“My motto: Listen to your body and look after it well.”

Rieky van Elk, lymphoedema patient

Rieky van Elk

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. I developed lymphoedema in my right arm after the treatment. I stood in front of the mirror after the fifth and sixth sessions of my chemotherapy and it was then that I noticed the change for the first time: My right elbow was thick and swollen. The people treating me were of the opinion that the chemotherapy needed to be completed before the oedema could be treated. I only found out at a much later stage that measures would have needed to have been taken immediately. So, I initially bandaged myself.

I have been wearing a mediven 550 Arm in the daytime for eight years and, in the evenings, I now change to adaptive compression garments. This means that I wear compression garments 24 hours a day. From the beginning, I was pragmatic and said to myself: ‘You need them, so you have to wear them.’ Most of the time I wear the wonderful medi colours; I match them to my outfit and get lots of positive feedback about it. My motto: Listen to your body and look after it well. Talk to people about your condition and focus on the positive things in life.”