Live your best life with Lymphedema.

Jasmine Dulaney

“Breathe. It’s okay not to feel okay every now and then, but don’t be too hard on yourself, and definitely don’t be too hard on your affected limb. Your body deserves respect, swollen or not, it is there for you.” – Jasmine.

My Name is Jasmine Dulaney, I’m 23 years old and live outside of Denver. I’m currently working as a professional student at a University in Colorado. I recently married the man of my dreams, a rugby player that acts as my own private chef in his downtime.

I wasn’t diagnosed with Lymphedema until 3 years after I experienced my first symptoms. At 19 years of age I developed an aggressive cellulitis infection in my right groin. This re-occurred at least twice a year for the next 2 years and I received several blood tests as well as ultrasounds to check for any vascular discrepancies each time in the ER.

Every time I received the same “diagnosis”, there was nothing that caused the cellulitis, and I don’t have any blood clots. I noticed after my last cellulitis infection that the swelling that comes along with it wasn’t subsiding as usual. My doctor offered no solace, other than to wait it out, and that the swelling would definitely go down… probably, eventually. It wasn’t until an infuriatingly tedious google search a month later that I diagnosed myself. Because of my medical insurance situation at the time, I wasn’t able to begin scheduling appointments with doctors for an official diagnosis for over a year. In that time, I cared for myself the best way I knew how, which sometimes included completely ignoring the problem altogether. Most of my knowledge came from observing other inspiring members of our LE community (never underestimate the impact that you carry). As to be expected, my leg health deteriorated as I was growing more and more depressed over daily stress and quite honestly, life with lymphedema in general. After my first appointment with my new primary physician, I was diagnosed with Lymphedema within a week.

I decided a month before receiving my official diagnosis that I was done letting this disorder rule my daily life. I was finished spending mornings crying over broken boot zippers and ripped designer jeans. I was done avoiding floor-length mirrors at every department store in the mall. We have lives to live, and it was time for a change. My husband is anything if not healthy, and I sometimes feel that I was handed him for a reason. He immediately began working with me on a nutrition plan to “starve” my lymphedema, and a workout routine that was both suited for me physically, as well as beneficial for my affected leg.

Growing up, it was a running joke that I wasn’t the most active student at my school. I was notoriously lazy in gym class, and even joined the cross country team only to, disrespectfully I’ll be the first to admit, walk the race course. Despite this, as an adult I changed things up. I started to admire what my body could do, and how physically strong I actually am relative to my peers. I lived for my fitness. The problem is, I realized I had a natural passion for these things before my lymphedema set in. The depression that came along with the disorder knocked me back down a few pegs. I had to completely rewire who I thought I was becoming, and what normal meant for me.

Normal means shrugging at unsightly compression gear that takes ten minutes of sweat and tears to pull over my leg at 6 am, and that pokes out from under the cute dress I just bought. Normal means making it to the gym on a Friday or Saturday morning when my leg feels heavy and I’m begging for sleep. My body is important and it deserves all of the love I can give it.

I began meditating daily, even if just for ten minutes, and practicing guided breathing to keep my mind at ease. I’ve noticed that next to my diet, stress has a HUGE impact on my lymphatic health. Yoga is the perfect exercise for low-impact days and vegan dinners will rejuvenate like none other.

I myself found inspiration through others in the community. Somedays, scrolling through Instagram was the only thing that kept me from crying myself to sleep. My specific hope for others, is a solution. Whether it’s better access to healthcare, knowledge and awareness of the disorder, or an ear to talk to. This is why I’ve decided to earn my degree in Medical Management. I hope to place my passion for patient care, interpersonal communication, and financial awareness to work within not only the lymphedema community, but the vast network of chronically ill patients worldwide. It may be a journey, but it’s a journey we walk daily. And we deserve better, I truly believe that.

My words of advice to people struggling to live life with Lymphedema would be to Breathe. It’s okay not to feel okay every now and then, but don’t be too hard on yourself, and definitely don’t be too hard on your affected limb. Your body deserves respect, swollen or not, it is there for you. Seek adventure, seek serenity, and seek joy.

Top “cant live without” Lymphedema materials:

I use my Trigger Point roller almost daily on my leg to push out stubborn lymph within my cells. It’s not the most painless thing, but this in conjunction with my lymph stimulated dry brush before showers keeps my leg from feeling heavy and stiff.

My best Lymphedema tip:

I’ve really gotten into hiking. Living near so many trails is something I’ll never take for granted. From Moab to Yellowstone, my leg always looks and feels better after a weekend of adventure. I’ll also say that, at risk of sounding like a broken lymphedema record, what we put into our bodies greatly affects what our bodies do. It makes sense, right? I’m regularly mindful about what I’m fueling my body with and what it’s telling me it needs. I save the dairy and sugar for special events with family and friends.

 

Where you can find Jasmine:

Instagram: @the_lympfit.life

Contact Us

Chronically Motivated Monaco, 98000. chronicallymotivated@gmail.com

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