Monday, January 31, 2011

My Fat Feet = Lymphedema

When I was pregnant my feet got very swollen. In fact, when I was pregnant with Neal my entire body got very swollen. Anyway, during my pregnancy with Lilly my feet were excessively swollen and the skin on my right foot developed a dry, scaly thickening. My midwife suggested loofahs and creams.

After Lilly was born my left foot went back to normal (long, skinny toes--rather ugly) but my right foot remained swollen (fat, sausage toes--rather ugly). The family doctor that I saw about it suggested creams for the dry cracked skin and diuretics for the swelling. Didn't work.

Before long Lilly had her first birthday (2008) and I suddenly realized the my right foot was still swollen. I saw a doctor who thought that I had damaged my lymph ducts and he made an appointment for me at the Lymph edema clinic. Then, my flight from California was cancelled and I returned home a day late and missed my appointment. The same week I found out I was pregnant again and I never rescheduled at the Lymph edema clinic. For the last few years, I've lived with one fat foot and one skinny foot. It has made buying shoes interesting and I've resorted to wearing boots to church year round. But it has mostly just been a joke and an odd reminder of pregnancy.

Just after this last Christmas, my left foot, ankle and leg got swollen and painful. Desperate to get it fixed, I made an appointment with a podiatrist who sent me (surprise!) to the Lymph edema clinic. I had my first appointment there last Wednesday.

The physical therapist explained (hopefully I can explain it well enough in normal words) that my lymphatic system is operating too sluggishly (possibly because of my sluggish thyroid, but who knows) and that excess fluid is pooling in my feet. As the fluid is retained in my feet it turns fibrous which results in the thickened skin as seen on my right feet.

Treatment: I must have my legs wrapped in bandages 24/7 for several weeks (hopefully just three) until the fluid is pushed out of my feet and legs. Then, I will be able to wear support stockings (seriously feeling like a little old decrepit grandma!) to try to prevent future swelling.

I had my feet wrapped Wednesday, wrapped on Friday and I go again tomorrow. Hopefully, I will be able to master the art of wrapping my own feet so that I don't have to continue to drive up to Salt Lake several times a week.

It's pretty funny, really. I've been wearing Utah Dad's old shoes around. Yesterday, for church, I wore his shoes into the building, stashed them under the coats, and stayed in my stocking feet the rest of the day (much more comfortable than high heels, I must say).

I am hopeful that the treatment will work and that I will have my skinny, ugly feet back soon. I'd sure love to buy some new shoes.


Jen said...

Yikes! I wrapped my grandpa's feet for over a year when I took care of him. That brings back memories! Surely you can find someone to wrap them for you so you don't have to drive into SLC so much. Hope your feet return soon! That doesn't seem fun.

Myke Weber said...

Sounds rather like your Grandmother Weber's feet. Sure hope they get skinny soon!

Ammon and Jen said...

I'm sorry--nothing about it seems like it is comfortable! But ask Shamie to give you some glitter toes and your ugly feet won't feel quite so ugly. I LOVE glitter toes. Just by looking at them they make you feel happy. I hope it only takes 3 weeks of wrapping--good luck!

Momnerd said...

Wow, crazy stuff! Hope they get back to normal soon. :)

Rheanna said...

I hope your legs get better quickly! Though I do have to agree that church without heels is awful nice-I never wear them anymore because of my primary running around!

Gretchen Givone said...

Hello, my name is Gretchen Givone and I am the director of the Association of Lymphatic Therapy. It sounds like you have Primary Lymphedema Tarda. We just conducted our first CDT Complete Decongestive Therapy treatment using the Godoy technique, please visit our website to see the results we obtained in 12 days. If you would like a free consultation, I would be happy to meet with you in person to discuss your options. Warm Regards, Gretchen Givone