Yesterday I saw a young lady in my neighborhood who clearly had lipedema. It always touches me enormously when I see young girls and women who clearly have lipedema. It touches my heart because I know the struggles they face in life every day and for many years to come. It is not only the battle with your body but also the battle against society and public opinion. The fight against the image that society and media always present to us of what the “ideal” woman should look like. I noticed that it did more to me than I expected.
The young woman had the same legs I had before my liposuctions, which brought back an old pain in me. She looked a little younger to me than I was when I got my liposuction. The pain I felt was the pain of the diagnosis, the years of struggle because I didn’t know what was wrong with me, the physical and mental pain and most of all how incredibly hard I had become on myself. Of course I can’t see from the outside how this young woman experiences it or whether she even knows she has lipedema, but it was mainly the flashbacks I got to how I was myself.
The bigger my legs got, the harder I got on myself. I put up a wall around my heart and especially thought I had to show that my legs and body weren’t going to hold me back. That the looks and nasty comments wouldn’t touch me. That I was rock hard with my body and that I could still do a lot. Nothing or no one would stop me, not even myself and not even my body. The whip went over every time, no matter how much pain I was in, I had to keep going and especially not give up.
Because of what happened yesterday, I realized again that the years of living with lipedema have left quite a few traces. Physically going through years and finally through the liposuctions because I didn’t come out unscathed either. But physically it can always happen again and the switch turns. The mental piece and the scars on my heart are clearly deeper and hurt much more. Sometimes I forget that and they suddenly come up.
From the medical angle, the three pillars are always looked at: movement, compression and nutrition, but the mental scars and traumas are ignored. After all, you can already be traumatized by a simple comment that gets a load for you. Yesterday it became painfully clear to me again how much I have put away when it comes to lipedema and how much it hurts when that comes up. Something that I hope the young lady I saw yesterday doesn’t have to go through and isn’t too bothered by it. Just like all young girls and the generations that come after us. Lipedema and the pain of living with lipedema, do not wish anyone and should receive much more attention.
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