Lymphedema should really be called “Same sh*t, different day” because of how much of a routine-based condition it is. As in, my leg loves it’s routine. It enjoys to stick to what it knows, gets pissy when the schedule / order of operations is off, and overall just kind of rebels any time a change is made.
Recovering from surgery is a series of transitions. First of all, not being able to wear any compression, stay almost entirely elevated (with two pillows!), and do almost no physical activity for two weeks is enough to transition anyone from 5K to couch potato. That aside, coming back into compression is a true transition. One that I was hoping to never have to do again from square one.
The “square one to compression” transition happened when I initially started bandaging. I’d wake up in the middle of the night with pains in my foot - on the outer side of my affected limb. A crunching, throbbing, stabbing, squeezing sensation. It’s like nothing I have ever experienced before. I was told to walk around if this happened… you know, get your body moving (which is obviously what you want to be doing in the middle of the night - physical activity)... and then lie back down again. Sometimes that works and I am able to fall back asleep. Last night it didn’t.
I went to bed at 11PM, bandaged - my first bit of compression in two weeks. I woke up at 2AM and couldn’t, for the life of me, go back to bed. The sensation in my foot was terrible. I got up, walked around, lay back down, had a moment of respite and then I was back where I started. I tried to elevate (full on up the wall elevate) and that helped for a bit and then it didn’t. This went on until 4:15 and then I said “to hell with this leg,” got up, unbandaged and got my day started. At 4:45 the love of my life walked into the bathroom and said, “You know it’s 4:45, right?” (I’ve been known to brush my teeth and get ready in the middle of the night because I fail to look at the time.)
Trying to suppress every ounce of anger I had for the situation (and failing) I said, “I’m well aware of the time. I’ve been awake since 2AM.” It was at that point I knew that it was going to be a long day… and that I needed to plan my transitions better.