help for those w/ edema

chery2September 8, 2004

My doctor, after ordering every kind of heart test on the planet and getting good results, called the terrible swelling in my feet and legs "a vanity issue" not threatening to my health. Nothing else could be done, he said. You'll just have to live with it.

As much as I hated resigning myself to his conclusion, that's just what I did. Every time I bumped my leg on the open door of the dishwasher [why doesn't someone invent bumpers for that problem?!] or rubbed a blister on my heel that wouldn't heal, I wondered.

Well, DH did more than wonder. He called the doctor and insisted he refer me to another doctor at a nearby university hospital. The appt. was scheduled, but then the u-doc called and said I didn't need what he specialized in. It was a vascular pressure test that I'd had 2 years ago. What you need, he said, is a lymphedema clinic.

A what?

Well, he said, it's a physical therapy clinic where they deal with such problems.

Uh-oh, I thought. Here it comes. They're going to give me exercises and tell me to limit my salt intake. But I was so wrong!

Lymphedema therapy is about compression of the affected body part[s] and/or massage of the lymph nodes in armpit and groin area. I'm doing so well w/ compression, they don't anticipate having to do massage.

I will have to "manage" the problem all my life [better than accepting it, I think], and when my legs are normal -- maybe by the end of this week -- we'll order custom stockings I'll have to wear all the time.

If you have this problem, call the hospitals nearest you and see if they have a lymphedema clinic. I live in a small town, and both hospitals have one. My insurance covers the therapy, possibly the stockings, with a letter of medical necessity. That's PCHP.

Maybe you're wondering why my doctor didn't know about the clinics? Me, too. And so are the therapists.

You can go every weekday or every other day to have the wrappings changed. It's hard to take a shower w/o getting wet, but Kroger's wet umbrella bags are good for that.

The second time I was unwrapped, I cried. I had REAL LEGS

and NORMAL FEET for the first time I could remember.

I started every other day compression August 23 of this year.

Good luck to you! chery-va

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I don't have edema or any other health problems but I just wanted to tell you
that I am so happy you have found some relief for this problem.
I have a friend who suffers, and I mean suffers, from this.
I am certainly going to tell her to check for a clinic.
I know you must have suffered for a long time with this problem and
I am so glad for you that things are looking better!!

    Bookmark   September 8, 2004 at 9:09AM
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This is very interesting. Isn't it amazing what we can learn when we insist on a referral to another doctor! Congratulations on your success, I'm sure you are very relieved.

I'm curious... did you try exercise before this treatment? You hinted that you didn't when you said you were afraid they were going to recommend exercise. I've read that regular exercise is very effective for this condition and can significantly reduce symptoms. I'm wondering if it would bring as much relief as the compression.


    Bookmark   September 8, 2004 at 12:19PM
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Thanks, Jenni. Your friend will need a referral from her primary care doc, but you know what? I would have gladly PAID every penny for this.
Eva [therapist] thinks tomorrow will be my last day; I tried on stockings today -- and two prs of shoes I brought along -- and I have to say. . . I LOOK GREAT!
This whole thing is like a dream come true -- no, it IS a dream come true.
I posted there when I had no hope, asking if anyone knew of anything that could be done. No one did. I so hope someone else realizes from my experience that there is such a thing as a lymphedema clinic, whether doctors are aware of it or not. Wow....
Jenn, I was given several leg/foot exercises to do, mainly, I think, to ensure that bandages weren't cutting off circulation. Once I'm in the stockings, they want me to walk as much as possible. Good for circulation. My condition, even though it took almost no time to correct, was way beyond correcting w/ exercise; that would have been like trying to correct the edema w/ support hose, which are [I didn't know this before] for maintenance, not reduction.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2004 at 3:30PM
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Pooh Bear

My doctor has refered me to a lymph-edema clinic.
My feet and ankles would swell up so bad it was very painful.
I noticed that tight socks would help the swelling in my lower calfs.
So I sometimes tried wrapping my feet and ankles with an ace bandage.
This would help some with the swelling.

Last week I found a solution that works perfectly.
I sleep in a recliner in the bedroom.
This apparently is not elevating my feet enough at nite.
So I turned the recliner around to face one side of the bed.
And I put a piece of plywood on the recliners foot rest and on the bed.
Put a pillow on that and sleep with my feet very propped up.
It is really confortable. And the first nite I slept like this
I woke up the next morning with all the swelling gone.
I have been sleeping like this for a week now and I really like it.
My ankles and feet don't hurt any more.

Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   September 10, 2004 at 5:20PM
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