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.
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.”