I started treatment about a month and a half ago. My right leg and foot is much smaller than it was. I have been measured for my custom stocking and toe caps. We are treating one leg at a time. Once I get the stocking, we will be starting the treatment on my left leg and foot.
The treatment consists of a therapist wrapping my leg and foot with Coban2 Two Layer Compression System two or three times a week. This wrapping stays on my leg and foot at all times. The therapist cuts it off and reapplies new wraps when I go for my appointments. The wrapping does not hurt when it is being applied. The only time I have had actual pain is when I have had issues with my feet. One issue I had was the wraps were making my toe creases crack which caused a lot of pain. I know I could have taken the wraps off but I was so afraid that I would swell back to where I was before I started the wrap that I didn’t want to take that chance. The other issue I had and I am still having is pain on the side of my foot. I am fine as long as I am active but once I go to bed, the side of my foot starts hurting a LOT after about 30 minutes of elevation. I then need to get up and walk around for a minute and the pain goes away. I then go back to bed again and then after a half an hour the pain is back so once again I get up and walk around and then go back to bed. This is the routine I follow every night. (My therapist keeps trying to wrap my feet differently and adds more padding but nothing seems to work to get rid of that pain yet) I am tired but I know it will be worth it when the therapy is over and I am wearing my compression stockings.
So that is the physical hurt, but what was even more difficult for me was the psychological issues I was having with treatment. At the beginning, I was feeling disabled again. I was worried about exercising because I was afraid that the wraps would be damaged by the sweat or that they would fall off. I also need to wear a cast cover to take a bath and I need 3 hands to get it on and off so I have to depend on someone to help me. This all made me feel really sad and frustrated. Now that I am back at the gym regularly, I am feeling stronger again. I still hate not being able to take a bath whenever I want to but it is only for a few more months.
People have asked me why I am going through all of this since I seemed ok with the way things were before I started the therapy and, when therapy has been making me go through this amount of pain, I have to be honest, I ask myself that too…The truth is that my lymphedema was going to get worse as I get older if I did not get therapy and use compression garments. Within 20 years I would most likely be in a wheelchair (no matter how much kickboxing I did).
My therapist believes that she can get my legs to a size/shape that will allow me to wear compression garments within 4 months (so 2.5 months left) and that will greatly reduce my every day lymphedema pain and keep my swelling under control so I will be a lot less likely to need a wheelchair…EVER. I have to keep at it…for 2.5 more months anyway…