This newsletter and this week’s article on the site is about Lymphedema, so if you are suffering with it, or know someone who is, pass this newsletter along to them!
Summer in Alabama is always hot and steamy. The humidity from the Gulf of Mexico really drives up the heat index! Everyone you see carries a drink to stay hydrated – iced tea or a bottle of water, around here it’s an unspoken rule you must live by.
I definitely do that, too, along with my frozen bottle of water, which I keep wrapped in an old linen handkerchief that I lay in my lap while I’m in the car, or while sitting in church, or even now, while on the computer. When you have lymphedema, usually your body temp is the same as the thermometer reading! If I didn’t have ice touching me somewhere, I would have a “meltdown”, just like a broken nuclear reactor.
Wearing compression stockings during the summer months is a sore trial of epic proportions!
Thankfully now, I wear ones on my legs that are just “thigh-high” and have an open toe. There was a time when I was younger, I wore pantyhose type stockings to the waist, closed-toe, thicker and tighter.
Learning how to live with lymphedema has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to deal with – ever. For years, about every six months I would have a breakdown. I couldn’t get home from work fast enough, and then I would fall onto my bed in a heap, and sob into my pillow until it was soaked. I worked at a computer all day in the sitting position, and not only did my legs ache at the top from radiation damage, the tight compression garment would “cord” behind my knees, and I would have to pull them downward to adjust them, or sometimes I would have to excuse myself and go to the ladies room to readjust the entire top half. There’s nothing more uncomfortable than mal-adjusted compression stockings.
There are several things that I want you to remember if you suffer with lymphedema:
1. You are not alone.
2. You are not losing your mind.
3. Only those who have it will understand you.
4. Most doctors will not understand you.
5. Most therapists will not understand you, although they can help you cope with the emotional trauma it brings…
6. Your family (unless they are totally devoted to you) will not understand.
7. It is very difficult to deal with and live with-
8. You are a champion!
Having lymphedema has taken most of my energy and most of my sanity. But, somewhere along the way, my mind overcame some of the hard psychological effects, and it’s been so long since it began, now some of the pain I don’t even recognize anymore. I can’t decide if that’s pitiful, or a blessing.
Having lymphedema has also changed the person that I am. I am more compassionate towards others who suffer. I am more patient, more understanding when things don’t go just right. Calamities and crisis don’t shake me so fast. I pray more; I pray harder and longer – I have to, or I think I would die.
It is a maddening condition to have, and lest I lead you to think I have arrived, I haven’t - for I have “lost it” more times than I would like to admit, but I know the Lord cares for me, and knows what’s going on with me when no one else does. He is my comforter who I lean upon daily for strength, and I know He loves me just as I am.
If you are discouraged, even if you don’t have Lymphedema, read Psalm 139. Even if we were to go insane from this condition, God would be there, too. He is everywhere - v.9 “…if I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall your hand lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.”
Tips for summer:
Keep your skin clean, and dry.
Keep nails clean, clipped and filed smooth, on both hands and feet.
Stay in a cool place.
Keep your legs or arm elevated above your heart when resting.
Wear loose, cool clothing.
Nutrition: No MSG; low-salt; low-fat; no preservatives; fresh food; plenty of water; lean weight-
Stay as stress-free as possible. Play soothing music, meditate, pray, read a favorite book, or magazine (and enjoy the pictures!), a sweet dog or cat is a great gift (they take work but they are totally worth it!); believe things will get better-
And remember this, if you’re a cancer survivor or a survivor with lymphedema, I know what you’re dealing with, and I think you’re one strong woman!
Have a blessed and healthy week!
Editor’s Note: If you live in another country, and have more tips on lymphedema that could help those suffering with it here in America, we need your help. Please contact me here at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here's the latest article from the Cancer site at BellaOnline.com.
If you or someone you love is suffering from lymphedema from cancer surgery, you are not alone. This article will lend moral support and give helpful information about this very serious condition that is widely ignored and misunderstood.
Please visit cancer.bellaonline.com for even more great content about Cancer.
To participate in free, fun online discussions, this site has a community forum all about Cancer located here -
I hope to hear from you sometime soon, either in the forum or in response to this email message. I thrive on your feedback!
Have fun passing this message along to family and friends, because we all love free knowledge!
Rann Patterson, Cancer Editor
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