Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Dang Hangnail

I am always worried about getting the tiniest injury on my left arm. So when I found a hangnail on my index finger the other day I was afraid my arm would swell up and fall off. I have a long list of things I must now avoid to protect my arm and hand. Cutting my cuticles for instance. Getting a bug bite. Sticking myself while sewing. A burn while cooking. I can't get a sunburn, have dry skin, or move my arm in the same motion repeatedly.

Lymphedema - We are each born with between 8 - 50 lymph nodes under each arm. When we have some removed or damaged from radiation there is no way of knowing how many are left to carry out the job of the lymphatic system. If you have 50 and 5 are removed, then your body should be able to adapt. But if you only have 8 and 5 are removed, then you will be more susceptible to developing Lymphedema or swelling from lymphatic fluid. This can occur anytime after breast cancer surgery or radiation; even years later.

This is not my arm and
I hope it never is!

Ok. Raise your hand if you know someone who went through breast cancer treatment. Below are several "handy" gift ideas to get that special person.

Medical Alert Bracelet - Do not allow the surgical arm to be used for blood pressure check, blood draws or injections. Purchase and wear a bracelet as a reminder to all healthcare providers. I ordered pink now that I'm in the Breast Cancer Club.
First Aid Kit -  My surgeon explained that if I get an injury of any kind, no matter how small,  I must immediately wash with Dial soap, put Neosporin on and cover with a band aid. I now carry a first aid kit so I can take care of injuries quickly and have sunscreen and insect repellent available at all times. This is also a handy place to keep my elastic sleeve so I don't lose it.

Rubber Gloves - I found these adorable gloves at Hartville Hardware recently. It's important to protect your hands from harsh chemicals, detergent, hot water and accidentally cutting yourself with knives or broken glass.

Gardening Gloves - Protect your hands and arms with leather gardening gloves that have longer arm shields. (also found at Hartville Hardware).

Oven mitts - Use well fitting, longer oven mitts when cooking to protect yourself from hot oil or steam, as well as handling cook wear in the oven. I'm currently designing a special pattern and testing fabrics to get the best fit. (this image is from Pinterest)

Sewing/quilting guards - I am going to get this steel woven "Klutz" glove for sewing and cutting quilt pieces. I will let you know how it works. Thimbles should be used for hand sewing.