My name is Kimm Ehlen, I am from Minnesota, married with two boys. I have lymphedema due to lymph nodes being removed from cervical cancer. I was 35 years old when I got diagnosed with stage 2 cervical cancer. They tested 36 lymph nodes from my groin and they all came back cancer free. Yay! I went on to have a radical hysterectomy, but did not have to do any further treatments. Immediately after surgery I developed some slight swelling in my left ankle. I was told about lymphedema, but did not have any interest in listening. In my head I only had a tiny bit of swelling and I was not going to worry about it or deal with it. DENIAL.
In 2015 I started to become chronically motivated. I decided I could no longer live this way and I started to accept that this was life long disease and I better figure out a way to deal with it and find happiness. I searched high and low for cute clothing that fit my leg, I had to “re-style” myself. I found a few pair of shoes that fit on my fat foot. I decided to hold my chin high and walk out my front door and start living again. I started to eat super healthy, take supplements and be as active as my leg would allow me to be.
I also started to do research, I was not going to sit and let this disease progress anymore. Every day it felt like it was getting worse and becoming harder to manage. I went to visit my lymphedema doctor here in Minnesota and she informed me of successful surgeries that were taking place for lymphedema. I decided to consult with a doctor in California, I was a candidate for three surgeries. I spent the next two years fighting insurance for approval and getting all three surgeries. This was a big under taking, but I knew it was the right thing to do for my leg and for my future. Today my leg is back to normal size ( still have a bit of ankle swelling ) and I am able to wear my regular clothing and shoes. I am able to resume most of my activities that I love and I feel chronically motivated every single day to better my leg, to better my mind and to stay positive.
To get through each day I will not live without certain things to make my lymphedema feel the best possible. First, my class 3 custom Medivan compression, I love this compression because it does not fall down and can stay in place during activities. Second, I take a class called “Pedal Wild” it is a hour long full body cycling class, my leg feels charged and amazing afterwards, I do this 3x a week. Third, I will not live without coconut oil to keep my leg soft and hydrated. I put it on every night before I go to bed. Fourth, I take Tumeric daily, I find that it is very helpful with the swelling in my leg and ankle.