If this sounds familiar to you, you’re certainly not alone. Unsolicited questions and comments are, for better or worse, all too common when living with lymphedema. The general lack of awareness of the condition, even within the medical community, combined with people’s natural curiosity means that you may find yourself on a Friday evening giving a lesson on lymphedema to someone in aisle 10 of your local grocery store. Or not.
And that’s the important point here: how you respond to such questions, if at all, is entirely up to you. While some days you may appreciate someone’s comments or questions about your compression garment, for example, they may trigger negative emotions at other times. Or, you might just not want to volunteer information about your personal medical history. All of these responses and feelings (and more!) are valid and perfectly okay to have.
Things to Remember When Asked About Your Lymphedema
Still, questions are bound to come up, and being prepared for them may help make navigating these situations a bit easier.
Just keep in mind:
- You are not obligated to discuss your personal medical history with anyone.
- You decide how in-depth to make your answer, if you decide to respond at all.
- Every person’s lymphedema and lymphedema journey is different.
- You do not need to be a walking lymphedema encyclopedia. There are plenty of resources available online that you can refer someone to if they are interested in learning more.
- At the same time, being a lymphedema ambassador and raising awareness of lymphedema can be fun and empowering, so if you’re feeling up to it, don’t be shy!
Some Ways to Respond to Questions About Your Lymphedema
With that said, certain situations in life, like starting a new job or entering a new grade in school, may make you feel like your lymphedema is taking center stage. For times when you’re meeting new people and for times when you’re caught off-guard, having some default answers can help. These can range from “I have a chronic condition called lymphedema” to a full-on lesson about your lymphatic system, the role lymphedema plays in your life and how compression garments help you manage it. Some organizations, like the Lymphedema Advocacy Group, have even made handy information cards, flyers and posters that you can pass out in times like these!
When you’re caught off-guard or simply not in the mood to talk, another option is to let the person know that you’ll get back to them with an answer later. Also feel free to revisit or add to your response at a later time. This can help to start a conversation about lymphedema on your terms. Plus, it’ll give you a chance to refer them to some of the great resources available. Send them a link to LymphCare’s explanatory video on lymphedema. Do you have a favorite lymphedema blog, book or podcast? Let them know about it! Are there lymphedema awareness events taking place in your community? Invite them to join!
However you decide to respond, know that you’re perfectly right in doing so. Your lymphedema is yours and you’re the one who gets to decide how to talk about it.
What are your go-to methods for responding to questions about your lymphedema? Let us know in the LymphCare forum.
You also might like
Yoga - Harmony for Body and Mind
In recent years, yoga has become increasingly popular in western countries. New yoga studios open every day, and many online classes are available. Practicing yoga has also become part of a healthy and mindful lifestyle. For most people, yoga is a synonym for physical exercise, but it’s so much more than that.
June Is Lipedema Awareness Month
June has been designated as Lipedema Awareness Month, which gives us the chance to raise awareness and make lipedema a global priority. Medical societies, companies, and patient organizations in several countries will be launching campaigns to educate patients, their families and friends, and healthcare professionals about this condition.
Diagnosis Lipedema - What to Expect
Diagnosing lipedema can be challenging for healthcare professionals. Although awareness of lipedema is increasing, it is often mistaken for obesity or lymphedema. Many lipedema patients report countless visits to different healthcare professionals before the correct diagnosis is made. Were you recently diagnosed with lipedema? Then hopefully this article will help you understand what that means and what to expect in the upcoming weeks and months.
Dating With Lymphedema or Lipedema
After more than two years of social distancing, you’re probably looking forward to getting out into the world again. Whether that’s meeting up with friends or family you’ve not seen for a long time or, perhaps, you’re thinking about going on a physical date; a dinner, rather than meeting for a virtual coffee? For many of us, this is something we may no longer be used to and, if you have lymphedema or lipedema, the prospect of an upcoming date comes with additional challenges.
Choose the Support You Need
Discover Our Services and Get the Help You Need
Don’t sit around and go through this in silence. Share your story. Doing that was a real eye-opener for me
Claudia Lymphedema patient