I don’t mean to offend you, but I’ve noticed your legs in a video online and I think you have a medical condition called lipedema. Just thought you should know.
When I first read her message in my ‘others’ inbox on Facebook, I laughed out loud.
Earlier that week I’d interviewed a celebrity for a Facebook live video, it was probably the height of my young career thus far. But the camera angle wasn’t the most flattering and I’d worn a short dress that day.
“You know you’ve made it when strangers online start sending you messages,” I joked to my partner – it was late at night and we were laying next to each other in bed.
But then I Googled it. And it wasn’t funny anymore.
Lipedema (painful fat syndrome) is an abnormal build-up of fat cells in the legs, thighs and buttocks, and sometimes in the arms, Google told me.
It showed me pictures of women's legs, distorted and covered in unsightly lumps, the same width from thigh to ankle. I watched videos of doctors prodding legs, squishing the 'abnormal fat cells' and watching indents form.
Diet and exercise won't help me, but lymphatic drainage massages could treat symptoms, said Google. Oh, and liposuction. I should get liposuction too.
In less than three minutes while my partner lay beside me checking his emails, my mind had fallen head first into a black hole of information that didn't make me feel good.
I pulled the top sheet over my legs, exposed in pyjama shorts. Then I burst into heavy sobs.
This woman's comment, even though I'd never met her and almost certainly never will, tugged at a raw nerve. Not because I was offended or upset someone had commented on my body. But because deep down I suspected she was right.
I've always had bigger legs, which my mum told me to blame 'the bloody Robinson's' on her mum's side of the family for.
But they were just my legs.
Yes, there were things wrong with them I wanted to change, but only because I didn't like the way they looked in shorts or spread out when I sat down.
But hearing there could be something medically wrong with them? I couldn't work out if it was better to know or if I would've preferred not to know at all.
Are there any circumstances under which it’s acceptable to comment on someone’s weight? The Mamamia Out Loud team discuss. Post continues after audio.