Wrestling with the Future

My war with cellulitis is over. I won, with God's help. The resulting lymphedema, however, has left me with a lifelong condition that I must battle until He takes me home.

In April, I was hospitalized with a staph infection caused by a small cut on a finger on my right hand. Due to the fact that I lost most of the lymph nodes in my right arm during my breast cancer journey, my body had trouble fighting off the infection, and my arm swelled with thick lymphatic fluid.

After spending four days as an in-patient in the hospital, and seven more as an out-patient, my doctor pronounced me infection-free. He referred me to a lymphedema-certified occupational therapist at Via Christi rehab hospital in Wichita.

Anita taught me exercises to increase the strength and fluid movement in my arm, but the majority of the time spent together was bandaging. I had to learn a five-layer strategy to squeeze and cover the entire length of my right arm, from the tips of my fingers to the top of the shoulder. The finished product leaves me looking like a mummy and pretty much immobile.

I spent the next three weeks learning how to get the right amount of pressure, without overdoing it. Too much would decrease bloodflow; too little would be useless. Night after night, I had to learn how to sleep with my bulky arm in an awkward position.

Last week, I was released from therapy, which is great. Anita's last instructions were:

1. Wear a compression sleeve and glove every day--for the rest of my life.
2. Bandage my arm at night--for the rest of my life.

Admittedly, I am struggling with my new reality. While grateful for my return to health and strength, the thought of wearing this stuff forever, and all the time it takes, is daunting.

God has blessed The Hubster and I; we are grateful. We have had some major health battles in the past 10 years, and we are weary. Our faith is solid, but we are struggling with the why.


Notable Quote:

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;  Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
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