... I have been home from work with a cold and while I have been laying in the bed trying to recuperate I have also been doing some soul searching.
As you know, I have had breast cancer and as I wrote in an earlier blog, I have developed truncal lymphedema (LE) on my right side, a complication of having this disease. I also had a fall in early November and hurt my left arm, near the "Tricep Brachi muscle (lateral head)... see diagram:
... if this diagram is accurate, the area where I am feeling the pain is in the "indented" area right under the deltoid muscle. Last month it hurt to put my left arm in the sleeve of my coat, however, this has gotten better. But when I try to do rear delt raises, side lateral raises and front deltoid work, with weights, I feel pain, not excruciating, but enough to indicate that I should not be doing those kinds of exercises right now.
Add to that the truncal LE on the right side, that's another story
... As you guys know, I love to exercise hard and I love lifting weights... Last month I even did "ONE" guy push-up
a big accomplishment for me and I was so proud of myself. Well, thanks to the truncal LE, I can no longer do push-ups, even on my knees or incline; and the same goes for pull-ups or tricep dips... and perhaps chest presses, flies, etc... I will have to see if I have any swelling after I do these.
Thankfully I can work the following muscles in my upper body with weights:
- biceps (ALL)
- triceps (overhead extension, kickbacks, crossover's (laying down), In's/Outs, etc.
- shoulders (military press, front press, etc.)
Questionable (... have to see through trial and error):
- lat pull-down using lat attachment
- lat rows
... so it seems I have to totally change my "mindset" on how to exercise to get the results I want to get while still enjoy it. I saw my doctor yesterday and she gave me instructions on how to reduce the swelling, daily, aside from wearing the compression bra, which is so very hot!!!!... I don't like it at all. I have been researching other bras online on my own and found that other breast cancer survivors with this same condition have found more comfortable bras that have great compression and most are under $100.00. My insurance only allows one bra every 6 months. I would need at least 3 because if I have to wear it every night, and other times as needed, I would have to wash it frequently and that would put a lot of wear and tear on it; I don't think that it would even last 6 months at that rate!
Reflecting on all this, although I have had a few complications like some neuropathy in my feet and from the reconstructive surgeries, after I healed, I had no physical limitations. And although I am physically altered, having had a lumpectomy and a mis-shapen breast and will never be the same, somehow, despite this, I have kept a positive attitude and been able to live my life without having to worry about "NOT" being able to do this or that exercise because of the breast cancer. Now, everything has changed. Don't get me wrong, I am very thankful that I have not, so far, developed LE in my arm. I still may one day, but for now, my arm is fine.
Yes, I am a breast cancer survivor, but I really feel that
because I am fighting a battle; I'm not just going to let this ugly disease keep taking from me!!!! I do know that it could be worse and I am totally thankful to be here today and able to workout at all! ... but I am only human and at times, having had breast cancer really angers and saddens me. I have never felt that it is "unfair" that I got it, because I have a cousin who had neuroblastoma when he was just 3 years old (.. happy to say that he is now 11 and doing well!)... I know that I am not special. But when you are alone (... recently divorced) with no prospects, middle-aged, out of shape, personality only goes so far, and I have lost so much of myself and self-confidence over these last few years. I guess this sounds like a pity party and maybe it is for the moment because I am upset at not being able to do "WHAT I WANT TO DO!!!!!".
.. I am sorry to burden you with this, but I don't want to talk to my best friend about it because she has a husband who just had a stroke and is going through so much herself.
... I know that I will be ok,
life is about change, I just have to let the reality of all of this soak in and create a workout plan that will safely work for me. In light of this, I won't be able to the XTRAIN challenge, I am going to sell the series... sorry LAMOURA, MELTNSUE, JENI-O and all my teammates. After I figure all this out I can still do XTRAIN exercises and I will just purchase the single dvd workouts that I can do. I can still do the Les Mill Pump workout, in fact working with a barbell seems to be more comfortable than using dumbbells. I will still use the kettlebell. And will also focus on pilates based workouts both on the mat and on my reformer. I am working on this now because if I feel better by Sunday I want to start my workouts.
I found the following breast cancer survivor/blog and wanted to share it with you. She is amazing... I hope this image doesn't offend anyone... it is raw, real and beautiful...
Click here for her story and more images: www.rebellesociety.com/2
~ Photos by ROBERT STURMAN ~ A r t i s t/P h o t o g r a f í a: robertsturmanstudio.com/
I will also leave you with this motivational quote
... that's exactly what I am going to do ... "keep making it happen" ~ Dee