eek! isn't that a lovely site to encounter unaware.
during one of my in office visits with DR H, he diagnosed me with lymphedema. as a result he prescribed lymph massage and deemed it very necessary and needed in order to assist my body in effectively detoxing. i have been going for lymphatic massage since October. at the time he prescribed it, i knew nothing about lymph massage or the lymph system in general. my understanding of the lymph system was limited to knowing that we have lymph nodes and that they assist in fighting infection.
i have since learned a lot about the lymph system. it is really quite fascinating. the lymph system plays a very important role in detoxifying our bodies and maintaining good health. furthermore, having a healthy lymph system is absolutely vital to strengthening your immune system. the more i've learned about the significance of the lymph system, the more i've wondered why the poor little lymph system seems to be largely ignored or neglected by health care professionals.
the following is a quick summary of the lymphatic system:
"Lymphedema is characterized by edema and blockage of the lymphatic system.
The lymphatics have three very important functions, according to Dr. Gerald M. Lemole, Chief of the Department of Thoratic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Deborah Heart and Lung Center, Browns Mills, New Jersey:
"First of all, the lymphatics return protein to the bloodstream. As much as 50 percent of our serum protein can leak out of our bloodstream during a 24-hour period, and it is the job of lymphatics to return this protein to the blood. Second, the lymphatics clear the spaces between our cells and carry away toxins and foreign particles such as bacteria, large proteins, cholesterol, and viruses. We were taught that the liver and kidneys clear away toxins, but it is actually the lymphatics that clear away the fluid that bathes each cell of our body. Third, the lymphatics are an integral part of our immune system. The white cells, called lymphocytes, circulate in and out of the lymphatics and help destroy foreign particles like bacteria, viruses and parasites." (http://www.uhealth.net/article3.htm)
DR H refers to me as a cesspool of neurotoxins. my cesspool status means that my lymph system is very clogged and is stagnant. as a result i have developed fibrosis in my abdomen. "Fibrosis is the formation of fine scar like structures within tissues affected by lymphedema. the fibrosis create obstructions and make lymph drainage even more difficult." you can learn more about the lymphatic system and fibrosis here: http://www.lymphnotes.com/cat.php/id/8/
in the last couple of weeks, i've had to slow down on going for my lymph massages. with the inclusion of the million dollar drug alinia to my treatment protocal we just can't afford to keep up pace with a lot of my therapies that are 'out of pocket' expenses. this includes my lymph massage therapy. i'm still going but have had to cut back on the frequency with which was deemed necessary.
as a result my bod is rebelling.
i am astronomically swelling.
sometimes to the tune of 10lbs in one day.
my lymph therapist has me weighing myself at regular intervals during the day in order to keep track of how severe my lymphedema is.
on average i am 'gaining' about 8lbs daily.
my record is 10lbs in less than 12 hours.
there is no rhyme or reason to my swelling other than that it is evidence that i have an active, ongoing infection and a diseased and poorly functioning lymph system.
and my dough boy, michelin man bloated status is very different and not to be confused with PMS.
Oh no, no, this is very different.
sometimes i gain weight overnight - i am heavier and puffier in the morning than i was the night before. and vice versa. and even weirder than that is that the swelling moves around my body. all 8 to 10lbs of it. oh yes, it is not 8lbs of fluid evenly dispersed over my body, it tends to be 8lbs of fluid all in ONE area and then it all migrates to another area - sometimes within hours. sometimes over several days.
it is one hek of a strange phenomenam.
and definately grossly uncomfortable.
and annoying. and irritating. and frustrating.
and it bugs me that it bugs me.
really. in the big scheme of things, who cares?
considering all that i face in this fight, why am i bugged by my puffy face?
considering the burdens my loved ones shoulder, why am i perturbed that my shoulders make me look like a quarterback?
considering all the pain and heartache in this world, and i've got the nerve to belly ache about my swollen abdomen?
i mean who cares if my face is puffed up - at least the puffiness actually helps to fill in fine lines; or who cares that i'm living in stretch pants because my butt and my legs are so swollen - at least the merger between my butt and thighs makes my legs look longer; or who cares if my shoulders are so puffy that i look like i'm wearing those gargantuan shoulder pads from the 1980s - i think i recently heard that 80s fashion is making a comeback;
or who cares if i get "the muffin top" on the days i try to squeeze into my jeans - i should just be grateful on those days that i'm well enough to at least attempt to wear jeans. (and did you know the muffin top look can also be attained by stuffing fat feet into ballet flats?) or who cares if my neck is so puffy that i look like a rodent hoarding food in its pouches - at least Walter (our family hamster) feels like he is living with his own kind;
or who cares if my head is so fat that none of my baseball caps fit anymore - after all, i don't need to hide my greasy hair, in my condition, i wouldn't dream of leaving the house for fear of scaring small children.
and speaking of children...
who cares if i look like i'm 5 months pregnant...the upside to that? well, i learned that another lymie friend of mine is dealing with the whole bloated belly, faux pregnant look too!
it is always such a comfort to learn that you are not alone.
and the icing on the cake?
my puffy, bloated lyme friend is a MAN!
oh, yes, oh yes! my buddy Peter thinks he looks pregnant too!
and its really bugging him too!
if you ask me it was pretty ironic to talk to a man about swelling and bloating - and super satisfying to have him moaning and groaning about it right along with me.
so i guess i can conclude that there is an upside to everything...even the antics of my lymphatics.