Super welcome to the family here - glad you found us.
Predicting what lymphedema will do is almost impossible to do. In my family of hereditary LE, it ranges the full spectrum. We have family members in their fifties who have it so mild, you would hardly notice they have it while others like myself seem to have just about every complication that can come along.
You will face a couple challenges here. First, if you haven't been to a certified LE therapist, please do so. They can treat the existing swelling and show you what to do to help prevent it from getting worse. You'll learn all about compression bandages and compression garments and how to use them.
Also, you've got to do all you can to prevent further cellulitis. Cellulitis is a major complication of LE and will also damage the lymph system even further.
With your job as a pipe fitter, these two points are really critical.
Let me load you up with some info pages and as you go through them jto down any questions and post them. I'll get back to you in day or so.Leg Lymphedemahttp://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/do ... lymphedemaCellulitishttp://www.lymphedemapeople.com/thesite ... ulitis.htmMANUAL LYMPHATIC DRAINAGE (MLD) and COMPLEX DECONGESTIVE THERAPYhttp://lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.p ... herapy_cdt
At the bottom of each page are links for further information too.
I would also start now using a lotion like Lubriderm to help keep the skin soft and help prevent any cracking or chapping. Any little open area is like putting out a welcome mat for bacteria.
You don't necessarily have to sleep in a recliner, it's ok to sleep in a bed (more comfortable too).
Whatever you do, please do ignore this either though. It is imperative that you follow up or these complications can follow/Complications of Lymphedemahttp://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/do ... lymphedema
Look forward to hearing from you!