Welcome to the third and final installment of my About Me Monday series. I have divulged a lot of things that I normally would choose to keep private, but from the overwhelming number of comments and emails I have received about sharing my story, I am glad I worked up the courage to share my story with you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your kind words and support!
This week I want to tell you about my legs and ankles. Do any of you remember the old Cher commercial she did for a fitness club years ago? Her catchphrase in the commercial was "even my ankles are fat!" Of course, the humor was supposed to be that no one has fat ankles.
Well, it seems like no one has fat ankles except me, lol. I know that is not true, but believe me, it sure feels that way! As I shared in last week's installment, I have lost over 100 pounds since October. You would think my ankles would be pretty darned slender, wouldn't you? Not only that, but my thighs and calves have been stubborn in letting go of the fat.
This picture of me was taken this past Friday. I am wearing a size medium tee shirt! Yet, my thighs, calves and ankles are huge and oddly shaped.
See how my thigh kind of overlaps my knee? (I can't believe I am actually pointing this out!!) That is a classic sign of lymphedema. You can't see it in the photo, but there is an overlap of my calf by my ankles as well. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.
Enter the common thread in all of my "About Me" posts: my chiropractor! A few months ago, when I was in for a check-in for my weight loss, he expressed surprise that my legs were not slimming like the rest of me. It was his feeling that I had something called lymphedema. (Without going into the whole scientific definition, it basically is swelling caused by a malfunction in the lymphatic system.) Off I went to an occupational therapist trained in lymphedema massage. I went four times over a four week period, but really did not see any improvement. She also fitted me with compression leggings that I have to wear 23 hours a day (yep, twenty three hours each & every day). They help to keep the condition from worsening. I am currently in search of finding a doctor who speciallizes in this disease, as I have read there is more intensive treatment available that will reduce the swelling substantially. After that occurs, then as a patient, I would need to work on maintaining.
There isn't alot of information out there regarding this rare condition, so it is hard to find a doctor who specializes in lymphedema. What I have learned - much to my dismay - is that there is no "cure" for it and without proper attention it can get worse and be quite debilitating, both physically and mentally. It definitely is not an attractive condition. My chiropractor figures I am carrying 30 to 50 pounds of lymphatic fluid in my legs! I am so thankful to have this doctor in my life, as I would have just assumed it was my weight that was causing my legs to look the way they do. Of course, being a healthy weight will help lessen some of the size, but it is not the only treatment that needs to be done.
So there you have it - my fat and sassy ankle and leg story! No mini skirts or capris for me - at least for now. I do have a wedding coming up and am thankful maxi dresses are in style. Because of my weight, I haven't worn a dress in years. Years. Years as in probably 15. While not burning up the runway in model good looks, I am pretty happy with the dress I found. It will probably shock the relatives when I show up in something other than black dress pants, lol.
I will keep you posted on my lymphedema journey every now and then. I do believe many women have this condition and just do not realize it. I have become somewhat obsessed with checking out ankles - ankle envy, ha! I hope I have helped some of you who have faced some of the same issues I have faced.
Now, back to some pretty photos and happy posts!
Happy Memorial Day weekend to you all - remember those who have served to make our country great.
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