Debbie Merrill Treatment Story
I am a cancer survivor of 14 yrs. from Lynch Syndrome, a inherited form of cancer where you can have 3 primary cancers. I was diagnosed originally with uterine cancer and while waiting for a full radical hysterectomy I started bleeding to find out I had stage 3 Kidney cancer. While in surgery what appeared to be a cyst on my ovary, it turned out to be stage 4 Colon cancer with only one lymph node involvement. I went through 6 months of chemo and 5 yrs. of peace, then it came back in various areas which required a second radical surgery, several unsuccessful types of chemo, and radiation on tumors on my spine. It was after the second surgery that I noticed the swelling in my right leg.
I mentioned it at checkups, but no one offered any information about lymphedema therapy. life went on for about 5 yrs., during that time, thankfully immunotherapy was my saving, Grace. it stopped the cancer dead in its tracks, although along with that for 2.5 yrs. it stopped my thyroid function and along with that major weight gain and continued swelling in my legs. Finally, after stopping that treatment to give my body a well-deserved break, my thyroid kicked back in, and I decided to try the Keto diet to lose the weight. I thought my legs would get much better and problem solved! I was successful losing 50 lbs. in 7mths, but to my dismay the legs stayed the same.
I went to see my oncologist for my usual 6 week check in and this time a new Dr saw me and once again I mentioned the hip and back pain I was having and once again the swelling, but this time It was different! She started explaining that there was help for me! I was so astounded that finally someone was going to help me. I was immediately put in touch with who I consider the best lymphedema therapist EVER! She has taught me so much about this disease and has been diligent in giving me all information out there to get me all the help I can since of right now Medicare has help in many ways but not the price of the garments.
I am in the decongestive stage if my therapy. The left leg is at a healthy normal size, but the right leg just isn’t there yet. I have lost another 25lbs and hope to get it smaller. My plan is to use social media to reach and educate people like me, so they don’t have to go 5 years to find the help I know they so desperately want and need. I sincerely want to thank all the therapists who have dedicated their lives to this specialized area.