How many times have you wanted to hear those words?

I can’t even begin to count how often I have wished my lymphedema would just magically disappear, that someday I would wake up and my leg would be normal and I’d have the delicate ankles I had always wanted. How badly I’ve wanted to wear shorts and skirts with confidence, to wear flats and cute shoes without them leaving indents in my skin! I’ve wanted it so bad, wanted a cure to come out of nowhere like some sort of lymphatic miracle and grant me those simple little pleasures. Want, want, want – but what about acceptance?

The reality of lymphedema is that it isn’t going anywhere. Just like any medical condition – be it physical or mental – wishing for it to disappear is pretty pointless. If anything, it can be extremely detrimental. Tough love, I know, but really – instead of wishing for something to change, you need to be proactive and take care of what you have: yourself. That includes managing your lymphedema, as well as accepting it for what it is. You are alive, and you need to celebrate and honor your aliveness by practicing good health! No sense in getting bogged down or letting your condition stop you from doing the things you love.

I’m a big believer in that everything happens for a reason, and that includes my lymphedema. If I didn’t have it, my life would be drastically different, be it for better or for worse. I wouldn’t be me – I wouldn’t have made this blog, I wouldn’t have developed the empathy and compassion that it has taught me, and I wouldn’t have met all the wonderful people who make up the Lymphie community. I would be missing the valuable perspective and experience that it has given me, and that outweighs all the mini skirts in the world.

What about you – what has lymphedema brought to your life? What has it taught you? What would your life be like without it?