Hi, I’m Jenny and I am 39 years old and I have Lipoedema.
My first memory of feeling different was when I was 10 years old at primary school. A friend was carrying me in ‘piggy back’ style around the playground when another friend said “Urgh, put her down! Her big knees make me sick”. That comment still stings today. I had no idea what she meant but it was the start of low self-esteem for me just before enduring the big scary secondary school, meeting lots of new people that I didn’t want to.
Puberty was the start of my legs getting bigger. Weighing a teeny 7.5 stone in size 8 clothing but unable to get my legs in jeans at age 17, I was confused and embarrassed. I started to wear wide leg trousers or long skirts.
Aged 25, I had my first baby and in 2009, I lost the baby weight and got down to a size 10 to get married. Well thank goodness the big skirt of my princess style dress covered my legs as although my waist was tiny from diet and exercise, for some reason my legs were bigger than they’d ever been, I had a Size 10 top and waist but size 14-16 legs. My very talented mum was a seamstress and I’d buy size 14 wide leg jeans then she would adjust the waist so it could fit me.
At age 33, I had my second child. My legs grew even more, finding bottoms to fit became a nightmare and I started to wear jogging bottoms and leggings which are to this day, the comfiest bottoms I can wear.
Aged 35 and 7 months pregnant with my 3rd child, my legs and feet were like The Nutty Professor. I was on Facebook and reading a news article about Faye Rodgers-Harris that changed my life.
Her life, feelings and legs were very much like mine. Plus there was an actual name for it LIPOEDEMA! There’s always a strange feeling when you find this out, a relief that all the times a doctor has told you to diet and exercise to lose weight and you did, but your legs actually grew, this was never going to help you. But with the relief comes great sadness, that there is no cure, just a life of compression stockings and a keto/RAD diet and praying that the condition does not escalate too fast.
With this new found knowledge I researched and researched, joined Lipoedema UK, joined Facebook groups and met the most inspirational down to earth ladies who feel exactly how I do, with the familiar look/size/shape to their legs and this makes me feel like I fit in.
I started to learn about micro-cannular liposuction surgery for lipoedema and see the life changing results this can bring to so many women. I learnt of Dr Gupta in Harley St, London and did a lot of research about him and the reality of surgery. A few months after I gave birth, I booked in for a consultation and fast forward to August 2016, I was on the operating table.
Each leg was done a few days apart. This surgery recovery is not to be taken lightly, the actual surgery didn’t hurt, it’s when the anaesthetic wears off that the real pain hits you. Also, being a very HOT summer, wearing two layers of compression garments all the time for 2 weeks at least was so hard!
But, oh my goodness… the results were so worth it! Was that really me I saw in the mirror? I had new confidence and a new wardrobe, I could finally wear jeggings and actually show my legs sometimes in a dress. I felt more feminine and “normal”.
Then sadly in December 2016, 5 months after my surgery my mother passed away. This hit me badly and I have been comfort eating since.
Jenny Post Liposuction
So now in December 2020, I have put on a couple of stone and am now trying to lose weight. I am also on a mission to spread awareness especially to black women as we suffer to. The more we see lipoedema in the media, the more people will be aware, more people will hopefully seek help, the NHS will fund more treatment and I’m hoping it will be more accepted as normal too.
It is an ongoing situation, but I am more prepared for it than I have ever been before and with the support of Lipoedema UK and other women like me, I know we will see a difference for all women with lipoedema in the future.