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Sometimes, more is more

What happened to only needing a little tune-up?

This morning’s appointment was really good, although it wasn’t quite what I had expected.

For this appointment, I was seen by a different doctor than last week. The new doctor (we’ll call her Dr. B) was super sweet and introduced herself before asking me some questions about my history with lymphedema. Then she told me that today she would be evaluating my leg before we kick-start the month of wrapping next week.

Waaait… what?

Start wrapping next week? For a month?? I was sure my doctor had told me that today would be the day I’d start wrapping, and that it would be for seven days. What happened to only needing a little tune-up?!

I shared my confusion with Dr. B and she checked my charts to confirm. Yup—I’m down for a month. I guess I zoned out for a second or something on Friday and misheard, but once the initial shock wore off I was kind of excited. I’ve done month-long wrapping sessions before, and it always turns out to be worthwhile. The fit of the garment is a lot better, and as a result, my leg feels a lot better, too.

Dr. B took measurements of both my legs and told me that my lymphie leg appears to be doing well. There’s no pitting or fibrosis—instead it has a good “doughy” feel. As long as I take care of it, she said, it should be able to be maintained and not get much worse. This new garment will be a big help in my doing that.

So here’s what the next month will look like for me: Starting Monday, I’m coming in five days a week for the next two weeks for wrapping and massage. After two weeks, my swelling will be reduced enough to where I can be measured and fitted for a new compression garment. I’ll come in three days a week for the last two weeks to continue wrapping; that way, the swelling is kept under control until the new garment arrives.

Just typing all that out felt exhausting, but really, I’m looking forward to it. In addition to the wrapping and massage, Dr. B will be giving me a refresher course in manual lymphatic drainage, bandaging techniques, and all that other good stuff, so… get ready for a bunch of posts over the next few weeks! ;)

Although I didn’t get to start wrapping today like I originally had thought, I’m glad today’s appointment turned out the way that it did. Isn’t it funny when that happens? At first I was a little upset because having my leg wrapped for a month can be a little limiting, not to mention having to go to sixteen (!) appointments. But once I let go and realized that the inconveniences are worth it for my health, I felt a lot better. It’s the beauty of remaining open and willing to do what’s needed to take care of oneself.

12 comments on “Sometimes, more is more

  1. Are you covered with healthcare insurance for this month long therapy session?
    I am just very curious. I am in Canada and we are not covered through our main medical coverage.
    So this means we pay out of pocket and get reimbursed afterwards.

    • Hi, Dale,
      I am lucky in that my insurance covers most of my treatment and a pair of compression garments. Anything additional is out-of-pocket for me.

  2. Good luck Alexa………..you have the right attitude! We had to make sacrifices in order to take care of our health. Thanks for sharing! :)

  3. Hi Alexa. I have lymphedema of my left leg for the past 15 years. Mine looks very similar to the pictures you have posted. So my question is do you have insurance coverage for he wrapping and therapy? And how did you find the doctors you see. I haven’t found any in the Chicago area that really want to deal with my condition. I do go to a MLD therapist but she cannot do more than that as far as medical goes. I would like a more current evaluation since its been years.

    • Hi, Nicole,
      I am lucky in that my insurance covers most of my treatment and a pair of compression garments. Anything additional is out-of-pocket for me.
      There is a lymphedema center here in the Baltimore area that I go to that’s really amazing, and I have been seeing them for almost five years now. As far as finding someone in your area, this website – http://www.lymphnotes.com/article.php/id/16/ – is a good resource on how to go about doing that. Also, maybe your MLD therapist might have some recommendations?
      Best of luck, and stay elevated!
      Alexa

    • Shameika

      Hi Nicole,

      When I was a graduate student in the Chicago area I had MLD and wrapping at the Illinois Bone and Joint Institute in Morton Grove. My therapist was Amy Marley-Kennedy DPT, CLT-LANA and I highly recommend going to see her. She bandaged me daily for one month, performed manual drainage massage on my legs and fitted me for garments. She also encouraged me to get the Flexitouch machine (completely covered by my insurance) to help with MLD at home. If you would like more information, I can get it to you, but she is highly experienced and qualified, and I would recommend that you go see her if you can. :)

      Shameika

  4. Hi Alexa: I am in Canada, with lymphedema of left leg for 8 yrs now. We do not get covered for this in Canada….are you covered, how much did you have to pay out of pocket, and how much did insurance cover? Who and where did you have your procedure done? Thanks!!!

    • Hi, Debbie,
      My insurance covers about 70% of my treatment and compression garment costs, with anything additional coming out-of-pocket. I have been going to a lymphedema center in Baltimore, MD, for almost five years now and they are absolutely fantastic there!
      If you are looking to find lymphedema care, this website – http://www.lymphnotes.com/article.php/id/16/ – is a good resource on how to go about doing that.
      Best of luck, and stay elevated!
      Alexa

  5. I am wondering how you came to find such a great provider, specifically an MD. After being diagnosed w Lymphedema I felt like I was pawned off by the Dr (a cardiologist, so rightly so, I guess) and got referred to PT. I did that for a short time, got stockings, the whole nine…and then I felt defeated and gave up on it all. I’d love any advice on how to find a Dr who might be able to help me and figure out why this happened to me, and hopefully determine if I can prevent it in my kids. Thanks.

    • Hi, Rachel. I’m sorry you’ve had such a difficult experience with finding a provider. It can be hard finding someone who is trained specifically in lymphedema, let alone someone who knows what it is! I was lucky in that there is a lymphedema center located in a hospital close by me, which I found after doing an online search for lymphedema therapists in my city. Aside from a Google search, a good resource is the National Lymphedema Network, which has a searchable database of lymphedema therapists: http://www.lymphnet.org/find-treatment. I hope that helps you!

  6. Pingback: That’s a wrap! | The Lymphie Life

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