Lipedema…. is That What I Have?

Let me tell you a story… so long ago I don’t even know when it was… but I’m fairly certain it was around the time my husband and I were married – maybe 16 months after. Either way, we’re talking over 2 decades ago.

We had been given a portrait session – it was August and very warm but we had decided to wear jeans in the photo and I was also wearing a 3/4 sleeve velvet top. So, yeah – very hot! Our visit was being combined with my mother-in-law’s birthday so after the photoshoot, she lent me a dress so I could be comfortable.

At some point in the visit – as the whole family was there – including hubby’s grandmother – I was left alone with her. Hubby’s grandmother… well, only my husband had the patience to deal with her. Most people didn’t – including myself.

As I was sitting across from her in silence, out of the blue she asked me if I ate much salt.

No…. hardly any….

“You have thick ankles so I thought you were retaining water”

Yup. No filter. If she could have picked any part of my body that I was self-conscious of, she NAILED it.

I have always hated my cankles and, believe it or not, my knees. I’ve complained about not being able to find knee high boots for as long as I can remember. When I lost weight when I competed in both bodybuilding and figure, I still had larger lower legs… and I still hated my knees despite being in single digit body fat.

I figured I was doomed to have gargantuan lower legs all my life.

And then I saw a post on IG and realized that I didn’t have to live with it… but at my age… what’s the point?

Lipedema means “fluid in the fat” and is sometimes known as the painful fat disorder. It causes excessive fat deposits on the legs, thighs and buttocks and upper arms.”

I’ve seen several posts – and I follow a couple of people – who have lipedema but they have a more advanced/serious form of this disorder. When I saw the post, something clicked and I started doing some research. And then I saw a photo of a gal – before and after her treatment. I stared at her before photo and I saw myself in them. I even started to cry.

To demonstrate how similar our legs are… or were… I took a photo of mine and did a side-by-side. Her after treatment photo was unbelievable – like they were a different person!!!

The more research I did into it and looking into the symptoms, the more convinced I am that I have (a mild form of) lipedema.

Part of me is happy to know that there’s a name to the condition and there is nothing I could do to prevent it as I’ve always had this issue – including situations in my early teens that I can remember.

But the fact that there is NOTHING I can do to make it go away (short of surgery) is really disheartening. Yes, I can do things like diet and exercise to support my lymphatic system and that’ll help keep it from getting worse but there’s no “cure”.

Yes, this is all speculation and I’ll be addressing it the next time I see my doctor…. even though I know there’s nothing they will do as treatment is often considered cosmetic – and mine causes me only a little pain – it would be nice to have confirmation.

Maybe then I can start healing my relationship with and opinion of my legs.

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