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Turn your world upside down, everyday

22 Aug
HoMedics Anti-Gravity Massage Recliner with Heat

HoMedics Tony Little DeStress for $246 through SaleStores.com

In the summer of 2003, five years after the onset of my lymphedema, my parents gave me a present that has made my life easier every day since — an inversion recliner.  If I were to recommend one product to my fellow lymphedema sufferers, it would be this one.

You may have to save up for it though.  I’ve seen prices range from $250 to $2,400*, depending on how many bells and whistles you are willing to pay for such as vibrating massage, heat settings and self-inflating lumbar support.  But the only feature that is important for our purposes is that the chair gets your legs above your heart.  That position allows gravity to drain the lymphatic fluid back towards your heart.

After a shower, a long day at work, or just relaxing in front of the television, this chair gives my legs the lift they need without the help of tight compression stockings or bulky bandages.  This chair is an island of comfort in my home and I visit it every day.

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I’m so progressive (medically, that is)

12 Aug

When the medical professionals say that lymphedema is a progressive disease, they aren’t kidding.  In the 15 years that I’ve had the condition, the development of my lymphedema can be tracked by the compression garments I have worn to manage it.

"The Grandma", as I call it, in Juzo's advertisement

“The Grandma” compression stocking, as I call it, as pictured in Juzo brand’s advertisement.

Compression garments are stockings or sleeves or some other type of clothing that provide gradual compression that pushes the lymphatic fluid towards the heart (meaning the garment is tightest at the bottom of the limb, i.e. the ankle or wrist,and loosest at the top of the limb).

Some lymphedema patients can’t fit into compression stockings due to the severity of their swelling.  I don’t know how they can function or bear the pain.  For myself, I cannot remain in a standing position for more than a few minutes without my stockings on before I start feeling discomfort.  Within a matter of hours swelling would follow and my legs would be back to day one of my onset.  Without stockings, I could not function day-to-day.  I could not go to work, go for a walk, or do any of the necessary and normal activities of life.  These stockings do the work that my lymphatic system is incapable of doing.

So over the past 15 years, I’ve gone from a school-girl knee-high stocking, to a sexy thigh-high length, to a full pantyhose style that extends past my belly button that I have dubbed “The Grandma.”

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