I’m Angela Marquez, and I beat cervical cancer. As a result of my cancer treatment, I developed lymphedema, an incurable condition that involves chronic swelling—in my case, in my leg. Ask me anything.
I survived surgery, six weeks of chemo and 35 rounds of radiation to beat cancer. Now, 10 years later, I have a disease there’s no cure for. My lymphedema is a direct result of the surgeries and radiation, because doctors had to remove lymph nodes to test for cancer cells, causing my body’s lymphatic drainage system to stop working properly years later. But I made a decision with this disease that I’m not going to let it define who I am. It’s part of my story, it has turned me into an advocate for lymphedema awareness and I don’t let it get in my way. I maintain an active lifestyle and work out every day, which helps with the chronic swelling I have from lymphedema.
More than 10 million people in the U.S. and 250 million people worldwide have lymphedema, but few people know about it. That’s why I’ve decided to share my story—the ups and downs, good days and bad days—to help bring awareness to this hard-to-diagnose chronic illness.
You can read more about my story at https://www.uchealth.org/today/lymphedema-after-cancer/
EDIT: Here at UCHealth we believe in celebrating extraordinary. We think Angela's story is extraordinary and wanted to share it with the world. We are facilitating the r/IAMA on her behalf and she is the one answering. UCHealth is here to help with any medical related questions.
EDIT 2: Thank you all for the questions! You can continue to follow my journey on Instagram @funky_lymphedema