March is Lymphedema Awareness Month. What is lymphedema? Lymphedema is an incurable but treatable medical condition caused by injury, trauma or congenital defects in the lymphatic system.
When the impairment becomes so great that the lymphatic fluid exceeds the lymphatic transport capacity, swelling results as an abnormal amount of protein-rich fluid collects in the tissues of the affected area. Two types of lymphedema exist: primary and secondary.
I, unfortunately, suffer from secondary Lymphedema in both legs and it sucks. I never thought anything about my legs swelling up for 18 years because I was a truck driver. Sitting for long periods of time driving is part of the job and I figured I had poor circulation. My legs and feet would swell and when I went to bed the swelling would go back to normal. Over the course of 18 years, it steadily had gotten worse.
I was forced to medically retire in 2005 from a work-related injury. And the swelling during the day and swelling going down of the night continued. I was also a diabetic and in 2015 a small place about the size of my pinky started seeping and I went to the Dr and the cultured it and gave me antibiotics. The results of the culture were MRSA, the infection got worse and worse.
This is an actual picture of what my leg looked like just a week or two after the results came back
That was 2 1/2 years ago. My leg has opened back up not in the spot in this picture but more on the side and we have been working on it for about four or five months now. I can’t get in to see a lymphedema therapist until my leg is healed. I have was fortunate enough to be able to get a Pneumatic Pump and boots to help move the fluid but since this wound opened back up I cannot wear the wrap and pump too, it hurts to bad to even attempt that.
This is an image of what Lymphedema looks like in the legs.
If you would like to learn more please visit: Lymphatic Education and Research Network