Lymphedema In Legs: Leg Care is Essential!

By Jackie D. Kimball

NOTE: ALL PICTURES AND MY PERSONAL STORY IS MY COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL and protected by DMCA Jackie D. Kimball 2010

I have lymphedema, and until I was diagnosed, I didn't know about this disorder of the lymph system. For literally years it was thought that I had cardiac related edema. I was treated with diuretics, starting at 12 mg , then a few months later I was prescribed 20 mg. By then I had developed high blood pressure . Over the years my dosages reached 80-120 mg. a day .About a year ago ,my condition was unchanged ,regardless of diuretics and no salt. I knew it had to be something else that should be done, but what?

It took cracked , weeping, swollen legs , and feet to convince me to ask my brother to get me to the emergency room , where I was speedily admitted to the triage. The smelly fluid leaking from my pores in my legs was thicker than water . I was so embarrassed. I was immediately hospitalized for five days with cellulitus and excessive swelling and fluid which was causing a strain on my heart and lungs

My doctor immediately put me an antibiotic drip and I was administered lasix drip in the port. Three days later, with no decrease in fluid from the drip, and after a plethora of tests ( it wasn't venous insufficiency)my doctor finally said, "You have lymphedema in both legs. There is no cure, but you will respond to diligent treatment.”


Before and After : My Own Treatment

MY LEGS/THE DAY BEFORE MY HOSPITALIZATION
MY LEGS/THE DAY BEFORE MY HOSPITALIZATION
Some days(not every day) after massages, compression hose upon waking, and elevating at night, my legs and feet actually look like this. Without the compression hose, not much swelling is contained.   COMPRESSION HOSE IS ESSENTIAL!
Some days(not every day) after massages, compression hose upon waking, and elevating at night, my legs and feet actually look like this. Without the compression hose, not much swelling is contained. COMPRESSION HOSE IS ESSENTIAL!
Other days,even with all I can possibly do,I'm so -so. the stockings do tend to bunch at the back of the knees, no matter what the brand!
Other days,even with all I can possibly do,I'm so -so. the stockings do tend to bunch at the back of the knees, no matter what the brand!
On my feet too much, but it would have been much worse without the compression hose! I remember all the days I taught school with no therapy. I came home and cried many times from pain and swelling.
On my feet too much, but it would have been much worse without the compression hose! I remember all the days I taught school with no therapy. I came home and cried many times from pain and swelling.

Proper Leg Care and Compression Hose Are Essential!

.

On the fourth day of my hospitalization I was fitted for compression hose ( ouch!) .These look like thick stockings, but are a gradient material that begins extremely tight at the foot and is gradually slightly less tight at the top.Mine were 20/30 which means the equivalent of between twenty to thirty pounds of pressure.

Amazingly, after the compression hose were on and my feet elevated ,in six hours over half of the swelling was gone! Hurray, I was taken off of the no salt diet and had a regular meal for supper. It was the best meal I ’d had in a long time!

Some patients need bandaging. So far , I only have to use compression hose and elevate my feet during the day, and even while I sleep.


Lymphedema accessories are helpful.I don't have to use bandages yet, but be sure you order short stretch bandages instead of regular sports bandages.

How to Put On Compression Hose.

More by this Author


Comments 33 comments

fetty profile image

fetty 6 years ago from South Jersey

Just stopped by to read your hub. So sorry you have had to suffer so much. My grandfather had a similar problem but only his ankles swelled. Very informative hub. Take good care of yourself, please.


bayoulady profile image

bayoulady 6 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA Author

Fetty, thanks for your comments and empathy. Your grandfather may have had venous insufficiency, or even the beginnings of lymphedema. I am trying my best to slow this disease down with proper care and elevation.I also retire from teaching in August. I recently got a mini-trampoline. That is the way I get my heart rate up. You can stand on it, hold on to a chair, and without lifting your feet up and down get some body movement. I like it, because I turn on music or watch TV.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

bayoulady, i am sorry to hear you have that disease. I know a lady that has scleradema but just in one arm, so she has to keep it wrapped and FL is a hot place to wear long sleeves all summer. I am glad to hear the hose are helping you and hope your situation improves.


coffeesnob 6 years ago

bayoulady

I pray the Lord will just use those compression stockings to help in every way for you and I have asked Him to please consider healing for you. God bless you and keep you

CS


bayoulady profile image

bayoulady 6 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA Author

pamela, thank you for your sweet comments.Yes, the heat is horrible. You have no idea how hot those thick stockings are. They are about three inches in diameter having to go over swollen 11 inch ankles. (so tight AND hot!) I knew a child once that had scleradema. She was almost blind as well. I hesitated to use my own situation, but when I was first diagnosed last November, that is what I wanted to read. I wanted for someone who had lymphedema to tell me what to do next. I learned a lot that way. Also, many of the pictures I found of leg lymphedema were stage three(more advanced). I am early stage two, so I decided to use my own pictures.From what I have learned it is possible to drastically slow down the disease with just compression hose,elevation, and diligent leg care.With this article, it is my desire to help those with lymphedema more than to earn money.


bayoulady profile image

bayoulady 6 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA Author

coffeesnob, thanks for commenting, and I welcome your prayers anytime! The compression hose in conjunction with lymphatic massage and leg elevation when sitting get me through the day. I've learned to swallow my long gone pride and wear those thick ole stockings day in and day out.it beats having this disease progress at WARP speed!Ha!I'm a member of a little country church of less than 100 people and I have a folding stool that I keep under my pew for keeping my legs up.Pastor said just leave it under my pew, so I don't even have to carry it back and forth!


katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

This is great and wonderful help for so many who suffer with lymphedema as there are options for leg care with great stockings products you've highlighted in your review. Great Work! I hope you enjoy better health more and more each new day. Peace :)


bayoulady profile image

bayoulady 6 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA Author

katiem2 ,thanks for commenting.This is my first sales directed hub.Not sure I showed enough products. I decided to showcase something I know about. Thank you for your well wishes!


fred allen profile image

fred allen 6 years ago from Myrtle Beach SC

dear lady your courage in your affliction is inspiring.


bayoulady profile image

bayoulady 6 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA Author

Hi Fred, thanks for being an old softie!Appreciate your comments,too.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

What a terrible affliction! Great info you provided!


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

Great info for a terrible problem! These really do work.


bayoulady profile image

bayoulady 6 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA Author

habee-thank you for your kind words! At first

those compression stockings were harder to get on than a wet bathing suit!lol!I've got the hang of it now,thanks to youtube.

akirchner- it is a bummer, but the compression hose work. Don't like'em, but they help immensely.


loriamoore 6 years ago

I had to wear compression hose after a surgery one time. Man, are those things hard to get on . . . and tight!


bayoulady profile image

bayoulady 6 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA Author

loria, thanks for commenting! I have to wear very firm 20/30 compression. TIGHT...ouch (about 3 in. in diameter at the ankle, and my ankle is anywhere from 10 to 14 inches depending on the lymph fluid.) Bummer!:D


CYBERSUPE profile image

CYBERSUPE 6 years ago from MALVERN, PENNSYLVANIA, U.S.A.

Hi Bayoulady, what an informative and interesting Hub and God Bless you. So sorry to read about your affliction and here's hoping that you behave yourself and the condition won't worsen. Wishing you the very best.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

Another great hub. I learn much from you. I'll bookmark this one. Thanks for share with us. ~prasetio


bayoulady profile image

bayoulady 6 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA Author

prasetio,thanks so much for your comments!


RNMSN profile image

RNMSN 6 years ago from Tucson, Az

you did a wonderful job with this hub bayoulady :) I bet this one will really be a high hit site for you!! way to go!! and my prayers are coming your way as well of course/bb


bayoulady profile image

bayoulady 6 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA Author

Thank you RN, coming from a nurse of your caliber, I take that as a high compliment. I hope it helps many lymphedema newbies!Life goes on...and life can still be good.


stars439 profile image

stars439 6 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

Dear bayoulady : Dear heart, I am so sorry you have that awful lymphedema. You are in my thoughts and prayers, and in my mind all the time with everyone I love and adore. God Bless You, and I pray that this weather that is cooling off will make you feel better.


bayoulady profile image

bayoulady 6 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA Author

Stars, thanks for commenting! This ole lymphedema has slowed me down, but it hasn't stopped me!Ha! Thanks for your prayers, they are always welcome! I AM enjoying the cool weather! Sending hugs to You,Joann, and Becky a way down south in Dixie!


brakel2 profile image

brakel2 6 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Hi- What a great hub that will help people. I should wear them, but my circulation in my feet isn't good, and I am afraid they would be too tight. I am glad to be a follower, and I will read more hubs, Thanks for sharing


bayoulady profile image

bayoulady 6 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA Author

brakel2 Thank you so much. It is a little embarrassing, and I would take it down, but I remember when I was diagnosed all I could find was the extreme cases. I was so relieved to finally see some results from my therapy! Mind you,you can't stop. There is as of yet, no cure. To be honest,there are not many good days with my swelling.Only once in a while do my legs and feet look like my after picture. But I was late to the game.I posted an after picture,because I want men and women to know that there is help...and hope.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

You are very kind to be sharing your personal experiences regarding lymphedema and posting pictures. Hopefully this will help many others that happen to find this hub. God bless you!


bayoulady profile image

bayoulady 5 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA Author

Thank you,Peggy W, for stopping by. Yes, the pictures are embarrassing to me, but if I can help others who don't know what is wrong with them and get them started on diagnosis and treatment, it is worth it.


tlpoague profile image

tlpoague 5 years ago from USA

Hi, I was just catching up on some reading when I came across this hub. My grandmother has to wear stocking like these because she was diabetic and developed this problem. These helped her when she could stand to wear them. Thanks for sharing your pictures, I will keep you in my prayers.


bayoulady profile image

bayoulady 5 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA Author

tlpoague*****thanks for stoping by.thanks for the prayers! My hose are not the T.E.D. type for diabetes. Mine are compression hose for lymphedema.Does she have lymphedema?


tlpoague profile image

tlpoague 5 years ago from USA

I think she did, but am not sure. She passed away 12 years ago. I just remembered her legs and feet swelling up. (Not as bad as your pictures, but it was still painful for her.) I am starting to see this in other members of the family. I will keep this hub in mind for future reference. It always helps to keep a record of family health history. My son just found out he is allergic to codine. My mom has the same problem. I will have to do further research to see if anyone in the family has lymphedema or if it is diabetic related. Thanks again!


bayoulady profile image

bayoulady 5 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA Author

tlpoague...Thanks again. My family now recalls that in past generations several realatives also had abnormally huge legs in comparision to the rest of their bodies. There are several causes, and still so much to learn about this disorder.


Patricia Gann 5 years ago

I have had swollen legs and feet since Oct.2011. I was prescribed Lasix and a 5day steroid treatment. This helped for about a week but it's DEC 5th and I am still swollen. The pain is excruciating even with the lightest touch. I have been wearing compression stockings but so far I'm not doing any better. My tests say it is not heart related. This has happened twice before but went away quickly. I'm at my wits end.

Thank you


bayoulady profile image

bayoulady 4 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA Author

Patrician,I urge you to see a doctor who will check circulation in your legs to rule out venous insufficiency or lymphedema. My cardiologist had a specialist in vein disorders do an array of tests,then instead of ruling out both,venous insufficiency was ruled out and lymphedema confirmed. There are days even with compression, elevation a,ind massage that I still deal with painful fluid and swelling. MY HEART GOES OUT TO YOU.


Hummingbirdlover profile image

Hummingbirdlover 3 years ago

I have had swelling in my left leg since I had Femoral-popliteal bypass 2009. I have been in the hospital twice with Cellulitis the last time was in November for 10 days, where I was diagnosed with Lymphedema. Was measured for custom made thigh high and a sleeping gadget (which trust me wasn't cheap). However, I recently to a bad fall and sprained my ankle (left) and foot and haven't been able to wear neither items. My leg swelled up very bad and started weeping in two different areas. Developed cellulitis and am on antibotics. I keep it elevated except going to rest room, I have been able to keep swelling down for 4 days now, but the weeping hasn't stopped yet. Is this normal or should I be calling my doctor again? I have another appointment in 4 days, so if I need to can it wait until then?

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