My name is Alice Mulder, I’m 19 and I have Primary Lymphedema. I was born in a small beach town called Denmark in Western Australia, at age 11 I moved to Bunbury Western Australia and am now living in Perth. From a young age I have danced and played a lot of sport, and continue to play sport to this day. I’m a beach girl at heart and thrive in summer socializing and making the most of the sun. At the moment I am studying marketing and management at The University of Western Australia, fitting in work, sport and a busy social life between my study. My goals in life are to travel the world and do marketing for charities and causes.
When I was a baby, my Nanna noticed my left leg was slightly bigger than my right. After a lot of tests, I was misdiagnosed with accelerated cell growth. But, at the age 14 I twisted my ankle at a basketball tournament and my leg became swollen and was not going down. After 3 days in hospital I was diagnosed with Primary Lymphedema. As most patients that are diagnosed, both me and my parents hadn’t heard of the condition and the only advice given was wear compression stockings and that I would be for the rest of my life. But my parents didn’t take this as an answer and, my mums life especially, became dedicated to researching the condition and came across a Professor who did microsurgery for Lymphedema (LVA- (Lymphatic Venous Antomosis). This involves ‘the surgical creation of a local connection between the lymphatic vessels and veins in an attempt to facilitate drainage of lymphatic fluid into the circulatory system’. I spent 2 weeks in therapy which consisted of compression strapping and different compression machines to get my leg down, a week in hospital and a week in therapy post operation. We were given a time space of 3 years for the operation to become successful meaning I would not have to wear compression stockings ever again, but for me, the operation was not successful.
I now live a pretty normal life consisting of compression stocking, bandaging and also my compression pump.
I haven’t altered my life at all for my condition and I continue doing the things I love. Yes, during high school I did get some bullying and I like most sufferers I get strangers questioning and looking but most people understand if you explain to them and if people judge you for a condition you can’t control then I believe I don’t need them in my life; their opinion doesn’t matter and out of this attitude I have discovered some amazing people and friends. My social life is thriving and lymphedema isn’t stopping me. Of course it can be a bit of an ‘inconvenience’ but I have found I can do everything everyone else can do and even sometimes doing better!