Thursday, 1 August 2013

Approaching a stranger with Lymphedema

About three weeks ago I passed a lady on my way home, she had really big legs. As in humongous! Her lower legs must each have been the size that my head is, if not more! For some reason that I don't understand she was wearing capris – and no compression stockings. My heart almost skipped a beat and I slowed down and got off my bike. I wanted to talk to her but she was on the phone and also looking like she was waiting for her lift to show. She kept talking and meanwhile her lift turned up and off she went. What a disappointment! I was upset as I carried on not having talked to her.
Next day I printed some of my Lymphedema flyers, looked up six doctors in her area (I saw her outside a building that I imagine she lived in) that she would be likely to belong to and posted them. From then on I cycled that way home every day, hoping to see her again.
Weeks passed and I didn't see her, until Monday this week. I couldn't believe it and nearly fell off my bike! I was SO close to chicken out and leave but I knew I would have been so disappointed if I did, so I went up to her and said "Hi, I can see that your legs are quite swollen, I wonder if you have ever been checked out for Lymphedema?". She said no!! I said that I thought this was what she had and that she could get treatment. I quickly explained that it was a condition in the lymphatic system and that I had it myself. It didn't seem like she had ever heard the name Lymphedema before. I wrote it down for her and she said she would ask her doctor.
I was in a state when I saddled up and cycled home. Ecstatic for having talked to her but also very angry at her doctor for not knowing about Lymphedema and not helping her. She must have been late 30'ties or early 40'ties and her legs looked like they had been neglected always.
Anyway, I am glad I got to speak to her and I really do hope she will get treatment now.