It was during my second stocking fitting (of four) when the fitter said to me, “Do you know how you got lymphedema?” In disbelief, mostly because I hated the way my lower half looked in the stocking and still couldn’t believe that I was going to have to wear this thing at all times, I said, “No. I have no idea.” The fitter then went on to tell me that one of her other clients got it from a bug bite. Oh really.
Later that day I thought about said client. If the doctors knew how I got lymphedema it wouldn’t be called primary lymphedema… it would be called secondary lymphedema. The word “primary” in medicine basically translates to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ … it’s the equivalent of saying, “You’re special.”
But, to be safe, and because I live with a doctor, I got tested for filariasis. Secretly, I hoped that the results would come back positive. Secretly, I wished that a bug in Ghana or Rwanda would have bitten me and that the bite would have caused all of this mess. Secretly, I wished that I could have been responsible for this condition by a choice that I made to travel to those countries.
But, the results came back and they were definitively negative. I have primary lymphedema… the doctors don’t know what caused the onset of the condition’s.
(If you're interested in learning more about Primary Lymphedema, The Lymphie Life published a great Primer on Primary Lymphedema.)