Many of you know that I am a bladder cancer survivor. And like many other cancer survivors I live with the dregs of chemo sloshing around in my veins and capillaries.  I also live with an Indiana pouch … a neo-bladder made to replace my original model … and it is a daily challenge dealing with my new interior plumbing.

But the most aggravating fallout from my battle with cancer, is the swelling in my left leg due to a compromised lymphatic system. The swelling is correctly referred to as Lymphedema, and I am here to tell you that coming to terms with the condition has proven to be a gigantic hassle. The loss of the lymph nodes removed during surgery to test for cancer, means that my body no longer drains lymphatic fluid from my leg. Left untreated the fluid collects and hardens under the skin, causing a whole range of nasty side effects.  So, for the past year I have been going for physical therapy and learning how to deal with the condition.

My therapist, Ruth, has been wonderful, and with her help, I have learned to control the swelling using massage techniques, bandages and compression stockings. I have been very lucky, and the swelling has been contained. I am able to sleep without cumbersome wraps and compression garments. So, every day, I don my custom compression stocking and later wrap my leg in bandages to reduce the swelling. That my left leg is larger than my right is imperceptible to most people.

I have been lucky … lucky to be under the care of a surgeon who recognized the condition early and sent me for treatment before it became critical … lucky to find an outstanding professional to provide treatment and instruction … and really lucky to have money in the bank to pay for all the bandages and stockings and other dreck that one needs to treat it. Most insurance will not cover anything other than physical therapy, and that, only on a limited basis.

Every effort is being made to expand awareness of Lymphedema, to increase the numbers of professionals that can treat it, and to pass legislation that will make insurance coverage more universal. Check it out at http://lymphedematreatmentact.org

To help with the campaign, Ruth suggested I create an image that could be used in promoting the cause. The result is the two wrap stars pictured here. Because lymphedema is most commonly found in women that have had breast cancer I made a female image with a wrapped arm, (SEE ABOVE) and a male image with a wrapped leg (SEE BELOW). The therapy department had tee-shirts made with the images as a test, but we decided that tote bags with the images would be even better … you know, to carry all the bandages and dreck that one needs to have on hand.  So, while we await developments, and hope to expand on the idea, I thought I would share my wrap star images with you. Gotta love the vibe!


4 Replies to “WRAP STARS”

  1. What a powerful and creative idea. So admire your adding your voice and talent to raise awareness and new support!

  2. Fantastic! Love the designs, love that you have gotten great care from Ruth (She is amazing!) and love that you are raising awareness about lymphedema and are inspiring others!

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