I didn’t have lymphedema, but my grandmother did. I remember being a little girl and wondering why her left arm was larger than her right. I didn’t know until many years later that it was because she had breast cancer. She likely had triple negative breast cancer (like me), but didn’t know the name for it back during her diagnosis in the 50s.
I love finding products that are fashionable AND functional. And nothing makes me happier than chatting with experts who really know their stuff. So for Lymphedema Awareness Month, let’s take a look at one amazing brand and one expert who can help us navigate the often tricky world of lymphedema.
Meet … LympheDIVAS
To me, LympheDIVAS is synonymous with lymphedema. Rachel Troxell and Robin Miller, two young, breast cancer survivors, founded the company after developing lymphedema, a side effect of breast cancer treatment that can cause permanent swelling in the arms.
Their physicians and lymphedema therapists recommended a compression sleeve as the most effective way of controlling the swelling. But when they researched their options, they found the only ones available were rough-textured, heavy, hot, beige and bandage-like. Frustrated and dismayed over the lack of options, Troxell and Miller met with Kristin Dudley, a fashion designer, to discuss their idea of creating a more elegant and comfortable compression sleeve.
Although Miller ultimately left LympheDIVAS in late 2007, Troxell continued building the brand, even after a breast cancer recurrence. Troxell passed on January 22, 2008 at the age of 37, but her determination and compassion to improve the lives of breast cancer survivors and thrivers are ingrained in the spirit of LympheDIVAS today. Troxell’s brother, Josh Levin, and her parents currently run LympheDIVAS. They hope LympheDIVA’S compression apparel will continue to inspire breast cancer survivors everywhere to feel as beautiful, strong and confident as Rachel once did.
And to spread awareness about the side effect, LympheDIVAS created a new, free lymphedema guide offering tips on rash reduction, exercise, and cellulitis, among other concerns.
Meet … Kelli Anderson
As the founder of the Breast Rehabilitation & Lymphedema Healing Center in Westwood, New Jersey, Anderson is one of the top experts on lymphedema. I had the opportunity to chat with her about lymphedema. Check out our interview below: