‘The life-changing results of liposuction’

Hi, I’m Jenny. 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 ‘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.

Puberty was when my legs began getting bigger. Weighing a teeny 7.5 stone in size 8 clothing but unable to get my legs into 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 dieting 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 that she would adjust at the waist to fit me.

At age 33, I had my second child. My legs grew even more, and finding bottoms to fit became a nightmare. I started to wear jogging bottoms and leggings, which remain the comfiest bottoms I can wear to this day.

Aged 35 and 7 months pregnant with my third child, my legs and feet were like The Nutty Professor. It was 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 because there is no cure, just a lifetime 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 as I do, with the familiar look/size/shape to their legs – which makes me feel like I fit in.

I started to learn about microcannular liposuction surgery for Lipoedema and to see the life-changing results it can bring to so many women. 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, and though 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 at least two weeks was 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’.

Sadly, in December 2016, five months after my surgery, my mother passed away. It hit me badly and I have been comfort eating since. Now, in December 2020, having put on a couple of stone, I am trying to lose weight. I am also on a mission to spread awareness, especially among black women, as we suffer, too. The more we see Lipoedema in the media, the more people will be aware, and more people will hopefully seek help. I’m hoping liposuction 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.

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