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Lymphedema Chronicles
66 year old, Milroy & Secondary LE from Breast Cancer
Authored by MJ in California
I am 66 yrs old, almost 67...have suffered with Milroys since 12 yrs old, at which time no one knew what it was. Initially, it affected only one foot and ankle. Now it is in both, with the right foot being more pronounced.

After Breast cancer/surgery in 1996, I now also have secondary in right hand and arm. Primary LE is in my feet/ankles. To have lived with this disease this long has been an arduous struggle, but I managed through my teens (the most dreadful), to college, then to a teaching profession of highschool students. I have always been very active and decided the LE would make no difference in my lifestyle. Fortunately enough, I have had no pain (never in feet/ankles), but on occasions some pain in arm, but never cellulitis. I've used the pump, but unfortunately fluid managed to get into my abdomen. I've gained more weight as I've gotten older. The MLD seems to help a lot, along with the wrapping.

I am thankful to finally have a forum to voice my opinion and read opinions of others who suffer with this dreadful condition. I thought I was the only one with it for years, since I never saw anyone else, until some 10 years ago, and the person did not know that she had LE.

My parents tried everything imaginable and sent me to many doctors throughout the U.S. and many clinics. No one could abate the swelling. At that time, I realize now, that the swelling was minor, probably still is, when compared to those who cannot wear shoes. But, I decided this thing would not hinder me. I kept up public appearances, amongst all the stares. Even taught Modern dance to the high school students. Enjoyed every minute. Today, I am still active in the Performing Arts, vocally and directing.

My health is not as strong as it was, now that I have had 3 bouts with cancer...2 Lung and 1 Breast, with 1 Lung removed and a partial of the other removed. But "still I rise"...I think my hand offends me the most, because I use them more. Writing is a hobby and directing a choir is a must, so when I throw my hands up to direct, sometimes, I'm awkward in thinking about what others are thinking, until I realize that I must do MY thing.

I thank God for all that He's given me and for all the avenues He has offered me to use the gifts He has loaned me, for without Him I could do nothing, and with Him I can do all things for this I am grateful.

I have 2 sleeves, one for the right foot/leg and one for the arm/hand. I believe, with all my heart, that a difference is made in the quality of life when we give to the world the best that we have, understanding that the best will come back to us.

MJ of California
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