My name is Sara Peiffer and I am 34 years old. I was born and raised and continue to live in Wichita, Kansas where “there is no place like home.” I have been married for 10 years to my best friend with an adopted 5 year old son. I am tax analyst for a tax software company and also work part time in retail to support my shopping addiction.
I was diagnosed with Primary Lymphedema in my left leg at 12 years old. I was getting ready for a summer softball game when I noticed my left leg was bigger than my right. I was very fortunate to be diagnosed by an orthopedic surgeon soon after noticing the swelling which is not very common these days so even more rare to happen over 20 years ago. My parents have always been supportive in getting me whatever treatment was necessary. I was never told that I couldn’t do anything because of my condition so I continued to stay active and play sports. The summer before high school is when I found my MLD therapist who taught me how to maintain my lymphedema for the rest of my life with compression, wrapping and MLD. Maintenance just became my way of everyday life I didn’t know any different. I received a college tennis scholarship and played in my compression and short skirts like no big deal. My teammates and friends have always been accepting of my condition.
I currently wear Juzo thigh high compression every day and wrap with low compression bandages at night. I also have a pneumatic pump and wear my ready wrap when I exercise. I do my own MLD but also get a lymphatic total body massage monthly. I eat a balance diet and exercise 3 times a week. With my ready wrap I get a lot of benefits from exercise. One of my goals is to become an aqua instructor and bring this type of exercise to my community.
I feel I have always been chronically motivated to not let lymphedema stop me from doing whatever I wanted to do. I did find myself living in a bubble going through the motions maintaining my lymphedema for a long time when I realized there is so much more out there that can help instead of just maintain my lymphedema. I hope I can inspire others not to be afraid of the condition and not let it define you. With all these great chronically motivated ambassadors it shows nothing is impossible. In February 2016 I decided to pursue surgical options and have traveled to the east and west coast to see two renowned doctors and hope to tell this story as it progresses. If you are personally struggling remember you are not alone as you can see by this wonderful website. Don’t be afraid to try new things, you never know what will work for you if you don’t try. I also found the wonderful lymphedema community on Instagram. I have really learned a ton of information from people all over the world and became more focused on trying new things to help my @lymphieleg. This past year I have bought my first pair of skinny jeans and riding boots something I thought would never be possible.
My top 3 can’t live withouts include:
- “It Stays” adhesive, I lived many years constantly pulling up my compression because it was slipping or rolling down. Compression would be so painful behind the knee and around my ankle but this has been a total game changer.
- Jobst crescent foam pads – I use these every night to push the fluid out to give shape to my ankle bone.
- Ready Wrap – This allows me to exercise with extra compression giving me tons of benefit.
Find me on Instagram @lymphieleg