Girl Under Pressure: Chronically Motivated For Change

I am extremely conscious of how my LE journey affects others who live with the same condition.

I am not ‘The Face of Lymphedema’. I am literally one face in the millions of people who live with this condition around the globe. My story, feelings, challenges, successes and perspective will not represent yours. It’s impossible to comment on someone else journey because you don’t know how they live their life or the obstacles and challenges they face every day in managing this condition. No-one can truly understand the extent to which you fight against this condition unless they live with you 24/7 and observe this on a first-hand basis.

Sharing my story was not always this easy. In the beginning, I was ashamed, I hid my leg, I felt awfully miserable and hopeless. There was no way anyone would ever catch a glimpse of my compression garment if I could help it! One day, I was contacted by a media outlet to share my story after I had my first surgery (the lymph node transfer). This was at a time when I was starting to speak out more about lymphedema using a somewhat anonymous Instagram page (that none of my family or friends knew about!) The second my story was published, it went worldwide and into millions of computer screens for people to see my most inner secret: lymphedema. I spent a good couple of days feeling physically sick and crying- what had I actually done?! How could I have revealed myself so publically?! Now I would forever be branded as a freak show!

Long story short: It was totally worth it.

The emails I received and the overwhelming response of relief from the people who read my story and realised they were not alone- WOW! Talk about a gratitude party in my heart! It inspired me to keep talking about LE publically and to break the stigma that existed in my own mind of this condition.

I push for progress and awareness by sharing my story. I push for a better understanding of what lymphedema is and the range of people it affects. We are not defined by one type of group in the community- lymphedema can happen to anyone!!

Chronically motivated for a change…

If you feel that you cannot relate to my story, then I totally support you.

What I do hope you can someday relate to is the spirit in which I live with LE. I have overcome some pretty big obstacles mentally and physically to get to where I am today. My leg used to be twice the size it is today and it was only through a lot of hard work, blood (literally) sweat and tears that I got to where I am today. My leg is far from perfect and I don’t ever pretend that it is. I have lymphedema, forever, full stop!

Girl Under Pressure is a series of photos that aims to break the negative psychological pressures of those with LE that are directly linked to the physical side-effects of the condition. The physical manifestations of lymphedema can severely affect peoples quality of life, their perceptions related to body image, appearance and sexuality. It can be deeply distressing for many people and lead to negative self-identity, social isolation and depression.

This photo shoot aims to break all those pressures and replace them with a new sense of self: confident, motivated, free and powerful in the face of a chronic condition.

I remember the pain these pressures caused me in the past and it’s precisely this that motivates me to speak out, take my clothes off and hang out in a junkyard in my compression garment for your viewing pleasure!

Sarah x

You can see the whole photo shoot here at My Lymph.

Lymphedema photo 7a

Lymphedema photo 5