Recent journals published by jtg inspired me to share my relationship with venous stasis skin ulcers caused by lymphedema on my lower legs. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve included a GoFundMe link at the end, to help get my vehicle back on the road, but that’s not my primary reason for posting. I just want people to know that they are not alone if they are suffering from the same type of thing, and that they are not like me, and seek help as soon as possible after an injury. This is also my first attempt to post anything, so please be indulgent with the reviews.

My story begins on a Friday in May 2000, when Sherman, my best friend in the world, a black cat, decided that morning to bite my ankle. Lots of blood, but once I washed it off it seemed to be done, and I chose not to dress it with any kind of bandage or antibiotic stuff. The rest of the day he escaped clear fluid from the area, but that still didn’t prompt me to dress him or see a doctor. and then when I got home and went to bed, I put the undressed spot on the same corner of the bed where my boyfriend was still sleeping.

The next morning there was no more oozing, but I had a bit of pain above my foot, I just attributed it to the loss of fluids and continued with my day. Sunday arrived and the leg was hot, and more painful to walk. Monday still warm and I knew something needed to be done, so I took some Neosporin type stuff and I finally got my bandages around. Sure, he was infected, but the Neosporin thing seemed to cure him, so I didn’t go to a Dr.

A few years later, the leg is obviously growing, but I didn’t mind. I took trips to 4 different doctors over the next 4-5 years, all of whom blamed the swelling in my legs on my weight and nothing else. All they managed to do was check me off, especially since I didn’t have health insurance at the time (the weight was a pretty disqualifying factor).

Around 2007 the leg started to ooze some fluid, but far from the original injury, I believe it was from the swelling, the skin eventually broke. Around this time, dad developed some kind of leg injury and went to a doctor (he also had no insurance, but his girlfriend did). I actually didn’t have a sore yet, but our other symptoms were similar, so he was careful what they gave him, and we got the same kind of bandage (thanks internet shopping) for me. I developed another infection around this time and found a doctor who was willing to give me antibiotics and was not so quick to blame just my weight for the problems. I was now learning that the fluid (lymphatic fluid) that was flowing out was very corrosive and was slowly breaking down the skin on my leg, which caused the injury that is there now.

Well Dad passed away in March 2009 from a problem unrelated to the leg injury, and I was in decline for a lot longer than I thought I just didn’t realize. I started taking the antibiotic my dad was taking (different from mine, besides the one I was already taking), and started to feel better again, so I continued on this diet. At the beginning of June 2009, the pharmacy realized that dad was no longer alive and would not complete the script for this drug, so I had to stop. Last week of June 2009, I was in such bad shape that I couldn’t get to our store to get it working, and I called the doctor that daddy and I had shared, to ask if he could. prescribe me, the same doctor papa had taken. I believe I received them on the last Monday in June and started taking them.

On this Friday July 2, I was well enough to go do some shopping. On my second stop, which was to refuel, I looked down and was standing in a puddle of blood. Keep in mind that at this point I still had no insurance. I had ordered a pizza before I got out of my vehicle at the gas station, so I called the pizzeria to see if they could bring it to me when I got there, and took it to the park to eat. and assess the situation. Fortunately, I had stopped bleeding. I called a few relatives and ignored their advice (GO TO HOSPITAL) and went home. Curiosity got the better of me, so I took the bandages off my leg and it started to bleed again. This time I did what I really didn’t want to do and called an ambulance. They took me to a small local hospital, then transferred me to a larger one in a nearby town.

The 2 hours after I got there were sheer hell, even with at least 2 doses of morphine. The initial wound cleansing, I have no words to describe how bad it was. I was there for a week before I was released and started a dressing change program at my local hospital. In December 2009, I again found myself unresponsive to antibiotics and was thrown into this city hospital again. This time for 2 weeks. When I came back, since I couldn’t pay the first PT round at this local hospital, they dropped me off, so I went to the hospital the same distance in the opposite direction to where I was living, to get treatment. I got there a little better, with daily dressing changes and a weekly trip to the wound clinic, but they also dropped me off around Labor Day 2010.

Finally, in May 2011, I entered Medicaid, in part thanks to the expansion that has occurred under the ACA. I was a little upset that 2 hospitals were ditching me, so I got some dressing supplies through a prescription from my new doctor (actually an NP) and made the dressing changes myself . This continued until October 2012, when one night while I was doing my dressing change, I was bleeding again. I bit the bullet and went to the emergency room. A day or two later, I went to my NP, as requested by the ER. And now that I had insurance, we could do a little more stuff. But, somewhere along the way (right before or right after Dad passed away) I had developed another injury on the other leg.

We had been quite successful in reducing the size of the injuries. With trained staff cleaning wounds and changing dressings (the cleaning was nowhere near as bad as the first time around), and a dedicated nurse practitioner who stays on top of cultures and then prescribes medication. We actually healed one leg and the other looked good making some big gains as well. But, around March or April 2014, my NP decided to come back to Minnesota to be closer to his family, so I got a new NP.

The new NP wasn’t too crazy about the use of antibiotics. She prescribed when I obviously had a problem, but there were times I had to beg for a crop before it happened. Suddenly, I regressed a bit. In May 2015, I found myself returning to the wound clinic.

Fast forward to the end of 2021. The sores don’t necessarily diminish, but Dr Wound Dr and most nurses I meet keep saying that there is new skin growth and good ‘granulation’ in the wound bed, and that’s what keeps me going.

A new challenge presented itself towards the end of September. My vehicle broke down on my way to the wound clinic. Although Medicaid pays for transportation to and from all appointments, the transportation companies are not as reliable as I was before my vehicle broke down. I missed 4 appointments because a transport company was not present for one reason or another. Of course, I intentionally skipped a few, due to a shortage of dressing supplies (any other issue, don’t go into that here) or a vacation that even though I drove myself, I didn’t. would not have been paid for the mileage, so I decided not to risk hoping for a ride to be disappointed. For now, I also have to ask the drivers a favor, in order to do the grocery shopping, as I don’t have an exemption for non-medical travel, and it turns out that there is a waiting list of 2 years for this exemption.

Which brings me to why I decided to include the previous paragraph. I have set up a GoFundMe to raise money to fix my vehicle, and I would really appreciate you taking a look, and if you feel obligated to contribute. Sharing on any social media platform you participate in would also be helpful. The link is:

Thanks for the reading.

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