LIVING WITH LYMPHEDEMA
Lymphedema is a chronic condition that causes swelling, usually in the arms or legs, but can appear anywhere in the body. A blockage or removal of the lymph nodes responsible for collecting and carrying the lymph back to the bloodstream is often the cause of this disease. Lymphedema is a chronic condition, and there is no cure. Being diagnosed with a chronic illness can turn your life upside down. It can also impact your relationships with friends and family.
Living with lymphedema can be challenging. It can cause pain, discomfort, and embarrassment. It can also lead to social isolation and depression. However, there are many things that people with lymphedema can do to manage their condition and live a full and happy life. One of the most critical assets is having solid friendships and support in lymphedema.
BENEFITS OF FRIENDS & SUPPORT
There are many benefits to having friends and family who support you when living with a chronic disease like lymphedema. These benefits include:
- Emotional support: Friends and family can provide emotional support by listening to you, offering encouragement, and being there for you when needed.
- Practical support: Friends and family can provide valuable support by helping you with tasks like shopping, cooking, and cleaning.
- Information and resources: Friends and family can provide you with information and resources about lymphedema, such as support groups, websites, and books.
WHO WILL SUPPORT YOU?
Finding friends and family who will support you is crucial if you live with lymphedema. There are many ways to do this:
- Talk to your doctor or other healthcare professionals about your lymphedema. They may refer you to support groups or other resources.
- Talk to your friends and family about your lymphedema. Let them know what you are going through and how they can help.
- Join a support group for people with lymphedema. This can be a great way to meet other people who understand what you are going through.
- Attend conferences and workshops about lymphedema. In addition, this can be a great way to learn more about this condition and meet others living with it.
MAINTAIN EXISTING FRIENDSHIPS
There are different ways of dealing with your diagnosis of lymphedema, and each individual must decide how best to handle this condition. Some days you may appreciate the questions about your swelling, while other days, it may trigger negative emotions. Preparing for these questions can help alleviate stress and ease communication and connection. Do you want to be an advocate and spread awareness, or would you rather not discuss your condition? Simply saying you would rather not talk about it or referring them to a website or blog you like are possible options. There’s no right or wrong way here! It depends on what is best for you and what best supports you and your mental and physical health.
BUILD YOUR RELATIONSHIPS
We all need social interaction. It’s even more essential when you are dealing with a chronic disease. Connecting with people in a similar situation can help boost your confidence and give you hope. They can provide emotional, practical, and resource support. In addition, there are many ways to find friends and family who will support you. First, start by strengthening your existing network. Then begin to connect with people from social networks and platforms. Finally, you could share your story to help and support others. If you live with lymphedema, reaching out for help and support is essential.
CONNECTION AND INSPIRATION
- Amanda Sobey @am.sobey Is a Lymphies coach and fitness trainer specializing in nutrition for lymphatic disorders.
- Amy Rivera @thrivewithamy is an inspirational author and speaker on lymphatic health.
- Alexa @lymphielife encourages you to stay elevated as she shares her tricks and tips on thriving with lymphedema.
- Pattie @lipedemafitness teaches all things fitness for those dealing with lipedema/lymphedema.
- Angela inspires with her workouts and positive perspective. @funky_lymphedema
- Babz, a lymphedema therapist, teaches yoga with an emphasis on lymphatic flow @balancewith babzyoga
Here are just a few of my favorite influencers on Instagram. These are people with lymphedema, lipedema, or those who work with these people. Don’t be shy. Reach out. You will be so glad that you did. We need each other, especially in today’s world of uncertainties. We are stronger together.
Do you have a favorite place to connect? Please share with us in the comments below and help someone else discover they are not alone. I hope that somewhere in this journey, I can also be a support and friend to you.
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.