One of the first things we’re told when we are diagnosed with leg lymphedema is to elevate our legs. Makes sense right? Until you realise that you’ve got stuff to do, and can’t lay around all day with your legs elevated above your heart!
So I thought I’d capitalise on the most amount of time I spend laying down with not much to do – and that would be when I’m sleeping. I bought one of those foam leg wedge pillow things and started resting my legs on that while I was asleep, but I found a few problems with it.
Invariably, my legs would find their way off the wedge, or the wedge would find it’s way off the bed. I’m a side sleeper, so it was also kind of awkward because of that. If for some miraculous reason my legs would stay on the wedge, and the wedge would stay on the bed, my toes would get numb – I think this happened because the elevation was too high for me. It was also a bit awkward with my blanket arrangements – during winter the wedge would have to fit under the blankets which would then squash my toes, and during summer it was too easy to kick the wedge off the bed. I did persist, but you can see the cycle of frustration developing I’m sure!
In the picture you’ll see a couple of gray yoga blocks. I’ve had them for many years, and one day had a genius idea to pop them UNDER THE MATTRESS, near where my feet would be when I slept. I lay them flat so the elevation is not too high, but still significant enough to resolve any swelling that may have accumulated during the course of the day. Have a look around your place and see if you can find something that might serve the same function – a couple of thick books, or some sturdy baking tins you no longer use. Or you might just go out and pick up a couple of yoga blocks from your fitness store!
Management of lymphoedema is multi-faceted and you will need to find little tips and tricks that work for you so that you can reduce the symptoms of this disease and then just get on with your beautiful life!