On the day Faye learned she had lymphedema, her doctor told her she may have had it most of her life — possibly since she was a young child. Here is how her diagnosis finally came about: "My husband told the doctor to look at my ankles. I said, 'Some people don't have ankles. That's just how some people are.' The doctor looked at my ankles and said I had lymphedema and sent us to a specialist."
Around the same time Faye learned that she did in fact have ankles hidden beneath the swelling in her legs, a doctor told her she was headed toward congestive heart failure due to excess fluid in her system. Faye was only 66 years old — with a husband, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and a lot left to live for.
After learning this information, Faye wasted no time getting treated for her lymphedema. She began in-clinic therapy in May 2012, just one month after her diagnosis. Treatment included three weeks of daily massage and wrapping by a lymphedema specialist. "It was a two-hour round trip drive for treatment, which was difficult for us, but gradually, the fluid went down little by little," Faye explained. "Eventually, my legs were soft like they should be."
Once treatment results reached a plateau after three weeks of daily therapy, Faye was told that she would need to wear custom hose for the rest of her life and wrap her legs to her hips twice a week, neither of which, according to Faye, was easy. Busy running a farm with her husband, Faye had difficulty incorporating these types of treatments into her lifestyle.
Faye's lymphedema specialist told her about the Flexitouch system, and Faye's husband encouraged her to learn more and get one. "When I went to the clinic to pick up my hose, I got to see another patient using the Flexitouch, and I was sold. I was so impressed by it. When we finally got the Flexitouch, I wished we had gotten it sooner. It really works. It has more than paid for itself."
Faye described how it worked for her: "The Flexitouch is easy to have in the house. It is easy to handle. It is easy to put on. I can put it on and take it off by myself without a problem. It is comfortable. It is like a gentle massage, and I fall asleep using it. It is convenient. But most importantly," continued Faye, "It works so well; it is amazing. I am so amazed and grateful. It is doing its job. I am extremely pleased. You can see the difference. It works. It really works."
Before treatment, Faye's legs were swollen and hard to the touch. She had trouble breathing while lying on her back. She found walking difficult. Even finding clothing that fit and looked good to her was a challenge. "I did not think any kind of therapy would work," said Faye. "B ut, now I can sleep on my back and breathe. I can move around more easily. I feel better. And, most importantly, my blood pressure is better."
Faye's swelling has not increased with the exception of a couple hospital stays when she had to temporarily discontinue her Flexitouch treatment. Both times, she retained fluid until she got home and used the Flexitouch system again. The first time, when her husband was in the hospital for eight days, she stayed with him the whole time and did not use her Flexitouch system. When she returned home, she used the Flexitouch system and "it brought the fluid down right away," according to Faye. Another time, Faye had surgery and used the "little pumps they have at the hospital," said Faye. In just three days in the hospital, Faye gained seven pounds of fluid. Her doctor said she could go back to using Flexitouch when she got home. "The Flexitouch is so gentle — I could use it that soon after surgery. It removed the fluid the hospital's pumps did not, and I got rid of those seven pounds of fluid."
Faye also described a milestone that can be important to anyone with lymphedema in their lower body: "I can cross my legs now! The first time I did, I called my husband and told him, 'I crossed my legs today!'"
"Not only does the Flexitouch really work," Faye said, "we've been extremely pleased with the service." "After I ordered the Flexitouch, I was so impressed with the service," praised Faye. "A product trainer came all the way from St. Louis on a Sunday to bring me my Flexitouch, and she spent an hour showing me how to set it up and use it. She was extremely nice and took her time."
"The product specialist has checked up on me from time to time, too," she continued. "The follow-up has been nice."
The Flexitouch system is intended for use by patients who are under medical supervision for the treatment of lymphedema, primary lymphedema, post mastectomy edema, edema following trauma and sports injuries, post immobilization edema, venous insufficiencies, reducing wound healing time, and treatment and assistance in healing stasis dermatitis, venous stasis ulcers, or arterial and diabetic leg ulcers. The Flexitouch system should not be used if you have pulmonary edema, thrombophlebitis, congestive heart failure, deep vein thrombosis, episodes of pulmonary embolism, infections and inflammations, acute cancer, or conditions in which increased venous and lymphatic return is undesirable. The Flexitouch trunk accessory should not be used during pregnancy.