I know, I know — I’m a few weeks late for a new years post. Let’s call this one an end-of-the-first-month-of-the-new-year post? It’s a little wordy but… it works!
Even though we’re a few weeks in, I’m still basking in that new year sparkle. I love the new year: it carries so much symbolism and opportunity for renewal and fresh starts! Whether it’s January 1st or July 31st, though, any time is a good time for self-reflection.
For us lymphies, it’s helpful to focus some of this self-reflection on our own health habits and figure out what we need to work on and what we can carry over with us into the new year. I said this last year but it bears repeating: while we examine ourselves and pick out the things we want to change, it’s important to remember to do this from a place of self-love. In addition to recognizing what we want to do differently, it’s good to also acknowledge the growth we have accomplished. This is a rejuvenating time, not a punitive one!
At the beginning of 2016, I offered four new year’s resolutions for lymphies: to be consistent with your lymphedema care routine; to change the way in which you approach your lymphedema care; to confront your negative thoughts with positive ones; and to be an ambassador of awareness. Now that we’re nearly through January and have had a chance to settle into the new year a bit, I wanted to tack a few more resolutions onto the list!
New Year’s Resolutions for Lymphies
Live with intention. It’s good practice to be purposeful in word and action, as the way we engage in our lives can greatly affect our overall outlook. We didn’t choose to have lymphedema; we can, however, choose how we interact with it. Practice engaging actively with your treatment instead of simply going through the motions. Strive to make thoughtful, conscious choices around your health and well-being, both physically and mentally. Yeah, I know — I’m sounding a li’l hokey here, but I really believe it makes a difference. This kind of thing doesn’t work for everybody, but if you’re open to it, give it a try!
Self-educate responsibly. One of the most important things we can do as patients is to educate ourselves on lymphedema and the lymphatic system. Knowledge is power, after all, especially when living with a condition that much of the mainstream medical community doesn’t seem to notice or understand. But please: be mindful of where you get your facts! Make sure the information you read, apply, and share is from a reputable and well-researched source, because misinformation — especially as it pertains to treatment — can be dangerous. Johns Hopkins offers some helpful tips on finding reliable health information online; other good places to read up on lymphedema and its related topics are online medical journals or research organizations, like the National Lymphedema Network or the Lymphatic Education and Research Network.
Connect with others in the community. Living with lymphedema can feel incredibly isolating, but there’s a huge community of us out there waiting to welcome you — you just need to know where to look! Check around and see if there’s a support group in your area that you can join; if there aren’t any, start one! The internet is an amazing resource for support, too, especially social media: if you’re on Facebook, there are a number of private groups for people with lymphedema (the UK spelling “lymphoedema” yields even more results!); there’s also a huge lymphie presence on Instagram and Twitter if you search lymphedema-related hashtags.
The Lymphie Life’s Year in Numbers
2016 was amazing, thanks to all of you! I’m not normally a numbers gal, but I thought these stats were a neat way to visualize this past year at The Lymphie Life:
- 24 posts were published to the site. The most popular posts were:
- Readers visited from all over the world — 165 different countries, to be exact!
- Say cheese! 136 photos were posted to @lymphielife’s Instagram.
- I participated in the Lymphedema Lobby Days with lymphie patients and advocates from across the country. We met with 214 Congressional offices to discuss the Lymphedema Treatment Act, and distributed informational packets to the offices who had yet to cosponsor.
- I walked 2.2 miles round-trip across the Brooklyn Bridge alongside fellow lymphies and advocates to raise funds and awareness for lymphatic research.
- Yee-haw! I flew 1,216 air miles from Baltimore to Dallas for the National Lymphedema Network International Conference.
Thank you so much for another fantastic year of growth and awareness! I appreciate all of you, from those who have been here since the blog began six years ago to the ones just popping by from a Google search — you all mean so much! 💙
There’s lots more to come, so keep checking back and remember to #StayElevated, my friends!