January 02, 2013
Inspiration from an unexpected detour
BY Linda Ryan
Linda Ryan thought she had checked cancer off her list. Having just run her first marathon, it was hard to imagine that her cervical cancer had returned after seven years. Cancer chose the wrong woman. She was ready to battle cancer for the third time with health, laughter and friendship.
I recently went for my second appointment to work on the lymphedema in my leg. It's not that bad, but apparently, if I don't deal with it, the fluid will harden and that won't be pleasant.
I went to MD Anderson in Orlando for the treatment. I live in Florida, and my doctors at MD Anderson in Houston suggested I go there because it's closer to home and they have a therapist who specializes in oncology lymphedema.
On my first visit, I realized that I'd been putting off my lymphedema. If I think about why, the simplest reason is that I'm tired of dealing with my medical issues.
My lymphedema treatment
The plan is to do some lymphatic massage and redirect the fluid. I also need to wear compression materials and see if that helps.
The therapist measured my leg and found that the right thigh is two inches larger than the left. I jokingly asked if I could possibly have lymphedema in my butt.
During my second appointment, they hooked me up to a pump, which is really a body suit that fills with air once they zip you into it. My right leg and stomach were in the suit and the air gently massaged my body. It felt good.
I'll go there weekly for a while. I don't really see a need to go weekly for too long, though.
Again, cancer chose the wrong woman
When I was done with my second appointment, I went to visit with a friend who had a double mastectomy and reconstruction yesterday at MD Anderson. When I went to the reception desk to ask what room she was in, I had a strange feeling.
I had to fight the urge to give them my MD Anderson medical record number. I'm not the patient. That's a first in a while.
When I got to my friend's room, she looked great. That makes me laugh because I always found it funny when people told me I looked great during cancer.
We visited for a while, but she was tired and working through a headache from some of the medicine they had given her. Her attitude was upbeat and it was comforting to see her so calm. Yet again, cancer had chosen the wrong woman.
Prayers for friends fighting cancer
When I was leaving, I got off the elevator on the wrong floor. When I turned to see if I could find stairs, I found the chapel. I stopped in to pray for two women I've grown closer to because of cancer.
The chapel was beautiful. It had 5 stained glass windows, each of a garden with birds and flowers. One had the word "hope" at the bottom, the next "love", the next "faith", the next "healing". The largest window on a separate wall had the word "peace" at the bottom.
As I prayed for my friend on the ninth floor of the hospital, I looked at the words on the windows. Hope - she has hope, without a doubt. Love, absolutely. She is loved by so many. As we were chatting, she talked about many of her "best friends" who were there supporting her the previous day. Faith, there's no question she has faith. She told me she went to church this past Sunday. I've seen her there on many occasions. Healing -- she will heal. Her hope, faith and love will help her heal.
My other friend is a woman I met in Houston during my last visit. I wrote about her in a recent blog post. She is a woman I've become closer to via email since we met.
I have a strong connection with her that is difficult to put in words. The window with the word "peace" was the focus of my prayer for her. She told me last week that she has made the decision to call in hospice. She no longer will be getting treatment to battle her cancer. My prayer is that she has peace during this part of her journey. I prayed for her peace.