BEAUTIFUL, BRIGHT AND BUBBLY
Let me introduce you to Amanda Sobey, a beautiful, bright and bubbly lady who has secondary lymphedema. This amazing lady has dedicated her life to become 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.
MEETING YOU WHERE YOUR ARE
One of the first times I came across Amanda was on a Facebook live post, where she was encouraging people to make a positive change in their lives. Amanda advocates for starting with small changes, even if it is just to get out of bed and get dressed that day. I thought: how wonderful that she is meeting people where they are. No grand expectations, no big goals and lofty ambitions, just make one small positive change today. All true change begins with one small step done consistently, doesn’t it? “Small, daily, seemingly insignificant contributions when done consistently over time, lead to stunning results,” said Robin Sharma from his book, The 5 AM Club.
Amanda understands change because she has been there. Diagnosed with secondary lymphedema at age 20, she is not sure what caused the condition. 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 multiple 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 that 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. She felt permanently disfigured and that there was nothing she could do about it. The lymphedema affected every aspect of her life: her self esteem, mental well-being, physical appearance, wardrobe, footwear and her career all were 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 that her lymphedema required, not to mention the lack of support available. She would go through periods of trying to manage her disease by educating herself and seeking medical help, to being completely overwhelmed with the needs and care of her young family and her disease. Through marriage, child raising, work, divorce, losing her job and an illness that left her bedridden, she continually grappled with her lymphedema and the care her body required – 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. “Clearly, I chose the latter.”
“It took all of 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.” Amanda’s self care had to be a priority if she was going to create any kind of life for herself.
LIVING WITH A CHRONIC DISEASE
Bit by bit, all of Amanda’s hard work started to pay off. On October 21, 2017, she reached her personal 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 keep going each day while dealing with a chronic disease. She responded, “In the beginning, 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. 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 body builder has led her to dedicate her life to become an advocate for creating awareness about lymphedema. When she began this journey, she was turned away more often than she was 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 have 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 personal struggle with lymphedema? One who believes that this disease does not define you? As Amanda says, it’s important to know you are not alone. “Surround yourself with those who make you level up. Never give up.”
WORLD LYMPHEDEMA CELEBRATION
In an effort to bring more awareness to this incurable disease, Amanda is hosting a World Lymphedema Celebration the entire month of March. She is hoping to merge patients, family members, fitters, therapists, doctors and surgeons together to create unity in a world of difference. The event will feature over 40+ patients’ stories, 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 one last takeaway: “It’s so easy to succumb to the idea that you’ll always be stuck where you are, and that you don’t need to change anything in your life. 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 the work she does to help those dealing with lymphedema, visit her website here.
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