Just over two weeks till I have my Lymph node transplant, on the 14th March, so now starts the count down!! Today I have found myself reflecting on what has led me to this. Why would I choose to have major surgery which is still in its infancy? I have been remembering the last time I had major surgery, that time a choice was not given.
I was told over the phone that I had Cancer of the Uterus, on October 19th 2001, an appointment had been made for me with a surgeon at Royal Women’s Hospital in Sydney. This diagnosis came like a bolt from the blue, totally unexpected. I had been having problems but the word Cancer had never been mentioned prior to this. Suddenly I was in hospital having a Radical Hysterectomy including the removal of Lymph Nodes. Cancer was found in one node so there followed a month of radiation which would have destroyed more of the lymphatic system.
For the past 11 years i have had no relapse of the cancer, regular check ups have all gone well. I finished my radiation on the 4th February 2002 and by the end of February I started to see a slightly raised area from the groin outwards. At first I did not realize what it was but in a few weeks this swelling had spread down to my toes on the left leg and down the inner thigh on the right leg and even my tummy and groin area were effected. This for me was the start of living with Lymphoedema and the daily battle to manage it. This takes a toll both physically and mentally far greater than many would realise. I remember arriving at my doctor’s office one day and slamming down a whole pile of referrals that I needed and breaking down in tears. It was so hard to get help and the internet was a scary place where lymphoedema was concerned eleven years ago. I imagined my legs getting bigger and bigger. It was a nightmare that I did not need.
Fortunately I found out about an awareness day at Westmead Hospital and there at last I found some help. I had Complex Bandaging at Mt Wilga Hospital in Horsby with Dr Helen Mackie for five weeks and was fitted for my first compression garment. A real set of passion killers!! I had a black and a beige pair custom-made waist to foot on left side and to the knee on the right side… Complete with a lace trim!!! Whoo Hoooo!!!
Over the next few posts I thought I would continue to tell you what it is like to live with Lymphoedema, both good and bad. I think by the 14th March you will understand why I would agree to major surgery and at the same time convince myself I am not crazy!!