As mums, we’ve all endured our fair share of pregnancy swelling, but there comes a point when a condition goes far beyond a ‘normal pregnancy symptom’.
This turned out to be the case for former Australian model Sarah Buller, when she was diagnosed with Primary Lymphedema after her first pregnancy.
The 31-year-old mum has revealed in her blog, The Lymphosaurus Rex, how the condition caused her left leg to swell to twice its size.
Caused by damage to the lymphatic system, Lymphedema results in severe swelling as lymphatic fluid is no longer able to properly circulate.
Recalling the beginning of her ordeal with the condition, which was triggered by pregnancy, Sarah writes: “My lymphedema started in April 2013 when I was three months pregnant with my first child. I noticed some slight swelling in my left groin area and put it down to ‘normal pregnancy swelling’. However, within a few weeks my whole leg had blown up, and I knew something wasn’t right.”
After enduring multiple visits to the ER, bloods tests, ultrasounds and examinations; doctors still couldn’t figure out what was causing the swelling. It was only months after giving birth, while still suffering with the swelling, that Sarah was diagnosed.
Sarah reveals that the condition left the affected leg weighing 'about 5.3kg'.
Dealing with her condition became an intricate process, as Sarah explains in her blog.
“Wearing compression garments every day, manual lymphatic draining massages at the physiotherapist, exercising, elevating my leg, bandaging, taking supplements to get rid of excess fluid… It has always been a constant daily struggle to keep the swelling under control,” she writes.
Growing fed up with the condition, Sarah did some research into Vascularised Lymph Node Transfer. She underwent the operation in May, at a cost of $22,369 (just over €15,000).
While her condition has improved since the procedure, she has been told that it will take six months for her to see real results.
One of the most frustrating aspects of Sarah's diagnosis was the lack of information, both from doctors and online; that is why she set up The Lymphosaurus Rex – to raise awareness.
Sarah is keen to spread word of her condition, in a bid to assure other sufferers that they are not alone.
Fair play to Sarah for instilling hope and confidence in others affected by this condition.