Next month will be three years to the day that we last spoke with Alexa Ercolano, a lymphedema advocate and friend of Devon Medical Products, (she uses our Circuflow pump!) so we thought now would be a better time than any to see how she’s been doing and what she’s been up to. Since 2012, her Lymphie Life blog has grown immensely and the tight-knit community that she’s created has garnered her tons of attention on social media, including over 1000 likes on her Facebook page. “It doesn’t seem like a lot,” she said modestly, but when you’re a niche blog about a little known medical condition, it’s a pretty big deal!”
If you didn’t read our blog in 2012, don’t worry, we’ll catch you up. Alexa was diagnosed with lymphedema, a painful and chronic condition usually characterized by unusual swelling, when she was about fourteen years old. She later found out she had been suffering since infancy after a cast that had been applied too tightly ended up damaging her lymphatic system. She started her Lymphie Life blog in 2011 in a last ditch effort to pull herself from the depths of depression, substance abuse, and an eating disorder after the initial diagnosis devastated her. But now at age 24, the Maryland resident, looks back on it wishing she could give her 14-year-old self a huge pep talk.
“I think the thing I would stress the most is that having lymphedema does not make me less worthwhile of a person, or mean that I am unloveable,” Ercolano said.
“I’d also remind myself that people can be ignorant, so don’t take it personally when they make rude comments or jokes about my leg. My health and well-being are worth way more than getting caught up in any of that pettiness,” she exclaimed.
For someone with such a positive attitude, Ercolano still gets frustrated with her condition from time to time, mainly with the overall lack of awareness that she still feels exists within the medical community about lymphedema.
“My doctors simply had no idea what lymphedema was, let alone what it looked like. Unfortunately, my story isn’t unique; I can’t tell you how many emails and comments I get from people sharing similar experiences,” Ercolano said.
It’s frustrating, and I hope that it changes soon. I think education, visibility, and awareness are vital—we need to continue having conversations about lymphedema, get our voices out there!”
But for now, while the medical community continues to work with lymphedema patients like her, Ercolano is going to continue to spread her message of awareness and total self-love.
“Do not allow your bad days to influence the way that you see yourself,” Ercolano said. For her, it’s a matter of practicing good self-care that gets her through the rough patches with her condition.
“Sometimes that means putting my feet up after a long day or doing an extra manual lymph drainage massage, but other times it means painting my toes a bright shade of red or taking the time to moisturize with my favorite lotion,” Ercolano said.
“Consistently wearing my compression garments and using my compression pump are incredibly important, but it’s doing these little things that really help me feel good and to approach my lymphedema from a place of love rather than resentment,” she added.
“Yes, we have lymphedema, but that’s not changing. What can change, though, is the way we treat ourselves.”
For more information on Alexa visit her blog or follow her on social media. For more information on lymphedema or how you can get involved visit the National Lymphedema Network. If you are suffering from lymphedema and would like more information about our CircuFlow compression therapy devices, contact our team today at 866-446-0092.