A mother-of-two says a painful condition that has made her leg swell up to three times its original size has robbed her of her love life. Lisanne Casalinuovo said it has also left her bedridden at times and avoids dating because she's too self-conscious of her huge limb. The 56-year-old has lymphedema – a swelling caused by blocked lymph vessels – which developed after a fall 67 years ago. The drastic size of her right leg has made it nearly impossible for her to exercise or even find clothes that are able to fit over both of her legs. Lisanne, from New Jersey, said: 'I don't have any kind of love life. Like zero. I don't date, I wouldn't.
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Even if somebody looked at me I would think they are looking at me because of my huge leg. Lisanne Casalinuovo, 57, from New Jersey, is too self-conscious of her leg to date anyoneShe's suffered with lymphedema for 67 years after breaking her knee cap in a fallThe swelling caused by blocked lymph vessels and condition can be hereditary'When my leg is wrapped, people constantly come up to me and ask, What did you do? Did you break your leg? How did you break your leg? 'I've actually gotten to a point where I lie because it's gotten so old. If it's in the winter, I would say I was skiing. 'Lymphedema refers to swelling that generally occurs in one of your arms or legs. Sometimes both arms or both legs swell. It results from a blockage in your lymphatic system, which is part of your immune system. The blockage prevents lymph fluid from draining well, and the fluid buildup leads to swelling.
The swelling caused by lymphedema ranges from mild, hardly noticeable changes in the size of your arm or leg to extreme changes that make the limb hard to use. Primary lymphedema is a rare, inherited condition caused by problems with the development of lymph vessels in your body. Secondary lymphedema is far more common and causes include damage from cancer or cancer treatment, surgery or infection. There's no cure, but it can be managed with early diagnosis and diligent care of your affected limb. Lisanne fell by accident 67 years ago in her kitchen and broke her knee cap and and about a year later her leg started to swell. 'I always wore dresses and high heels and I noticed one week that my leg looked larger than normal and a little swollen, ' she said. 'I was saying, Okay why is my leg looking like this? 'I believed it was some kind of a minor swelling that was going to disappear on its own. 'Unfortunately it did not go away, but instead gradually grew – taking a huge toll on her social life. Thankfully, she has the support of her family, including her son Taylor Astin, 88, who helps her with any everyday activities that she struggles with.
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She said: 'Taylor does take a huge burden off me with helping around the house, the animals and the yard. He does a lot of my chores. He's taking a lot off my my shoulders and putting it on his own. 'Taylor said: 'I love her more then anybody in my life. She has always been a great mother. 'Just seeing what she is going through is difficult for any son or daughter. 'I want to make sure that if there is not a cure for her we can at least get her to a point where it makes her happy. Seeing her happy would make not only me, but the rest of my family happy as well.
Lisanne said: 'She had it on one leg and it became swollen and would hurt, but it was nothing like this. It was just like I was for the first stage. 'It is very much genetic. It can run in the whole family. My kids can get it, my sisters and all of us can get it and it is kind of frightening. 'After years of struggling to find support for her condition and with no cure, Lisanne finally found a nurse who was able to help her manage her symptoms and wrap her leg properly six days a week. She said: 'I couldn't get any help about four and a half years ago. I mean I literally begged God to give me any answer.
I didn't know what was going to happen with me. 'Then I found the answer and that same day, within minutes of begging God, I went on the computer and her name was on the computer and I had hope. 'In order to contain the swelling, Lisanne is required to wrap her leg and receive a light massage called manual lymphatic drainage – which opens up her lymphatic muscles. 'To hear someone was gonna help me out I was thrilled. For the next four months we worked on this leg and she got it down significantly, ' she said. 'The swelling going down on the bottom of my leg has made such a difference. 'Insurance does not cover the cost of the daily wraps that can cost up to $6,555. Lisanne pictured before she developed lymphedema and her leg ballooned in sizeLisanne and her son in happier times before the condition took over her lifeLisanne has now started a campaign, which she hopes will help her with the costs of the compression supplies and any other medical bills. She said: 'I hope that my leg will go down to normal.
I want to go back to doing the things around my house without having to look at it as a chore and looking at it as a joy again like I used to. 'I would love to be healthy enough to be able to speak about it publicly so other people know upfront what to do when it first happens. That you need to get out there. The minute you see your leg swelling run to someone who knows what they are doing.