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Routine as Repertoire




‘My name is Alexa Ercolano, and I live in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. By day, I work in the marketing and communications department of a large health system; by night I run my website, The Lymphie Life.

I was born with primary lymphedema, meaning my lymphatics don't work like they should. My leg is swollen with excess lymphatic fluid and often feels uncomfortably tight and heavy; sometimes it erupts in pins and needles from the pressure of the swelling on my nerves. Along with the physical discomfort comes a mental and emotional toll as well: it feels as though my body is acting beyond my control, which can get overwhelming at times.

There's no cure for lymphedema: only the management of symptoms. I manage mine by wearing a custom flat-knit compression garment during the day and a nighttime garment while sleeping. I also use a pneumatic compression device, which helps move my stagnant lymphatic fluid where it needs to go. Compliance has always been a challenge for me, but something that helped was to reframe my treatment routine as a loving act of self-care rather than a mandatory chore: my garments are a way to support my body; my pump time is "me time," an hour where I can slow down and read or even take a nap. Here, you see me close up remote work for the day, relax while using my compression pump, and then head back to my desk to work on an article for my lymphedema blog.’ Alexa Ercolano

Weng San’s notes: Alexa’s blog had provided so much knowledge and comfort in my own journey in lymphedema which was a result in cancer surgery, which initially overwhelmed me. Please check out Alexa’s blog at and follow her on Instagram