I suffer from a disease/disorder called Lymphedema. It started when I was around 10, and sprained my ankle. The swelling never went down. Then I sprained my other ankle and that swelling never went down. When I was younger it was more controllable - obviously I weighed less and was more active on a daily basis. However, now I am pushing 40 and the swelling is getting worse - almost on a daily basis.
For those of you who have had children and have had swelling at the very end of your pregnancy - imagine that feeling, that pain, that frustration, every moment of every day. Imagine not being able to wear cute shoes because they don't make shoes wide enough for your fluctuating feet. That is my life every day.
The hardest part is that people don't understand me. They want me to go to doctors (who prescribe lasik, which makes edema worse - this isn't water, it is lymph fluid that isn't moving around my body well) and then they want me to see specialists that aren't covered by insurance. I looked at a compression stocking yesterday that was recommended online. It isn't covered by insurance and costs $750. My monthly lymphatic massages cost $140 out of pocket, and I really need to be having them weekly for it to make a difference.
Fortunately, this is a disease that is growing in "popularity" so there is more research being done. However, there is no cure. The best I can do is "manage" it. Which is why I am constantly trying to eat healthier, stay away from sugar and soda, do yoga and exercise, etc. It's not from vanity, it is from necessity. Because I am only almost 40 and if it is this bad now, imagine what another 40 years is going to do to me.