Originally written March 6, 2016
Today I wore turquoise for World Lymphedema Day. This is my story. I have had this since college in ’94. When I was 10, I was scratched by a neighbor’s cat and spent 4 days in the hospital with 104 fever. The lymph node in my right thigh turned as hard as a rock. Ten years later, I had swelling, and it never went away. Just like my Dad. There is no cure or medicine for it. It’s treatable with physical therapy, manual lymphatic drainage, and compression. Some of the symptoms are chronic pain, chronic fatigue, decreased mobility, frequent hospitalizations from cellulitis, and heaviness in the limb. Without treatment, it becomes progressive to full blown hardening of the tissue. On my worst days, it felt like I was walking on broken shards of glass.
The reason I’m speaking out now is because I’m part of a wonderful community that is trying to promote awareness of the lymphatic system. It’s just as important as cardiovascular or dental health, yet no one knows about it – not even doctors.
Despite no cure, I plan on living a long life by remaining mentally strong and focused even when my legs and back won’t cooperate. I refuse to let it get me down, and I will help as many people with it as I can. God is not done with me yet. ✝
Thanks for listening. 💙