In 2002, while pregnant with her son, Colleen Davis’ left lower leg began to swell. The doctors that she went to first explained the swelling and enlargement as pregnancy swelling and would go away with the birth of her son. Many thought she had tumor or even a blocked vein that was causing the continuous swelling of the leg. Unhappy with the various opinions from other doctors Colleen and her family met with Dr. Probstfeld, a Vascular Surgeon, who, after some research, finally diagnosed Colleen’s condition as Primary Lymphedema. From that point on Colleen’s life was turned upside down as there very few treatment options available. What was made clear, was that unlike tumors which can be removed, or vein blockages that can be unblocked, there is no cure for Lymphedema. There is however, only various types of treatment that focuses on reducing the swelling and controlling the pain. The most common type of treatments are manual lymph drainage (MLD) or complete decongestive therapy (CDT). Most of these treatments, if began at the very onset of the swelling, can help in the control and maintaining of lymphedema. However, when the diagnosis goes on for so long that the affected limb cannot be treated, the lymphedema can become extreme. Once the lymphedema has achieved this state, it becomes quiet difficult, if not nearly impossible to control, let alone maintain.
The biggest issue facing those that live with lymphedema is not necessarily the lack of proper diagnosis, proper treatment, and proper therapy. Many times insurance is unwilling or unable to address the long term needs of those that suffer from this condition and those that suffer from Lymphedema are straddled with these ongoing and heavy bills.
The Davis Lymphedema Fund was established to address those issues. It is devoted to addressing, educating and providing funding and relief to individuals who have been stricken with the debilitating condition of Primary Lymphedema. It is the focus of the Davis Lymphedema Fund to help secure their livelihood through the provision of needed funds, equipment and therapy to help those affected achieve a higher quality of life.