Things often get easier as the lymphoedema improves and becomes more manageable over time. We all feel angry, self-conscious and low at times, but this can be heightened when we develop a condition, and we feel we have no control of our body and feelings. It is times like these we could consider finding others, that can relate to what we are going through and see what people have done to combat their struggles.
It is normal to feel angry about having lymphoedema, it is extra time and effort in taking care of yourself and finding what it will take to best manage everything. Try not to hide your feelings; talk to people you trust about how you are coping and as your lymphoedema reduces you'll be more able to enjoy the things you once did or even find new activities to replace them.
You may feel responsible that you could have done something to prevent lymphoedema. Unfortunately, we still don't know enough about the triggers and have a significant lack of medical knowledge and expertise. It's very important to remember that it's not your fault, and even those who have tried to reduce the risk of developing lymphoedema still can get the condition.
It is normal to feel embarrassed and worry that people are staring at you. Lymphoedema can be reduced, give it time and hopefully, you will find that you become less self-conscious about it. Try wearing looser clothing; this could help while your body changes.
You may feel low or depressed because you don't have enough support. Try to let family and friends know about how you are feeling so they can help you. It is natural to want to be left alone to sort out your thoughts and feelings, however, if you are avoiding people, feeling anxious and sad most days then try to talk to your doctor or nurse. Emotional signs of depression can include:
- feeling down, upset or tearful most or all the time
- constantly worrying
- feeling empty and numb
- isolating yourself and unable to relate to other people
- having no pleasure in life or things you usually enjoy
- no self-confidence or self-esteem
- feeling hopeless.
Advice and Support
If you are having any of the symptoms above and need to talk to someone, there are a range of services that are here to help. Some people find joining a support group or online community extremely helpful, and you may feel less alone. There are several online resources, you can talk to your doctor, and those around you that you trust.
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Coping with the Psychological Impact of Lymphoedema
It is normal to feel a complicated mix of emotions about your lymphoedema. For example, if you have secondary lymphoedema after cancer, you might feel that it is a reminder of your cancer diagnosis. Lymphoedema may alter the way you feel and view your body.
How to Explain your Lymphoedema to Family and Friends
Lymphoedema can be complicated to understand in the early days, and even more complicated to explain to other people. There will be lots of times when you will want to talk about your condition with people.
Your Relationship When you have Lymphoedema
Having a long-term condition such as lymphoedema can affect your romantic relationship. You or a loved one may have recently been diagnosed and finding it difficult to cope with what you are facing.
Lymphoedema: A Condition Kept Secret Until Now
Lymphoedema is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. In America alone, it is estimated that “more Americans have lymphoedema and lymphatic diseases than AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and Alzheimer’s disease — combined.”
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Claudia Lymphoedema patient