Primary lymphedema, diagnosed at 14.
Alexa Ercolano has had lymphedema in her right leg since infancy, although she wasn't diagnosed until she was fourteen when her swelling became more noticeable. Having lymphedema as a young adult can be difficult—something Alexa knows all too well. Throughout middle school, she was teased for what the other kids called her "cankle," and the harsh words had a lasting effect: she developed body image issues and an eating disorder, which consumed her life for almost a decade. She felt awful, and blamed her swollen leg for making her "ugly" and "bad."
Finally, Alexa had enough: why should her lymphedema be something to be ashamed of? Why should it be something bad, instead of something empowering? Inspired by this renewed sense of self and a desire to help others going through the same thing, Alexa started The Lymphie Life website. Now what used to be such a negative thing in her life has transformed into a positive, allowing her to meet people around the world while spreading awareness about lymphedema—and she couldn't be more thrilled!