Didi Won’t Let Lymphedema Hold Her Down

Didi is an athlete and had always dreamed of becoming a model ever since she was a child. But when lymphedema developed in her left leg at the age of 12, she felt like it could be an obstacle in pursuing her dreams. However, Didi refused to let it hold her down and pushed herself to achieve more than she thought possible. Read her story below.*

*This is a personal report of the patient and does not necessarily reflect the knowledge of JOBST or the current state of science. Always seek advice from a Healthcare Professional if you experience any symptoms.

“Who's a model who's got my condition? No one.”

It took doctors a while to make the right diagnosis. When Didi finally learned that she had been living with lymphedema, she thought she would have to give up on her modeling dreams. But her determination to succeed overcame her self-doubt. Today, she is a successful athlete, a professional model and a vocal advocate for lymphedema awareness, particularly amongst young people. "If other people know that there's a young person out there showing that they can live their life and not let their condition stop them, then they will do the same and then they can achieve whatever goals or dreams they want to have.”

Get the Right Diagnosis

If you recognize signs and symptoms similar to Didi’s, please seek advice fom a Healthcare Professional to initiate the right treatment. For now, we have some helpful information available about the existing condition and their potential treatment.

“I've come to the realization that this is part of who I am and I need to love it as much as I do everything else.”

Didi, how would you describe lymphedema?

“It's really hard to describe the pain in my leg, because it's not a normal pain. It's really weird. It's not like a stabbing pain, sometimes it's normal achiness, but the worst for me is a throbbing sort of pain as if all of a sudden I just need to stop. (…) It's like when you are at the end of a race and you are at that last bit and you're trying to push, push, push and your legs feel like they can't push anymore, because there's this sensation that comes up in your legs that kind of just forces you to slow down. That's how I describe it. But 10 times over.”

How does it impact your everyday life?

“I feel very exhausted all the time because I feel like I'm putting extra energy into everything I do. I do athletics, so what I'm putting into my left leg is double the amount of energy and effort that I'm putting into my right. It's very hard to keep up with everybody. I also get pain throughout my leg, which kind of varies from a numbness or achiness to a throbbing sort of pain. And it's quite hard for me to sleep. It's hard for me to sometimes stay still. It's just quite uncomfortable to be dealing with 24/7 because there's always something that I'm feeling in my leg.”

How do you manage your condition?

“When I hit 16, 17, I just stopped wearing compression because I thought, oh, nothing's helping. (…) But I started caring about my health again. (…) So I aim to wear them every day as much as I can. And I have a nighttime compression I wear as well. And when I have time I put my [adjustable compression] wrap on as well. So three different types of compression that I use daily, at least one of them daily, to try and make sure that I'm promoting that lymph fluid to move up.”

How do you feel about your leg?

“I didn't really have a lot of love for my leg. I would kind of detach it from me. I would sort of think that's not part of me. (…) But now I've come to the realization that obviously this is a part of me, this is part of who I am and I need to love it as much as I do everything else. And if anyone tries to say otherwise, then look that's their problem.”

Learn from Their Experience – Join the LymphCare Community

Whether you have lymphedema or lipedema, whether you’re looking for your first compression garment or a better one, others who have been there before can help. Learn more about selecting the right compression, get expert advice and meet the growing community on LymphCare.

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