Monday, September 9, 2013

The Return to Health: Compression Socks

I've joined the club...what club you ask?  The club of runners with brightly colored knee socks.  You know you've seen them, usually bright green or pink, like the 80's meets Catholic School Uniform.  Yup, I've joined the compression sock club...and these aren't your Grandma's compression socks.

The reason why is that I was having a hard time seeing my knees.  Yes, my knees.  I'd find by the end of the day my legs were so swollen that my knee caps seemed to disappear.  My oncologist warned this could happen and I was definitely on the look out.  After breaking down into tears upon trying on shorts for the summer, I decided to do a little something about it.  I was worried about Lymphedema so I emailed a high school friend who is currently a Physical Therapist specializing in Lymhedema.

From Cancer.Net:

Lymphedema is swelling, caused by the buildup of lymph in the tissues. Lymph is the fluid that carries immune cells (mostly lymphocytes) throughout the body. It is similar to a "highway" for your immune system. Tiny, bean-shaped organs called lymph nodes make lymph and filter bacteria and other harmful substances. They can be compared to "rest stops" for your immune cells. When the lymph nodes are removed, there is a backup of lymph into the surrounding tissues. Lymphedema can be very uncomfortable and sometimes painful. It can also delay the healing of wounds and raise the risk of infection near the swelling.

During my 2nd surgery, lymph nodes in my groin and upper stomach were removed to help prevent the spread of cancer.  My friend quickly wrote back to me with a lot of information and advice.  From what she said about Lymphedema and some of my research, I came to the conclusion that I might be overreacting a bit (me...never!). Many cancer survivors suffer from painful Lymphedema that is much worse than what I am currently experiencing. It would be good to take some preventative steps against the swelling that was occurring.

The minute I put on the compression socks, I could feel the difference.  I bought them after a long day of wedding dress shopping with my sister and the relief was immediate.  I wear them to run as they are supposed to fight fatigue and speed up muscle recovery.  But I also throw them on after a long day on my feet, especially if I'm not wearing the most supportive of shoes. I got these from Dick's Sporting Goods, they only had pink but I see on the website that I am going to have to order the Teal!

I am glad to say that for the most part, the tree trunk knees are gone.  Hopefully through more fitness and exercise, I can love my legs again!    

Side Note:  I will be rocking these socks THIS SUNDAY at the 12th Annual Caring Together Ovarian Cancer 5K run / walk in Albany's Washington Park.  If you'd like to make a donation or join "Team Kelly" check it out here:

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