The month of March is Lymphedema awareness month and I can’t think of a better time to kick off this blog than now! I am beyond ecstatic to share my Life with Lymphedema and how I continue to heal from the inside out throughout this amazing journey. Reflecting on my past and making connections with the present has instilled courage and strength for me to no longer be a “victim” but now a “victor” of Lymphedema.
At the age of 14 I was on the cusp of my dancing career. Always noticing some type of swelling it never occurred to me that I might have been dealing with something long term. I had convinced myself that the swelling was a trade off for dancing to the extreme that I was.
As time went on the symptoms worsened. Frustrations and emotions were slowly taking a toll on my self-confidence and self worth. I was desperate to find answers as to what could possibly be causing my lower extremities to swell bilaterally?
My Family and I began searching for those answers about 18 years ago through various tests and appointments with primary care physicians, podiatrists, vein and vascular doctors, even cardiologists thinking maybe I was dealing with a heart issue or heart disease due to family history. The constant search had me physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted. Not a glimmer of hope, just countless misdiagnoses.
Fast forward to 2007 I was still unaware of what I was dealing with, yet I really wasn’t focusing on it either. I was spending every waking moment planning what would be the wedding of my dreams with the Love of my Life, Ruben.
I will admit that it was very difficult for me to grasp that newly wed feeling because emotionally I was choosing not to deal with personal issues that had me second guessing my self worth. I quickly realized that I had a huge support team between my family and husband. Encouragements to never lose hope and continue searching for answers.
It wasn’t until almost 4 years ago that God placed me exactly where he wanted me. Although I was searching for answers, I wasn’t prepared at the time for the plans God had already set out before me. I was diagnosed with Primary Lymphedema, which is a hereditary condition where lymphatic vessels are missing or impaired, causing swelling and discomfort that requires daily maintenance.
I have since turned my frustrations and defeat into faith and purpose! I am living out a childhood dream, pageants and currently hold the local title of Mrs. Central Florida International 2015. I am determined to empower women, men and children across the globe through my personal journey and prayers of encouragement and inspiration to the millions of others living with Lymphedema and Lymphatic diseases. I cannot wait to share more of the past, present and future of Life with Lymphedema!
Living Beautiful with Lymphedema,