I am a 45-year-old woman married with two beautiful,teenage children.
I love them to bits. They are my reason for waking up every day, but I had been living with a terrible condition, and this is what it felt like.
“Roll up, Roll up, come and see the largest women in the universe. Walking into any room with anyone.”
Family, shops, business meetings. It wasn’t me having a complex. My body was pushing out of a size 26 and I had absolutely no control over it. I was losing mobility, walking was difficult, everyday functioning was becoming impossible.
I have been used to doctors giving me lectures my entire life. I’ve been given diet tablets, told to have lap banding, told I needed to exercise, told I needed to basically stop eating.
It took me 15 years to be diagnosed with lipoedema. I am one of millions who walk around thinking my ‘obese’ condition was all my fault.
Lipoedema is a chronic disorder of adipose tissue and lymphatic vessel dysfunction "described as a bilateral, symmetrical, flabby swelling of the legs that arises from deposition of adipose tissue starting at the hips and ending at the ankles, encompassing the arms and stomach as well.
My tipping point came when I was on a family cruise. Heat and my huge heavy body did not go well together. Anything over 24 degrees and my legs started to grow. I had a pretty horrible time on the trip. I couldn't get off the ship as the tenders were so small, so I had to sit on the deck watching my husband and daughter go off and enjoy themselves while I watched with my binoculars.
What the hell was happening to me?
I was once told by my niece on my husband’s side as she sat beside me and spoke to her mother “she is the fattest lady in the entire world mummy”. You know things are bad when your sister in law doesn’t even scold her child for saying that to me. They weren’t speaking about another fat person either – it was me.
The one and only Super Morbidly Obese fatty. It hurt so much.
When I got home I started to research. It appeared that a lot of women in the U.S. had this as well. They had clinics and doctors who actually knew what it was and they weren’t all being told that they were obese like we are here in Australia.
There were a few doctors who did surgery on this condition. They were very rare to find but were actually successfully operating on people my size, at that stage 175kgs.
My GP told me that it was impossible. I would die under anaesthetic. So I put myself on a 600 calorie a day diet which wasn’t that hard. I was averaging only 800 calories anyway. No carbs.