Coping with Lymphoedema

A diagnosis of lymphoedema can cause both physical and emotional disruption in your life. In the early stages it is not unusual to be asking “Why did this happen to me?” and these thoughts can bring on a range of emotions such as anger, anxiety and resentment.

Learning how to adjust to your new body image and the challenge of finding fashionable or suitable clothing and footwear to accommodate swollen limbs can impact on your self-esteem and confidence levels.

You might even find yourself trying to avoid intimacy, feeling that somehow lymphoedema makes you less attractive to others or worse still, isolating yourself from others to avoid socialising due to your perception of how you look coupled with mobility issues.

However, it is vital to both your physical and mental health to stop any self-sabotaging inner chat and not to let your mind turn to negative thoughts. Remaining positive is essential to feeling in control and managing your condition.

Although the chronic nature of lymphoedema may leave you feeling depressed or overwhelmed, if you’re proactive, self-manage your condition and seek out the right treatment regime for your personal situation, you can lead an active and fulfilling life.

We all have our own way of coping with change. Some of us find it helpful to talk to family and friends, but if you find that you are still struggling seek professional help by asking your GP to refer you on to a counsellor.

It is only natural to focus on a part of your body that has changed, but by giving yourself the time and space to adapt to any physical changes in your body you can create a path forward.

At LAQ we believe together we become stronger. After all a problem shared is a problem halved.

You might find spending time with like-minded and supportive lymphies helpful. Our Support Group Meetups are designed with this purpose in mind, offering LAQ Members the opportunity to connect, share experiences and discuss treatment options in a safe and caring environment.

If you or anyone you know needs immediate help call: Lifeline - 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue - 1300 224 636.

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