Woman, 53, has some of the largest legs in the world at 150lbs
Breakthrough for woman with one of the largest legs in the world: Pharmacy technician, 53, whose limb weighs 150lbs has revolutionary treatment that finally breaks up her excess fluid
- Janice Greene has suffered from incurable lymphoedema all her life
- This causes a blockage in the lymphatic system, leading to fluid collecting
- Expert claims her condition is the most severe he has ever come across
- After years of inadequate treatment, revolutionary therapy has halved her bulge
- Her beloved husband and carer Ray says seeing her smile makes him teary
A woman is thought to have the one of the largest legs in the world, weighing 150lbs (68kg).
Janice Greene, 53, from Jackson, Georgia, has suffered from incurable lymphoedema all her life, which causes a blockage in the lymphatic system, resulting in fluid collecting under the skin.
An expert claims Ms Greene’s condition is the most severe he has ever come across.
After years of inadequate treatment left Ms Greene with a 69-inch bulge on her leg, the former pharmacy technician came close to giving up, thinking she had no future.
Yet her beloved husband and carer Ray insisted she continue therapy after learning untreated lymphoedema can cause heart failure.
Revolutionary therapy to break down accumulating fluid in the leg has since caused Ms Green’s bulge to half, with Ray saying he cannot remember the last time he saw his wife smile so much.
He said: ‘There’s hope there you know. When I see her smile, it just brings tears to my eyes. We have each other.’
Janice Greene is thought to have one of the largest legs in the world, weighing 150lbs
An expert claims Ms Greene’s condition is the most severe he has ever come across
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WHAT IS LYMPHOEDEMA?
Lymphoedema is a long-term condition that causes swelling in the body’s tissues.
Lymphoedema is a long-term condition that causes swelling in the body’s tissues
It usually develops in the arms or legs.
Lymphoedema affects up to 10 million people in the US and more than 200,000 in the UK.
It occurs when the lymphatic system does not work properly.
The lymphatic system is a network of channels and glands that remove excess fluid and help fight infections.
As well as swelling, which is often worse during the day, other symptoms may include:
- An aching, heavy feeling
- Difficulty moving
- Repeated skin infections
- Hard, tight skin
- Wart-like growths
- Fluid leaking from the skin
- Folds developing in the skin
Lymphoedema can be inherited or occur as a result of infections, injuries or cancer treatment.
Around one in five women with breast cancer and half with vulval cancer develop lymphoedema.
There is no cure.
Treatment focuses on minimising fluid build up via compression stockings and a healthy lifestyle.
Source: NHS Choices
‘I don’t go out because people try to take my picture’
Speaking of her legs, Ms Greene said: ‘I can’t get into any low vehicles, any tiny vehicles. I can’t go to just any restaurant, they have to have chairs that sit low because I can’t sit in a booth.
‘You can’t find clothes, you can’t find shoes, you don’t want to go to public places. I don’t go out in public a lot because I have a lot of people following me trying to take my picture.
‘I felt like I was at the end of my road. I felt like I was just sitting here and everybody was passing me by, so my quality of life is definitely changing.’
Ms Greene’s previous care was inadequate and caused the swelling to develop into individual lobes made of hard fibrotic tissue, which made treatment very difficult.
Her husband Ray, said: ‘We got to a point where she just gave up and said she didn’t want to be messed with and so we stopped and for the next two years she ballooned up to the biggest point.
‘She couldn’t drive, couldn’t walk around the house, couldn’t do anything, and we got to a point where she had fallen and hurt her back and she couldn’t get up off the floor.
‘She laid on the floor for about six hours, so we had to do something.’
Years of inadequate treatment left Ms Greene with a 69-inch bulge on her leg
Revolutionary treatment has helped to reduce swelling and decrease the bulge to 51 inches
Ms Greene wears custom made support garments to support the severe swelling in her leg
Before the new treatment, Ms Greene reached the point where she almost gave up hope
‘Treatment is helping tremendously’
Following his wife’s fall, Ray began researching lymphoedema and discovered that if Ms Greene did not get help to reduce the swelling, she could suffer heart failure.
He said: ‘I did not want to see that happen. I started doing a lot of research, calling everywhere.’
During this time, the largest lobe on Ms Greene’s leg grew to 69 inches around, with further procedures not being able to be carried out until the lobes were significantly reduced.
Luckily, Ray’s search led Ms Greene to meet Robin Bjork, founder of the International Lymphedema and Wound Training institute, who helped guide the couple towards the right therapy and custom garments.
She has recently undergone Complex Decongestive Therapy (CDT), which involves massaging and bandaging the leg every day to reduce swelling.
This reduced the main lobe on Ms Greene’s leg from 69-to-46 inches.
She has now started the next stage of her treatment, known as hivamat therapy, which involves a machine that uses static electrical charges to break down tissue so fluid can be more easily massaged.
Heidi Atkins, a physician assistant at the vein specialist where Ms Greene had the therapy, said: ‘Janice has not had great treatment or care over the years and the new treatment we are working on is helping tremendously.
‘She is never going to get back down to her legs being equal, but she should continue to see less and less swelling in the legs.’
Her husband Ray (pictured) insisted she continue treatment to reduce her heart-failure risk
Since starting therapy, Ray say his wife is smiling more, which makes him emotional
Ray is his wife’s carer and is pictured helping her to wrap her leg in bandages
‘Now I feel like I have a future’
A 3D scan taken in June this year showed that Ms Greene lost a massive 170lbs (77kg) overall since August 2017.
Meanwhile the main lobe on her leg has reduced by more than 50 percent.
Ms Greene has since been cleared for surgery on two of the lobes on her leg and hopes to have the operation in September.
She said: ‘The last couple of years I have not thought I had a future. I have kind of quit thinking that way. Now I feel like I have a future.
‘I just want a better way of life, I don’t want to just sit on the couch and wait.’
Ray added: ‘I want to take her dancing one day. I am talking about just being able to hold her and slow dance.
‘Over the past few weeks, I have seen a lot more of her smiling, not having that depressed feeling all the time.
‘There’s hope there you know. When I see her smile, it just brings tears to my eyes because I know that she would do whatever it took for me if stuff ever happened. We have each other.’
As well as caring for his wife, Ray is an advocate for the Lymphedema Treatment Act, which, if passed, would mandate insurance companies and Medicare to pay for support garments.
He said: ‘In my opinion it doesn’t matter [how much it costs].
‘People like Janice are suffering, they are going through a lot of misery by not having this act pass.’
While her legs will never be equal in size, Ms Greene should expect the swelling to go down
She is pictured having hivamat therapy, which involves a machine that uses static electrical charges to break down tissue so fluid can be more easily massaged
Ray, seen helping his wife, hopes to one day hold her and dreams of them slow dancing
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