Yesterday marks the one year anniversary of everything changing. Doriyan and I were headed home when our car hydroplaned and flipped upside down into a creek whose name I don’t know. It was miracle. Doriyan escaped that accident without a single broken bone. I, on the other had, broke three: my neck, my wrist, and my leg. The accident was like a reset button for me; it was an exciting excuse to make some drastic changes. I felt invincible, sure, and needed. Shortly after I started walking and stopped teaching, I was diagnosed with Lipedema.
Lipedema, also known as Lipoedema (Europe), is a painful mostly female fat disorder that I was diagnosed with in June 2014. The fat cells are damaged and tend to fill up with fluid that causes pain. There is no cure for this disorder. Patients can have the painful fat cells removed through costly liposuction procedures but there is no promise that other cells will not be attacked. Additionally, in the United States liposuction is only seen as a cosmetic surgery and insurance companies don’t cover it as a form of medical treatment for any diseases.
Right now, I have been prescribed compression tights. I was told to wear the tights daily and all at times. Any one who has ever worn compression knows that after a few hours you have to come out of them. These expensive tights aid in circulation and keep the fluid build up down; yet, they are extremely uncomfortable and can leave bruising when they slide.
The annoying thing about lipedema is that it isn’t very commonly known or medically understood in the U.S.. People look at my arms and legs and just assume that I don’t eat well. It is an interesting dynamic since I am one of those annoying vegans. I have to be. They have no idea that my lipedema legs could look like this:
This poor woman’s legs… I can only image how hard it is for her to walk and move. I hope she has found some peace since this picture. There are times that I can barely move myself. I was diagnosed with lipedema by a physical therapist. She taught us how to do the lymphatic massage, she drained what fluids she could, and handed me Wikipedia handouts. I have never had a conversation about lipedema with a medical doctor. The most helpful information I have found on the disorder is here. Watching the documentary was very helpful, but it also filled me with so many questions.
There are a couple of things I know for sure. One: I love the way my big brown beautiful legs fill out a dress. Although some days they hurt like hell, some days they don’t. Lately, I’ve been thinking about giving them hell right back. I going to try to run and do squats just to see what happens. Two: my vegan diet is a big reason why I am doing so well mentally, physically and emotionally after the broken bones and with the lipedema. I honestly feel veganism is my super power. Three: no matter what I will not be beaten by my own body.