Confused with Questions

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Confused with Questions

Postby patoco » Sat Jun 10, 2006 3:59 pm

Confused with Questions

Originally posted by Karen 05/27/2004

Hi. I am a heavyset woman. I had a fall almost three years ago, badly bruising my right chin. At first, the wound was only internal, but with the passing of a few days, the wound "opened" and was oozing (sorry to be gross). I saw my doctor, and over the course of a few months, the doctor confirmed healed cellulitis. Despite the fact that the cellulitis has healed, the skin around the area of the wound has remained very sensitive.

In 2002, I changed family physicians and he noted 1+ edema in my right leg, and identified that I had a previous incident of cellulitis 2 years prior. At that time, though, the doctor did not recommend any treatment for the edema. I advised him that I had been experiencing some discomfort to my legs and swelling . He referred me to a neurologist and recommended getting support stockings. I saw a neurologist, and diagnosed me with a neuropathic pain syndrome. I also saw a vascular surgeon, and he told me I had lymphedema? I am so confused. I have started to research lymphedema (which is how I found this website). Meanwhile, I am wearing protective stockings which have proved to be very painful to the skin area around my old wound, and have started lyphedema massage therapy.

Can anyone offer any suggestions as to where I go from here? I'm just so confused.




Hi Karen

A very warm welcome as our newest member! I am very happy that you found us and hope I can help with your questions.

Lymphedema is a confusing condition because the medicalworld seems to understands so little about it. Often people don't receive the correct diagnosis for years.

Cellulitis is an infection that individuals with lymphedema seem to be plagued with. This is because the fluid that collects is a protein rich substance referred to as lymphorrea and bacteria thrive in this medium. Each case of cellulitis damages the lymphatics even further thereby aggravating the lymphedema.

From what you are saying, it sounds to me as if you have had undiagnosed lymphedema for sometime. In my opinion, the doctor really blew it years ago by not recommending treatment.

Also adding to the frustration that comes with lymphedema is that if you are over weight, doctors stupidly tell patients, it just your weight.

The pain you are having is common to many with lymphedema. The swelling will compress the nerves in the affected limb and causes neuropathy as a side complication of the condition.

I am glad you have begun massage therapy as this is the very best treatment available today. The therapy will reduce the swelling and then the custom fitted compression garments will keep that swelling down.

To help with the pain around the old wound (undoubtly caused by scar tissue) you may want to try using either a gauze or foam product around the wound site. Your lymphedema therapist should be able to help you with this as there are numerous products out there that will help.

It sounds as if you are on the right track. The therapy will help prevent cellulitis by decreasing the leg size. Please don't hesitate for a second to write or post with questions or concerns. That is what we are all here for.

My Very Best to You

Pat O'Connor



Thank you so much, Pat. You've already helped tremendously just by indicating that perhaps I have had lymphedema far longer than I ever knew.

If I have further questions, I certainly won't hesitate to post. God Bless.
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