Saturday, March 22, 2014

Limitations are only what you make them to be

The biggest struggle with having Lymphedema has been the feeling of limitation that results from the condition. I feel it every day from my energy level to what I can wear to running on a treadmill. Many days I define myself by these limitations just out of habit. The problem is that when you focus on what can't be done, there won't be an attempt to try something more challenging or to try to instead find success. On the days when I did not bind myself to my perception of what I could or could not accomplish, I found success and opportunities. For example, for years I wouldn't try to run because a doctor told me that I should not. When I tried a little each day to run, I ended up completing a 5k race. Instead of it making my condition worse, it did not impact it. The same thing happened when I tried spinning. The result was I was in better shape, feeling less stress and felt more control in my Lymphedema leg because I was stronger.

In the past year, I got married to a wonderful man and went on a honeymoon trip in a tropical place. I think back to one of my first posts and that was exactly what I had wanted for my life rather than hiding in my home because of shame for having this condition. I don’t think anyone can blame us for having feelings of shame or days where we don’t feel we can accomplish much because of pain but let them be passing moments so you can experience opportunities that you didn’t think possible. On this honeymoon trip, I went hiking in a rainforest with capri workout pants and my stocking showing. I got a few stares but I wasn’t there for anyone but for my husband and me to experience hiking in a rainforest.

This post came from a particularly rough week with work. I let myself feel disappointed in what I was capable of. Then I started to think about all of my limitations. The same result will happen as it did with my Lymphedema if I keep this up. If I think only of what I can’t do, I don’t even think of what I may be able to do. I don’t want to spew a ton of positive thinking clich├ęs because positive thinking is just that, thinking. It’s not doing. It’s not getting out there and trying something for the sake of seeing if you’re good at it or capable of it, instead it’s sitting there with thoughts in your head. Positive thought will only get you so far. You have to actually go do it. You have to do things that are uncomfortable and hard. There are little rewards for easy opportunities. When things don’t go as planned or someone makes you feel less about yourself, it’s actually easier to think less of yourself. It’s a heck of a lot harder to challenge them and challenge yourself to achieve more. 

3 comments:

Rebecca Davies said...

Hi Lindsey,
I totally 100% get the struggles you have with Lymphedema because i have i too :)
My names Rebecca, I'm 18 years old and I've had Lymphedema since i was 16. I found it hardest not being able to wear shorts or skirts anymore. I seem to only wear trousers or fat pants now a days. My leg pretty much looks exactly like yours and I think I'm around the same size as you too. I live in New Zealand, and my Doctor said i could live like any other teenager which was hilarious because i obviously can't! Exercise i have only recently found out definitely helps with the swelling. I have started doing squats and lunges everyday and my leg has been the best it has since i first got the Lymphedema :) I still can't wear skinny jeans just yet but I'm hopeful that the swelling will still continue to decrease.

I know this is your blog but I thought I should comment :) Rebecca

Anonymous said...

Hi. I am a lady aged 32. I have been living with primary lympedema since I was 16. Apart from the physical pain the emotional pain has been enormous. I can relate to most stuff you have been through. People stare at me all the time and ask me, what happened ( I get quite annoyed) , have learnt to ignore. The first thing that hit me quite hard is the low-self esteem and low self confidence. I get frustrated for struggling to get the right size of shoes. I kinda of given up on dating but I do believe there is someone out there for me , I must admit I find it really hard to get involved.The best advice I have ever gotten: Lympedema does not have me. I am still an amazing human being.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm a 15 year old with Lymphedema in both legs I have had it my whole life. and I just read this because I was having well a down day about it asking God why me why must people get Lymphedema. And reading this made me smile knowing I'm not the only person who feels these struggles. I always have people ask me about my Lymphedema of course being in high something that is not normal is well not acceptable or seen as different. It harder for me to talk about it with people I get all emotional when I do. But one day I took a leap and posted a picture and stuff about Lymphedema on my facebook it has help me alittle with talking to people about it. But I just have thoughs days where i feel alone and have nobody to talk too. That why I get on the internet and look up peoples storys praying to get a blessing from them. And I do and it calms me down. So thank you for putting this up it really really helped me today. :)