Hi there and a Happy New 2014 to you- wishing good health, peace and happiness for all.
So sorry for keeping you waiting for an update-you will see why a little further on.
On Wednesday, I travelled to Seoul for my first follow up consultation at week 6 post – operative.
In the intervening period, I had started to lose a little weight, about 2kg, but home made food for Christmas stalled any further progress, as I ate more than I would normally do. I have Lipoedema, too and this is a kind of fat that is most difficult to lose, even on strict diets. This explains why, as the menopause has progressed, the hormonal changes have made me gain weight even whilst eating a sensible diet and exercising every day.
The swimming pool pump in our complex was faulty, so we had no pool, which kind of messed up my New Year’s resolution to use it 3 times a week! That is now sorted and my first set of 20 lengths were completed today.
Over the last month, my legs have been healing slowly but steadily, encased in the bespoke compression garments and it has been a pleasure to walk around pain free, for about 10-12 km each day. However, night time has been hot and fidgety, wearing them overnight, whilst the wounds have been healing. ( It may be an age related issue- too!) Sleep was elusive.
Even some of my shoes have been looser and I managed to wear some patent ones with a little heel for our New Year’s bash.
Then, at the weekend, I travelled back and forth for 4 hours in the car to visit friends and sat for most of the day with them, without my legs extended or elevated. I did end up on their floor later on, as I was feeling uncomfortable. The following day, I sat for another 4 hours in the same position, catching up with friends who had been away for the holidays. The consequence? A painful ballooning ankle.
Sitting on the train for 5 hours yesterday didn’t really help, either. Today, I have 2 sets of garments on, to try and reduce the swelling which has now progressed into my foot.
So, at my appointment, my measurements were taken and there has been some reduction, but not a significant amount. My legs look quite lumpy and bumpy still, where there are still areas that need fine tuning and that ankle is quite large.
My skin is very saggy, on the thighs and over my knees, but is in good condition, from using gentle exfoliators and a good moisturiser.
The scars are sealed, but still a dark red colour, which will fade in time. I have some indentations where the stitches were maybe in a little too long. Again, these can be adjusted.
The area where I have Lymphodema is soft, but still pitting. I can feel the fluid in the tissue still, but the area hasn’t increased.
The sonogram confirmed the above and Dr Shim was satisfied with my healing so far. He suggested that the knees need re-doing in the future, to make them look neater.
The next step was to be measured to have the compression garments taken in, producing a better compression result. I will receive those in the next couple of days, as they are altered.
In conclusion, I have slightly slimmer looking legs at week 6 post – op, but still misshapen around the knee area. I’m halfway through my anticipated 12 week recovery period- things can only get better from hereon!
Sadly, there was no other ‘cured’ patient for me to meet, due to clashing schedules. I have found this very hard to cope with. The 100% cure claim is clearly not valid and at the moment, I don’t even have one person of the 28 treated last year who appears to be free of Lymphoedema. I appealed to Dr Shim to find me someone and if they can’t get to the clinic, to just provide me with their email address so I can ask my Korean friends to translate for me. I just need to know that this is still a valid treatment and pray that I’m one of the successful ones. Dr Shim is looking to resolve this at my next appointment in February.
Update- later yesterday afternoon- my altered compression garments arrived and I decided to give them a test run before posting this. They are tighter, more supportive at the ankles and knees and tops of the thighs.
I walked for two hours, this morning, then went for a second swim- and guess what? My ankle has reduced back down to almost normal.
This week, it is one year since we first saw South Korea. I am eating the same kinds of food as I did before this operation and my exercise regime is the same, walking a couple of hours each day with the dogs, using a pilates ball to stretch and elevate my legs, strengthening my core muscles, and climbing up five floors worth of stairs in our high rise building, once, maybe twice a day. Despite this, the increasing weight and body shape changes were beating me and I have a wardrobe full of clothes from last winter that do not fit at all. Today, I weigh the same as a year ago- but the clothes still do not fit.
If I want some success in this area, this is down to me and the compression garments and I have 2 months left to get the best effect.
Therefore, the additional exercises that I am committing to are:-
- Swimming 20 lengths 3 times a week – to tone up all areas
- Doing squat exercises in increasing repetitions to strengthen my legs- something I haven’t been able to do since 2011.
- Introducing short bursts of gentle jogging on my walks, just to burn a few more calories.
- Aiming to walk up all of the flights of stairs to our floor- floor 14 by the end of March- at least 3 times a week.
My next appointment in Seoul is on February 7th, but I am hoping that I will be able to report back to you in two weeks time on some weight loss.
We will all have to wait a little longer to see what changes the stem cell therapy will have made….