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Lymphedema Chronicles
47 year old male, post knee surgery
Authored by Anonymous
I am a 47 year old man , who in March of '99 tore my knee up while doing carpentry work. After tests, attempted physical therapy and rest it was decided I needed surgery on my knee. Not unlike the surgery football players have. I was home the same day. The only problem was my leg swelled up so bad it began to really frighten me, and being in construction all my life being hurt becomes a normal occurrence.

I did not think it was possible for my leg to get that big. The surgeon had already removed fluid with a needle twice and didn't seem that interested or concerned. He said what do you expect you just had major surgery. I thought that was funny considering before the surgery he told me how easy this all was.

He then went on vacation to Europe with his family for ten days. The day before he left he did schedule me for a Venous Doppler test to rule out a blood clot, which it did. 3 Days later, with no one left in charge of his cases, with my wife visiting her mom out of state for their annual bingo marathon (which they both deserve to do) I woke up at 3 in the morning with my leg so swollen and pain like I never had before thinking my leg must explode or something similar, nothing could swell that bad with out trouble.

I went to the E.R. where when they saw my leg it frightened them. More Doppler tests were negative but they kept me there about ten hours and finally put a cast on my leg from the hip to my ankle telling me keep it elevated and inactive and as soon as the Dr. came back see him immediately.

Well I went to Aug. with him doing nothing but see me every 2 or 3 weeks when I went to see an internist on my insurance (this is a comp case). He came in and examined me and informed me I had Lymphedema because when I had my surgery somebody got a little too happy with their scalpel and severed and or removed some of my lymphatic vessels ,nodes and such. He said he had no doubt about this and began to explain it to me telling me , no cure, maybe manageable, but no fun and not too many Dr.s knew what to do and generally ignored it.

I was lucky I found a Dr. who told me the truth. I informed my surgeon of what I had and he looked mighty unhappy. It took him about 4 months before he even said the word Lymphedema. Still he did absolutely nothing to stear me to proper treatment. He even wanted me to use a pump and when I talked to an LE institute in N.Y. they went through the roof and stopped me from having further damage done. They were the ones who found me a treatment facility which taught me the manual drainage massage and bandaging. The DR. who ran this place (Miami area) told me I knew more about this disease than the Dr. who caused it. I also learned from New York that there was a big increase in cases from legitimate and cartilage surgeries like mine from skiing accidents and other sports injuries. I never new any of this before , never heard the word before but I learned quick.

I have developed other problems , my leg being so much heavier and bigger than the other has caused damage to my sciatic nerve giving me back problems and loss of feeling in my upper leg. Weight gain from inactivity, causing my blood pressure to rise, all sorts of skin infections in my leg, and to shorten the story my whole life is different. I tried from day one to do what ever it took to help myself. I am lucky my job had a decent comp co.and they have been decent all along. If I had it all to do over I would had lived with a bad knee because nothing can compare with this. The horror woman with breast cancer go through is inexcusable.

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