Oxford Lymphoedema Practice, England.

You may recall I had asked the above clinic to provide me with some data and statistics on their Lymphaticovenous Anastomosis ( LVA) procedure and here they are:-

  • Since the first LVA in 2012, they have helped around 85 patients with Lymphoedema.
  • 60% of those were leg patients, 40% are arms. This is not what was anticipated- it was expected that treating arms after breast cancer would have been more common.
  • 90% of all cases are for Secondary Lymphoedema  after cancer treatment.
  • This is not a cure- the average improvement rate of symptoms is between 25-45% for 85% of all patients.
  • For arms, there is an average reduction of 30%.
  • For legs, there is an average reduction of 44%.

It is important to note that these are patients who are on maximum conservative treatment in a condition that is chronically progressive ( i.e. They are expected to slowly worsen without surgery, but show improvements with surgery)

Improvements in quality of life after the procedures has been measured as 12% for arm patients and 26% in leg patients. These are remarkable improvements that affect how people manage their daily lives.

These improvements include:-

  • Clothes fit better
  • Nicer shoes can be worn ( Velcro free!)
  • Lower levels of compression garments can be worn
  • In the upper limb, 7/27 patients have stopped wearing their compression garments at all and consider themselves cured of their Lymphoedema.

If you want to know more about this clinic, check out their website……

http://olp.surgery/testimonials

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oxford clinic 12 week follow up – results!

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What an exciting surprise!

I was so pessimistic about the damage I thought I had done post the early days of the LVA procedure at Oxford Lymphodema Clinic, I was expecting them to say there was no tangible reduction in my calves, so imagine my joy when they said they were pleased with a recordable volume reduction!

110ml less in one leg and 115ml in the other doesn’t sound much after the litres removed by Dr Shim, but remember, these are microscopic lymph sized vessels attached to blood vessels of similar capacity- and they are working.

Which means that its not a one off, they should continue to assist with flow, as long as the lymphatic sludge doesn’t block them…

I cannot thank these surgeons enough for even trying for me, because if they hadn’t, I would always have been thinking that I hadn’t done enough to try to stop the slow continued decline and a bleak view of the future. Even if they had been unsuccessful, they would have tried for me…

They’ve given me some precious hope back and some essential comfort that I’ve done everything I can to hold things at bay at this stage.

I had treated myself to some purple coloured compression tights and wore my old Jimmy Choo flat slip ons ( yes, they fit again!) and felt much happier about my image since the op.

I still need compression, but I can feel that there is a greater pressure in the calf area, (its not dropping so fast into my ankles ) so Professor Furness showed me how to amend my manual lymphatic drainage techniques to push towards the scar areas, instead of away from them.

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Meanwhile… on the other side of the world……

You may recall I promised I would find out a little more about Dr Shims SSQD technique, which is aimed at removing the previously mentioned lymphatic sludge. It has a lot to be responsible for..

It causes proteins and waste to collect in tissues, namely the extremities to start with and causes fibrosis. Skin thickens and this can cause it to crack open and cause infections. It can get to an irreversible stage.

So, please take a look at Dr Shim’s SSQD solution to this, which if you recall, he used on the lady called Gayle. She is featured in this utube video.

Here is a list of the advantages of SSQD invented by Young Ki Shim. M.D. Seoul. Korea

  1. The removal and drainage of stagnated thick protein in subcutaneous (SQ) tissue (lymph sludge) by insertion of Dr. Shim’s SSQD cannula, to prevent and minimize permanent fibrosis of the tissue.
  2. SSQD relieves high interstitial hydrostatic pressure, therefore enhancing circulation and improving the motility/performance of lymph vessel peristalsis.
  3. Minimal risk of infection, which can be mitigated with pre-op and post -op antibiotics.
  4. Significant quantities of SQ fluid can be drained with an average volume in stage 3 lymphedema over a 1 week period of up to several liters.
  5. Patient limb volume is reduced at a steadier rate than lymph/liposuction techniques, with minimal damage to remaining lymphatics, less blood loss and damage to blood vessels (bruising) with less pain during post op recovery period and overall shorter recovery period.
  6. Administered under local anaesthesia, so less post op risks
  7. Hospital admission is 3~10 days according to the severity of lymphedema
  8. Cheaper than lipo/lymphosuction operation
  9. Patient is awake and can choose to observe the relatively simple procedure via the sonogram
  10. Combination therapy with the injection of proteolytic drug will increase reduction.
  11. After SSQD, the wrapping of limbs with elastic bandages is easier, due to reduced limb size. Reduction is also perpetuated once wrapping is established.
  12. Enhanced quality of life due to improvement of limb, less heavy, easier to buy clothes and shoes
  13. Less pain due to reduced swelling.

I’m sure Gayle will report more improvements over the next few weeks and I will endeavour to keep you updated.

In the meantime, here’s wishing all my Korean friends and contacts a very

Happy Chuseok!

chuseok

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back in Blighty

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It’s hard to believe how much time has passed since my last post and my return to the UK.

I came home in April and made a visit to the Oxford Lymphoedema clinic, to find out more about Lymphaticovenular anastomosis. (LVA) This is a microsurgical procedure where blood vessels are attached to lymph vessels in the expectation that they will be capable of removing the lymph fluid sufficiently to effect an improvement in the flow, as opposed to a full repair.

The method is generally used on breast cancer sufferers where lymph nodes have been removed and the patient’s limb is either at risk of developing Lymphoedema, or it has already commenced. It has more successful results where the limb is freshly ‘damaged’ or there is little lymphatic fluid escaping, for obvious reasons. Vessels are stronger, no lymphatic ‘sludge’ has begun to form and smaller quantities of lymph fluid escaping means less strain on borrowed blood vessels.

I was warned of very low success rates for my situation, with vessels damaged over 5 years ago and a fair amount of ‘sludge’ ( fibrotic tissue) in my toes. Even when the vessels were sewn together and the sludge started to move, it could easily block the delicate new pathways and back everything up again.

The extremely talented and understanding surgeons warned me that there could be no change as a consequence of any operation, but if they didn’t try, I had no chance anyway. I was aware that time was running out to try and get any slow down or improvement in the condition I was in. They quoted  an average of 25-45% levels of improvement.

This felt like the last chance to try, as I knew after detailed conversations with Dr Shim, that Lymph node transfers were just not going to help either. He also warned me that the LVA procedure was likely to fail after a few weeks and to not be too disappointed if it did.

My legs were in the best condition they could be, as small as Dr Shim could get them and with nightly wrapping in bandages and compression tights worn in the day, the lymph volume was well under control. To me, the chances of making some improvement were there, so it was agreed, it was worth the try.

The procedure was carried out on June 22nd 2016, and for the 5 hours, I was awake and watching what each surgeon was doing- fascinating! We had some interesting and amusing conversations and the nurses were all lovely. The hardest part was to keep still all that time as they worked.

They each made 3 cuts in my skin on both calves in the areas identified by an ICG. This is radioactive dye injected into my feet which shows where the lymph vessels may be capable of supporting a repair. Within each of those 6 cuts were 3 further cuts, where the surgeons had used a powerful microscope to locate blood vessels and lymph vessels in close location and size to each other and capable of being sewn together.

There were over 70 stitches in the outside cuts when they finally wrapped up.

My amazing and patient  husband drove me home the following day and I sat with my legs up on the car dashboard, admiring bones and contours on my feet that I hadn’t seen for 5 years. Wonderful! I had been advised to take it easy for a couple of days and then resume some gentle walking, so on day 2, I took my dogs for a very short walk.

On my return,  I stood in the kitchen and chatted to my husband, before I felt a ‘twang’ and a warm gush inside my calf. I was horrified.

I watched as my contoured foot slowly filled up and a red bruise formed under my skin. I’d managed to trash the best of those painstaking repairs within 48 hours and I went into mourning for the lost improvements.

After that, I took it much more steadily, wary of causing more damage, but things settled down after that disastrous event.

I continued to follow the advice of the surgeons and as my 12 week follow up appointment looms, I would say that I have indeed gained a 25% improvement, with a slower time for my foot to fill up if let unwrapped and a feeling of greater pressure in my calves, as if the fluid is being held there, in a smaller area, rather than being able to fall back down with gravity.

They have given me a couple of years back. I used to be able to wear footless compression tights, but those days have gone. I can, however, wear slimmer size shoes and boots again.

In the meantime, how have things been for Dr Shim? His fame and reputation grows…

As I left the country, he had two further patients from the USA, one lady, Roseanne, had managed to get to South Korea with the help of Lonestar, who donated money via GoFundMe. Her results have been hindered by the problems with some drugs that Dr Shim needed her to inject daily, but she couldn’t get them in the USA.

Evelyn, the lady from New York, continues to improve steadily and we correspond regularly.

Dr Shim’s next USA patient was Gayle, a lady who was the recipient of his new invention, SQD and she reports this as a lifesaving procedure. Remember earlier I mentioned the lymphatic sludge? Apparently, this helps remove this. More about this another time, though.

Dr Shim has attended Lymphoedema conferences in Australia with Dr Karen Herbst and he is currently in Dallas, Texas, spreading the word at the National Lymphoedema Network conference and gaining a solid reputation as a surgeon who genuinely cares about the condition he works to resolve and the people who suffer with it. Both Roseanne and Gayle are there, too, supporting him.

Maybe he will make his way over to the UK in the next couple of years if there is a similar conference organised. Currently, there just appears to be a national Lipedema conference, a whole different ball game, but inextricably linked in extreme cases.

I will find out a little more about Dr Shim’s new SQD technique and Gayle’s opinions of this procedure as she makes progress and report back here to you in the next few weeks.

Put this date in your Diary and sign the petition

Please take some tim to read this and sign the petition at the end.
We need to keep pushing lymphoedema into the limelight to ensure research is carried out to help so many sufferers..

My Lymph Node Transplant

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Put this date in your diary… March 6th 2016 will be World Lymphedema Day… The whole of March is Lymphedema awareness month, there is a push to have Lymphedema recognised by the various government health funds. In March there is the opportunity to give Lymphedema a voice. We need to speak out and tell our stories so that people understand what it is like to live with Lymphedema 24/7, if we do not speak out people will not understand how difficult it is to live with every day of your life. Lymphedema can be both secondary and primary, every person is different in how it affects them. Primary is caused by a fault in the lymphatic system that you are born with, sometimes it manifests at birth and in others it may start during puberty or even later in life. Secondary is caused by the removal of Lymph nodes during…

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Happy Lunar New Year!

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Happy Lunar New Year to you!

Not much goes on here at this celebration that westerners get to see. It’s more about families getting together and visiting the ancestors to share food with them.

Children get to dress up in traditional clothing, too.

Here’s a burial mound with some fruit left for the occupant to ‘enjoy’ and our dog was a source of curiosity to small people, as usual. We also were given some tasty rice cakes to try.

 

It’s now 3 months since Evelyn’s remarkable transformation commenced.

She reports feeling well and the pains are subsiding in her legs, which is great news. She is now ready for some more manageable compression garments and is busy sourcing these.

However, the top of her thighs are a little swollen, and she is looking for something that will address these before they become a problem.

After liposuction, support garments are a lifeline to maintaining the good work that has reduced a limb back to normal size. No-one wants to pay and then lose the advantage. Here’s an article stating why these garments are so necessary.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/26122375/?i=6&from=compression+garments+and+lymphedema

The whole purpose of my operation here in South Korea was to find a cure that meant I no longer needed to wear compression…. Its miserable on a hot day and not being able to wear a pretty pair of sandals and show off some nice nail varnish may sound quite shallow when there are so many nasty illnesses out there.. but sometimes the small things matter the most.

I feel a considerable improvement after my first top up and really wish that I could have a second, which would make 3 treatments in all, but time is running out fast before I finally leave the shores of South Korea. Who knows? That final top up may have completed the missing connections needed to prevent lymph fluid escaping into my calf.

I thought I would check out some options in the UK that may be available to me and came across 2 possibles. The first one is 30 miles from my home town:-

http://www.karrilymphoedemaclinic.co.uk/

http://www.karrilymphoedemaclinic.co.uk/vascularised-lymph-node-transfer

and this one;-

http://olp.surgery/consultation.php

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2305937/Lymphoedema-Tiny-bypass-relieves-misery-swollen-limbs.html

This above is a 3 year old newspaper article about the success for a patient.

Remember, I am looking for a full repair of this condition, that is, the freedom from wearing compression garments. Now Dr Shim has got me to the point of as little stray lymph fluid as possible, and as I can’t fit in a third top up, what else could make this happen?

I hope to further investigate these options to see what guarantees they can give me. I have my doubts as to whether they can help take me to that final place, as Dr Shim and his stem cell therapy has done such a good job so far, plus this statement is made in the article from 3 years ago.

“This technique won’t cure very bad Lymphoedema, but we can reduce the complications, make the limb feel softer, and reduce the swelling.”

Stem cell treatments continue to collect bad press in the USA, due to the inconsistent regulation. Paul Knoepfler’s informative blog puts his finger on the issues..

http://www.ipscell.com/2016/01/fda-warning-points-to-tougher-regulation-of-fat-stem-cells-clinics/

Dr Shim is concerned about those doctors who are tainting the positive effects of stem cells with their poor and untrained practices. He is visiting 2 worldwide conferences this year to try to see what is going wrong and to talk to doctors who can be trusted and are qualified.

His advice to you before going ahead with any surgery for Lymphedema, check if your chosen surgeon is ( these are his personal opinions) a successful lymphedema surgeon and can show you evidence that they:-

  1. Can do microlymphatic surgery for the reconstructive lymph operation
  2. Should know the hemodynamics and can do vascular surgery…. vascular pressure is much higher than lymphatic pressure
  3. Understand that vascular anomaly or venous hypertension should be corrected before lymphatic surgery.

These conditions means your doctor should be well trained specialist in plastic surgery and vascular surgery.

He is not interested in damaging his reputation by meeting those that don’t fit this criteria.

He is in regular contact with Dr. Brorson from the Lymphedema field and keeps in touch with an expert stem cell researcher in Harvard medical school and the former president of IFATS in the stem cell field.

http://lymphaticnetwork.org/ask-experts/e/hakan-brorson

http://www.ifats.org/stem-cells-journal/

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1634/stemcells.2008-0031/full

I found this following useful article on identifying latent lymphoedema, that is, spotting early signs of early Lymphedema before it manifests itself. This means you can take a little better care of yourself to prevent making it worse.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/12/151218161426.htm

I hope you find some of this information useful and I will try to write one more time with Dr Shim and Evelyn’s updates before I leave South Korea ( unless North Korea see me off first!)

A fresh New Year..

Happy New Year to you all, I hope 2016 brings you better health, peace and happiness.

This is just a little update on Evelyn’s progress after her surgery at the end of October last year.

She has lost a significant amount of weight and now needs some off the peg compression garments to support her much reduced leg, as the bandages keep slipping.

This means she can finally wear skirts and dresses again if she chooses to.

She says she has some strange twinges in her legs, which could be nerve pain from her back problem, so Dr Shim has advised her to seek help from her neurologist.

I have nothing but admiration for this courageous and determined lady, she is awesome!

evelyn 1 month 3

Christmas has halted progress on my legs…. Lipodema means that whatever you eat, weight goes on at a huge rate and so traditional home made fayre, like mince pies, Christmas cake, chocolates and sausage rolls, in just one week- resulted in a 7lb gain.

And don’t I know it….. The sugar and carbohydrates have caused pains in my legs, they have swollen up along with the rest of my lower half and my compression tights are- tight!

The clean food eating recommenced on the 2nd January and its coming off, thank goodness! Interestingly, I can now sit for 3-4 hours without having to move due to pain and discomfort, instead of a maximum of 2 hours. Progress indeed!

Dr Shim is ready to share his knowledge with other surgeons around the world.

In 2016, He is attending these 2 events….if you live close by- go and introduce yourself!

http://www.lymphnet.org/events/2016-nln-conference

http://www.lymphoedema.org.au/education-&-resources/ala-conference/2016-asia-pacific-lymphology-conference/

 

Well, here we are…

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It’s almost a month since the last post, you must be wondering how Evelyn is doing.

She is good! She still has some sore areas on her thigh and foot where an infection entered the iv points, but they are slowly improving.

evelyn 1 month 3

Her leg is also adjusting to its reduced size and she still has some pain on walking that was there before the operation. It was a possibility that this was caused by her gait and corrective walking to deal with the extra weight of the leg.

Let’s hope that it improves for her soon!

My additional stem cell work has caused my legs to feel so much more comfortable. I have stopped wrapping with bandages at night now.

When I am wearing compression, it’s as if there is absolutely nothing wrong with my legs. I even caught myself crossing them and had to undo them! Normally, I would feel the lymph flow being interrupted and there was nothing like this.

I used to dread meals out or a night of socialising, as after 2 hours or so, I had to move, as I was so uncomfortable. I would have to walk, or just jiggle my legs under the table and fidget until it was time to go.

Now I seem to be able to last a lot longer before that horrible, heavy feeling starts.

When I choose to sleep at night with no compression, however, I lay on my side with my knees together and they hurt. I sometimes wake and feel that I done some damage, taken a backward step. The point where they meet is the point where they were originally damaged by the surgeon.

When I stand up and walk, it feels as if the area of Lymph sodden flesh is a much smaller area, but it’s kind of more ball shaped, than seeping down inside my leg. Does that make sense? It’s a little hard to describe, so maybe I should say it feels like a smaller area, with greater pressure than before. But nothing is dropping down into my foot…

I have no proof, of course, without a lymphoscintigram or equivalent test and it could be psychological, I agree. But- overall, things feel much, much better.

In my opinion, I think with this kind of perceived progress, at this point in time, I would need another top up to ‘finish the job’ but I cannot be sure…..I am not a medical person, I just know what I can feel..

So,  here’s some great news for those who are waiting for the medical world to make some real progress on finding a cure for lipoedema and lymphoedema…. a huge start to allowing the current experts move things along for us!

Finally- I hope you all enjoy the seasonal holidays and may your God keep you safe and well.

Catch you in 2016!

Evelyn’s Update

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If you are following this blog, you will know that Evelyn, the American patient, is currently here in South Korea, having her lymphosuction and stem cell operation. Here are her latest words:-

Nov. 10, 2015 – D Day

Six am, nurse came in with her trolley for an IV in each arm. Took a shower first and wet the whole bathroom. Saline bag drip by 6:30 am. Two bathroom breaks – those two cups of juice must have been laxatives….

Dr. Shim came in and mentioned that his congregation of a hundred people are praying for me. I have to check his website. What a kind and caring doctor.

Apparently Val told him about my back issues and the effect the hard bed was having. He said everything will be alright, except he was concerned about my transplanted kidney. Mrs. Shim, a very nice lady, also came to wish us luck, as she’s assisting at the operating table.

At 7:30 am I was asked to walk to the OR with two nurses. It was on another floor. The OR is not that big but it was well equipped. A male nurse ushered me to the operating table and started to shave the right part down there . A total of five nurses hovered over me and one asked about urine output during the operation. So I said I didn’t understand how I could urinate laying strapped.  They had to call Dr. Shim. It was catheterization!

I was injected the anaesthesia and off I went to dreamland……

…..I woke up in my nice softer bed, but in no time the pain came. It was mostly in the upper thigh near the groin area. I couldn’t move an inch without softly crying in pain. I had a painkiller tube hanging by the saline bag. I kept pumping but there was no relief until the nurse injected another painkiller unto the iv.  Three more bags (pints) of blood was also transfused because Dr. Shim said my haemoglobin was a low 8.  This has always been an issue with me.  He proudly announced that 8,500 cc has been drained from my leg.  More will ooze out from 7 to 10 days.  He was very happy with the outcome and I just kept nodding in gratitude, but felt lost in a haze of chemical weariness.

Another intermittent sleep while I leaked on the padding of the bed. Breakfast came but I had no appetite. Just forced myself to eat some porridge.  I slept for a very long time.

I could see, bandaged as it was, that the leg was so much thinner. It had large bumps here and there but found out that they were extra paddings in the punctured areas.  The realization was a thrill to feel that lymphedema can actually be treated by a most special surgeon.  Stem cell is the added feature which the medico-science world is presently in a scramble to perfect its methods.

 Nov. 11, 2015

This is my second day after the operation. I absolutely loathe food.  It may be my diverticulitis which hasn’t really been diagnosed as such.  I try to think of favorite dishes and I’m nauseated at the images.  Dr. Shim has been utterly understanding and ordered some other fare – coffee, orange juice, sandwich, soft bagel, cream cheese and jelly.  I ate half a bagel.  When my husband came, he ate the rest.

Two changes of bandaging a day keeps Mr Kim, the young man in charge of bandaging, in good practice.  There were five multi-colored pills given twice a day.  I asked what they were and could only understand, painkiller, vitamin…  Restless sleep, so stayed up with email and FB.

Nov. 12, 2015

Woke up late at about 8 am with the nurse nudging me to check vitals. She probably thought I completely passed out because she usually comes in at 6 am.  I ignored breakfast and ate my half-eaten bagel and leftover coffee.

Another bag of saline followed by a most painful intravenous mix of vitamins B and C. That was mean.

Routine two re-wrappings and constant vital check-ups. I had a low-grade fever.  A bit worrisome for me because my nephrologist has always cautioned me to call him or get admitted at the ER.  Two icepacks under each arm and the fever went away.

Dinner was the usual watery warm rice porridge. I munched on the lettuce leaves and I threw it all up.  Quick reflex with one of the larger covers of food containers on tray, or it would have been a gross incident for my nurse!

Nov. 13, 2015 (Friday the thirteenth, has always been lucky for me)

Got up early, freshened up, put on some powder and lipstick and was ready for the world.

Dr. Shim was very pleased with me today. I looked cheerier, no pain, no fever, and was walking better (with the walker of course).  The doctor was in his usual chatty mood and said, “If they do this treatment in America, they’ll be afraid because of your donated kidney.  You are a high-risk patient.”  No truer words were said.  I sensed this from all the doctors I saw.  Even my dentist was reluctant to give me an implant.  I told him to speak to my nephrologist.  The doctors who specialized in lymph node transfer drew the line.

Dr. Marga Massey of South Carolina admonished me “To contend with my lymphedema and not lose a more precious thing as a kidney.”. Why didn’t she say that in the first place, on the phone, instead of having us travel 12 hours to South Carolina and back? I gave her a novel of my health situation, talked to her patient relationship assistant for hours, had a long consultation with her when we got there, I was examined, x-rayed and had a lymphoscintography, and was photographed at every angle.  Dr. Marga was a charming physician and butter won’t melt in her mouth. At the end it was a let down after heightening my expectations.

Next was Dr. James Chang of the renowned M.D.Anderson Hospital in Houston, Texas. He was a distinguished looking Asian gentleman who was a little too formal and direct.  He also made me travel, after all my weary story on paper.  At least it was only a ten-minute interview and he discouraged me from the outset.  Too costly, multiple visits, too risky.

Lastly was the softly-spoken Dr. Joseph Dayan whose presentations mesmerized me, but he was in Los Angeles. Dr. Dayan was very young, tall and kind.  The minute I heard he was coming to Beth Israel in New York, excitement rose up again.  I had three very long visits with him.  Time passed at the waiting room.  I went through a thorough MRI that required a long travel and waiting in Manhattan.  Our final talk was his benevolent remark that because of my kidney transplantation, he was not in his comfort zone to do a vascularized lymph node transfer.  He said he wanted statistics to mount up and maybe he could do it the year after.  He promised to call and when that happens.  I don’t know where he is now.  I tried getting copies of my MRI from his office but Beth Israel said there was a fire that destroyed all of Dr. Dayan’s records.

Conspiracy? Funny how before all these visits I consulted a member of a team of vascular surgeons of the Long Island Jewish Hospital and asked why they do not do the lymph node procedure for lymphedema.  He bluntly said to me, “Because it doesn’t work.”

My nice cooperative husband brought me dessert-like bread, apples and two big bottles of orange juice (I did ask for two bottles, but not the giant ones). I said I felt like a burger so off he trudged to Burger King.  Korean shredded bulgogi style beef is not the evil hamburger I know in the States.  He ate my Korean hospital food and was happy.

Hello Ambien – if I don’t take you I won’t sleep because now I’m back to almost normal..

I will post Evelyn’s next update here when it is available, but in the meantime, here is her amazingly transformed leg….I have her full permission to share these immediate pre op and post op pictures…..what an incredible transformation….

Wishing you a swift recovery, Evelyn!

For those seeking a support network, or more information on Lymphoedema, click here..

The American patient

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Monday has passed and my stitches are gone, too. My husband reports that my ankles are looking a little trimmer than before and on inspection, Dr Shim is very happy with the outcome of his work. So am I!

But the highlight of the weekend was meeting Evelyn and her charming husband. They are a lovely couple who have travelled over from New York to address Evelyn’s lymphatemous leg, which has been the result of surgery and a kidney transplant, in 2003.

We went for supper to a delicious Korean beef barbeque and chatted over the coming events and learned much more about each other, face to face instead of via email.

evelyn

Evelyn told me that she was suffering from low back pain and struggled to walk with a leg that was far too large and heavy for the rest of her tiny frame. It’s easy to see that any lymphatic tissue reduction is going to alleviate that problem, as well as maybe allowing her the pleasure of wearing pretty dresses again and not having to search for shoes in odd sizes.

Evelyn has been keeping a mini diary, which she has allowed me to share with you, so here it is up to the point of the night before surgery:-

Nov. 5 – Arrived in Seoul from NY, at 4:25 p.m, with husband Bobby Alvir

Nov. 6 – Met Dr Young Ki Shim for a two/hour intro. The good doctor explained the procedure, while delving into my whole health history.  This was followed by pre-operative exams from vital stats, EKG, blood and urine tests.  I met one of Dr Shim’s patient’s, who had the procedure a year ago. The Korean lady had real normal looking legs now.  My husband and I were so impressed.

Nov. 7 – 9 Stayed at the Inn the City-Serviced Residences which was around 200 feet away from Yonsei S. Hospital. We took two sightseeing tours but it was an all-rain weekend.

Nov. 8 – Rained in.  Awaited Valerie’s arrival at 6:30pm then we all went to a Korean barbecue restaurant.

Nov. 9 – Spent a great time with Val, a little sightseeing, a little shopping and lunch.

Admitted to Yonsei S at 3 pm.

Had a large tray of Korean food: tiny dishes of veggies, a piece of stewed fish, a big bowl of chicken and rice soup with a large chicken breast and ribboned egg, wild sticky rice, a soupy curry dish and salad.  Vitals were taken plus a skin allergen test.

Given a cup of sweet lemon-ginger mix then another one that tasted like Coke. The nurse shook her head when I asked ”- Coca cola?” Val thinks it’s a ginseng based sweet drink, full of healthy nutrients.

Evelyn and I stayed in text and email contact this morning and I can tell you that the operation has successfully been completed and Evelyn can update you in her own words in a couple of days!

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Stitches to go!

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It’s been 12 days since my stem cell top up, with adipose tissue removed from the tops of my arms for collection of 50 million stem cells for placement in my lymphatic calves.
My stitches need to come out, they are pulling tightly but the bruises are faded to a delicate shade of acid green.
I am travelling up to Seoul tonight for an appointment with Dr Shim on Monday, but tonight I will be meeting the third western lady to have the stem cell treatment, Evelyn.
I will check with her how much information I can put on here, but I am hoping we can share her progress, too.
So, my legs are looking really neat and my arms are nicely reduced. I am wearing compression level 2 tights and wrapping my arms at night in good quality bandages. They are very comfortable and reassuring to wear.
I have got back to walking 10-12km a day and at night, if I’ve been sitting too long, I have to move to the floor and do some leg exercises, with a tiny pilates ball resting in the small of my back to protect my spine. By lifting and lowering my legs, I get the added bonus of tightening up my stomach muscles too.
I will report back after my Monday appointment with Dr Shim and a special evening meeting my email buddy in the flesh.