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Recognizing Chronic Disease Day

To the editor:

I was diagnosed with lymphedema about 15 years ago. My legs hurt so bad, and they and my arms were and still are very puffy.

I ended up going to a doctor who sent me to a nerve doctor, then to a muscle doctor and then to a vascular doctor. The vascular doctor discovered I had this. I then went to hands-on physical therapy and had to be wrapped from ankles to groin and more physical therapy and more re-wrapping multiple times a week for months and months. I spent a fortune on various custom compression garments for my legs and arms. They are all hard to put on and very hot. Then, after a couple of more years, I invested about $6,000 in a machine with leg and arm attachments that you get into and the machine puffs them up and pushes the fluids out of my body. It’s wild but works. I’m just glad I had the money to do all of this.

In recognition of Chronic Disease Day on July 10, I want to make your readers aware of lymphedema — an under-recognized and often misdiagnosed chronic disease affecting millions of Americans. Without treatment, lymphedema is progressive, and can have debilitating side effects and life-threatening complications. If you have been suffering from undiagnosed swelling for three or more months, you may have lymphedema. Talk to your doctor and visit LymphedemaTreatmentAct.org for more information.

Linda Ledbetter

Virginia Beach