Hello! I’m back!
The JOBST Elvarex® Product Review is a long overdue blog post, as I have been quite busy in the Lymphie Strong online community groups with some awesome speakers and holiday giveaways. It seems like the end of year has just flown by so fast. I cannot believe we are days away from 2019.
Before the clock strikes midnight on Dec 31, I need to address one of the goals I had for this year. Also in the last two weeks or so, I think I’ve spoken to at least 3 different people individually about my preferences for compression for bilateral lower extremity lymphedema. After person number 3, I thought it was probably a good idea to get this product review done. This product review is my own personal opinion as it applies to my own unique LE situation. As always, it is not medical advice.
Compression is probably the number one topic discussed in my groups and page. Based on the most frequent posts I see, I will give a little background as to how I arrived at trying out the JOBST Elvarex® and some of the problems I was able to resolve with this custom product that I absolutely now love.
For those that are unaware, bilateral lower extremity means I have lymphedema in both legs, so I have been wearing pantyhose for a long time. Sidebar: Some people call them leggings, some people call them pantyhose. Maybe it’s a telltale sign of my age, but I call them pantyhose; full coverage enclosed compression from toes to waist. Honestly, in large part due to the fact that I just would not walk outside my bedroom without a pair of shorts, a skirt, or pants over them. They are built for containment, so it’s easy to see why one might call them leggings though.
Short People Have LE Too
When I first advanced to 30-40mmhg in 2014 after 20 years with LE, I started out with thigh high circular knit compression in petite. If you are vertically challenged like me, compression has a tendency to bunch up in the back of your knees or another place and can be quite painful. This is due to the fact that the length of the material is longer than your legs. This is by no means the only reason your compression can bunch up, but it is a very common reason.
I remember taking almost 30 minutes to don each piece. My back would hurt, my hands would cramp, and I would break out in a sweat that would ruin my makeup. I used to get so angry and frustrated, and I would mainly complain to my Dad on the phone on the way to work. Dad would usually say, “Man up, you’ve got to do it.” I would usually reply “Easy for you to say, you only do one leg.” To which he would reply, “But I’ve had to do it twice as long as you. Since you were in diapers.” Then he would laugh. I think he knew that would propel me to get better at it. Eventually I mastered donning in matter of minutes, and one day I asked “You want to race? Bet I can do both legs faster than your one.” He let out a roar of laughter and an exchange of smack talk ensued. He accused me of picking on an old man. Haha
We never talked about the problems with compression other than donning except when he broke his shoulder once, and I think that’s because of the gender differences. I will go ahead and spill the beans a little bit more.
Hot, Hot, Hot
Compression in South Texas or any other warm or humid climate. No further explanation needed!
Thigh High Issues
At first glance, a thigh high sounds so sexy. For lymphedema? Yeah, not so much.
The number one thing I hated about wearing thigh highs was what I call thigh muffin top or thigh shelf. Some of you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, thank your lucky stars. It’s the little piece of flesh that sort of hangs over where the compression ends on a thigh high.
Not to mention thigh chafing. Walking around with your thighs rubbing together, especially in the summer heat and humidity, can cause beaucoup irritation! Ouch! Then there is slippage. Inevitably as you walk around, thigh highs tend to fall down which gets old and annoying really fast. (I have not tried garter belts. That’s on my to do list.)
Well, the irritation issue is resolved but try going to the bathroom multiple times a day with compression pantyhose. If you are drinking water and staying hydrated, then that requires multiple trips. This can be killer if you are in a small stall or restroom like an airplane! Let’s face it, they can be hot, and the muffin top may move to the waist if it’s not custom. Need I say more? Plus having to carry around donning gloves if you need to readjust.
Don’t get me wrong. The pantyhose have always been a blessing to me, and I am eternally grateful to even have compression. Just read on for a different solution that you might like.
The JOBST Elvarex® solved so many of the above issues for me, it’s not even funny. I love my new garment and so happy to wear it faithfully. I ordered it back in November after watching the presentation in my group from JOBST USA on Compression and the Science Behind Why We Wear It as an FB Live. (Yes, I learn from the events I host too. Not just you!) I was able to touch and feel it before ordering and decided to go ahead and take the plunge with a bike short/thigh highs combination. I was so glad I did!!
Here are some caveats that are important. First, it is not my first flat knit garment. I started wearing flat knit garments for the first time earlier this year in Class III and own several products from different manufacturers. In my personal opinion, I believe each has their own merits and opportunities for improvement. Secondly, I have no allergies to latex or rubber. Third, I research by watching LE&RN Expos and reading group forums. Lastly, I have a team that I am able to discuss my compression options with and obtain my prescription from without issue.
My plan was discussed with my CLT and doctor. I know it’s not always possible, but always discuss your compression needs with qualified medical personnel that knows your case history prior to making any changes.
Why I’m in Love
I don the thigh highs first, and then the shorts over them. Voila! Easy! If you are aware of this type of solution, good for you! If you are not, then I invite you to try it out, because I’m over the moon about it. It’s so cool! Happiness!!
I know what you’re thinking. It looks like a girdle. Nope. Nothing like I’ve ever tried on at any department store during my pre-lymphedema days. These shorts are so comfortable!! I was measured on point and did not have to return them. The waist part actually ends up right underneath my rib cage, so it does not roll down when I am sitting.
The whole getup saves me so much time and effort in getting dressed and going to the restroom. It is also relatively discreet. See the above skirt and boots picture at the top of the blog post. I also feel comfortable in jeans. The silicone prevents slippage for most days. The only time I had a little trouble was at a recent 50th wedding anniversary party. I had worn the garment all day and attended the evening function. However, I solved that with a little It Stays garment glue I had in my purse. No big deal.
I also know what you are thinking next. What about the toes? Are these open toe or closed? My preference is always closed, but this time my thigh highs were open toe without toe caps. I did not order toe caps, because I personally like the edge of my garment to meet where my toes begin. I’m weird that way, as many people have it end at the arch of their foot. I also don’t have much swelling in the toes unless it’s summertime. In the summer of 2019, I will make it a point to revisit toe caps. I promise.
That’s it. This is my review. I loved it so much that I ordered the exact same garment in grey.
Don’t be afraid to try new solutions. I know compression is not always the easiest to manage for all the reasons listed above and probably infinitely more, but we need it for our health and to function. Be your own kind of beautiful in it!
Wishing you great lymphatic health,