Monday, 30 May 2011

Staycation

I am planning a little staycation in my flat. Thursday this week is a bank holiday and I am taking Friday off too so that's four days, a little holiday. Very little. My plan is to read and do qi gong. A lot. I recently bought Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann. I love to read, and especially as a child and teenager I used to read a lot. Not so much anymore as I often find it difficult to find the time, peace and concentration for it, but once I do get started on a good book I don't stop.
I plan to do two sessions of qi gong every day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. These days I do 16 minutes of standing and sometimes some additional exercises, but I want to increase to 20 minutes eventually, hopefully I can soon do perhaps 18 minutes and some excercises such as Ba duan Jin.
I am specifically planning to not do any housework or major cooking sessions (except one), which will mean no guilty concience for curling up with my new paperfriend.

Hopefully there will be time for another favorite activity; lying on my sofa watching the clouds drift by, listening to Leonard Cohens beautyful songs. My favorites are Alexandra Leaving and Love Itself, but also In my Secret Life and The Faith are special to me. He is such a unique artist. A gift to mankind, as I think it says in one of the comments on Youtube. The poetry, the simple but yet so fulfulling music. His deep voice oozes inner peace and goodness. I love that he is being celebrated so much while he is living, instead of just after passing.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

So long, old girls...


Today I have packed almost all of the old shoes that I can no longer get my feet into, at least not the lymphedema foot. They are going to my storage room in the basement. I could have thrown them out or given them away, but I feel it would be accepting that this is for life, and I am not ready to do that. Some of the shoes, however, I will try to sell some heels that I don't care that much for anyway. I hope that one day I'll be able to use some of my old companions again. Feeling a little sad now, looking at the picture. I am going to do the same with some skirts and dresses I have.
It looks a bit over the top with 16 pairs, but most of them are old.

I am still making sprouts, alfalfa again and now also chickpeas – or gabanzo beans as I now know they are called in America. They sure are delicious, chickpeas – can't help munch on them even though they are not done yet, hmm. I use a little sprouting jar for the peas, but any glass could do.


I have ordered as much as three pairs of trousers – two very light fabric summers trousers and one pair of very widelegged jeans, feeling excited to get them all.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Pain and magic


Yesterday I went to my Sunday yoga class for the first time since the trip and to be honest – it sucked! I felt like an elephant and my body seemed all stiff, especially the groin of the lymphedema leg. Many of the poses I could not do due to either general stiffness or lymphedema, and the instructor wasn't all that great. I just longed for the torture to be over. Today I hurt all over.

This evening I went for a little bikeride at the moore near me. It's been sunny today and the light is so beautyful this time of day. There is hardly any people out at this time and so the only sounds to be heard are the birds. Everything is so green and lush right now, and at days like today it is like magic there.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Sprouting

Yumm – toasted ryebread with avocado and crunchy, homegrown sprouts.

To try and make my diet a little healthier I have started sprouting again and today I harvested my first crop this time around. Sprouting is great, it's yummie, easy, cheap and very, very healthy. How handy it must be if living in ie Greenland, where nothing grows and the fresh produce they do get has to be flewn in and thus cost a fortune. Or the Australian outback where there could be hundreds of kilometers to the nearest town and one doesn't go grocery shopping every other day.
The ones I just made are alfalfa sprouts, but I have some samples of broccolisprouts, beetrootsprouts and some others that I'd like to try soon. I use a sproutbag.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Compressionpump seeing the physiotherapist

My compression pump.

The new settings, pumping for 30 seconds, then resting for 10. Pressure apr. 50.


Yesterday I was at the physio therapist and I brought my compression pump. My bike sure was heavy loaded, as I had my giant bag with the pump, sheet, bandages and parashutepants and sandals for possible wrapping on the back, but I managed. When going home, I thought it was best to bring some balance to the vehicle, so I had to get a cream cake out of a bakery and put it in the basket in the front of the bike. What else could I do?
It was very interesting to bring the pump so my therapist could see it while it was working. She was not happy about the way it was pumping, but after she adjusted the settings and it had been running about half an hour while she performed MLD on my upper body it turned out that it had had an effect afterall. She could tell on the foot and feel that the tissue in the calf had loosened up some places with lumps of build up fluid before. I will be using it every night for a week or so, then going to see her again and I will measure the leg tonight and after the week of pumping
too see if there is any difference.
My therapist thought I should try and borrow a LymphaPress from the distributor, so I will do that. Apparently the LymphaPress works a little differently than my pump, it sort of "rolls" the air up the leg in a better way than mine and that is what it's all about – pushing the lymph upwards so that it can be distributed into the rest of the body.
It was also really good to get the settings adjusted. From now on it is 30 seconds of pumping and 10 seconds pause.

Monday, 16 May 2011

My razor


I thought I'd bring a little tip about the razor I use for shaving my lymphedema leg (and the good leg too). The razor is called Intuition, I am sure many of you already know about it. Around the blades is a soap unit which acts as shaving foam and provides a very gentle, safeand smooth – shave. It is as if the skin is protected by the soap unit while shaved, one can hardly feel it, though it is very efficient. Before Lymphedema I would sometimes use this, and at other times an ordinary womens razor, but for the leg I dare no longer use an ordinary razor, too risky. A lymphedemagirl must take great care to not cut oneself due to the risk of infections, and I feel safe with this one. Although I find it very safe to use I still take extra care around the ankle, kneebend etc.
The units cost a fortune overhere so I usually stock up when abroad, ie in Boots when in London.

I just found out that California Dreaming is excellent rebounding material, the rythm and the duration is perfect for jumping! I've got it in a Forest Gump album on my computer, but you can listen to it here.

Have started up some alfalfa sprouts, they are to soak till tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Thinking

It feels a little surreal now, the trip being over, with all the the worries I had before going, in terms of whether the leg would behave, if the others would notice, insurance in case something happened etc. It was a sort of study trip arranged and paid for by a posh organisation (nothing religious or anything). When interviewed for the program I was asked if I had any illnesses, and before I knew it I had said no, because I don't feel ill, and I don't see the Lymphedema as an illness as such, though it is. I worried that if something happened with the leg and I had to go hospital that "the suits" who selected me would be angry and send me home or make me pay all the money back. I thought about confessing just to have my concience 100% clear prior to departure, but decided against it. Afterall, my doctor had signed my paper about me being able to attend and I carefully checked that my travelinsurance would cover, should something happen.
I needn't have worried because everything went smoothly, nothing happened. I almost can't believe that the trip came and went, now it is all over and nothing bad happened and no one discovered anything. Not even the girl I often shared hotelrooms with. I wish I could have just told her, said "these are the facts, I too think this darn compression stocking is as ugly as hell and I hate wearing it, but I have to!". I think that even though she would probably feel symphathy for me she would also be disgusted, secretly. She is very sporty and very chic too. I don't think she would be able to relate to it.
Perhaps someday, under the right conditions, I will be able to share a room, telling the roomie about it, not having to hide. How much easier it would be, I tell you I had to be creative sometimes on the trip!
I loved being in Stockholm with my good friend last summer. She knows about the Lymphedema, and I could do what I had to do without feeling embarrassed. Hopefully we will make a trip together somewhere this year too. She is so good. So compassionate and understanding, unlike most others (when it comes to understanding).

I am listening to this song, I have loved it for years, but only recently did I get my hands on it. I don't think the lyrics make much sense, but the music, the way he sings it and the individual sentences grab me. Also the video with the before-and-after pictures and the stories they tell.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Cabbage poultice, Vol. 1

Savoy cabbage (isn't it?)

Ready for action:
Olive oil, kitchen towel, cabbage, old bandages to hold cabbage in place, plastic wrap and tape.

Lanes of cabbage leaves wrapped around my leg, covered
with plastic wrap to hold it in place and avoid to much mess in bed.
After I took this picture I put some old long-stretch bandages on
to keep everything in place.


For a while I have been wanting to try cabbage poultice to see if it would have any effect on my Lymphedema. Apparently this old household remedy is good for many things, ie various types of swelling, so I thought I'd give it a go.
I measured my leg Saturday morning and again Sunday morning having had the cabbage leaves on for the night, and the measures had gone down a little. Not very much though, and I am thinking that it might not be the cabbage, but the bandages, although I just used some old long-stretch bandages and I didn't do a proper lymphedema wrapping, the wrapping was only meant to hold the cabbage leaves in place. I will try again soon, and again later with another type of cabbage. I think the one I used yesterday was Savoycabbage.
There are different ways of doing a cabbage poultice, I did it with whole leaves that I cut into lanes, but one can also grind the cabbage with water into a think paste and apply to the affected area, though not for a whole night, only an hour or so.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Rebounding resumed

I have resumed jumping on my trampoline. In fact, I started jumping again a while before the trip. My physio therapist thought that I should stop because she thought it was a rather stiff motion for the foot and ankle, and it may well be but I am convinced that it is essential that the lymph fluid gets exercised in order to not get "stuck" and and irreversible and thus the tissue getting hard. If that happens, it is for good. 

When I started to jump a long time ago (see here), my leg was rather hard, but after a period of rebounding several times a day it went quite soft and even a little bit smaller. It probably means that it was still reversible, and it is because bandaging still helps, but I strongly believe that activities where gravity is involved are worth gold.


My problem area is the area around the ankle. When I go to bed at night and remove the
compression stocking the tissue is hard and built up, though less when I have been wearing the stocking with the sewn-in pads. I am terrified of the tissue getting hard and stuck. I will have to do more to bring the size of my foot and leg down in case it should "get stuck".

I read many places that rebounding is good for the lymphatic system. Any other "jumpers" out there?