I have secondary lymphedema in my left leg due to cervical cancer treatment in 2007. I had a radical hysterectomy, with the removal of 36 lymph nodes, followed by six weeks of chemo, 35 rounds of radiation, and four sessions of brachytherapy.
My lymphedema presented in March 2016, nine years after being treated for cervical cancer, when I noticed swelling in my left ankle, which within a week had spread through my entire leg. After pushing for answers through a series of emergency room and various doctor visits, my primary care physician referred me to Dr. Rajebi, an interventional radiologist. In the same week, I was diagnosed with May-Thurner Syndrome which is an anatomical condition
in the leg when the left iliac vein is compressed by the right iliac artery. And then Dr. Rajebi told me “I
think you may have lymphedema as well”.
Dr. Rajebi referred me to Vicki Ralph, my lymphedema therapist, and I completed decongestive therapy and I saw Vicki three times a week for seven weeks for manual lymphatic drainage therapy and spent up to 22 hours in my bandages. It paid off as I would see a reduction in my leg weekly.
While I am mindful of my leg, I do not let it prevent me from doing what I love! I enjoy all things fitness! I have never stopped any of this. Even while going through CDT therapy I worked out while fully wrapped. I work out lifting weights, kickboxing, cardio, hiking, etc. I love wearing the mediven® cosy 450 for my workouts, it moves well and contains my leg while working out. I wear the mediven® 550 when not working out. I love the color and designs available to personalize!
I am a passionate advocate for lymphedema. I volunteer for the Lymphatic Education & Research Network (LE&RN), speak to various groups on lymphedema, interviews, and being part of a patient media campaign for UCHealth in Colorado, I use my voice to bring awareness to this disease.
I have an Instagram where I share lymphedema awareness, living life with lymphedema, connect with others, and hope to motivate others with lymphedema to live their lives to the fullest ability and not allow lymphedema to be their barrier. I use my voice to bring awareness to this disease. My perseverance through all of this has made me strong and the person I am today.
We all have a story to tell, and there is power in telling your story. My story does not make me unique. It empowers me to share and bring awareness to a disease that affects millions of people, and if that helps one person, I’ve made a difference!