Thursday, February 6, 2020

Lipedema Empowerment - Time to Take Back Your Life

Stay active, take action, practice self care, by doing so you emotionally empower yourself to stand up to Lipedema and the emotional toll it can take on us.
It is 2020, and a whopping 80 years have passed since Lipedema was first diagnosed at the Mayo Clinic, but what have we learned?

One of the most important things I have learned since my diagnosis in 2007, is that I know more about Lipedema than most medical professionals that I will come in contact with, and because of that...

Self Care is where it is at!

Self care ideas include: compression, deep breathing, dry brushing, eating healthy, exercise, MLD (manual lymphatic drainage) massage, pneumatic compression pumps, rebounding (mini trampoline), and vibration.

And there are many others, anything that moves your lymphatic system is good for us! I even went to a gong bath (sound healing meditation) class once, so be creative, find fun ways to move your lymph system!

Self care for a chronic illness can get overwhelming, especially when we do not see typical results for all the effort we put forth in our care.

So while Lipedema continues to try to take over our lives, how can we empower ourselves to take back that control, and live the life we want to live?
  1. Give yourself time. Time to adjust to your diagnosis. Learning about Lipedema brings about many emotions, so give yourself time to go through them as they come up.
  2. Don't dwell in the negative thoughts about your diagnosis. Yes, it is a chronic and progressive condition, but there are things you can do to help.
  3. Take action. Just by taking action and doing something, you already begin to take back control of your life. Pick out a couple treatments you can introduce into your self care routine, and focus on those. As they become part of your lifestyle, try adding in a few more.
  4. Regroup when needed. It is easy to become overwhelmed, so remember it is ok to take a moment, a day, a week, to regroup and maybe play around with some new treatment ideas.
  5. Find support. Especially if you don't have support at home. Social media is a wonderful tool, and there are tons of great support groups, with lots of members who know exactly what you are going through. Remember that we are stronger together. Here is the Lipedema Fitness support group link.
  6. Stay focused. It is easy to become discouraged when we don't see results for the efforts we put forth, but remember there is still a lot of good going on, even though we cannot visually see it. We are getting stronger, we are educating and supporting others, and we are slowing progression.
  7. Avoid negatives. If you are saying negative things about yourself, your appearance, your abilities, etc. you will defeat all the progress you are making, so stop the self jokes about your body and abilities, and focus on the positives in your life, your body and in your abilities. Sometimes that means avoiding people that are negative - negative talk spreads like wild fire and it is contagious, it is OK to let go of negative people. Drama and stress are big triggers that make our condition worse.
  8. Put you first. That is not always easy, but our health requires energy, something Lipedema tries to take away all day, every day, so like they advise on the airplane, put your oxygen mask on first, or you will be no good to anyone else.
  9. Find fun. Our lives are not only about self care, we need fun things in our lives that have nothing to do with caring for our condition. For me it is art. Whatever it is for you, find something that brings you pure joy and do it, even if it means taking a break from self care.
  10. Reflect. Take time to look back at all you have done in caring for your body, it can be forgotten as we are in the grind of it, but when we take a step back and reflect on how far we have come it can refuel us to keep going.

The Oxford English dictionary describes empowerment as... "the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one's life."