Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Hidden Beauty?

So this post isn't about the surgery, I've sort of moved on from there, but I thought this might be interesting........

Last week I went to a glass making masterclass with a fabulous glass artist called Amanda Simmons. It was to learn how to make glass vessels. They're not called vases as they aren't functional items.

We were asked to introduce ourselves and also to say why we wanted to learn how to do this technique. The class introduced themselves and then it came to me last. During this time I'd been thinking and looking longingly at some of Amanda's work that she had bought with her.

It suddenly struck me that if you put a foot at the bottom of the vessels then that's what my leg would look like. Here I was looking at something which resembled my leg but I was thinking about how elegant it was and how beautiful it was.

Does that mean that I could think my legs could be beautiful and elegant if I think my leg looks like one of those gorgeous vessels? Shocking thought isn't it? Maybe we have to look at things a different way.

So I came away with a new glass making skill, a new design process, a hat full of ideas including a range of designs based on how having lipo-lymphedema makes me feel and a new respect for the shape of my legs

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Swelling!!! And other stuff....

Well it's 4 months since I had surgery with the amazing Professor Schmeller. All has gone really well until the last 3 weeks or so....

I started noticing some swelling on my left leg. I always get a little swelling as the day progesses even though I try to keep my legs up during the day. (They are currently up on a large cardboard box as I took my builders step home from work. Probably less than ideal and not a long term solution as the weight of my legs is slowly crushing it!)

This started almost immediately after starting to use a body brush. I had read that this dry brushing was great to move the lymph and also for the appearance of cellulite (hey, I'm going try anything to make my legs look better). Apparently all you have to do is brush your skin in the direction of your heart, so up your legs or up your arms. I quite enjoyed the sensation and my skin felt silky smooth in a couple of days.

The swelling went from my ankle up to my calf. It was quite bad, unpleasant, unsightly and felt really odd. It was if my skin was rippling or wet. I was very concerned and immediately stopped the brushing as it was the only thing I'd done differently.

My legs remained swollen although every morning they'd be back to their usual svelte-ish post op look. In desperation I email Professor Schmeller to see if it was anything to do with my op or if I had perhaps damaged them whilst they were still healing. He replied that I hadn't done anything wrong and when I saw him in January my legs were healing perfectly. The swelling was definitely worse now than it was post-op!

Here's a picture...it's a bit dark, but you get the gist

Fortunately I had an appointment at the Lymphedema clinic the next week. The nurse assured me that there was nothing to worry about my legs...phew! That was a relief. It was just good old Mother Nature with her monthly visit playing havoc with my lymphs & hormones. Funny because I've never had, or certainly never noticed such a big change before. All I can think is that because I am peri-menopausal then the hormone shift is that much worse. She also said that my compression stockings were too tight for my legs in a such swollen state. So now I have some sexy black ones being made to measure in Germany (....what is it with those Germans and lymph!!!) And I love playing dot to dot on my legs after they're done a-measuring!

Also, I'm the first person the clinic has had who has had surgery...go me! The nurse was amazing at the radical change in my legs and from my notes told me I had lost 11 cm from the circumference from top to bottom. That is HUGE!

Annnnnd, she knew nothing about the surgery, who does it, how they do it, so I spent 40 minutes enlightening her. She also didn't have any support groups from a young lady who has lipo-lymphedema in her legs and arms....so Facebook support pages given out too. This worries me very much. Surely the people who are out there in the field should know about support groups. There is such a limited amount of information and help for us, surely they be up on what we have got available to us?

So....measured my legs....my first boots were fit at Christmas and my calves measured 46cm. They now measure 42cm. Boom! Stoked to the MAX!!