LIFE

Hairstylist Wakes Up To Leg Swollen Like A Balloon, But Doctors Are Baffled When It Gets Bigger

by Barbara Diamond
Barbara is a passionate writer and animal lover who has been professionally blogging for over 10 years and counting.

While her twenty-something peers were dating and socializing, Roseanne Smith of Plato, Texas had locked herself away from the world.

That’s because, at the age of 18, she woke up to a horrible sight — her right ankle and foot was swollen to the point she could no longer look down and see her toes. And it happened without any warning or explanation.

Despite the fact her leg continued to grow larger and heavier, Roseanne’s other leg remained skinny. Doctors had no idea what was causing her limb to swell up like a “tree trunk” or “elephant’s leg.”

Not only did her condition cause physical discomfort and immobility, but it also ruined Roseanne’s personal life.

She was ridiculed and mocked, and strangers would constantly stare at her leg. It also prevented her from dating, as men who would otherwise be interested in her turned her away when they saw one of her legs was so much bigger than the other.

Roseanne grew more and more insecure as doctors still couldn’t solve her problem — until she noticed a newspaper article about a young ballerina who suffered from the same thing…

Roseanne Smith  is a 54-year-old hairstylist from Plano, Texas. For most of her life, she has battled an incurable condition that is both physically and emotionally crippling.

When Roseanne was 18, she woke up one morning to find her right angle and foot swollen to the point she couldn’t see her foot. It happened suddenly and without warning.

Doctors couldn’t figure out why one of Roseanne’s legs was growing larger and heavier while the other remained skinny.

“It looked like a tree trunk,” she said. “When comparing both limbs it was like looking at an elephant’s leg and one of a bird.”

In the mid 80s, Roseanne read a newspaper article about a ballerina who suffered from the same condition. This finally led Roseanne to uncovering her diagnosis of lymphedema.

Lymphedema is an incurable condition in which lymphatic fluids build in the arms, legs, face or hands, causing them to swell to large proportions.

Roseanne’s condition got so bad that she had trouble walking and staying mobile. She also had to completely change her wardrobe and find clothing big enough to fit her leg.

Not only did lymphedema cause Roseanne physical discomfort and immobility, but it also ruined her personal life. She was so embarrassed by her large limb that she tried everything she could to hide her led underneath her clothes.

Roseanne spent her 20s and 30s isolating herself from the world. Men, who would otherwise want to date her, would lose interest when they saw her leg.

“Everywhere I would go people would stare, point, whisper and make cruel comments, they would call me ‘the girl with the big leg,’ which made me feel very sensitive and insecure.”

In the United States, lymphedema affects more than 121,000 people.

If untreated, lymphedema can lead to serious infections, amputation and even death.

After nearly two years of fundraising for a new type of treatment, Roseanne flew to South Korea to visit Dr. Shim. In April 2016, she had 30 pints of lymphatic fluid drained from her leg and stem cells injected to restart her lymphatic system. She now receives monthly injections that have already reduced her leg by half its size!

For the first time in more than two decades, Roseanne is able to walk without dragging her larger limb. She hopes her leg will soon return to its normal size.

Meet Roseanne in the video below, and please SHARE her story with your friends on Facebook.

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