View Full Version : Laughter & Lymphedema
Emily P. Bees
Aug 15, 2005, 12:51 PM
I truly believe that we can find humor in just about anything that happens in life – and that when we stop being able to laugh at ourselves and the things that happen to us, we might as well throw in the towel. So for me, living with lymphedema involves a certrain amount of laughter. Besides seeing the funny side of things can turn out to be actually productive sometimes. With that in mind, I wanted to share a couple of the lymphedema good laughs I’ve had. Maybe this will help a few others see humor in their own situations. I hope others will tell about some of their own funny experiences or ideas.
When I got home from my first meeting with the therapist and started reading all the literature I’d been provided I found some of it very funny. Far-side style humor is often one of my reactions to stressful situations – it really helps to diffuse things for me. The part in one version of the literature about always using an oven mitt “or other protection” when removing things from the oven sent me into hysterics. - - - - What in heaven’s name did they think I’d been doing for over 50 years???? -- Grabbing hot pots with my bare hands and flinging them onto the counter????? I laughed hard, long and often about this. I had lots of fun telling people, “I have a disease that prevents me from grabbing hot pots out of the oven with my bare hands.” I finally decided the only thing to do was to start an oven-mitt collection. Now friends bring me bizarre oven mitts from all over. The oven mitt collection makes me giggle to myself about the joke and the LE every time I see them hanging there in my kitchen. It’s also a little “have you taken care of yourself today” reminder.
For me, the oven mitt is now my favorite LE symbol. Other folks may have butterflies or whatever. I've got oven mitts.
Aug 19, 2005, 10:44 AM
Hi Em - I like the finding humor in everything - even this condition! Right now I can't think of anything to add, but I'll actively seek out something funny and post it. I'm not a real jovial person, but I'll try. Thanks so much! :D
Aug 20, 2005, 02:11 PM
Hi, Emily, and thank you for your post. Like bigleg I love the idea of finding humor in this otherwise stinky situation. So I've been wracking my brain ever since you posted, trying to think of a funny LE moment. So far, the only ones I can think of are more bittersweet than anything. (Like the man I hadn't seen in awhile who asked -- about my sleeve, glove, vest, and wrapped arm -- what had happened to me. I said cheerfully, "You should see the other guy!" He just shook his head and then replied, "I can't imagine anybody looking worse than you do right now!") I did read a handout similar to the one you mention, and I even thought how odd it was that they should recommend something so obvious. But now that I have LE in both arms and am wearing gloves on both hands, I have twice almost reached into the oven without a hot mitt, simply because my hands feel "protected" with these heavy old gloves. I'm actually kind of worried that I'll blow it one day and toss that pan on the counter bare-handed (or at least bare-fingertipped)! Fortunately my doctor gave me an antibiotic to keep on hand, but I was hoping not to need it -- certainly not for something as stupid as oven burns!
So, okay, I'll keep my eyes and ears peeled for something funny to report. Thanks for helping us be aware of it!
Jul 7, 2006, 12:33 AM
I also have big legs. Cellulitis comes on so fast that I've been in the hosptial a lot. My granddaughter - 10 year-old Hannah - says, Grandma, you have got to learn to walk on your hands." When I said, how am I going to drive? She said she would take the wheel and I could operate the car with my hands. So, Hannah what about when it's cold and theres several inches of snow? I'm still waiting on her reply... She's a sweet kid. I've been homeschooling her since K. It's her spunky positve attitude that is my best medicine.
Hang in there.
Hi! Even though I can't think of any funny incidents concerning LE, I think I have a good attitude about having it. It's like having a big butte even when I'm thin. I don't like it, but there's nothing I can do about it, so I might as well accept it and do the best I can with it.
Cassie - I'm so sorry you now have LE in both arms. I keep an eye on my left leg but hope that it stays the same size. Your attitude is just great!
Grandma Sue - Do you have primary or secondary LE? Did both legs become LE afflicted all at once, or at separate times? About your little Hannah -- I have a brother-in-law who fell from 4 stories onto a pile of bricks. He lived, but physically he's much worse off than anyone with LE -- yet he maintains a good attitude; he gives credit for that good attitude to his two daughters, Anna and Carly. Children are certainly blessings!
Jul 10, 2006, 07:58 PM
I have secondary LE resulting from cervical cancer surgery - radical hysterectomy w/ LN dx, followed with a full course of pelvic radiation.
It was in the fall of 2000 at my annual exam that my doctor said I had a cervical polyp. My pap was normal and all was well - we thought. I went in a month later to have the polyp removed and to have a baseline unterine bx to monitor any hormonal changes - coming up on menapause. As it turned out the polyp was full of andenocarcinoma. My pap continued to read normal so I was given a choice between a hysterectomy and radiation. I choose surgery but as it turned out I had endocervical cancer and the doctors took out everything. They didn't stop there either. I went through pelvic radiation but refused the "seed" radiation. My oncologist said I was taking my life in my hands. Last year when I saw her she said that I made the right decision not to go through it. The radiation was hard on me and today I continue to have radiated bladder/bowel syndrome and am unable to have sex. I can't say I miss sex but I think I liked it at some point in my life.:rolleyes:
I am currently struggling with a bout of cellulitis that kept me in the hospital on IV antibiotics for several days - two weeks ago now but the leg is still red and sore. I have to spend most of my time in bed with my legs up. The redness is in my upper thigh on my right leg. It came on so fast that in the ER it went from a small patch of redness to involve my entire thight and down past my knee, up on the pubic area and down the left thigh. The idiots in the ER do not know what to do with me and this was the second time I wanted in silence for over six hours until I almost passed out - it was another case in December/January that almost took my life.
This time my insurance was jerking me around too. They said that the stay for cellulitis was 3 days and I was in for 4 days - I wondered why they let me go while my leg was still red and sore.
I'm sorry, but I also feel like this is a safe place to vent.
On the other hand, I am very thankful I do have insurance and that my legs are still attached. I am recovering slowly and I am so thankful to have found all of you.
I know God has a plan in all this. Thank you all.
Jul 11, 2006, 02:07 AM
Hi Sue - Do you know what's causing the cellulitus? How quickly does it come on? Pat
Dec 9, 2010, 11:09 PM
As a guy with lymphedema in both legs (with 28" calves on a bad day) I have perfected a Popeye imitation. Works best in the summer with shorts on.
Should that fail, I compare lymphedema to walking around with small children hugging your lower legs and going along for the ride... because, well... that's what it feels like some days. :)
Dec 10, 2010, 04:05 AM
Thanks for sharing your sense of humor! Despite the fact the image of small children hanging on your legs is so close to truth, it is a good one!
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