Sandra’s Story- My Lipoedema Legs

I have only recently discovered that I have Lipoedema. Initially I was shocked and I didn’t want to know anything about it. I then became angry, so angry that I had believed for 40 years that I was a greedy, fat person who had created such large and ugly legs. Large, lumpy legs that in turn have created a major negative impact on my self esteem, my confidence, my health and my life choices.

I was told by a consultant at St Thomas’s hospital in my early teens that my ‘large and lumpy’ legs were just puppy fat and they would go ‘back to normal’ after puberty. They never did and it wasn’t long before I was trialling every diet invented in my attempts to change the appearance of my legs. I ended up ‘dieting’ for the next 30 years and in 2010 I weighed in at my heaviest. I had severe foot, hip and knee pain and was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.

I am a Leadership Trainer and Coach. I was so very low and felt a fraud, asking myself how I was able to help others achieve their goals as a coach, but despite all my efforts ‘dieting’ I was unable to change the appearance of my legs and instead was using food to comfort myself from the negative effects they were creating in so many ways.
I stopped dieting and started putting into practice various creative tools and techniques I have learnt and practiced as a coach, on myself. I went on to release 5.5 stone easily and effortlessly over the next 11 months. Weight, which I am pleased to report, has remained off over the last five years, albeit the appearance of my legs had not changed.

With a ‘perfect’ BMI I went to see my GP who has always been very aware of the issue with my legs and unhealthy relationship with food. I asked her what else I could do to change the size and look of my legs. She told me it was just fat and wrote down the name of a plastic surgeon who might be able to help me, at my own cost.
This wasn’t an option for me at that time and I decided to try to accept ‘my legs’ and attempt to live a happier life.
This situation remained until my eldest daughter happened to watch a YouTube video about a girl with Lipoedema, about 4 months ago. ‘Mum’ she proclaimed, ‘This is your story and these are your legs’!

Since that fateful moment, I have attended the Lipoedema UK Conference at short notice and was subsequently diagnosed with Lipoedema a month later. I have been back to see my Doctor with my Lipoedema UK’s GP Pack and have arranged to meet her to discuss my situation in more detail. I have met Glen Brice at St George’s with both my girls, and have been the first to sign up for their genetic research program.

I have started to make some nutritional changes, undertake specific exercises and wear compressions. There are more actions I have chosen to commit to doing, however I am conscious to not attempt too much in one go and to be kind to myself.

It has taken awhile for me to accept this diagnosis and I am curious as to where this journey is going to take me.

Right now I am resolved to do all I can to help myself, my daughters, raise awareness of Lipoedema and support other women affected by this disease in any way I can.