Tag Archives: Lymphatic system

Two thumbs up for Wesley, Two Thumbs Down for Firecracker Films

20 Aug

It was tough to watch Firecracker Films’ documentary, ‘The Man With the 132-Pound Scrotum’, which aired in the U.S. on TLC last night, but not because of the graphic content and nudity.  Rather, my agony was the result of waiting for a moment that never came: an accurate explanation to viewers of what lymphedema is and how it afflicts millions of people worldwide.  On the contrary, the producers depicted lymphedema as simply a “mass” that can be “removed” and be done with, as opposed to the incurable, progressive condition that it really is.

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‘The Man with the 132-Pound Scrotum’: No such thing as bad publicity?

15 Aug
TLC to air 'The Man with the 132-Pound Scrotum" Monday, August 19 at 9 p.m.

TLC to air ‘The Man with the 132-Pound Scrotum” Monday, August 19 at 9 p.m.

This Monday, August 19 at 9 p.m. TLC will air an hour-long program called ‘The Man with the 132-Pound Scrotum.’  The show follows Wesley Warren, Jr.,  a 49-year old Las Vegas man, who suffers from scrotal lymphedema.

The TLC teaser fails to explain how Mr. Warren contracted lymphedema of the scrotum, but according to Dr. Reid (inventor of the ReidSleeve), the condition can be brought on by heart failure, liver failure, venous obstruction, lymphatic obstruction, or prior surgery or trauma.

As someone who has struggled to live in dignity with primary lymphedema for 15 years, it makes me cringe to think of all the people who might be sharing a laugh on Facebook at the expense of this poor man or gawking at his agony.  And it makes me angry that lymphedema and lymphatic disease – a condition that affects millions of people worldwide – only gets attention when it garners circus-freak headlines.

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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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Happy Anniversary to My Lymphedema

9 Aug

My brother, mother and I set out on the sizzling summer morning of August 9, 1998 for a jog across the Brooklyn Bridge.  Mom had always wanted to do that.  She was visiting from Maryland that weekend.  I remember the date, because we were anxiously awaiting the arrival of my nephew who came into the world later that afternoon.

Despite the warm weather, we stopped in at our local gym for a quick sauna afterwards.  Then it was back home for a hot shower before heading into the city to show Mom some of the sites.

We capped off our sun-soaked march around Manhattan by cooling off in a Greenwich Village movie theater to take in Saving Private Ryan.  By the end of the movie my left knee was aching badly.  When the lights came back on, I could see my leg was swollen from the knee down into a column shape – couldn’t make out my calf, couldn’t see my ankle.

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