Monday, July 02, 2007

The hand from hell - or Going to hell in a handbasket

Would you be interested to know what the length of referral time to the Lymphoedema specialist is?
You would?
Take a little guess.....

If you guessed 8 weeks then you win a prize! The prize of knowing you're so clever. Yes, 8 weeks minimum. Sadly I had to tell them that seeing the specialist 3 days before I get on the plane to Peru was *not* going to cut it. They have finagled me in to see the therapist this week, which is the more important bit as far as I can tell. I mean, my oncologist has told me it's lymphoedema; what's this guy going to tell me that I don't already know??

It hasn't been a good introduction (if such a thing exists) because having swollen up and then gone down and then blown up again, next thing is that last Thursday the knuckle on my middle finger did the whole red and hot thing and got an infection!! Yay!! Antibiotics here we come! It's looking much better now but I cannot for the life of me work out where the infection came from because I can't see any damage or cuts or anything on it.......still, I'm known for my track record of un-findable infections. They never definitively pinned down the site of the infection when I went neutropaenic.
So. I'll definitely have to be arm and hand sleeved up at least for flying to Peru and probably whilst there too because of the altitude. Although I'm hearing different things about whether that will be a problem or not. Some medical folk say it is, some say it isn't. Hmmm - who to believe? I'll also be carrying more lovely antibiotics, just in case.

I am just so busy at the moment; it's really quite stressful. I've been going around today in a little state of panic. I can't concentrate properly (hooray for chemo-brain!) and I keep starting things and not finishing them or getting distracted every five minutes. Not helpful for work - I sometimes feel like I just can't think properly anymore. It's like trying to grab something in the mist. You know there's something there and you have a vague notion of its' shape and possibly its' size but you can't see it clearly and can't get a handle on it properly.

I'm thinking that I want to change jobs, but I don't know what to. But, I was looking at a job application form today and realised that now; I have to think about what I'm going to put in the disability declaration fields. I think Lymphoedema can count as it's a long term condition that [can] significantly impair your ability to do ordinary daily tasks. Technically, in the U.K. anyway, I've been covered by the Disability Discrimination Act ever since I got cancer. This law means that my employer can't and couldn't discriminate against me, for example, by sacking me or by not allowing me to alter my working hours in order to be treated/recover. I'm also covered in the future too - an employer cannot decide not to employ me because I had cancer in the past, even if I don't have it at that time. This is an incredibly important law. But to be covered I have to disclose this fact to any future employer. Which means filling in those boxes that say 'I have a disability'. Which is pretty weird. because I don't think of myself as 'disabled' but perhaps, given the number of jar lids and bottle tops that I have to get other people to open for me and the number of shopping bags I have to get other people to carry for me, perhaps I am 'disabled'. And I don't like it. The self-sufficient 'me' can't get on board with that.

1 comment:

pocketina said...

I think you should still go...it can't hurt to get looked at before you go on your travels, and you might pick up some good tips.
I feel for you: just my little trip to Colorado was to an altitude 1 mile higher than normal, and bookended by two 3-hour plane trips, I was pretty worried. I was ok, but you can bet I kept my sleeves ready in my carry-on bag.
Cut down on salt, maybe...that's helped me a lot.
Anything I find out, I'll happily share with you, ok?
:-)