Lymphedema From An Insect Bite

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Lymphedema From An Insect Bite

Postby patoco » Wed Jun 21, 2006 6:48 pm

Lymphedema From An Insect Bite

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Lymphedema Limited to Cancer Patients?

She Got Lymphedema from an Insect Bite

January 24, 2005

Reported by Shelley Brown

Imagine fluid buildup so bad in your arm or leg, it looks like a balloon. Some breast cancer patients, for example, experience this in their arms after lymph nodes in that part of the body are removed, but lymphedema is not limited to cancer patients.

SueElla Doucet of Dequincy knows about the disease all too well, and she's never had cancer. She went from looking healthy at age 23 to obese. "I gained 100 pounds in just a few months," said Doucet. What she thought was a rash from a mosquito bite quickly turned out to be something much more serious, and painful. Doucet said, "it looked like red balloons around my ankles."

In 2000, Doucet was told she had lymphedema in her legs and lower abdomen, four years after fluid started building up in her left leg, causing it to swell incredibly. "It's gross, and people look at you differently," said Doucet.

For four years SueElla says she was misdianosed with cellulitis until doctors came to the conclusion she had lymphedema, a problem where lmyph fluid cannot circulate in the body. "My current doctor told me that it was my sleep apnea, and that it could have been an imbalance in my oxygen levels that helped bring it on, and also, that my grandmother has had the same thing," said Doucet.

Doctors believe SueElla's lmpyhedema, unlike cancer patients, is hereditary. Her grandmother had to have both of her legs amputated because of it. "I can't even go down the steps. I fell down the steps on Saturday, and I do fall a lot. I have no balance because I have so much fluid in my leg." said Doucet.

Now 32-years-old, SueElla's life has changed dramatically. This once healthy, active young woman, who worked as a massage therapist, is now homebound and unable to work. Doctors say if her case gets any worse, she could even face leg amputation. Doucet said, "doctors think that if I get the excess weight off, that it's going to help the fluid go down more, but they've told me it's not a cure."

SueElla Doucet weighed close to 400 pounds in November. Over the last few months, she has lost about 70 pounds. Doctors say she is on the right track, and Doucet is hoping to lose even more weight with lap band surgery sometime in February.
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