5 weeks in Foldi

So my time at the Foldi Clinic has come to an end and I go home tomorrow. I’m excited to be going home after 5 weeks but I’m also nervous. I have worked so hard and achieved a great result – I have lost almost 8 litres of fluid from my legs!!! I’m delighted. But to maintain this I need regular manual lymph drainage massage and bandaging. And this is not available to me, to the level I require, in Ireland. My fellow German lymphoedema sufferers have this treatment twice a week. They get 3 pairs of shoes per year and leave Foldi with all the bandages they need, all financed by their health system. Ireland is far behind this.

Foldiklinik in Germany
Foldi Klinik in Germany

So to maintain as I am, I need to bandage my legs every evening and keep walking. It won’t be easy, as I work full time, but in 5 weeks I have gone from not being able to walk to walking 3 miles yesterday with relative ease. This is amazing and I’m not going back to the way I was. I was really ill all summer, in hospital twice with sepsis but now I feel really good. My doctors here have advised me that this is just step 1 and I still have a lot of fluid in my legs. They want me to return in 6 months or no later than 12 months to further improve. So as soon as I’m home the battle starts again with the HSE to return.

I hope I’m not being too pessimistic here, I don’t mean to be but I do want to highlight the struggles lymphoedema patients face in accessing treatment and compression garments. I have learned that lymphoedema is a life long condition but it can be improved and maintained. 5 weeks in Germany is not easy but I leave here knowing how to bandage myself, 8 litres lighter and with two sets of compression stockings that fit to the millimetre.

Onwards and upwards….until next time.

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