Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Some Time Away

I'd like to say that I haven't devoted much time to my blog because I got a new job or because my ancient computer finally died but I think the real reason that I haven't posted is because sometimes I like to ignore the fact that I have lymphedema. I don't want to think about it or talk about it despite the daily reminder that is, well, my leg.

I was avoiding my 'medical condition' wonderfully (that is, I continued to care for my leg but just pretended I was normal) when I found my medical reports from the surgery I had when I was in my early twenties. That's when a very uneducated doctor decided to cut me open in my lymph node area. The reason was that swelling had begun in my thigh and the lymph nodes in that area were inflamed. This is up for debate but this is either when the doctor gave me secondary lymphedema or worsened my primary lymphedema. Who knows who cares because one thing is for sure—this doctor screwed up my leg. As I was saying, I found the medical report when I went to visit my family in Florida for the holidays. It said that the patient (me) appeared to understand the possible implications of the surgery. One such possible implication was deformity. How vague but nonetheless I burst into tears. I don't recall hearing any statistics on the likelihood of developing lymphedema which is of course a sort of deformity. Were they referring to the tiny scar as a deformity? All I know is that this doctor did not discuss lymphedema with me. Either he was not aware of the condition or didn't fully understand the consequences of disrupting a young girl's (or anyone's) lymphatic system.

And then I cried my eyes out for a while. Thinking about how this will impact me for the rest of my life. I have always wanted to honeymoon in Fiji, somewhere tropical, or on a cruise. Uh, scratch that. I imagine being active during pregnancy-wearing cute pregnancy clothes, going to yoga with other pregnant Moms. Argh, scratch that-I can't even do yoga now because the darn leg is about as flexible as a pile of cement and most likely, I will be on bed rest due to a gargantuan leg. Then I imagined juggling work, babies, and lymphedema. Wrap every night. Physical therapy throughout my lifetime and especially when pregnant. Then I imagine just wanting to wear a dress and more tears poured out.

I may have been avoiding some of these thoughts for a while and then they just broke through like a tsunami.

Luckily, things seemed better in the morning. I know that none of this is "ideal" but we cope-we adapt. Wrapping my leg every night seemed like a torture sentence when my occupational therapists first told me now it’s just annoying but I still do it.

We could all throw our arms up, fall to the ground and stay there-hopeless. But do you know what would happen? You'd get evicted because you didn't pay your rent because you didn't work to make money and then you'd be out on the street alone. Why alone? Because you let your limb(s) dictate the quality of your relationships with others. Instead of braving the world, you sat alone inside with your limb(s) and from experience I can tell you, it’s not all that great of a companion. And you know what would happen next? Well then your health would deteriorate because you couldn't take care of yourself and then life would be gone.

So, my point, get off the floor. Go to work. Pay your bills. Go on dates. Hang out with friends. Get married (hopefully all of us, regardless of sexual orientation can do this someday). Go on honeymoon in Fiji even with a big leg. Have kids. Have grandkids. Take care of yourself and leave this world old and wrinkled.


Anonymous said...

This is beautiful. I have felt/still feel the same way at times.. Good to hear I am not alone! You rock girl, keep being an inspiration! :) -Lourienne

vraschk said...

You are strong for having to deal with all of these feelings. It's devastating when things don't go as "planned" but this sort of resilience inspires the best of us. <3