Radiant, Warm, Abundant Sunshine, or My Own Personal Torture Chamber

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a beautiful weekend, and if you were observing this week or weekend, I also hope you had a wonderful time.

On Sunday, I celebrated Easter with my family.  I knew we were projected to have a beautiful Sunday, with sunshine, warm weather, and clear skies.  But, I suppose I wasn’t completely ready to welcome summer yet.

For Lymphies, sunshine, warm weather, and humidity often mean increased sweating, swelling, discomfort, pain, and limited use of our affected limbs.  For me, personally, it means all of these things.

Yes.  Radiant, warm, and abundant sunshine is also my very own personal torture chamber.  

I woke up Sunday morning and the birds were chirping, my puppy, Benson, was ready to start the day, and I was excited to spend the whole day with my family.  I woke up wearing my Tribute, which for those who don’t know, is an overnight foam compression sleeve.  My friends call it my oven mitt, but to me, it is a perfect pillow fight weapon LOL.

Anyway, I woke up Sunday morning and took off my Tribute, and was excited to see that I could see my wrist bone! It was a good day.  However, I then realized how warm it was in our bedroom.

When we left the house at 9:30 A.M., it was already mid 70s.  I knew immediately that it was going to be a shock to my lymphatic system and an overall tough day, but nonetheless, I was determined to have a great day!

We went and spent time with my mother-in-law in the morning, and then went to my aunt’s house in the afternoon.  Throughout the day, I played ball outside with Benson at least six times, and then spent time outside with family.

From the moment I walked outside, the swelling started.  I wear a black compression sleeve and glove, which some question as black often attracts the heat.  But, to me, black is fashionable, slimming, and makes me feel “less different.”

By early afternoon, my fingers were bulging over the sides of the compression glove.  It was harder for me to bend my fingers and palm.  The elastic band under my armpit was beginning to irritate my skin.  My thumb, itself, had gone numb.  Finally, it became difficult to cut my own food.

As Lymphies, we struggle with the “should I go outside and enjoy what life has to offer, “or should I stay inside where my lymphie limb is safe.”

When I sat down to cut my food, I got frustrated and my eyes welled up with tears.  If this was a few years ago, this moment would have ruined my day and made me spiral into a cocoon of emotion.

Instead, I looked up and saw my beautiful family, including my godson playing with his new toys, my husband conversing with family, my mom sitting with me in understood and compassionate silence, my puppy eating a bully stick, and my 92 year old Nana enjoying a wonderful home-cooked Easter dinner outside of the nursing home.

Life was still beautiful and still enjoyable.  So, I struggled to eat dinner and I allowed myself to be frustrated.  But, then I piled up two pillows and elevated that lymphie arm of mine.  Elevation made the pain easier to manage, and luckily, a quick rain shower dropped the temperature outside, and I was able to sit outside in the late afternoon.

Later that night, I went on Facebook to one of my support groups and realized that I was not the only one having a “lymphie flare-up.”  Wow, did it feel good to know I wasn’t alone.  This is why I began this blog.  For anyone struggling, please know you aren’t alone.

We have our uphill battles to climb with Lymphedema.  In fact, anyone suffering with a chronic illness has those battles to climb.  But, when you climb to the top, the view is beautiful and worth the struggles you have to endure along the way.

For me, the swelling was worth seeing my family smile and laugh, seeing my Nana win the annual egg game, and seeing my puppy exhaust himself playing ball.  It. Was. All. Worth. It.

I hope your weekend was wonderful!  Until next time…xoxo

– Chrissy

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