Saturday, July 27, 2013

Moving beyond the diagnosis

Last Sunday, I ran my first 5k and it also marked the first time in 5 years that I ran for 3 miles straight – the first time since being diagnosed with Lymphedema. Can I just say woooohoooo!! When I was diagnosed, my doctor and occupational therapists warned my life would be different and I heeded their advice and knowledge. I also limited myself to what my body could do because I had a medical condition. That may not have been the right approach either. It wasn't easy to get here. There were many very painful nights after spinning and jogging. When I felt that pain, I'd slow it down or reduce the number of days of heavier exercise. I didn't give up; I just slowed it down so I could work up to the level I wanted to be. Before Lymphedema, I loved running. To me, it was utter freedom. No matter what limits you feel in your life, there is no limit when you're running. I have missed that so much over the years so to me, it was one goal that I really wanted to achieve. I didn't think it was possible for so long until I started spinning. It built muscle in my legs without the impact. It also made running easier because I had muscle built up already. Years before when I tried, it was painful because I didn't have any muscle mass. I don't think running a 5k should be everyone's goal with Lymphedema. I do think working toward a goal and accomplishing it in spite of Lymphedema transformed my opinion of myself. Are there things you felt you had to sacrifice when you were diagnosed? Maybe it is time to re-assess and see what can be accomplished rather than what cannot be accomplished. I also want to add that a big reason I met my goal was through the support of my husband. He has been there through the pain and tears and he was there at my side when I was running the 5k. It was hard and it was getting painful. I was really ready to just give up. The muscles in my Lymph leg lost control and my leg started thumping on the ground. My right leg was carrying the left and I was getting tired. But then my husband started saying that we’re almost there and to hold on a little while longer. He said that I could do it, to just slow it down but don’t stop and that we’ll get there together. And we did get there together. If you feel you don’t have that sort of support, there are many Lymphedema groups out there that are a community of support. There are several on Facebook and they are such a huge support system for each other. I am also here for support if anyone needs it. That’s really why I started the blog. I am not always so great about being on top of this blog (is there a way to get notifications when people comment???) so feel free to email me at


Nikki said...

Congratulations! I have lymphedema in my lower left side. I'm training to run too! Thanks for blogging!

Ivette said...

I read your story. I was diagnosed with Lymphedema many years ago. (I have a mild case) I started running every morning to potentially accomplish running in a 5K race, when I noticed my affected leg feeling very tight and heavy after my practice run/walks 4 days in. I wasn't wearing any compression socks, (which I now realize I must wear) and I've never received any Lymphedema Therapy (never even heard of the term) My concern is, I have an office job where I sit at a desk 8 hours a day, I go home to prepare dinner, and after cleaning, I don't get to elevate my leg until bedtime. What do you think my chances are in participating and completing a 5K? Should I give up, under my current circumstances? Any advice?

Lindsay said...

Hi Ivette,

Before starting any major exercise plan such as training for a race, I'd recommend consulting with your doctor as well as looking into physical therapy for your Lymphedema. I'd also recommend looking for qualified physical or occupational therapists for Lymphedema treatment such as Manual Lympg Drainage (MLD) and other treatment options.