Nine weeks and three days ago, cancer was cut out of my life along with my breasts. Since then, my life has been occupied with rest, extremely limited activity and many, many doctor visits as well as a few setbacks. As I began re-introducing normal activities into my days, swelling had appeared in my right arm,the side where lymph nodes were removed. My surgeon cautioned me to beware, that too much activity could end up causing full-fledged lymphedema in that arm.
I had to be careful not to spend too much time on the computer since doing so caused noticeable inflammation in my arm and hand. It was very frustrating not to use my arm! There were so many things I wanted and needed to do, but most importantly, write thank-you cards.
I found myself in a dilemma. Since learning print and cursive penmanship, mine has always been described by teachers as “chicken-scratch.” Over the years, my longhand degraded further as carpal tunnel syndrome reduced any sense of legibility. Now, with this latest onset of swelling/lymphedema, deciphering anything I hand-write might require the services of a cryptographer. Believe me when I tell you that my handwriting is beyond atrocious! Yet, hand-written thank-you cards seem so much more personable than printed lines from a computer – does that still hold true if one cannot read what is written? I wonder.
I have found, though, that if I do attempt to hand-write anything, my vocabulary and sentence structure diminishes to the rank of a first-grader. Simple sentences/statements are all that my hand can tolerate – short and sweet.
Since the motion of keyboarding is not as aggravating as holding a pen and writing, I knew that I could manage printing notes on the computer and I needed to send these cards out soon; too much time had already passed!
The decision was made, with the exception of the first three cards which I tried to print my feelings of gratitude by hand. I fear that between my scribbly print, and attempt at keeping those messages short and to the point, I may have inadvertently given some of my well-wishers cause to think that I am lacking in mental faculties!