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~ ... soul searching, reality and change ~

Friday, January 11, 2013

... 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 emoticon 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!!!!!". emoticon .. 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, emoticon 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.

emoticon 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 emoticon
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • ATHENA130
    Hi Dee - you are definitely a strong warrior! You are definitely an inspiration to me - to have experienced what you have and come out of it with a strong and awesome attitude is amazing. We all have things that we cannot do or that are not right for us at certain timets but the good news is that there are so many workout choices available these days that you will find even better ones that will fit for you. And never feel sorry for burdening us - we are all here for you because you ARE SPECIAL and don't ever forget it!!

    emoticon emoticon
    1928 days ago
    You are amazing! emoticon
    1928 days ago
  • NANNER2121
    Beautiful blog Dee, just like you! We are warriors, bring it on! Also, anyone who find the pic offensive needs to take a serious look at themselves. I could post a pic of my double mastectomy - no reconstruction, because I have never felt so feminine, alive, powerful and comfortable. We will do whatever it takes to master the monster trying to take us down. Thank you for sharing. Hugs and Love.
    1929 days ago
  • F8CONE8
    Bless you but I have to disagree with the statement "I know I am not special." You are a very special individual and you have been fighting a tough battle. emoticon emoticon
    1929 days ago
    You indeed are a warrior! My heart goes out to you as you struggle through yet another difficult period in your life. Know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and that you can always lean on me.
    1929 days ago
  • ALLISON145
    emoticon Dee

    I know it's hard, but know that none of us see someone with limitations... We see someone who has overcome enormous odds and has the gumption to be pissed off that she can't push herself to extremes when most of us would probably be cowering in a corner feeling sorry for ourselves or afraid of what's next. You are amazing, and don't you ever forget it!!

    1929 days ago
    Some times lifes curves and it stinks but you found a way around the trials You are stronger than you know.Rock what you can do as you have done. You are very inspiring emoticon .

    1930 days ago
    Well now you amaze me even more, and I can't say it better or more eloquently than the 3 posters before me... so just get better from that cold, have a poor me day, HUG yourself and you will come back kicking cos that is you, a special sweet person with a huge can - do spirit. and as BEMORESTUBBORN said scream, cry whatever if you have to, you are not weak!

    1930 days ago
    GF, you certainly don't see yourself as I see you. You are not damaged goods. The reality is that your are a 10. You have suffered through and overcome enormous challenges. You are intelligent, playful, fun, funny, interesting, and indomitable. You will not allow this challenge to derail you because you are a winner. You are still on earth for a purpose. To inspire others and give them hope and you do it every day that one of us reads your blogs. You are raw and real and beautiful. emoticon
    1930 days ago
    First, a big comforting hug. I wish I could give you a real one but this virtual one will have to do. You have no reason to apologize for feeling the way you do and for unburdening yourself here - it's a lot to deal with and you have the right to vent. We all need to do that from time to time - being brave is tiring and there are times when yes, life seems very unfair and arbitrary. You are a winner and you will bounce back! I admire your tenacity and the way with which you face your challenges and overcome them. You are an inspiration to us all. Hang in there, scream if you have to but get it all out and feel better soon.
    1930 days ago
    You are one strong awesome lady!! So glad I meet you and we became friends emoticon girl no worries if you need to sell the set and get the ones that works for you so be it you know what your body can and cannot do. We can still motivate each other in other forms of exercise. By reading your blogs on your exercise and what your going through is enough motivation to make me move my butt! You are a cancer warrior!! You are a workout warrior!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1930 days ago
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