The Heel Experiment

Good news!!! I’m down! I’m down!

Probably the lowest in a long time. I actually want to cry. My right ankle is 24.8 cm and my left is 22.5. Both of my insteps are exactly the same. Precisely asymmetrical. When you have bilateral leg lymphedema, that’s a big deal.

I’m back in CDT because last summer I blew up. In 2015 I reduced my legs from not being able to wear most shoes, so I’m 3 years post reduction maintenance. To stay down, I have to work at it just like anything else in life. It’s a roller coaster experience to say the least.

So what does 24.8 cm translate to in the REAL WORLD? It means SHOES! The standard strap of a summer sandal or heel is only so long, which limits your options.

There’s a page I follow called “Living With Lymphedema, RIP Cute Shoes,” and I can’t think of a more appropriate sentiment. It’s run by a phenomenal lady named Jessica, and the title of her page often pops in my head when I’m in my closet or in the shoe department. Jessica and I finally met in person at the LE&RN DC #LymphWalk at the Lincoln Memorial this past May.

From time to time, I’ll try on an old pair of shoes. When they don’t fit, I throw them in a bin and think “RIP Cute Shoes.” It sounds funny, but I know we all do it. I know you have a box of “stuff” that doesn’t fit like I do.

I got home from my CDT appointment all excited. Then I thought, wait a minute….. Let’s put my efforts to the test. Let me go to that old shoe bin and try it out. I chose a pair of Michael Kors heel sandals I wore a couple of times. I also decided to take off my compression to better visibly see my more problematic areas from the back. Don’t freak out. My compression is back on!

I think it’s fairly obvious that my left leg is waaaay better than my right. The main thing I changed was my exercise program. Before I commit to anything, I’m going to continue to monitor through the summer. Who knows? It might just be a fluke good day.

If these shoes still fit the same or better in August, I’ll know I’m winning. Friday I will travel by plane, and this week is full of barometric changes from nonstop rain and thunderstorms. In fact, now it’s just started to rain cats and dogs.

It’s going to be interesting! I’m looking for NTP, non-tape victory!!!


  1. I have the same issues with shoes! I hope your sandals fit better in August. I am rooting for you!

  2. That is so wonderful…..I havent ever been able to wear cute shoes. I have plantar facitis. So I can only imagine how wonderful it feels. Michael Kores…..WOW. What a gas!!!!!

  3. I hear you ladies . Every dress up event is still traumatic when it comes to my feet and shoes . It’s only been 3 years post ovarian surgery and removal of 33 negative lymph nodes .

    Whose got a good solution for pelvic area Lymphadema ? Honestly , I look like I have Mick Jagger “ man Junk”
    At the end of the day . DKNY mesh shorts with extra spandex panel are the best I’ve found so far for NC summer heat .
    Suggestions ?

  4. Yippeee your reduction is fantastic Vern long may it last! 😀😀😀 I have a 4 large RIP suitcases, 2 are full of RIP cute shoes and now have 2 packed full of RIP cute clothes no longer wearable since becoming symptomatic globally (both my superficial and deeper lymphatics are all mucked up 😢😖). I can’t bring myself to donate away my most loved clothes and shoes in the hope – the hope we all share – that one day a cure will be discovered.
    In the meantime enjoy wearing as many shoes as possible from your RIP bin 😀

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