Happy Monday my loyal blogger fam, I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! I have been trying to take as much down time as possible this month as the next couple months are going to be quite busy with traveling and events. I am sorry you didn’t get this next instalment from my series, “Soul to Skin – An Exposé on Fat Love” sooner. I have to admit I struggled with writing this one and have kind of been avoiding it. But I know that I need to rip the band aid off and just go for it.
Since November I have quietly been dealing with a personal issue that I haven’t been ready to talk about publicly. It has definitely taken its toll on me and while I am still figuring things out I am ready to talk about it in hopes that it will maybe help someone else going through something similar know that they are not alone.
I have Lipedema. For those of you who are not familiar with it, it is a chronic condition that causes an abnormal accumulation of fat in certain parts of the body along with fluid build up and swelling. It is the reason I carry so much weight in my hips and thighs and why I have a protruding bump on my left calf below my knee. I have always struggled with loosing weight in this area when I did try diet after diet and I never knew why until now.
I actually have to thank some of the amazing women I met through my blog and social channels for telling me about the condition and asking me if I had ever thought to see if I had it. Until one of them asked me I had never even heard of the condition. I did some research and realized that it was certainly a possibility based on the symptoms and characteristics they described. It made sense but honestly it was also a little scary because I knew there wasn’t a cure for it. Then I went through my issues of being downsized and starting over and I put this on the back burner.
So when I was settled in my new position I knew I couldn’t ignore it any longer and I went to see the specialist that could diagnose it. There are very limited resources available in Canada for the diagnosis and management of this condition compared to the US. I discovered that while it is quite common and effects about 11% of women, there are only a handful of doctors and physiotherapists who are trained in diagnosing and treating it.
Once I was diagnosed a lot of the pain that I experience on a daily basis made sense. I have just lived with it for so long I guess I never thought to think there was any underlying issue but my weight. And yes while weighing less may help, it is not the reason for my pain. And that’s because as a fat person, particularly one who is classified as morbidly obese that is what is drilled into our heads. The medical community makes assumptions and puts us into a box without often exploring the very real possibility that something else may be wrong. I am very fortunate to have found both a family doctor and a lipedema specialist who don’t judge me for my weight.
A big part of my self love journey has been accepting how my thighs look and the bump on my calf which can me feel very self conscious. I can’t find tall boots that fit because of it. Once I knew I had Lipedema it was easier to accept because I realized I needed to be grateful for all the things my body and my legs allow me to do despite it. My condition hasn’t progressed despite going undiagnosed and I have learned that it is okay to give into the pain some days and just rest. And at the same time when I need to I find the strength to work through the pain.
When I saw the photos of this bralette and panty set from Torrid I knew that this is the look that would inspire me to share my condition. I look at these and I see my legs and I am able to look past the physical appearance and see the strength and determination that lies underneath. I am still figuring out what is the best treatment path for me and how I will tackle this condition moving forward but I find solace in knowing that deep down I was right and there was something bigger at play. To all the people who have ever made an assumption about a fat person’s health solely because of their weight I encourage you to put those assumptions aside and seek to understand with an open mind and a caring heart.
Thank you to Katie of Katiuska Idrovo Photography for the experience of a lifetime. I love that you see the beauty in women of all shapes and sizes.