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I hadn’t planned to post before my next follow up appointment, but there has been some things happening that I need to include in the picture I’m painting.

Firstly, I mentioned the left swollen ankle and that I managed to reduce it down with some soft crepe bandage wrapping over a couple of nights.

I then continued with my exercise routine and stopped elevating my leg when out with company.

Within that last statement, there is something I’m doing wrong, or not doing, as the last couple of days, the fluid build up has entered my left foot. This means I can’t walk so well and shoes are painful to put on and I’m leaving the laces undone.

I wonder if its something as simple as the compression tights not being tight enough at the ankles. I did return them immediately for readjustment once already, as they felt a little loose and the feet areas have been made nice and short, so I can wear fit flop sandals around our apartment- less floor noise for those below and very, very comfortable to walk in.

At night, I have tried 2 pairs of compression garments on at once ( my Mediven elegance open toe tights worn before the op and the bespoke ones made in Korea)

I’ve then tried one pair at night plus the bandage, which I’ve had to cast off in the early hours as the pain woke me up.

In the day, I dropped the swimming and reduced my walking distances down to 5 miles, but still walked up 5 flights of stairs 3 times per day.

Then I saw an advert by one of the expat wives re offering medical style massages. She is a Vascular doctor from Belarus, well used to working with trauma injuries. She said she understood about Lymphodema and offered to show me how to use compression bandages if I bought some from Dr Shim next time.

The massage lasted 1.30hrs – firstly on my back and shoulders, then on my feet and legs. It was a little more robust than MLD and the next day, I feared that some damage had occurred, as the fluid in my ankle had clearly dropped into my foot, with pockets of fluid collection on my shin as the day progressed.

I stopped everything I had planned and rested, with just brief pee walks for the dogs. After a warm bath, a self foot and leg massage and compression garments back on for overnight, I settled down for a disturbed night, worrying that I’d destroyed any new lymphatic growth and put my condition back to lower than my starting point.

This morning, the fluid in the shin area has settled, but the foot is still swollen. I dug out a pair of my Mediven tights with a closed toe, to see if that would help. They are new and are level II compression, so I hope that they will work in reducing the fluid collection in my toes and foot.

Steps backwards are always alarming and based on the previous events with the swelling, I’m sure I need to elevate when out and about and maybe moderate the walking and other exercises. The trouble is, I exercise to prevent weight gain, rather than lose it, so this needs to be monitored carefully.

I massage every day, using my little Korean roller over the’ lumpy’ bits and I have found a wonderful gel, that allows my hands to glide over the skin when massaging and it moisturises without drying sticky or leaving a residue.

Today is the start of the Lunar New Year holiday and Steve is working from home, on tea making duty, whilst I rest in the new chair he bought for me this morning. Our Korean sofa is not the most comfortable!

I will feed back before I post this and I hope I can report some improvements.

In the meantime, I am always scanning sites for information on the validity of stem cell therapy, for obvious reasons! Things are looking most encouraging!

This one is about an even quicker way to access stem cells

I saw this one and was pleased to note it is close to the hospital where I had my operation…It’s about using stem cells for musculoskeletal conditions

Then, in Ireland, this really heartening headline came up…..with the expectation of real treatments being available within 5 years.

This one is about using stem cells to grow new hair- good news for those with hair loss

And most exciting of all was these 2 articles linked to Lymphoedema- firstly- information from Japan, about Lymphoedema being treated with adipose stem cells being more successful than other types of stem cells.

And then this one about growing skin– complete with lymphatic vessels. In the article it cites a limited group of beneficiaries- I  don’t think they realise the scale of the  impact this could have on Lymphodema sufferers though!

This one cites Asia as the world leaders in stem cell therapy

It is now 4 days on and my ankle and foot are still swollen, but it has subsided considerably. But, its not right. I will be glad to have my check up on Friday and may be use the pneumatic compression machine at the hospital to see if it can shift the fluid.

My shins and calves feel full and tight, but that could be due to the reduced exercise, as I am only doing about 5 miles a day just now.

I can only stay on my positive path and keep smiling and hoping…being a pioneer is a lonely existence, but I’m still pinning big hopes on meeting one of my fellow stem cell ‘successes’ next week at the Yonsei Hospital at my next follow up appointment.