My name is Joshua Morrow (aka: Lymphedema Dude), I’m now 37 years I was diagnosed at 23 with Primary Lymphedema.
The swelling is from my toes up to my knee in my left leg. I was seen by three doctors before a Endocrinologist gave me my diagnosis. At the time all was told was the no cure, to wear compression and to prop my legs up when possible.
I was also born with Noonan’s syndrome when I have found out that many NS patients develop Lymphedema.
After my diagnosis I went through many years of self denial and depression. The result was I developed a life of unhealthy eating and inactivity. Naturally, I gained weight. In early 2013 I found myself standing five foot and weighing 298lbs. I was worried I might die.
In mid 2013 my life changed once I met and fell in love with my fiancee. She help me see that I had some value. Unfortunately she is no longer with us, but the unconditional love she showed me has changed how I felt about myself.
After years of mistreating myself, I quit eating junk food and changed to eating healthier and started walking. In 2015 two incidents changed my life: first I lost my fiancee at the end of March. I went though a great deal grieving doing which time I felt back into my old unhealthy habits. Late in 2015 the second incident happened. While looking for low impact exercises that may help with my Lymphedema I found yoga. Yoga has been wonderful for me.
Today one main goal keeps me motivated: I look forward to becoming a trainer to help people with disabilities become and stay as healthy as possible. I feel as though I have an unique understanding of the challenges those with disabilities face on there journey to better health, so this is how I wish to give back.
Hopefully through living publicly with my condition on all my social media accounts, I inspire others not to give up and live the fullest life they can while also learning to manage their lymphedema.
The advice I give everyone is to familiarize yourself with the symptoms of lymphedema- such as a heavy or tight feelings, swelling, change of color or general change in skin condition of the affected extremity. As always, if in doubt, get things checked out. Remember you know your body and your lifestyle best. Make decisions, adaptations (after learning what they are of course) that you feel might be beneficial and also be changes you can live with. Recommendations are evolving on this front, so ultimately you decide.
Finally ask questions and keep asking until you get answers that make sense.
Top “cant live without” Lymphedema materials:
Things I can’t live without: definitely number one is compression socks. It’s an everyday thing I must wear to maintain my LE. Secondly is my yoga practice it helps keep me going physically. Lastly is all the wonderful people I’ve had met the support groups I’m a part of on social media. These are amazing and make me feel like I’m not alone.
My best Lymphedema tip:
Best tip I have is to learn what you can- there are many websites with great info to help . The more we know the better we can not only live with this condition, but thrive!