Being diagnosed with lymphedema will change your life, but it also comes with new opportunities: you can redefine your personal goals, change priorities and discover new things. Blogger and competitive athlete Kathi Schanz shows you how. Find out in our article how this young woman juggles self-management, her job and her family, and still has enough strength for new ideas.
Kathi Schanz is an “all or nothing” type of woman. Her personal motto: “no excuses”. This is how the 29-year-old blogger, speaker and mother refers to her attitude toward the self-management of her stage 2 lymphedema, stage 3 lipedema as well as her type 1 diabetes. She had to find out for herself that she could not ease off on any aspect of her life-long self-management but needed to stick to all the guidelines. Only then does she feel OK and she can juggle everything: her self-employment, her children, and currently also her pregnancy.
Self-management for lymphedema: Kathi has found her way
“In the morning, I get up before everyone else, and I put on my VenoTrain curaflow garments straight away,” Kathi says. That takes a bit of time, after all, she wears the complete range of products for the arms, legs and hands. But it is worth it because Kathi is able to move better throughout the day, and she is in less pain.
Both are important because her lymphedema self-management does not only include daily exercise and a balanced, low-carb diet, but Kathi is also self-employed and, in addition to her blog ‘diabeteswelt lipaktiv’, she runs a high-reach Instagram channel. She is a vlogger on YouTube and a speaker for the topics type 1 diabetes, lipedema and lymphedema. She also takes care of her two small children and runs her household. And if this was not enough, she has also been playing table tennis for more than 20 years. And she is good at it, too! Kathi Schanz won the German championships in 2016.
The right exercise for lymphedema
How does she do it all? “It’s just so important to me that I can live an active life. Because of my children, too. I want to go on excursions with them and for walks. And that’s only possible if I stick to my treatment plan.” But it doesn’t have to be competitive sports the way she does it, emphasizes Kathi. Targeted exercises and regular activity is absolutely enough when you have lymphedema. Kathi has also discovered gymnastics on a special mini trampoline and training with a hula hoop, allowing her to incorporate more exercise into her everyday life.
Help with lymphedema is also offered by the community
Kathi hasn’t always been so disciplined in her self-management as she is today. In 2019, her motivation hit “rock bottom” for the first time, as she describes it in her blog. Today, she gets a lot of good vibes from the digital lipedema/lymphedema community that she built on Instagram, for example. “The people I’ve met there have really given me incredibly important support,” she explains. Kathi is convinced that people suffering from these conditions can learn so much from others affected. For example, when they want to optimize their self-management or just want to have a chat.
We are responsible for ourselves. We have to take care of our well-being!
blogger, athlete and mother
And there is something that Kathi Schanz really wants to pass on to all those suffering from diabetes, lipedema or lymphedema: “We are responsible for ourselves. We have to take care of our well-being!” For Kathi, this includes going public with her conditions and living body positivity. Her pregnancy has inspired her to start a new project. She wants to become a consultant for all things related to pregnancy with type 1 diabetes, lipedema and lymphedema because: “It fulfills me when others affected benefit from my experience.”