A Texas woman who was born with a rare disorder that has caused her leg to swell so large that she can no longer wear pants has refused to let it cause her shame. Ada Thompson, 38, said she hopes her positive attitude helps others to find happiness.
“I sing, I dance, I turn my music on and I’m all around the apartment dancing because my situation could be worse,” Thompson, who was diagnosed with primary lymphedema, told Barcroft TV.
Thompson’s disorder has affected her entire right side of the body, although it is most apparent in her right leg.
“You can get it further on in life — me I was born with it,” she told the news outlet. “It’s where you may have a blockage or damage to your lymphatic system. My mother, when I was little, she took me to all kinds of doctors’ offices trying to get me answers and try to get help to where I just kept on and kept on, never giving up but the condition has worsened over the years.”
Thompson said her weight has ballooned to 460 pounds due to the disorder, which is estimated to affect 1 in 6,000 people. The most common symptom is swelling or puffiness in different parts of the body, which can cause tightness or discomfort. The skin in affected areas may also become abnormally dry, thickened or scaly, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders.
Surgery, compression garments and other alternative therapies are typical options given to patients.
There is no cure for the disorder, but Thompson did undergo surgery when she was 19 to remove a grapefruit-sized mass from her leg. Initially, the procedure improved her mobility, but eventually, the effects wore off, according to Barcroft TV.
“It is a struggle,” she told the news outlet. “Sometimes I have a walker. I have my good days and I have my bad days. When I have a pretty difficult day, I have my electric chair. I hope I can inspire others with lymphedema, don’t give up on yourself. It’s a struggle but you just have to toughen up, get up and slay em.”