Aug. 13, 2014 will mark three weeks after my liposuction surgery to remove 4.3 liters of lymphedema sludge out of my leg. I woke up out of surgery fine and my physical therapist Julie had my right leg bandaged. I could get out of bed and use the bathroom. Yeah!! That is always the trick after coming out of anesthesia. The surgery went well according to Dr. Granzow. The second night the bandage really irritated the top of my right foot and I would get up every hour to walk around to relieve the pressure. The first two weeks were pretty rough as I was super sore and had to be bandaged to keep the leg from swelling. I got my new compression garments - $1,800 - hopefully to be paid for by insurance (submitted the claim but haven't heard if HealthNet is going to pay up). I have a left leg thigh high (I have lymphedema also in that leg). Plus two thigh highs for the right leg. I wear the number 3 and the number 2 on my right leg – taking the top number 2 garment off at night. Plus I have the biker shorts. My right leg is a lot smaller than before the surgery and even smaller than the left leg which has lymphedema but not as bad as my right leg was before surgery. Lucky for me, my husband Steve is helping me get the right leg compression garments on. They are super tight. I even need Steve to take off the right leg garments. This past week I have been able to get the top right garment off at the end of the day. The left leg is easy for me to take on and off. Putting the right leg garments on and off the first two weeks were pretty rough as my leg is super sore from the surgery.
I will be seeing Julie the PT on Wed. to see how it all looks. I met with the Dr. Granzow the first week after and he was very happy with how my leg looks. I tried to do to much 10 days after. I went to the barn to teach a lesson, off to the office 90 miles north, lunch with friends and then home. Not good - leg was super throbbing from being in the car and not elevated. Julie said it really takes 6-8 weeks to feel better. The last two days I have been doing a pretty busy out and about schedule. I taught a couple of lessons (even rode one of the horses for 2 minutes. Yesterday I coached a rider at a local show in 90 degree heat and did pretty good. I can't walk too fast and I can't bend my right knee completely with the two compression garments on it. My right foot is pretty swollen by night time and I have open toe thigh highs. Last night Steve wrapped my foot over the compression garment and that felt a lot better.
The compression garments will need to be replaced in 3 months. So I'm not sure if I can get insurance to pay for next set in only 3 months. Will see. The next step is either to do liposuction on my left leg or do the lymph node transfer. That will be another $40K plus or minus per surgery so lots of money and lots to think about. I was lucky that my friends donated over $24K through my go fund me website for the first surgery and really helped us out. Hopefully those of us that try these surgical procedures will help get the ball rolling for better support / coverage from the health insurance industry. Everyone I tell my story to can't believe that health insurance doesn't cover any of this.