Hey I’m Laura, I’m from London, England, I’m 36, have two beautiful girls aged 10 and 5 who are my world, I have secondary Lymphoedema in my right leg, and I am loving life.
My Lymphoedema story began initially after a right groin lymph node dissection due to recurrent Melanoma back in December 2008. Straight after surgery my right leg was considerably bigger than my left. I then had a pelvic lymph node dissection in April 2009 and some how this counteracted the initial dissection and the Lymphoedema disappeared, that is until I went on holiday to Corfu in the summer of 2014.
Mid holiday my leg began to swell, reducing at night when elevated, so on my return went straight to get a referral to see a LE therapist, this was the end of August 2014, by the time I got to see a therapist it was February 2015, in this time my LE that had been reversible by elevation at night had stopped reversing and was really getting me down, I couldn’t wear hardly any of the shoes I owned and most of my clothes were a struggle too, I became quite self conscious of my leg, not wanting to expose it and it stopped me doing lots of activities with my daughters, so it impacted on them too.
In February when I saw a therapist I was told more in depth about my condition, that there was no cure and that they will only treat me for a maximum of 5 years, that I would be seen for weekly appointments for 6 weeks then reassessed. So after 6 weeks when I was starting to see improvements, they said let’s book in some more appointments, l was thinking the following week for another six weeks, but I was left feeling devastated that my next appointment would be in 10 weeks time. I went home and cried that I was left again to cope with my leg by myself, I’d got through cancer twice but this side effect that I was only briefly and I mean briefly told about pre-surgery was having a bigger impact on my life than the cancer itself ever had, but I was alive and I look at my leg as that it’s a small but daily price to pay.
I started to become chronically motivated at the end of my third lot of treatment with my therapist at the end of 2015, I went for my review and my therapist said she was going to sign me off as they no longer needed to treat me, I burst into tears and asked how they could sign me off when my leg was bigger than when I first came to see them? To which they had no answer and re booked me in for end of February 2016, but this got me thinking that at some point I may have to go it alone and I need to be doing everything possible to maintain and reduce my leg for not only my future but so it doesn’t impact my daughters who were 9 and 4.
So I started by researching the lymph system and Lymphoedema, scouring the Internet for hours at a time, to be honest not coming up with a great deal, but I did find useful information that made me look at my diet and what foods impact on your lymph system as a whole. In January of 2016 I decided to become a vegetarian and In April I joined the gym, going twice a week, May 2016 I cut out eggs and cows milk from my diet. On my review in June of 2016 my leg had reduced from 29% down to 18% bigger than my left, and the two main things I had changed were my diet and exercise. I believe these have made a huge difference to my lymphie leg.
Today my leg is at 16% bigger and I may battle daily with stocking and clothes and shoes, but my Lymphoedema isn’t me, it’s a part of me that I embrace, I wear skirts and shorts if I want to, I take my girls swimming and have my leg exposed, I’m armed with knowledge and information and I know I’m not alone in this battle. I hope me sharing my journey, helps others realise they aren’t alone and that although there is no cure (yet) there are lots of things we can do to help ourselves through our long Lymphoedema journey.
Top 3 can’t live without
Circaid Juxta Fit
Changing your diet can put less pressure on your entire lymph system, and exercise of any sort is good to keep lymph flowing.
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