[ Lymph Notes home ] [ Click to read 'I love my Caregivers' by Wanda ]
Click to read "I love my Caregivers" by Wanda

Lymphedema In My Twenties

By cheerlee2121

A pregnant patient, who also has primary

lymphedema, needs special precautions.

At the age of 13 I noticed that my right pelvic lymph node was swollen. I went to many doctors and finally to a surgeon. He said it was a fatty tumor and they could remove it but it would probably grow back, so I did not have the  surgery, Thank God!

When I was 20, after a great workout at the gym, I noticed a dimple in my right leg! Also, my left thigh was almost a third larger than my right right leg . I went to many more doctors and finally after taking all the tests know to western medicine, I was diagnosed with lymphedema.


  1. I finally had a diagnosis and. to my great relief,it was not going to kill me.  
  2. I learned that I am not the only one on the planet with it. In fact, I was amazed at how many other women had the same condition -- and by this time I knew it was called primary lymphedema.
  3. In the last 5 years I have been through treatment several times complete complete with massages and wrapping.
  4. I had to work to support myself and I did this as a waitress and bartender (despite the bandages) because the tips were good. Sometimes, in order to get bigger tips, I told people I was bandaged because of a bad car accident.
  5. Now I am not proud of having done this but it is difficult explaining lymphedema to people who are not really interested it.


During this time I had two infections that sent me to the hospital each time for a stay of a week. With every infection, my lymph nodes scarred over more causing my lymphedema to be a lil worse after each incident. Each times I feveloped one of these infections it was from shaving my legs. These cuts were so small that I didn’t even know I cut myself. Since then, I have tried electric razors but they pull out the hair and cause me to bleed. I had the same results with waxing (ouch). 

So now I shave very carefully and use only the best quality razors and I replace them after 3-4 uses. The better shape my body is in and the more I use my leg muscles, the better my lymphedema is. The lowest weight I was at was last year after starting yoga about 3 times a week at a yoga studio, heat yoga it was the best for me! I have gained 25 pounds since then, I am 5 months pregnant. Since the pregnancy I have gotten lymphedema in my left leg as well as my pelvic area. I had to go through therapy again but this time I could hardly walk or move with new padding and bandages, so I lost a month of exercising. I know the swelling will get worse as I get bigger, but I plan to continue to exercise, try to eat healthy, and do my exercises in a swimming pool.

In my 9th month walking is more painful and caused more swelling by the end of the day; however, I know it will be better after the pregnancy as I get back in shape and the baby stops putting pressure on my lymph nodes. And, of course, I look forward to the arrival of my son (yes, we asked the gender of our baby).

My friends and my family look at me as being so young and healthy and they feel bad that I have to deal with this lifelong condition. But like I told my mom once, "I thank God everyday for having a lifelong condition like lymphedema since it causes me to live being very conscious of maintaining a healthly life style so that I will  stay healthy as I raise my family. I am still able to have children and to maintain an active life. Not all conditions are so kind!" I see people every day that take their bodies for granted, their ability to do everyday things, some people are careless with their gift of health and life and throw it all away; eating unhealthy, drinking, smoking, and not exercising. Those things will cause you to live a shorter life and not feel your best. I HAVE to take care of my body and health if I want to control my lymphedema and I thank God everyday for the things I am still able to do. So my advice to you is, "Take care of yourself, take control of your lymphedema, and count your blessings."

Got a question or comment? Post in the 'Living With Lymphedema' forum. Share your stories in My Stories.
Category: Living well with Lymphedema


Lymph Notes Forums
Not registered yet? Sign up now!

Members: 65,016, Threads: 787, Posts: 3,461
Our newest member is MichealAwaib.

Registered user? Log in here: