Nerve repair over the last 6 months has been quite slow compared to the first few months post op, which is probably to be expected. The slow down in progress was the reason why I decided not to post updates every week after a while, but now that it’s nearly one year since my op, I thought it was time to check things out again.
The photo shows where the numb area was in week 14 (3 months post op), to where it is now (11 months post op). Quite a lot of regained sensation over the year which is great.
Lets see how things progress in a months time.
From time to time my arm can still feel a bit stiff and achy. Having moved on from the physiotherapy soft play ball I was using after surgery and then the play-dough, it occurred to me that perhaps kneading bread would be a great workout for my arm.
When I was little I used to make bread with my Gran and remembered that kneading the bread would really make my arms ache – the sign of a good workout. So, as I’m on a bit of a health drive I thought I would try to get in the habit of making my own bread. Now-a-days you can buy packets of prepared bread mix to which you only need to add some water, so if complicated recipes are not your thing or if you simply don’t have the time to do it all from scratch, why not grab a bag of pre-mix and give it a go.
Alternatively, as I found out this week for the first time, decorating a cake in fondant icing will also do the trick. You could even go all out and put the electric mixer away and beat the cake mixture by hand!
Whatever works for you one thing’s for sure, cooking and baking my own food not only gives me control over what I eat but it’s a healthier and better for me and my arm.
I love my house, its my sanctuary, my safe haven away from the world and that’s never been more so than in the last few months.
I love my bed too, its where I can feel comfortable, relaxed and can switch off. Or at least that’s what I thought.
This morning, I woke to a throbbing hand and pins and needles. Why? Because my head had fallen on to it and was cutting off the blood supply!
Panicking, I flexed my fingers rapidly and elevated my arm, stroking the skin away from my hand and towards my armpit. Luckily, it seems fine.
The worrying thing is, is that there seems to be nowhere which is truly safe, away from hazards or mishaps. I have to be mindful about everything and that is exhausting. If I cant relax when I’m asleep when can I!?
I cant think of any tip right now I can give myself with this one. Suggestions welcome!
Note: 2 weeks on, I’m still experiencing mild pins and needles occasionally. It did however take 3 days for the initial bout to subside. Scary stuff but I think everything is ok.
This weekend was probably the first weekend since the op where I’ve taken my eye off the ball in terms of my diet, going out for pizza and drinks with the girls, having bacon sandwiches for breakfast and afternoon tea with cake. I did get a couple of healthy meals in but on the whole, I was no where near as good as I have been.
It didn’t take long for my arm to feel the effect. Cramping pains around my elbow and occasionally in my hand and fingers. I know now I should have been more mindful about what I was doing. More than anything else, the link between what I eat and drink and how well my arm is doing is a reflection of how good my lymph flow is, with alcohol and sugar being the biggest culprits.
Im not going to cut these things out completely but I think I will have to plan my weekends a bit better in future, making sure that I still get my 5 a day, drink plenty of water and don’t have too many treats all in one go.
Things That Cause Lymphatic Stagnation
White sugar, white flour, white rice, refined table salt, processed meats, greasy and fatty foods, too much alcohol (apart from the occasional glass of red wine), dairy products, artificial additives, preservatives, colourings and flavourings.
(Source: Wise Geek and Gorgeous Skin)
I’ve been using a grounding mat at home near my laptop for a few months now but wasn’t really aware of how much of an affect it had been having until I went back to work full time 2 weeks ago. For the last 10 days I have been experiencing increased pain, swelling and cramping in my affected arm, so much so I knew I had to do something to help myself otherwise work would be unbearable.
Having moved my grounding mat from my laptop at home to my bed, so I could get the benefits of it while I slept, I not only noticed that my arm felt so much better in the morning, near on “normal” in fact, but that the quality of my sleep had improved dramatically too. So I decided to order a grounding mouse mat to use at work (as I work on a PC all day and am surrounded by multiple monitors).
Today I went for my monthly MLD session and was delighted to hear the therapist confidently tell me that the swelling and pain I had experienced was not lymphoedema but was more likely to be nerve related. The grounding mats obviously hadn’t cured me of lymphoedema because I hadn’t had it but what they had done was help to alleviate the pain and discomfort.
Intrigued at the dramatic effect the grounding mat was having I decided to see what further evidence I could find as to its effectiveness. Interestingly, grounding technology is already in wide use throughout the sporting fraternity and in particular on cyclists during the Tour de France.
Having developed some mild swelling around my arm pit over the last 10 days I was keen to do as much as I could as soon as I could to reduce it. I revisited the SLD videos I had but was finding them very lengthy and a bit boring. That’s no good to me. I need to have something that’s easy to follow, can be done at home or at work if needed and gets results quickly.
I came across the video below and tried it yesterday to great effect. Not only was it easy to follow but the swelling has noticeably reduced and my arm is not cramping as much and so far isn’t as stiff either. Result!
The clip also contains a section for those who want to try massage with a partner or carer.
Not sleeping and feeling stressed? Not sure what to do? Well it seems there is something we can all do that’s free, fun and makes us not only feel happy but can reduce our stress levels, make us less anxious and depressed and boost our immune systems too. What is it? Hug! All we have to do is hug! Apparently 8 good hugs a day is recommended.
A proper deep hug, where hearts are pressing together, has the following benefits:
- The nurturing touch of a hug builds trust and a sense of safety. This helps with open and honest communication.
- Hugs can instantly boost oxytocin levels, which heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger.
- Holding a hug for an extended time lifts one’s serotonin levels, elevating mood and creating happiness.
- Hugs strengthen the immune system. The gentle pressure on the sternum and the emotional charge this creates activates the solar plexus chakra. This stimulates the thymus gland, which regulates and balances the body’s production of white blood cells, which keep you healthy and disease free.
- Hugging boosts self-esteem. When we were babies touch showed us that we were loved and special. Those associations of self-worth and tactile sensations are still embedded in our nervous system as adults. The cuddles we received as children remain imprinted at a cellular level, and hugs remind us at a somatic level of that. Hugs, therefore, connect us to our ability to self love.
- Hugging relaxes muscles, releasing tension in the body and can take away pain by increasing circulation into the soft tissues.
- Hugs balance out the nervous system. The galvanic skin response of someone receiving and giving a hug shows a change in skin conductance. The effect in moisture and electricity in the skin suggests a more balanced state in the nervous system – parasympathetic.
- Hugs teach us how to give and receive. There is equal value in receiving and being receptive to warmth, as to giving and sharing. Hugs educate us how love flows both ways.
- Hugs, like meditation and laughter, teach us to let go and be present in the moment by getting us out of our circular thinking patterns and connecting us with our hearts, feelings and breath.
- The energy exchange between people hugging encourages empathy and understanding.
Source: Mind, Body, Green, BBC News and The Mail Online