Left Foot, Right Foot

THE FOOT BOOK by Dr. Suess

Left foot, right foot, left foot, right.
Feet in the morning, feet at night.
Left foot, right foot, left foot, right.
Wet foot, dry foot, high foot, low foot.
Front feet, back feet, red feet, black feet.
Left foot, right foot.
Feet, feet, feet, how many, many feet you meet.
Slow feet, quick feet, trick feet, sick feet.
Up feet, down feet.
Here come clown feet.
Small feet, big feet.
Here comes pig feet.
His feet, her feet, fuzzy fur feet.
In the house and on the street.
How many, many feet you meet.
Up in the air feet.
Over a chair feet.
More and more feet.
Twenty four feet.

Here come more and more…and more feet!
Left foot. Right foot.
Feet. Feet. Feet.
Oh, how many feet you meet!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Do you pay attention to your feet? Or legs? Or hands?

Lymphedema

I have lymphedema.  This means that at times, or all the time, my arms and/or legs swell.

(These are not my feet or arms – this is what lymphedema looks like)

The swelling first started back in 2004, my left foot.  I didn’t realize back then what it was.  If I drank alcohol, ate chips or crackers, or anything salty, it would be even worse.  It’s painful when your foot swells, because the skin can only stretch so far!

After a stressful day at work, my left foot would be just HUGE.

Way back then, I gave up alcohol and salt, as I figured those were contributing to the swelling.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t give up work too!

I also learned to drink a lot more water, to help flush my system.

Of course, my weight doesn’t help either.

I have dealt with the swelling for a long time.  But it wasn’t until my cancer was diagnosed that I learned what I had, had a name.  Lymphedema.

What is Lymphedema

Lymphedema is when lymph vessels can’t drain lymph fluid.  Surgery, radiation treatment for cancer, cancer, and infection can all be causes of lymphedema.

When I was sick and in the hospital with pneumocytis a year ago, I came home with these feet –

I tried to leave them at the hospital, but they sent them home with me.

I was given a prescription for Lasix to help with the swelling.  If you ever get a prescription for Lasix, be aware that you are going to pee, and pee, and pee, and pee… A LOT!

The swelling finally went down the next month.  After I stopped taking the steroids in May of last year, all of my swelling started going down.  Thank God!

Lymphedema can cause cellulitis – imagine that!  The smallest injury to your arm or leg can be an entry point for infection.  The cat bit my hand and broke the skin, and the cellulitis arrived in June.

Being Careful

Cuts, scrapes and burns can invite infection, so I have to constantly keep my eyes open so I don’t contract cellulitis again.

The cat tends to try and bite me on a regular basis.  It must be his way of showing love…?!

To prevent cuts, I can no longer shave with a regular razor.

I have to be careful with knives when I’m cooking.

A couple weeks ago, the oven and I got into an argument.

(That’s gonna leave a mark…)

Last night, the hubs pointed out a scrape on the back of my leg.

These are all things that could cause the cellulitis to appear in an instant again.

This is a constant fear, right along with my cancer waking up again.

Last time, it took four weeks of daily antibiotics to get rid of the infection.

I don’t really want to go through that again.  Cellulitis is very painful, and even being on morphine doesn’t help that pain.

Those (un)fashionable stockings

The cellulitis finally gave up in early July, and I was referred to get compression stockings for the swelling in my legs.

I’ve always been “meh, I don’t need those”, and waved off use of the compression stockings.   Same way I started with the CPAP machine.  “Meh, I don’t need that…”.

I begrudgingly met with the stocking person at HME Home Medical and was taught how to put the compression stockings on with a plastic thingy.

The timing was before my back surgery in August, and there was no way I could get the compression stockings onto the plastic thingy to get them on my legs.

The hubs would wake me before he went to work in the morning, and put the compression stockings on my legs.  That lasted about three days.  I need my beauty sleep! (I don’t think the sleep has worked yet…)

So the plastic thingy went into a cabinet, and the compression stockings went into the sock drawer.

About three weeks ago, I noticed that my foot was swelling again, despite taking the Lasix prescription and staying away from salt and alcohol.

The plastic thingy
The stocking

I pulled the plastic thingy out of the cabinet, and a set of the compression stockings out of the drawer.

I put the compression stocking on the plastic thingy, and realized I put it on wrong.

You see, the stocking has to be inside out, and the ankle area has to face towards me, so when I put the plastic thingy down on the floor, it’s the right way to get the stocking on.

The stocking on the plastic thingy

I tried again, and got it right this time.

Pulling the stocking up my leg

I stuck my foot in, and pulled the plastic thingy up my leg.

I got the stocking on!

I’ve now worn the compression stockings for three weeks.  They do make a difference.  I don’t know if I’ll wear them over the summer…they aren’t exactly fashionable with capris and shorts!

But, I have to get beyond the fashion since they do help.  If I don’t wear them one day, I can feel the difference.

“Will you take my legs off, please?”, is heard every night in our house.  The hubs has to remove the compression stockings at night.  I can get them on with the plastic thingy, but they are harder than hard to get off!

Tripping!

So the hubs and I are heading to visit family soon, and we can’t wait!  We love being together and talking about everything and anything while we travel.  Even though we are away on “vacation”, I get to cook, one of my favorite things to do!

Though I have to be careful with the knives…

Sending love to you all! ~Erika

 

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