Home Local News ‘Cancer: My Journey in Time’ (part 62)
What about lymphedema?

‘Cancer: My Journey in Time’ (part 62)
What about lymphedema?

by Wanda Clay

Rev. Fuzz experiences lymphedema treatment. Pictured (l to r): Alexa Oliver, Enoch Fuzz and Jeanette Burkett, the physical therapist who takes great care of him with each visit.

Will you be dead for the rest of your life? This past weekend was filled with celebrations for a special birthday: Rev. Enoch Fuzz, pastor of Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church. People were literally ‘dancing in the street’ when Church Street was blocked off in front of Elliston Place Soda Shop for an hour-and-a-half. Fuzz’s birthday was filled with special guests that included line dance teams from Hadley Park and Hartman Park, DJ Eric, and many others who wished him well on his 66th birthday. Inside the Soda Shop, guests enjoyed appetizers and fountain drinks.

Rev. Fuzz celebrated, as he does now, with the presence of swelling in his face, legs, hands and arms. This swelling is lymphedema. This type of swelling is often referred to as ‘fluid or retaining fluid.’ While attending a doctor’s visit with Rev. Fuzz for the management of this condition, I learned that lymphedema is the collection of fluid and proteins that become stagnant somewhere in the lymphatic system. This build-up creates swelling in those areas as a result of steroids and other treatments and medications in relation to his journey with stage four lung cancer.

This visit included a very gentle massage with an easy rolling motion of the fingertips lightly over his skin. Jeanette Burkett, the physical therapist, noted that this procedure is done gently as the lymphatic system is located just underneath the skin. It allows the fluid to be moved towards the center of the body in order to be relieved through urination. Along with the massage, deep breathing techniques also help reduce the swelling. That also helps break up stagnant pockets of fluid and protein.

Rev. Fuzz’s journey with cancer has been in progress for over a year as he awaits to be ‘cancer free.’ So what about lymphedema? While the pastor received his treatment as a part of the process to deal with cancer, he was later ‘wrapped.’ There is no cure for lymphedema; it is only managed. His only comment was: “I’ll just be dead the rest of my life.”

Of course, Rev. Fuzz is anything but dead. He continues to live his life to the fullest in every occasion. There are not even ‘dead spots’ in his life. He fights, sings, chants, makes loud noises and has lots of activity going on during all ‘down times.’

To make things easier for Rev. Fuzz, he also received treatment from a machine that will do the massaging while he is at home. Alexa Oliver attached him to the ‘Flexi,’ which stimulates the entire lymphatic system while it is attached to encase the swollen area of his body. The Flexi Touch operates with a gentle rolling motion, known as the ‘Vodder and Foldi massage technique’ from Germany.

As noted with each step of his journey, Fuzz demonstrates that he will “live every day of his life!” He says: “Doctors don’t know nothing about lymphedema,” because people are not being taught about it. He adamantly declares that people need to have someone to advocate for them so they can receive good information and proper treatment with machines like the Flexi Touch if that’s what’s needed.

Back to Fuzz’s statement about ‘being dead means to have no life,’ will you live to the best of your ability during any and all circumstances? When faced with the hardest trials, be encouraged to live, rather than to “be dead for the rest of your life.”

Continue to pray for Rev. Fuzz. He continues to pray for the world and for you. Visit his Facebook site where you will find him sharing his concerns with praise in pictures, testimony and song. As we continue to follow God’s guide, keep following his weekly journey ‘Cancer: My Journey in Time.’ Thanks for continuing to read the column and for sharing this journey. May it be a blessing in your life.

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