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Coping with Side Effects

I have a 20-pound lifting limitation on my right arm from radiation damage. My right brachial plexus — the nerve bundle that controls the right arm — took a full dose hit last summer.

I take an engineering approach to such limitations. I find myself looking at boxes I need to move and thinking, “If I take out these books, then the box is only 40 pounds, and if I divide that by two arms …”

I do not tell my radiation oncologist about these moments.

I hope he’s not reading my blog today.

9 thoughts on “Coping with Side Effects

  1. Madam,
    You have done more for me just by shaming me for having ever mentioned my pettily issues. I had no idea how you must suffer. I know that my so called life will continue and after all you have endured you still lack any assurance. I am humbly apologizing madam for ever thinking I had a problem. You are a kind person.
    PS….when I had to move things, i would build a tape harness and use my neck to lift.


    • Grady, I’m not suffering, at least by my understanding of the word. I’m just finding ways to live given the challenges I have, same as everyone else.


  2. May I suggest the purchase of a dolly so you can take things easy on the arm? Put the empty box on the dolly, load it with a few books at a time, close the box and then roll it over to where you want it to go next. I try to remember to do things like this just so I don’t do something stupid, at age 55, that will wrench my back and cause pain in later life that will keep me off the tennis courts!


    • Good suggestion, Crystal. A dolly would help when I’m working on one floor. I probably should rely on a family member when moving stuff between floors. It’s just frustrating to delay a project when extra arms aren’t immediately available.


  3. The engineering approach makes perfect sense to me, but then my mother was also an engineer. 20 pound load limit x 2 arms = 40 pounds total load, making sure the CG is in middle of box. (She would have said.) Although, she might have said make it a 38 pound load to account for extra stress and allow safety margin.


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