It is just over four months since my operation- how time flies!
I’ve had a wonderful relaxing week away and suffered no additional ill effects from flying, the heat or snorkelling- it was brilliant! I even went swimming in the pool with my compression tights on- blow the stares!
I have, however, been struggling to get the fluid out of my left foot and toes for some time, mentioned in my previous posts. I’ve tried all sorts of bandages, more manual lymphatic drainage, self sticking dog bandages….(the purple one!)
Finally, I got there, as seen in the last picture – BUT, on checking to see how pliable the skin is, I was dismayed to find a positive Stemmer’s sign, where it is not possible to pinch the flesh near the toes. It looks and feels thickened, with deep skin folds… In a panic, I sought some help from the experts, but it seems that I can just continue to do what I’m doing, but for longer and more often, to try and reverse it. It won’t reverse by itself.
So, with heavy heart, I headed off for my next appointment in Seoul.
Dr Shim took my measurements, which included a centimetre increase in my left ankle and I showed him my other areas of concern- what felt like additional visible areas of fluid in my calves, the fatty textured lumps appearing on my thighs, the thickened skin on my toes and after using the sonogram to show that, actually, there was now very little fluid present, it was newly forming fat, he decided to carry out a CT scan.
I was incredibly happy to hear and see that my version of manual lymphatic drainage and compression regimes had pushed almost all of the fluid away and what I thought was the interstitial areas of fluid on my calves was not at all!! Wonderful!… but then, just as dismayed to think it was fat…. I have lost 6kg since the operation, trying really hard to modify my diet and exercise every day. I still have the impression of swelling and tightness without the garments, though, so I’m unsure if the stem cells are growing yet.
The CT scan backed up these fat findings and the only thing I think I can do to try and hold it at bay is wear full length compression tights all the time, even when its 40 degrees plus and horribly humid out here. There will be no space for the fat to settle- I will fight this battle….
These strange pockets of fat have the classic Lipoedema texture and the trouble with this miserable chronic condition is that the fat can build quickly up with no particular trigger. I’m blaming the menopause right now- which is thankfully subsiding slowly.
I have based my 1200 calorie a day food intake on this anti –inflammatory foods pyramid, designed by a Dr Weil… I cant recall the last time I had bread – and butter and my Sunday roast usually has just one potato.. I never eat pasta.
There are good fats and bad fats and we do actually all need some to stay healthy and keep the brain functioning correctly. They may contain the same amount of calories, but some fats do much more damage than others and don’t go away. I need to learn more about them… so I am fully armed. I found a lot of useful information on this blog page, in particular about how Selenium can help reduce Edema.
Dr Shim injected the problem areas again, to help break down the build up of lipids and proteins, to help get them to move away when I’m massaging them. He issued me with level 3 compression garments, ready for our long flight back to the UK in May, for a couple of weeks catch up with our loved ones.
So in conclusion,
There is now only minimal fluid in my calves- the initial Lymphoedema area
- I have lost 6 kg in weight.
There is thickened skin- stage 2 Lymphoedema in my left foot.
The Lipoedema is trying to come back- so full length compression garments needed indefinitely, regardless of the Lymphoedema.
Just a couple of updates on some new media items that I spotted on my internet trawling travels….
South Korea are well placed on the world map with the number of clinical trials they carry out and have already approved 3 stem cell treatments, Hearticellgram – A1 for myocardial infarction- a condition of which there are now clinical trials being held in the UK , Cupistem for Crohn’s disease and Cartistem for knee cartilage regrowth
So, should I give up hope of success? Nope- not just yet…..I think when the time is right, a Lymphoscintography procedure will reveal all……
My next appointment will be after our UK trip- so see you sometime in June….!