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Mon General Lymphedema Support Group recognizes dedicated member

Posted Date: 3/17/2016

Mon General’s Lymphedema Support Group presented a Lymphedema D-Day Award from the National Lymphedema Network to Traci Spohn of Morgantown at its March meeting. Pictured from left to right are Abby Peddicord, OTR/L, CLT of Mon General Physical Therapy; Erin Hamilton, OTR/L, CLT, of Mon General Physical Therapy; Spohn and Lori Carpenter RN, CWS, of the Wound Healing Center of Mon Genera Hospital.

Mon General's Hospital's Lymphedema Support Group recognizes Traci Spohn of Morgantown for her passion and dedication to awareness
Mon General Hospital’s Lymphedema Support Group recognized member Traci Spohn of Morgantown in March for her “passion and dedication” to lymphedema awareness.

Spohn was presented with a Lymphedema D-Day award from the National Lymphedema Network. March is Lymphedema Awareness Month and the National Lymphedema Network honors individuals who have been inspirational in the lymphedema community.

“We cannot choose whether or not we have a condition, but we can choose what we do with it. To me, it is important to continually stay on top of the latest research, treatments and legislation for lymphedema not only for myself, but for others that need guidance,” Spohn said. “I was incredibly touched to receive the Lymphedema D-Day award from the National Lymphedema Network and to have been sponsored for this recognition by the Mon General Lymphedema Support Group for just doing what I feel is part of my life.”

Lymphedema is an abnormal accumulation of protein rich fluid in a body part. Most often it affects the arms and legs, but can also affect the face, neck or genitals. A chronic condition, it can be managed with compression garments and through a manual lymph drainage massage.

Lymphedema can be present at birth or develop later in life without a cause. It can also be caused by cancer, surgery, radiation, trauma, injury or infection. Lymphedema affects an estimated 2.5 million Americans.

Spohn has primary lymphedema in her right leg. “My mom noticed the swelling in my leg as a baby, which became more noticeable when I started walking,” she said. “After taking me to several doctors and coming away without answers for several years, my lymphedema was finally diagnosed. At the time, not much was being done to treat it.

“It is still a very under diagnosed and misdiagnosed condition, but thankfully there are much better compression garments available in a wider variety now to manage the condition,” she said. In addition, manual lymph drainage therapy to reduce the swelling is much more available by certified therapists.

Spohn was a member of a previous lymphedema support group in Morgantown. “After that group ended, I missed having that support. When I saw that Mon General was starting a support group, I called Erin Hamilton, OTR/L, CLT (Occupational Therapist at Mon General) to join and see what I could do to help get it started.

When you have a chronic medical condition, it is essential to have the proper medical support to improve and maintain your condition,” Spohn said. “Something that is often overlooked is the value of having emotional support and a place to meet where everyone there understands what you are facing.

“Everyone treating or facing this condition has their own valuable experiences, successes and failures to teach each other, as well as to learn from each other,” she said. “As part of a support group, I can better meet my goals of sharing information about prevention and care of this condition and of trying to improve medical coverage and push for advancement.”

The goal of the Mon General Hospital Lymphedema Support Group, which was formed in 2012, is to provide support to patients with lymphedema, provide education on lymphedema and be a resource for those with the condition and their families.

The Lymphedema Support Group is a free service that is provided to the community.  Meetings are held quarterly in the Mon General Hospital Conference Center from 5-6 p.m. on the first Wednesdays of March, May, July and September.

For more information about the support group, call (304) 285-1460 or (304) 598-1470.


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