BEAUTIFUL, BRIGHT, AND BUBBLY
Let me introduce you to Amanda Sobey, a beautiful, bright, and bubbly lady with secondary lymphedema. This fantastic lady has dedicated her life to becoming an advocate for lymphedema awareness. She’s someone I think you might like to get to know. A certified personal trainer for those dealing with lymphedema, she helps others to reduce their edema by providing the necessary tools in fitness, nutrition, self-care, medical equipment, and education.
One of the first times I encountered Amanda was on a Facebook live post. She was encouraging people to make a positive change. Amanda advocated for starting with minor changes, even getting out of bed and dressed that day. So I thought: how wonderful she is meeting people where they are. No grand expectations, big goals, and lofty ambitions make one small positive change today. “All actual change begins with a tiny step done consistently. When done consistently over time, ” small, daily, seemingly insignificant contributions lead to stunning results,” said Robin Sharma in his book, The 5 AM Club.
Amanda understands change because she has been there. Although she was diagnosed with secondary lymphedema at age 20, she is unsure what caused the condition. However, within one week, she had a mosquito bite on her leg, which may have been a parasite known as Filariasis. That same week, she also suffered a traumatic physical assault that left her with bruises and blood in her urine. Shortly after these two events, her foot began to swell. She immediately sought medical help and was referred to a lymphedema specialist. Amanda was diagnosed with secondary lymphedema of her lower extremity (LE). The doctor told her there was no cure and that she would need manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) once a week for the rest of her life.
Over the following months, she lived in complete denial – using alcohol to self-medicate and detach. Furthermore, she felt permanently disfigured and could do nothing about it. The lymphedema affected every aspect of her life. Her self-esteem, mental well-being, physical appearance, wardrobe, footwear, and career were all affected by her diagnosis. She felt deformed, ugly, and hopeless. Lymphedema took its emotional toll on her life.
A LONG JOURNEY FROM GIVING UP – TO GIVING IT ALL I GOT
For several years, Amanda struggled to come to terms with her lymphedema. She was often overwhelmed by the time and self-care required by her lymphedema, not to mention the lack of support. Went through periods of trying to manage her disease by educating herself and seeking medical help. Amanda was utterly overwhelmed with the needs and care of her young family and her condition. Furthermore, she had to grapple with her lymphedema and the care her body required through marriage, child raising, work, divorce, losing her job, and an illness that left her bedridden. Until finally, one day, she had had enough. “This occurrence made me decide whether to give up or to give it all I got,” Amanda said. “I chose the latter.”
“It took all my brainpower to convince myself that I had the tools and knowledge to figure this out … once and for all. Every day, I gave myself small challenges to rebuild my strength mentally, emotionally, and physically. Slowly but surely, my health began to recover.” said Amanda. Self-care had to be a priority if I wanted to create any life for myself.
LIVING WITH A CHRONIC DISEASE
Bit by bit, all of Amanda’s hard work started to pay off. Finally, on October 21, 2017, she reached her best when she entered a bodybuilding competition and won two trophies. To her disbelief, the judges did not even notice her afflicted leg.
I asked Amanda what motivates her to continue daily while dealing with a chronic disease. She responded, “Initially, my motivation was fighting for my life. Now, I fight for those who are where I used to be. I used to be beyond hopeless. Depressed. Miserable. Frustrated. Angry. I understand the feeling of wanting to give up. But, I push harder now than ever before because it is necessary to make a difference for those who can’t”.
DEDICATING HER LIFE TO LYMPHEDEMA AWARENESS
Amanda’s journey from bedridden and hopeless to an award-winning bodybuilder has led her to dedicate her life to becoming an advocate for creating awareness about lymphedema. When she began this journey, she was turned away more often than embraced. She felt alone and unheard through much of her journey. “As a full-time single parent of two boys, I single-handedly fought this battle silently. Alone. I will never forget that feeling,” said Amanda. She does not want anyone else to fight this incurable disease alone. Her brand revolves around the belief that we are “stronger together.”
Amanda is now a certified personal trainer helping others reach their physical goals. With special attention to lymphedema, she provides the necessary tools in fitness, nutrition, self-care, medical equipment, and education. Exercise can be very beneficial to help manage your lymphedema. Would you be interested in a personal trainer who understands your struggle with lymphedema? One who believes that this disease does not define you? As Amanda says, it’s essential to know you are not alone. “Surround yourself with those who make you level up. Never give up.”
WORLD LYMPHEDEMA CELEBRATION
Amanda is hosting a World Lymphedema Celebration in March to bring more awareness to this incurable disease. She hopes to merge patients, family members, fitters, therapists, doctors, and surgeons to create unity in a world of difference. The event will feature over 40+ participants, interviews with social media influencers, and live panels to demonstrate, educate and create awareness around lymphedema. There will also be over $2000 worth of prizes given away to members of the lymphedema community to help fight their condition. This event will take place on Amanda Sobey’s Facebook page.
With prizes, education, awareness, and much-needed support and camaraderie, World Lymphedema Celebration is an event you won’t want to miss. You are not alone! Join Amanda and others living with lymphedema to learn, collaborate and grow with this community that believes we are “Stronger Together.”
CHANGE YOUR MINDSET
Amanda’s last takeaway: “It’s easy to succumb to the idea that you always be stuck where you are and cannot change anything. When I started to change my mindset, and I started to accept that I still had so much room for growth, I became dedicated to making sure that I’m always working towards the best version of myself.”
“Transform your mindset and your attitude. “This disease does not define you. Surround yourself with those who make you level up. Never give up.”
To learn more about Amanda and her work to help those with lymphedema, visit her website here.
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Disclaimer – This blog is for general information purposes only. Furthermore, the information contained in this blog is not a substitute for medical advice – always consult a licensed healthcare professional for advice on your specific condition.