’t my normal one. I did not like her. She was very against me using a manual toothbrush or floss picks, and she was adamant that the kids’ Sensodyne Pronamel toothpaste isn’t minty (it definitely fucking is) and wouldn’t listen to me when I protested. She said I had loads of plaque, then cleaned my teeth really aggressively and painfully – there was blood all over my face and bib which has never happened before. She really didn’t seem to care about my history, or the fact that in all the time I’ve been at this practice and seeing Mrs. Richards, nobody has felt that I had any problems. I was very glad to get out of there. When I had to rebook, I made a point of making sure it was with my normal hygienist. Not seeing that woman again. 

Got home where I could finally have my coffee (no time before I went out), and I rang the lymphoedema clinic that has been recommended to me. They said I needed a referral, so on Monday I’ll get a consultant to write a letter. 

The rest of my day has been spent looking for something to wear on Tuesday. Fuck my arm. If I weren’t right-handed, I’d have chopped it off. 

The 15th of July. 

I am so tired. Another bloody early start for another morning appointment. This time it was to see the eye man at the QE. They were not running so on time today, so my 9.50 appointment ended up being more like half ten. Still, it was good news – said they were the best he’d seen them, which would certainly tally with how I feel. I can cut out one eye drop, so it won’t take so long to go to bed, and he’s prescribed something that might be better than Hyabak. 

Got home about twenty to twelve, and the stuff I’d ordered from ASOS yesterday had arrived. I’d sent for a couple of shirts and a dress. I’m definitely keeping at least one shirt, not sure about the other, and the dress is going back. It’s too dark for me. Shame. 

This afternoon, I listened to the tennis while writing up the venoplasty blog post, and I’ve been to pet the kitties a few times. There is interest in Bree but I really need Betty to go first, or she’ll freak out of she’s alone for the first time in a new place. Bah. 

Finally finished that doily I have been working on. I think next I will do some things for the new babies that are coming soon – Peter and Sophie’s, Michaela’s, and Robyn and Stu’s. All the babies!

The 12th of July. 

Venoplasty day!

Any day in ambulatory care means getting up before six which is not ideal, but necessary. I was last to arrive in my section, but that didn’t matter because I was third on the list, so there was no rush with my admission. I didn’t expect to go down until about eleven, so I was very surprised when a porter arrived at twenty past ten. The nurses didn’t even know, so I had to quickly go pee and put my gown on. 

Across in angio, I said hi to all the team, and Mr. Singh (who put the PICC in) came to consent me. Then Andrew came and we had a chat about the plan – it was left unspoken that this is our last shot. 

On the table, I was prepped, covered, cleaned. It is a testament to the greatness of the team that I have to be essentially naked in front of the whole room for a while but at no point did I feel undignified or unsafe. My groin was ultrasounded to find the vein, but there seemed to be trouble getting into it because I heard a lot of talk about scarring, then a dilator had to be used to hold it open so the sheath could go in. Then there were issues with the wires – people had to keep getting different ones from the wall. I think it was to do with the length or the stiffness? They were having to get all the way from the groin up to my neck, which is pretty far. They did a couple of runs with the gadolinium to check everything was in the right place, then it was time for fun and sleepy drugs. I got the nice, warm fuzz, then the discomfort of having balloons inflated inside you. I think they did maybe six inflations in total? They used the two biggest balloons available, in one site in the neck vein, one in the SVC and again a little bit further down. Then everything came out, and I had the awkward five minutes where a man leans heavily on my groin to stop the bleeding and there isn’t much to say. 

I went into recovery about twenty past twelve, where I had to stay for half an hour to make sure I was fine before they’d take the PICC out. When it came to that time, the nurses had changed, and the new one hadn’t done it before, so we had to grab a doctor to do it. The nurse watched closely, but there isn’t much to learn – just pull it out, then put some pressure on the hole. Then the nurse was able to ring the ward, where a student nurse said someone would come for me. Forty five minutes later, she rang again, and the staff nurse said she hadn’t passed on the message, and came straight away. I was fine; another nurse had shared her Jelly Babies with me and I only had twenty minutes of lying flat left. 

Back in ambulatory care, I asked Mommy to get the flowers and chocolates from the car because Emelda and Tracey would be gone by the time I’d be able to, so she delivered those and then got me some coffee and a sandwich, which I was only too eager to get into my face. Then we just had two hours to kill, so I was checking the tennis and talking to Mommy about what had happened in angio and what we do now. I have to keep my arm elevated a lot and try to squeeze the fluid down. We’re going to see if the massage people at the chiro do lymphatic drainage, and if that could help me. I’m also considering acupuncture. Anything that will get this swelling to go down. Anything at all. 

By half past four, I’d got myself ready to go, so I was given my discharge letter and we were out of there. I had a ticket to hear Matt Haig talk about his new book, How to Stop Time, at Waterstones at half past six, and I needed some dinner first. I ended up having a cinnamon crêpe and a chocolate milkshake because I am an adult and I can. 

Because of the wheelchair, I had to use the lift to get to that second floor, where the event was, which meant I basically jumped the queue. However, I chose to sit at the front which was good for watching the interview, but then I was at the back of the queue for the signing. However (and I honestly don’t know why this happened), some people near the front said I could go in front of them, so I got out a lot quicker than I might have. I just wanted to tell him how much I loved Reasons to Stay Alive. I’m so excited to read this new one. 

The 13th of July. 

Trying not to get sad. I’m pretty sure the venoplasty isn’t going to have worked. I’ve spent most of my day looking for effective treatments for lymphoedema. 

I had a chiro appointment this morning, which I was very thankful for because a) my neck has been really clunky recently and b) I wanted to ask about the massage/lymphatic drainage thing. Turns out my neck muscles have been recruited to help me breathe so they’ve got all stiff, and Trine’s not sure if they do this but she’ll find out on Monday. 

When we got back, I wrote a long entry about yesterday, watched two rather short Wimbledon semi-finals, and did a lot of internet research. There are the standard treatments of drainage massage and compression garments, but honestly they don’t sound very effective. There is a chance that acupuncture may have a small amount of benefit, but I’d want to know somebody who’d had it, not just pick a random practitioner. Or there are surgical interventions, and frankly I am leaning towards those. I will try anything. I just want my arm back. I want to not feel deformed.