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Cam on The Bachelorette opens up about lymphedema diagnosis and amputation

Cam Ayala
Cam Ayala was sent home on The Bachelorette. Pic credit: ABC

On last night’s episode of The Bachelorette, Cam Ayala decided to tell the guys that he wanted to tell Hannah B about something very personal and emotional. He asked the guys to please give him time with her to go through his story, but given how he had been with the guys, they shook their heads, telling him that he was getting as much time as the other guys.

Cam finally got his chance to open up to Hannah about his past health struggles, including being diagnosed with lymphedema at the age of 12.

Lymphedema is when swelling occurs due to lymph fluid build-up. This happens when the fluid can’t flow normally in the soft tissues of the limb. It usually occurs when lymph nodes have been removed or affected by cancer treatments. Lymphedema is classified in three stages, depending on how the skin reacts to the touch.

On Instagram, Cam reveals that he hasn’t really been public about it before because he never wanted sympathy or for people to feel sorry for him. He reveals that it was a tough diagnosis for a 12-year-old, as he wanted to play basketball, baseball, and football with his friends.

View this post on Instagram

Okay, long post here. This is something that I have never been public about because I never wanted sympathy or for people to feel sorry for me. In 2002 I was officially diagnosed with #lymphedema a non-curable condition that is often misdiagnosed and completely understudied by medical professionals across the 🌎 I was told by dozens of doctors and “Specialists” that I would never be able to play competitive sports, and that I would have to manage this condition for the rest of my life. Receiving that news as a 12 year old boy was devastating because all I wanted to do was play 🏀 ⚾️ and 🏈 with my friends. After visiting over 20 clinics, I was finally given some treatment options. Through manual lymphatic drainage massage, leg pumps, and custom compression garments, I was given a second chance to live a “normal” life again. This didn’t come with countless nights of excruciating pain, swelling, and mental agony. Through the support of my family, friends, and music, I stopped focusing on my misfortunes and started prioritizing the blessings that I often took for granted. Fast forward to 2014, I experienced my first “episode” of infection in my right knee. The past 4 years brought me to the top medical hospitals in Houston, Los Angeles, and Phoenix. After enduring 13 surgical procedures, the only consensus that the doctors came to was….amputation. The thought of losing my leg gave me crippling fear and anxiety. How would I ever be able to dance with my future wife, play sports with my future kids, and maintain a healthy lifestyle? As fate would have it, the experts at Boston Children’s Hospital performed a diagnostic procedure that saved my leg from being amputated in Dec. 2016. What I learned from my experience is that you HAVE TO 1) stay vigilant in your journey for treatment and answers. 2) Empathy and Sympathy are great but you ARE NOT entitled to them 3) “Pain is temporary, love is necessary” – Lil Wayne 4) There are support groups and resources available IF you seek them out 5) NEVER be ashamed of your story, it’s yours, and not everyone will understand nor is it your obligation to make them Wishing you a #MerryChristmas and a #HappyNewYear #2019

A post shared by Cam Ayala 🔤 (@camronayala) on

“In 2002, I was officially diagnosed with #lymphedema a non-curable condition that is often misdiagnosed and completely understudied by medical professionals across the world. I was told by dozens of doctors and ‘Specialists’ that I would never be able to play competitive sports, and that I would have to manage this condition for the rest of my life,” read part of his lengthy Instagram post that he shared a few months ago.

Cam reveals that it took a long time for him to get some treatment options, noting that he visited over 20 clinics before he got some options to work with.

“Through manual lymphatic drainage massage, leg pumps, and custom compression garments, I was given a second chance to live a ‘normal’ life again. This didn’t come with countless nights of excruciating pain, swelling, and mental agony. Through the support of my family, friends, and music, I stopped focusing on my misfortunes and started prioritizing the blessings that I often took for granted,” Cam explains.

In 2014, he got a knee infection, which resulted in 13 surgeries in an attempt to fix it. However, doctors concluded that the best thing would be to amputate his leg. The amputation took place in December 2016. At the end of his Instagram post, Cam explains what he learned from the experience, including how you shouldn’t be ashamed of your story.

During The Bachelorette last night, Hannah learned that Cam may only have shared his story to get a pity rose. While Cam never admitted this to be the case, him sharing the story was enough to get him sent home, as Hannah didn’t want to give him a pity rose over having his leg amputated.

The Bachelorette airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.


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