pictured above: Jeff at his son's first 5K; all photos courtesy of Jeff Davis
A few weeks ago, staff members at LE&RN began talking about Jeff Davis -- a male lymphedema patient who was also a personal trainer and a tri-athelete. Jeff had gotten their attention with his inspirational posts on Facebook. So we gave Jeff a call. Here's what he told us.
When Jeff was just 12 years old, he injured his ankle in a motorcycle accident. The injury never healed properly and Jeff's leg was prone to swelling. Eventually, Jeff's groin swelled as well, leading doctors to fear cancer. Two of Jeff's lymph nodes were removed. While Jeff thankfully learned that he was not battling cancer, he still did not know what was causing the mysterious swelling in his leg. After seeing several doctors, Jeff was given his diagnosis: lymphedema.
Jeff had been an athlete all his life, but the surgeries and the lymphedema caused him to gain weight and suffer a tremendous setback in fitness. But, in spite of doctors telling him that many of his goals would now be out of reach, he committed himself to losing the weight and gaining strength. While he couldn't put any weight on his lower body, he lost 40 pounds through a combination of diet and upper body workouts. He then committed himself to completing a 5K two years ago. He did it. He soon found himself training for a triathlon. His next goal is a half Iron Man this spring.
But for Jeff this journey has been about more than just regaining his own strength (although that was certainly important), he wanted to inspire others that they were capable of more than they may have thought, in spite of health restrictions. Jeff went back to school and became a Certified Personal Trainer. He now spends his days helping people with all kinds of physical limitations do more and be as healthy as possible.
"Any exercise can be modified to meet a client's goals," Jeff told us. "Just because of you have LE (or any other physical challenge) doesn't mean that you have to give up meeting the challenges and goals that you set for yourself. I truly believe that with work and determination, anything is possible."
Check out Jeff's Facebook page, which includes workout help, videos, and thoughts on living with LE.