“Compression? It’s as much part of my life as brushing my teeth!”
Travelling is her great passion: Lipoedema patient Melanie Brem uses all her spare time to explore the world. She always keeps her compression products in her luggage.
Professionally, Melanie Brem scrutinises figures as a tax consultant and, in her spare time, she loves to experience the beauty of nature. Melanie loves to travel. On her Instagram account, she takes her followers with her on her travel adventures. She is 36 years old, suffers from lipoedema and always takes her compression treatment with her. In a medi interview, she reports on how she continues to have adventures despite this condition and successfully uses compression to cope with travel on an everyday basis.
Ms Brem, let’s turn the clock back to your lipoedema diagnosis. How did you feel about it?
I was diagnosed lipo-lymphoedema at the age of 15. I wasn’t really entirely sure what this meant at the beginning. Of course I knew about compression stockings – but that was the extent of my knowledge in this field. Then the turning point came: As an adult I lost over 30 kilos without my legs getting any slimmer. I took charge of things myself and learned more about my body and lipoedema.”
How else do you support your therapy?
“I exercise very regularly. Aqua jogging is great fun for me and I love exercising outdoors in the fresh air. In my job I’m normally sitting at a desk. So, in my leisure time, I need a good balance. I make sure to eat as healthily as possible.”
Travelling is your great passion: How do you manage with compression when you are travelling?
“Compression is now as much part of my life as brushing my teeth. Even when I’m travelling. I can only cope with long flights in particular thanks to my compression treatment. On the arrival and departure days I often wear the stockings for more than 30 hours in one go – and also for as long as possible when I get to my travel destination. Depending on the climate and the schedule, that’s sometimes not always very easy. But it does my legs the world of good: The difference between “with” and “without” stockings is absolutely huge!”
Compression stockings should be washed on a daily basis. How do you manage this when you are travelling?
“To be honest: It’s not always possible for me to wash my compression stockings every day when I’m travelling. Sometimes we stay in one location for only one or two nights. If this is the case, I’ll wear a pair for two days in succession as an exception, rather than not wear them at all. But I always have several pairs of stockings with me, so I can stay flexible. It’s also important to plan a fixed time for laundry on every trip. Then it’s really easy to manage.”
Do you also wear the compression products during long hiking expeditions?
“Definitely! One total exception was a trip to the jungle in Costa Rica. The air humidity is so high there that after going to the jungle toilet just once, I just couldn’t position the stockings correctly again. But that happens only very rarely.”
What travel tips do you have for other lipoedema patients?
“Wear your compression products as often as possible! Stay active: Hiking, swimming, have adventures. It’s good for your body and soul! This also fits in with my motto: It’s not that we don’t have enough time. It’s only that we don’t use the time enough.”
What has been your best travel experience to date?
“Every country has been a special experience for me so far. The trip to Costa Rica was a dream come true for me. Without knowing very much about it, the country had fascinated me for years – and I absolutely loved it when I went. Our trip to South Africa was also amazing!”
What message do you have for other oedema patients?
“Keep going: I know what it is like when, despite physiotherapy, regular exercise and a healthy diet, you hardly experience any changes in weight or circumference. But our real success is to manage the condition and stop it from progressing. You should absolutely wear your compression and keep trying. You owe it to yourself!”
Ms Brem, thank you for the interview.