What would you do if you lost all of your lymphedema compression, wraps, pump, in a FLOOD, HURRICANE, or other natural disaster? Like GONE. Swept away in water into the Gulf of Mexico 20 miles away or in a river (reservoir / pick your body of water) somewhere in E. coli or fire ant infested floodwaters. Maybe soaked in floodwater that is up to your roof. You’ve probably seen Hurricane Harvey all over the news wherever you are in the world. I am writing this because I am both a Texan and a Lymphie.
Take a moment to view Houston: OUR CITY (Hurricane Harvey First Responders) Source: YouTube Benjamin Onda
I admit I was born and grew up 35 miles from the Texas Gulf Coast, so I am not a stranger to hurricanes or tropical storms. The same for my parents and grandparents. It’s part of living here. Most of the time we don’t buy into the hype. Sadly, my grandparents’ house was wiped out in 1998 by a flood. They had lived there over 40 years. I helped strangers trapped in cars in thigh high water in Houston during Tropical Storm Allison. During Hurricane Ike, I remember Houston without power for 3 weeks. I drove 17 hours from Houston to Austin during the evacuation of Hurricane Rita which never actually hit us. In short, I do understand the power of water and how it can kill you.
None of that prepared me for this past week. This past week I have become physically sick from the destruction I have witnessed. As in I have vomited twice and had stomach upset all week from sheer anxiety. On pins and needles as to whether we would be under mandatory evacuation. I witnessed my neighbors across the street rescued by Coast Guard Humvees. Family members all along the Texas Gulf Coast experiencing varying levels of loss and destruction to their property. This is my home. This is OUR home. I have a huge family, and all of them live in Texas.
After recovering from the initial shock of it all and witnessing the chaos – gas shortages, water and power shut offs, grocery stores wiped out, and looters. While also viewing the incredible acts of heroism from ordinary people as in neighbors helping neighbors to first responders saving so many lives…… the situation as it relates to lymphedema is just now hitting me.
Lymphedema is EXPENSIVE.
I don’t think anyone with this disease would disagree with that statement.
So back to my original question. What would you do if you lost all of your lymphedema compression, wraps, pump, in a FLOOD, HURRICANE, or other natural disaster?
How would you explain what you needed to replace? Would FEMA or another nonprofit even care about your compression? Many people with lymphedema cannot go very long without it before experiencing severe swelling. Some experience cellulitis very easily!
Here’s most of the stuff I’d have to replace.
- Full body Solaris Tributes – Vest, Thigh High, and Knee high
- Custom Thoracic Compression Juzo vest
- Flexitouch leg pumps plus vest pump
- Lymphedema bandages
- Juzo Full Pantyhose stockings
- Wearease tops
- JoViPak Belisse Compression Bras
This is thousands of dollars of medical supply equipment, so I moved all of it upstairs when I thought flooding was imminent.
Without these tools, my swelling becomes uncontrollable.
See the difference?
Then it really hit me. There could be people with Lymphedema across Texas impacted by Hurricane Harvey that need compression or help in some way.
With that thought, I decided to create a fundraising campaign for Texans with Lymphedema impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
Fellow Texans With Lymphedema
I started discussing this issue in my online support group, and a few members agreed to share their photos.
Ty Davis is from Texas and is the blogger known as Lymphie Unicorn.
The next Texan is A. Ham from East Texas. Thank you so much for sharing your photos to help your fellow Texans!
A Canadian Lympho had the following tip to share –
With my list of contacts from ~30+ years of dealing with LE…all I would need is my ID. My insurance folks, medical team plus ‘vendors’ (LymphaPress, BSN Medical – Canada/Germany/Italy) & pharmacists would all be able to aid me, swiftly & effectively, based upon my case history & file. In this day & age, my medical files are never stored in but one location. Contingency planning for any/all aspects of life & living are key. My time working with Public Safety Canada (combo of US’ Homeland Security & FEMA) has instilled this – necessarily – into my medical needs’ pursuits. Plus, in Canada, with electronic health records…& portability of state-run health care (Canada Health Act), all would be OK, provided I survived the ‘incident’ event (fire, flood, earthquake, or other natural disaster or human-generated catastrophe). Good health! — S. Kelland, Canada 🇨🇦 MALE (Male Advocate for LymphEdema)
Great advice to keep your medical information in multiple locations and have a vendor supply list ready for garment replacements.
Many thanks to the other sites that are in support of this campaign and help Texans with Lymphedema Impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
We hope that the list keeps growing as more people and groups become aware across the country. Leave your tips for surviving a natural disaster with lymphedema in the comments on this blog post.
Texans With Lymphedema Link
Thank you and wishing you great lymphatic health,