Lymph is Good
chronicles the journey of an active 30-something Dallas-ite trying to keep her head up while grappling with primary lymphedema.

Hope is Stressful

On February 13, 2017 my Level 1 appeal was submitted to Blue Cross Blue Shield. I wrote a two page appeal letter documenting my story and making my case for surgery. The appeals process, I’m told, can take 1-2 months. My conclusion stated:

Please reconsider your decision to deny my request for coverage of the lymphovenous bypass surgery. As you can see from my history outlined here and from my medical records, my doctors and I have tried everything short of this procedure to alleviate my symptoms; now this surgery is the last hope I have for recovery.

(The paragraph that precedes this conclusion chokes me up.)

But, let’s talk about recovery for a second. There are two (or more) forms of recovery. The first is obviously the most important: the lymph fluid starts moving again. If surgery can help, awesome. Long term that’s the ideal. 

Related to the lymph fluid moving again are the psychological effects of what has already built up… to my understanding those doesn’t go away. What has already built up has built up and there’s no way to bring it back down. To me, this means that the permanent damage is done. Yes, I can wear less compression (see the first form of recovery), but that doesn’t help the psychological effects. One leg is bigger than the other and I have to get on board with that.

When I got on the phone with Dr. Nguyen to talk about the potential of surgery earlier this year, the love of my life asked him… “So, if Debra were a professional athlete with this condition and she decided to go through with the surgery, could she return to her sport of choice after the surgery.” He said yes. 

But, really? The surgery is considered to be experimental. We can only cross our fingers. 

Earlier this week I read Linchpin by Seth Godin, in it he said “hope is stressful.” The basis of this statement is that if you give someone hope by painting a picture of the future that the person will hold onto the future picture and stress-out trying to make the future a reality. Seth Godin used examples of planes arriving on time and not crashing… yeah, I get it. On the contrary, he talked about patients who were told that their (unfortunate) conditions were permanent. Instead of being depressed with their circumstances they got on board with it and figured out how to make themselves happier. 

So, here I am on one hand hoping that Blue Cross Blue Shield will accept my appeal and cover my surgery so that my long term circumstances can be better… and on the other hand I’m just trying to find my new “normal” as I live my day to day life... 

Correlation and Causation

What do you say?