In August 1977, lymph nodes in my groin were removed as part of my treatment for advanced cancer. In June 1995 my left ankle swelled
during a flight to Italy - the first time either foot had done so during many overseas flights. The swelling did not reduce and soon a bright red band appeared
around the line of my socks. Since I was leading a school tour, I could not rest - nor did I wish to miss anything! Soon my whole leg swelled and was hot and
stretched. A pharmacist diagnosed cellulitis and fortunately was able to supply the correct antibiotics. The inflammation disappeared but not the swelling.
One leg looked like the slender appendage of a thoroughbred, the other like a Clydesdale.
I travelled to Cyprus after Italy, where a specialist indicated that the swelling would disappear. It did so, to some extent, but never
completely and my leg tired very quickly.
In 1997, I took another trip - to Greece and Turkey and during the heat in Turkey (42° at times) the foot and leg swelled again though
it was not infected. This time I went prepared with injections and antibiotics.
My very caring GP had been doing his homework and on my return was able to tell me of a lymphoedema Clinic (name of clinic
deleted – Editor) and referred me to the Specialist there. Assessment and
X-rays followed. The latter was not very pleasant
but bearable. The nurse warned me that the injections between my toes were very painful and would bring tears to my eyes! When he appeared I asked the radiologist
whether I should address him as Torquemoda in the light of the nurse’s warning.
All was well, however. After three weeks of massage, exercise and the application of a pump-like machine to
the affected limb, as well as training in bandaging the leg, the leg was much improved. The bandages remained night and day for three weeks. I know just how
Tutankhamon must have felt! After that, I wore during the day a (very expensive) lycra body stocking, rather like panty hose with one leg cut off above the knee,
and bandages at night. The regime continues and will do so for the rest of my life, I imagine.
It is time-consuming and often uncomfortable and very hot but it has given me my active life back again. For that I am very grateful.
In June/July 1998, I flew to Cyprus to work on an archaeological excavation. On doctor’s advice I bandaged my leg about 12 hours before
the flight and did not remove the bandages for several hours after arrival. Flight attendants offered to let me on to the plane first and even suggested a
wheelchair - tempting privileges which I refused since I was not at all disabled.
It was very hot in Cyprus - 40° in the trenches and 42° for several days in Nicosia yet my leg hardly swelled at all. I did suffer from
heat rash occasionally but it was wonderful to do all the things I most enjoy with very little discomfort. Of course I wish I did not have to wear the stocking or bandage my leg on very hot nights; I long for my shapely ankle to return; I wish
the bandages did not take so long to roll. Nevertheless there is an active life after lymphoedema and I thank all those whose research and dedication have made it possible.
Miss Pamela Davenport