Hello, my name is Philippa Laughton

Hello, my name is Philippa Laughton
and I have primary lymphoedema.

I would have been born with lymphoedema

but it didn't show until I was 12 years
old when my right leg swelled up.

At the time I didn't get any diagnosis

and then when I was 30,
my left leg swelled up.

I have lymphoedema because I don't have
lymph vessels that work in my legs

and as a consequence of that
my legs are swollen.

It can also affect people
in different parts of the body

but in my case
I don't have the lymph vessels,

therefore, my legs swell up.

I didn't have any treatment at all until
I was in my 30s and been diagnosed.

The treatment consisted
of multi-layered bandaging

which involves intensive treatment
over two weeks.

It's a bit like
a figure-of-eight type of bandaging.

That was combined
with some massage too.

The effect of that was to considerably
reduce the swelling in both my legs,

and what I have to do now is to continue
to wear the compression stockings

and that has kept the swelling at
the size it was when they finished

the multi-layered bandaging treatment.

And it's been fantastic,
it's made a huge difference.

I just, I think, have to be careful
in terms of making any adjustments

because of primary lymphoedema.

The biggest problem really
is appearance, footwear, clothes,

but apart from that,
I try to just carry on as normal.

It is a bit of an inconvenience.
Certain things are difficult.

For example, aeroplane journeys don't
actually do my feet much good at all,

but I've never let it stop me
going on long-haul flights

or doing anything like that.

In terms of managing my condition
long-term,

the main thing is that I wear
the compression stockings daily.

Also, I do need to be careful to avoid
cellulitis. It means that I have to be

scrupulously careful about my skin care
to ensure I don't get infections.

The advice and support I've received
both through the hospital treatments

that I've had and through the
Lymphoedema Support Network

has really given me more confidence to
understand how to manage my condition.

For example, the first and only time
I had cellulitis,

I actually had no idea
what was happening to me

and I hadn't got access before then
to any information to help me.

Now I'm much more aware
of what I need to be looking after,

what I need to do,
because at the end of the day,

a lot of the treatment
is about self-help,

and the Lymphoedema Support Network
helps me with that self-help.

If somebody's looking at this
and has been recently diagnosed

or is wondering whether they've got
lymphoedema, my advice would be,

don't let it spoil
what you want to do in your life.

It is something that you can manage,

you do need to be careful,

you do need to find
the information that's on

the Lymphoedema Support Network
website, and ensure you get treatment.

But at the end of the day,
it's not a life-threatening condition

and, actually, I always reckon

it's never really stopped me
doing anything I wanted to do,

and I've had it since childhood.