Monday, September 17, 2012

Mexico in Shannon's Words (Part 2)

January 5, 2011

At the airport

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Mexico and successfully achieved my goal of getting absolutely not one bit more of color than I came with. The day before we left it was a snow blizzard in Maryland. We got to enjoy a bit of the winter white and then it was off to the airport to make our way down south and to the warmth of Mexico. We were supposed to leave at 10:30am and ended up flying sometime around 2:00pm. Not too bad all things considered.

It was the first time that I have flown since having my ancillary lymph node dissection. I followed precautions and put on my compression sleeve and gauntlet about an hour and a half before the flight. When I arrived in Mexico I noticed that my fingers looked very swollen. I was worried that the flying had caused me to get some swelling. However, the entire flight and after it I felt like the gauntlet piece was very uncomfortable. After about 45 minutes after landing I decided to take off just the gauntlet. After about 10 minutes I noticed that the swelling in my fingers was gone. When we arrived at the hotel 2 hours later I took off the compression sleeve and did not notice any swelling in my arm or hand.

Our trip was so nice and relaxing. I had just finished my sixth cycle of treatment and needed a nice relaxing time with my husband to just breathe, have some adventure, and enjoy life.

The first couple of days we were there we really just ate, read, sat on the beach, and went for walks together. We enjoyed this time very much. We especially enjoyed the second day when the sun came out nice and bright and all the iguanas came out of hiding to sun themselves.

Unlike the iguanas, I am not allowed to bask in the sun unfettered and unprotected. I took extra precautions to protect myself from the sun. I coated myself with Fallen’s COTZ sunblock. This is a very nice product. I only use it on my face because I can’t use regular or even standard sensitive skin sunblock on my face. This is the only thing that doesn’t irritate my eyes. I end up using very little so it is worth the price. For the rest of me I used a 70 spf waterproof sunblock. I also re-applied my sunblock not only according to the directions on the bottle, but also every time I swam and then dried off. I also wore a hat and sat under umbrellas at the pool or beach and also wore a coverup.

On the day we went to Chichen-Itza I decided that I did not need my compression sleeve and gauntlet. We did a whole lot of walking! I loaded up on the sunblock like our days on the beach and also wore a hat. During some of the tour guide’s talks the group was standing directly in the sun. I chose to forgo part of these learning experiences and stand in the shade on my own. It was incredibly fascinating and I was able to hear enough during the talks in the shady parts of the area that I did not feel my experience was in any way incomplete.

On Christmas Eve day we went to swim with the dolphins. I did wear my compression sleeve, but not my gauntlet because of it bothering my hand so much when I was flying. Now, salt and oil breaks down the special weave of fibers that the compression garments are made of. What I did was ask the place where I get my compression garments from what to do while swimming in salt water. I wore my old compression sleeve and immediately cleaned it when I got back from swimming with the dolphins.

That night at dinner I ate some thing that I was allergic to. I broke out in hives all over both arms, neck, and legs. I chose not to see a medic because my airways were not in any way restricted and I was having no trouble breathing. I had brought Benadryl with me and chose to take that as recommended. The hives lasted long after our vacation had ended. They were pretty much gone about a week after they popped up.

Our last two days were spent in lazy enjoyment. Ben played golf, we went shopping in Playa Del Carmen, (where I found a Starbucks!), and I got a hot stone massage and pedi-cure at the hotel spa. Now, one of the precautions one should take to prevent lymphedema is to avoid massages on that area. I simply told the spa that I could not be massaged on my right arm, shoulder, and the surrounding area of my arm. It was not a problem and I got to enjoy the perfect relaxing day.

I suppose now it is back to reality and New Year’s resolutions. I don’t usually make any, but I think I am going to this year…even if they will start a month late.

Last picture we took together in Mexico

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