Monday, May 2, 2016

Lymphedema Expertise - A Personal Journey

In the recent past, I got a call from a beloved Aunt.  She had just learnt she has lymphedema and she turned to me.  I would be able to give her guidance, I, in her mind, was an expert. 

I’ll give her one thing; I’ve been in her shoes.  And I wasn’t there any longer.  Oh, don’t leap to the conclusion that I no longer have lymphedema, I do.  Lymphedema is a chronic condition.    There is no getting over it.  That was my first lesson because before I had lymphedema I didn’t even know what chronic actually meant.  In my mind chronic meant severe, or serious.  But it means forever.  That’s the first hurdle I had to face.  Forever is quite a bit to get used to. 

My life is over – is how the first words came out.  Only in time was I able to modify that to be ‘my life as I knew it was over’.  And then only after much more time and huge efforts both mentally and physically have I been able to say that ‘my life is so much better now’.  Not with any qualifiers concerning lymphedema, but simply and absolutely better and that directly because of my lymphedema.

One of my first realizations is that pain is a powerful motivator.  The story started there for me, but no story is complete without an audience.  So now I will tell you.  



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