Lymphedema and Careers

Someone asked me the other day what would I be doing if I wasn’t a Real Estate Agent. I told him “not much”. He then asked “why?” and I said that my legs were the issue. He then said “there are a lot of sitting jobs” and I had to explain that sitting makes my legs swell more, standing makes my legs swell more and basically, unless I could find a job that allows me to do a combo of sitting, standing and walking then I will have issues with my lymphedema. Most people do not realize that sitting in a chair is the worst thing for  me and I have a habit of forgetting to get up and move every 10 minutes or so, so that by the time I do want to get up, I can barely stand.

I have had other jobs in my life. I grew up working in a convenience store. I am a certified teacher, I worked with mentally challenged adults in a sheltered workshop and in my home (I still have Vanessa who has lived with me for over 14 years), I owned a used bookstore and I am now a Real Estate Agent. Oddly enough, I wanted to be a real estate agent most of my life but I felt that I was not confident or outgoing enough for it. It was not until I spent 2 years at home, with my legs up and rarely leaving my house that I realized that, although my legs were not as painful, I was just existing. I was not living. I realized  that I wanted to talk to people and I decided to follow the career path that I had originally wanted. I am not any more confident in my looks, I still hate to get my photo taken (the reason behind my door knob business cards and For Sale signs) and I still have to fight my introverted nature but I think that is improving . Is Real Estate the best career for me? I think it is. I love looking at houses, I love helping people find  homes that they love and I love helping people sell their homes when they need to move on in their lives. There is a lot of paperwork but I enjoy that. I just have to remember to get up and move around more while I am doing it. Yes, there are days when my legs are really painful, especially when I am going through a busy time and I don’t get much “leg time” (time for my legs to be elevated) but a busy time means that I am busy with listing, buying or selling houses and that makes the pain I am in a lot more manageable. I really don’t think that there would be any other career where I would have as much freedom of whether to sit, stand or walk.

Of course, everyone is different, their lymphedema is different. I have sisters who are nurses,  a sister in retail sales, a niece who is in the military, a brother who drove a truck (although this was a bad choice with regard to his lymphedema), etc. All of our lymphedema is  different (other than it is in our legs). Some have a lot less swelling and pain than others.

When choosing a career you just have to figure out what is best for you. It took me a lot of years but I have finally found it. 🙂


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