Anna from Italy
My name is Anna, I am Italian, and when I was 22 years old, I was diagnosed with skin cancer. To stop the cancer doctors had to remove lymph nodes in the groin which caused lymphedema in my right leg.
Initially I suffered the most from feeling alone, as this condition is not well known even by the medical profession. I did not know anybody with lymphoedema that I could share, compare and give me advice and provide solutions even on small daily challenges. In some periods I felt depressed. Especially when I saw people’s eyes on my swollen leg with my stocking and helplessly seeing my leg swell more and more.
Over the years, however, these difficulties and sufferings have strengthened me by being able to accept and live with this condition even if I also experience difficult moments. So (after 8 years of loneliness) I decided it was time to try to help others. To become the kind of reference that I would have wanted to meet at the beginning of my journey. Somebody in which I could compare and get comfort. But also, sometimes even joking about it all and have fun with.
I created an Instagram profile called “stile_compresso” with the hope of connecting with many patients but at the same time with the aim of raising awareness of this little-known condition and how to manage it. I had the aim to transmit an incisive message and to make it clear that we must never believe that these situations will happen only to others. Unfortunately, life is unpredictable, and it is important to be able to accept, help and not discriminate the differences in people. I give advice on combinations for trendy clothing despite swollen limbs, what shoes to wear, how to hide surgical scars when at the beach, opinions on compression hosiery, healthy nutrition, routines and therapies, which exercise types are beneficial for the drainage of the lymph. However, I also share difficult moments of my life with lymphoedema. All what is my daily life.
In a short time, I was contacted by many people from all over the world (fantastic!). They wanted to share both publicly and privately their own story with me. They told me they could reflect in what I described and thanked me for sharing and inspiring them to have courage in showing themselves. Thus, giving hope that we can live a life with a smile despite everything.