A year ago I treated myself to a massage and was told by the woman, who couldn’t even put the slightest pressure on my legs without causing me pain, that I more than likely had lymphedema. The previous spring my foot inexplicably swelled  up so I couldn’t even fit into my sandals. I bruised easily. No one knew what was wrong.

Turns out I have both lymphedema, fluid retention and swelling caused by damage to the lymphatic system, and lipedema, a chronic genetic condition where the legs build up adipose fat. Yep, I was confused too.

When I left the specialist’s office I was in shock. Lipedema isn’t something I could “fix” or make go away. It’s something I most likely will have to live with for the rest of my life. It means these really heavy legs of mine will probably stay that way.

So what did I do after sitting in Starbucks staring out the window wondering what all this meant? I rallied. I made appointments with my naturpath and yoga therapist and doctor. Armed with yoga postures, supplements, and once a week detox instructions, I had a plan. And then I did nothing. For one year. Nothing.

The yoga bolster sat there while I didn’t lie down with my legs at the wall. The pool waited for me to join water aerobics. The supplements sat in the cupboard. “Who has time for a once a week detox diet?,” I said to myself. You’d be amazed how easy it can be to ignore your legs if you really want to.

But in reality I didn’t know how to face it: these heavy and painful legs, or the sluggishness that comes with a lymphatic system that isn’t quite flowing as it should. I didn’t know how to forgive myself for a body that felt out of control. That I blamed myself for.

 

I’m not convinced I will have to live with this for the rest of my life. Maybe this is denial. Maybe I’m afraid to try and find out. But I do know that this points to some of my stuck places, and learning about where I’m stuck can only be good.

I know that I can allow more ease into my life. More flow.

That this is an opportunity to begin to move. Forward. Safely.

These legs of mine have given me an opportunity to love and see the scariest parts of me.

May I hold them as they hold me.


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