yoocan - Lauren Toner - My Beef and Chicken Legs: Life with Congenital Lymphoedema

My Beef and Chicken Legs: Life with Congenital Lymphoedema

חסר תרגום בשפה עברית. מוצגת שפה אנגלית

Lauren Toner

How they Turned me into Successful Writer!

I've not always had the best relationship with my legs. I suppose I've always thought myself 'lucky' to not have it worse!

I suffer with a condition that is twice as common as Parkinson's, affects thousands of cancer survivors and we are affectionately known by each other as 'Lymphies'. I have Congenital Lymphoedema in my left leg and have had since the age of 12. This could spread bi-lateral or up my side in the future. Essentially my lymphatic system doesn't drain fluid correctly leaving my limb permanently swollen to twice the size of my 'normal' or functioning limb. 

I was so bored of struggling with finding clothing and shoes that were flattering or fitted correctly that I set up a group called Lymphoedema Fashion to connect with other Lymphies to swap clothing ideas! This spread to me then setting up a blog... Lymphasion was born!


My blog started as Lymphoedema Fashion. I then shortened it to Lymphasion to show how Lymphoedema fashions our lives.  I started by telling my life and situations I found myself in. However, as my career as a teacher took up more of my time, my blog posts became sporadic. The focus became treatments and clothing choices... especially for holidays! 

I try to ensure my blog posts remain upbeat and inspiring as that's how I try to live! I'm a determined person. I won't allow my condition to stop me. I go to the gym and lift weights, I swim, I've travelled, I've chosen my career paths and even taken pole dancing lessons! But I'm not allowed to run as my vessels are too weak to take the impact! I try to dole out what I've learned the hard way over the last 18 years to stop at least one person having to suffer in the same way as me!

I hid beneath trousers and maxi dresses for so long. I don't want a young girl's hopes of dressing in pretty short dresses and pretty shoes to be dashed due to her condition. I now show off my Lymphie limb proudly along with the bandages needed to control the swelling to show it is possible to take ownership of the condition and dress how you want regardless of the size difference. If I can inspire one person to not feel as rubbish or alone, then I've been successful.

But it's ugly...

When I was younger, I hated my condition. It was ugly, the treatments were ugly, it spoiled my teenage years. BUT Now... it's beautiful. I'm proud of my beef leg. It stands for my inner strength, my solid self esteem that has been built slowly over the years, it represents that nobody is normal despite first appearance. But best of all... it really represents all the incredible individuals I've met from the Lymphoedema community. Some of us have met up in real life, some I've yet to meet. Our bond is so strong. Some of my closest friends are those with the condition. I would truly be nothing without this amazing hidden community! Hidden in depths just like our limbs beneath the wide leg trousers and maxi skirts! 

If I leave you with one thought... the next time you see someone with large legs or arms... think back to this article!

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