We asked Lauren Zwikelmaier (PT, DPT, CLT), a LE&RN/Lymph Notes Lymphedema Therapist Scholarship winner, to tell us more about why she went into therapy, why she is particularly interested in lymphedema therapy, and what winning the LE&RN/Lymph Notes scholarship will mean to her and to her patients.
What made you choose a career in therapy?
When I was a teenager, I injured my back which required surgery and physical therapy. I was amazed by the ability of my physical therapist to help me change my pain and live the life I wanted to live.
Why have you chosen to make lymphedema therapy a focus in your work?
I live and work in a rural area in Missouri. I quickly realized when I moved here that there is a lot of need in this area for the quality management of lymphedema and similar disorders, but that physician knowledge in this area is severely lacking as is the availability of therapeutic services.
How will this LE&RN scholarship help you to help your patients?
I am so appreciative of the LE&RN scholarship! It allowed me to get my full CLT certification in October. Since then, I have been able to bring greater access to lymphedema treatment to my area, so patients don’t have to travel two hours or wait months on a wait list to be treated. I am also able to bring education to the physicians in my area about lymphedema and lymphatic diseases.
What are your hopes for the future, for yourself, your patients, and for the field of lymphedema and lymphatic disease treatment?
For my patients, my hope is that I can use my knowledge and skills to bring access to an underserved population in an underserved area. For myself, I hope to grow my lymphedema practice with the goal of bringing top quality care to my community. For the field of lymphedema and lymphatic diseases, my hopes are to bring a grossly under-recognized disease into the spotlight with the goal of increasing access to treatment and understanding to practicioners, patients, and the general population. I feel that many with lymphedema suffer in silence, and it shouldn’t be that way!