7,000-8,499 SparkPoints 7,155

Lymphedema and my current struggles... Where I'm at...

Monday, July 18, 2016

Lymphedema has a substantial impact on my day to day life- primarily my right leg, the swelling severe enough that it greatly restricts my ability to bend my leg, get up/out of bed, in/out of car. Weeping from my right thigh last winter resulted in cellulitis and a total of 5 1/2 wks in the hospital between January and this past April. since all that I have gone from using a quad cane to a walker, put a ramp in our garage so that I can get in/out of the house. Just turned 61 and have been retired from work in disability for nearly 2 years. I've had a deep tissue ulcer on my right calf as a result of my hospitalizations and it still hasn't healed after 5 months, which means dressing changes 2-3 times a day which firtunately my wife is able to do.

We've been together 20 yrs and she's quite a bit older than I, for past 3 years she has had mild cognitive deficit- her short term memory severely limited though thankfully not dementia. But the hospitalizations and our separations with my health issues have been very stressful for us, particularly uprooting for her as she has to stay with her daughter after a few days on her own. While she is able to still drive, she cannot drive alone (precautionary around directions) so visiting me in the hospital had to be arranged with friends - her daughter is supportive of her mom but not our marriage so not once in all those weeks did she or her husband offer to being mom to see me.

Now I am likely facing surgery on my leg since the ulcer is not healing and puts me at constant risk for infection, cellulitis and osteomyelitis since it is deep enough to potentially spread infection to the bone. While something new needs to be done to address the situation and surgery seems the only option, it is not a simple thing as my skin is compromised for the lymphedema, the swelling severely impacts healing etc and with weeks of hospitalization and likely some rehab my wife and I will be separated again.

I blame myself for the past years I failed to take better care of myself- joarticularly after going through a gastric bypass 10 yrs ago which gave me an opportunity for significant weight loss that I didn't fully take advantage of... Knowing that my obesity is the primary cause of the lymphedema which I've had for the past 5 or 6 years...

Intellectually I know blame and guilt are not productive or even appropriate but I cannot pretend that those are not powerful thoughts and destructive feelings nagging t me constantly now. If I do not say it aloud to others who can be supportive, the negativity and destruction only continues and increases.

So I returned tonSpark, where I am promising myself to come each day and spend time, drawing whatever comfort, inspiration and positive energy I can... And where I can be present to others, because no matter what I am suffering or despairing about, kindred spirits suffer as well, different details but that common struggle to live in the moment, to love oneself, to be as patient with oneself as we are with anyone else!

Thank you for listening... It has taken awhile for me to even speak up here, but I feel somewhat relieved having done so.
Share This Post With Others
Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I have lymphedema too. I have had it for many years at this point. Have they given you any instructions on lessening the swelling? When I was first diagnosed, it was because I had an ulcer on the back of my calf that would not heal. My doctor sent me to a wound care specialist. I had to go back several times for them to debride the wound, but it eventually healed. They also taught me to wrap my legs (my husband usually does it for me). Finally I got this compression therapy machine that I used every day. It took some time, but my swelling is pretty much gone most days. I don't use the machine anymore, but I do have my legs wrapped every day. By the way, no one ever told me that it was because of my weight or that losing weight would help it (although it does). So does keeping away from sodium and drinking lots of water. I also elevate my legs whenever possible.

    I am so sorry to hear about your wife's daughter. What a shame that after 20 years she still isn't accepting. I'm sorry you have to go through that.

    1759 days ago
  • MISSG180
    Blame and guilt are definitely not helpful. And quite probably misplaced. Obesity is a risk factor for lymphedema, but not the cause. Please read about it on the Mayo Clinic site:

    I know that doesn't make it go away, but maybe it will decrease the self-recrimination, which causes stress, which is not good for you!
    1759 days ago
  • Add Your Comment to the Blog Post

    Log in to post a comment

    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.