It’s The Lymphie Life’s 7th birthday!
On January 13, 2011, I sat on the bed in my small college dorm room in Vermont and typed out my first blog post.
In the days that followed, I introduced myself and recorded a video. I wrote posts on the things that I, as a twenty-year-old with lymphedema, most wanted to know about: stuff like drinking, dancing, and yoga. I blogged about my feelings and body image issues with candor – I didn’t expect many people to read, after all. I just wanted to get my voice out there and hopefully hear others shouting back.
And shout they did.
Seven years later, those shouts have come together as a chorus, and this blog has become my attempt to write it all down.
Seven Things in Seven Years
It boggles my mind that it’s been seven years already! The blog, myself, our community – we’ve all come so far together. To celebrate, I’ve compiled some past posts as we look at seven things that have happened these past seven years on The Lymphie Life:
1. Shared the voices of other lymphies.
With readers from over 200 countries, this blog is as much the community’s as it is mine. In 2011-2012, I initiated a “Faces of Lymphedema” project, where we got to meet Laura, Rosie, the late Julie Bauer, Allyson (now an advocate herself), Emma of Emma’s Incredibles, Donna, Melanie, Kimber, Barbara, and Kati.
The blog has also featured guest posts on exercise from Jim, physiotherapy from Lucie, body positivity from Isa-Bella, and how to survive cellulitis abroad from Andy, as well as an awesome community post on positivity.
2. Interviewed lymphedema patients, advocates, and doctors.
3. Traveled the country for advocacy, awareness, and education.
I attended conferences in Dallas and Salt Lake City, lobbied for the Lymphedema Treatment Act in Washington D.C., raised funds for lymphatic research in New York City, and walked to “Stomp Out Lymphedema” in my home state of Maryland.
The best part of attending these events is getting to meet other lymphedema patients and advocates in person, including some I had previously only “met” online. There’s nothing quite like the energy and strength of the lymphedema fellowship!
4. Celebrated lymphedema awareness.
Awareness is the cornerstone to creating change, and although every day is a good day to raise awareness, there are a couple specific calendar days dedicated to the cause. Through the years I’ve written posts honoring Lymphedema Awareness Day, World Lymphedema Day, Rare Disease Day, and World Health Day, along with resources on how to bring much-needed attention to the fight against lymphedema and lymphatic disease.
Remember: we are our own best advocates.
5. Reviewed lymphedema garments and products.
In recent years I’ve had the opportunity to review some really cool stuff for the community, like compression garments, medical ID jewelry, lymphie-friendly fashion, and books. If it’s something that can benefit other lymphies, I’m on it!
6. Found the blog’s voice.
Those early days were rough: I didn’t know much about blogging, so things were kind of all over the place. As the blog evolved and grew, so did my writing. (Getting a Bachelor of Arts degree in English also helped!)
Nowadays I strive to write thoughtful, well-researched posts on topics like primary lymphedema and pregnancy to the etymology of the word “lymphedema” itself. As I’ve refined my voice and my writing style, I’ve begun revisiting some past posts, too, like lymphorrhea (2011/2017), alcohol (2011/2017), self care (2011/2017), and “lymphsplaining” (2011/2017).
7. Experienced personal growth.
The blog’s growth has largely paralleled my own: I went away, I came back. I wore shorts, and then a dress. I ventured into the wilderness. I graduated college (finally). Just a few months ago I got a new job, which I can’t wait to tell you about in an upcoming post.
I’m a big believer in everything happening for a reason, and I think the lymphedema community and this blog are a big part of mine.
The Lymphie Life is a passion project: I don’t get paid to do this, nor do I make money from advertisements; rather, all the time, money, and energy put into this website and its social media are my own. It’s almost a full-time job in itself, but it’s been so worth it just for the chance to connect with other lymphies from across the globe.
It’s been a lucky seven years, and this blog and the people I’ve met through it have become a huge part of my life. Thank you for your continued readership and support. You all mean the world to me, and I hope to continue writing for you for many more years to come!
I had started this blog as a shout, just to see if anyone would shout back. I hear you now – thank you for hearing me, too.