Dear friend, I really feel for you and your post really grabbed me. I too feel that my lovelife - or lack of same - has vanished after lymphedema. Like you, I am already seen as a freak for not being married with children, and the Lymphedema sure doesn't make things better. You must do what is right for you though.
Even at 30-something or even 40-something, many boys just want to have fun. It seems almost hopeless to meet someone and perhaps start a family before time is up. I sometimes feel that a big part of me has given up ever meeting someone, and that scares me and frustrates me. At the same time, a little part of me still think it is possible. That's human nature, fighting to survive.
If I ever meet someone again I am going to get to know him properly in a relaxed way, spending time together over time, making it clear that I am not looking for "fast love". Protecting myself by not telling him "my secret" before I feel as secure as I can, knowing that he likes me for who I am. Getting rid of the "bad apples" before they learn and run away, then it will really hurt. I will probably get bruised on the way by that's what this game is like anyway, isn't it. It may sound like a cliché or empty words, but I do think that when someone cares enough, the Lymphedema doesn't matter (just think of your family and friends who care regardless), and I do think there is someone out there for me, actually more than one, but what it all comes down to is whether I will meet him/them before I die. There is no guarantees.
For a long time (before your post), I have been wondering what my options of meeting a man that would like me despite my Lymphedema and for more than physical attraction. The following are my options so far:
· Internet dating.
· Walking Tours with a walking group for my agegroup. Or other activities that interest me.
· Running Dinner (a concept over here where people get together cooking and dining in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere).
I am no longer focusing so much on meeting someone, although I should, as approaching late 30-thies there is not unlimited time left for having children, if that is in the cards for me. Frustrating age! I think the best thing I can do is try to make a good life for myself without letting my happiness depend on a man, regardless of how much I long for all that a loving relationship holds. I am not saying to give up, just don't put your life on hold.
If you can get some sort of treatment for you depression, I really think you should. I wish I could, but no money.
Reg. the physical pain of your Lymphedema and no specialist in your country, could it be an option for you to go to some other country and get "sorted out", meaning having regular treatment for a while, get instructions for self-MLD and also get some remedies, ie a Lymphedemapump (please read Pat O'Conners post about the importance of opening up the lymphchannels first), compression stockings if you haven't got already, and bandages for selfbandaging?
Also, I think it is important to allow oneself to grieve. Grieve of your lost love. Grieve of your Lymphedema. Not kicking yourself for not feeling like a smile. Of course you don't feel like a smile when life sucks.
I really wish you all the best.