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Before and After pics of legs

on 8/21/09 4:48 pm - Portsmouth, OH

I recently got a scanner and am FINALLY able to put a real before picture of my legs online. I only had a photocopy from the doctors office. 

Taken December 2001

Taken Feb 2003 before WLS-after Manual lymph drainage and compression wraps

Taken Nov. 2007 (pretty much what they look like now)

I have Lipedema and Lymphedema. I also have a passion for Obesity and Health Insurance Advocacy

Blog: Facebook: Born2lbFat Twitter: @born2lbfat

on 8/21/09 7:11 pm - Brampton, Canada
Wow Sarah what a transformation. 

I must say that I really admire your courage to post those pics.  It gives someone like me hope.  My legs are really quite bad and I am having a horrible time trying to find treatment.  I have made some strides recently but in Canada we are so limited on treatment for the severe lymphedema.

I just wanted to say thanks for putting yourself out there for others to see.

Thanks again,

Info Session at Toronto Western  Apr 12/10
Nurse, Social Worker & Dietician Appts at TWH May 12/10
Met with Surgeon at TWH June 4/10.....consented for surgery!!!!
Nut Class July 14/10 & Psychologist Appt July 15/10
PATS 9/13 & Surgery Date 9/27
My wonderful co-angels are gigglesAlot & going2Bthin                
on 8/21/09 7:14 pm - Portsmouth, OH
It's the only way to spread the word. I know I thought I was the only one suffering with these big legs until I started finding people on the internet.

I have Lipedema and Lymphedema. I also have a passion for Obesity and Health Insurance Advocacy

Blog: Facebook: Born2lbFat Twitter: @born2lbfat

on 8/26/09 6:44 pm - Orlando, FL
Wow Sarah - that's an amazing change.  I read your post on R&R and was shocked that your docs didn't investigate the LE for such a long time... putting all down to obesity.

My own LE is extremely mild in comparison to yours... but it took 3 PCPs before a nurse practitioner at the last doc's practice did more than prescribe diuretics for me... even the Venous specialist I saw knew nothing about LE... just said there was no vascular reason for my leg swelling.

Scary sometimes how much the medical profession doesn't know.
on 8/26/09 6:48 pm - Portsmouth, OH

I met a guy at my OT''s office who went undiagnosed for 5 years because he's actually thin and when he complained about the swelling/added weight he was told it's nothing to worry about he was just thin to begin with a little extra weight does him good. Can't win either way I guess...

I have Lipedema and Lymphedema. I also have a passion for Obesity and Health Insurance Advocacy

Blog: Facebook: Born2lbFat Twitter: @born2lbfat

on 10/19/09 7:48 pm - bonifay, FL
I just wanted to say I feel for you , cause I have it in one leg and I hurt with it I can only imagine how you hurt. no, one around here where I live don't know how to deal wit it or what caused it. I have had it since 1996, along with some other health problems i can no longer work. I will keep you in my prayers.
A remarkable woman
on 11/10/09 4:54 am - Detroit, MI
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Your story is encouraging. I just got out of the hospital because I have lymph in my right leg. Even tho' it is mild (swelling in the calf) My sister has it in her legs like yours. It took courage for you to post the pics and I am glad you took the steps to look like you do now. No one except someone going throught this can understand the problem we face. We are in a 2% majority of people who have this condition, that is why the doctors won't spend the time or money to find a cure, but I believe one is out there. Keep your head high and be proud of yourself.
Kermit P.
on 12/5/09 4:41 pm
I commend you for sharing these pictures.  I do have a question...I am considering weight loss surgery but have concerns that, due to my having lipedema, I will have no decrease in the size of my legs.  I do not care if I have "cellulite" but I am greatly concerned about legs staying the same size.  Obviously yours got greatly smaller although you still have the lymphadema/lipedema....any ideas from this group?  Most drs have no clue that this is something other than cellulite but my legs are getting larger and it scares me (I has MLD earlier this year) but hate wearing the stockings.  Any info is helpful.
on 12/5/09 6:37 pm - Portsmouth, OH
My legs, especially my thighs are still huge, I just got back from clothes shopping and feel like chopping off my arms and legs because both make fititng into clothes hell. But while WLS didn't solve the lipedema problem it has greatly helped me by losing what I call the weight that was actually my fault....I've been regaining the past 2 years and of course it's in my legs/hips mostly. Tell me how I'm exercising and eating better than I ever did pre-op and yet gaining more per year than I ever did pre-op..the answer of course is Lipedema. And it's doctors and the world who don't understand...

I have Lipedema and Lymphedema. I also have a passion for Obesity and Health Insurance Advocacy

Blog: Facebook: Born2lbFat Twitter: @born2lbfat

Kermit P.
on 12/11/09 7:49 pm
Boy does this sound familar.  Last year, I joined a gym as I noticed my legs getting bigger and was also gaining weight (had walked in a treadmill for years and was overweight but stable weightwise pretty much). Anyways, 6  months into working out hard, I gained 10 pounds.  I was so disheartened  and this of course is when I turn to food and self medicate some more.   My dr was perplexed, my legs were bigger and I was too.  A student massage therapist is the one that talked to me about lipedema.  I then got MLD therapy for awhile.

BUT, I am concerned as I feel I have an addiction to food and do not want to become disabled.  I am still quite active and only 37 so am thinking more and more about weight loss surgery. 

Thank you so much for responding to my is difficult to locate info on lipedema much less lipedema and weight loss surgery (was your surgeon familiar with lipedema?).   neither my PC physician or my gynecologist had a clue.....

p.s. i hate looking at my legs too.....and i used to have such nice legs even when I was chubby!

on 12/12/09 3:57 pm - Portsmouth, OH

The first time I heard lymphedema was from my GYN, years ago. My WLS was mildly knowledgeable about it, he was at the same hospital (Ohio State Medical) as the doctor who I finally sought out for help with the lymphedema...a vascular surgeon who got me a pump, and suggested MLD from a physical therapist...he NEVER mentioned lipedema...a friend who I met on here and/or a yahoo group had lipedema and of course it sounded like what I had also. When I moved to Miami 5 years ago I saw a lymph specialist Dr. McDonald and he told me first have lipedema and lymphedema then asked if my WLS had told me surgery would only help me lose weight above the waist...well of course he didn't tell me that...but honestly the weight loss above the waist has at least reduced the pressure on the lymph system...and the LE is better managed....the lipedema...ah well...who knows.

I have Lipedema and Lymphedema. I also have a passion for Obesity and Health Insurance Advocacy

Blog: Facebook: Born2lbFat Twitter: @born2lbfat

Kermit P.
on 12/16/09 6:54 pm
Lipedema often develops into is good to know that your lymph specialist in Miami told you that WLS may not help reduce the size of your legs....this is something I am contemplating as I am apprx  225 pounds and worry about proceeding with weight loss surgery and then being lopsided....I am fat now but at least I am curvy all over and do not look legs though just get worse and worse so this worries me.  I have not been wearing compression which I know I should but am just so uncomfortable in them.  I wish drs at least knew what this was and had better ideas on how to tx it (I also received manual lypmh drainage which was helpful but only 8 sessions).  The therapist was wonderful though and very knowledgeable.  Thank you so much for sharing your has been difficult locating info on lymphadema/lipedema much less with weight loss surgery.
on 6/18/13 1:01 am - Portsmouth, OH

I have recently found several websites and FB groups with more information about lipedema. I posted about them since June is Lipedema Awareness Month

I have Lipedema and Lymphedema. I also have a passion for Obesity and Health Insurance Advocacy

Blog: Facebook: Born2lbFat Twitter: @born2lbfat

on 1/16/10 1:56 pm - United Kingdom
Hi, just wondered what type of weight loss surgery you have had. I am 57 always had large legs but put this down to stopping sports and vasically got on with it.

Until my doctor noticed my ankles once when visisting her in a dress, then she sent me for tests etc and diagnosed lipodema, ok now we have a name for my large legs and batwing arms.

I had some lyposuction in the buttocks,thighs,stomach and had the fat cut off my arms, but that has all started to return .

Well done for putting the photos on and would be grateful as new member to know how you did it.
on 7/10/10 12:10 pm - Portsmouth, OH
I had RNY gastric bypass. I've also had skin removed from my arms twice, and they are back to the way were...still big.

I have Lipedema and Lymphedema. I also have a passion for Obesity and Health Insurance Advocacy

Blog: Facebook: Born2lbFat Twitter: @born2lbfat

Sahara Rose
on 5/27/13 11:37 pm - , CA

Hi Sarah,  my name is Sara, too :)  

I'm so happy for you that you not only had an amazing result but also finally got the correct diagnosis.   I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Lipedema w/ Secondary Lymphedema in August of 2011 and I'm trying to spread the word, too.   I had to travel 10 hours to see the right specialist, no local doctors had heard of it.   It's very frustrating how few in the medical field have knowledge of it, especially since it was diagnosed at Mayo Clinic in the 40's.    

I cried the day I was diagnosed because it was such a relief to learn that it wasn't my fault that my legs were so ugly.  It's a heartbreaking, challenging, painful disorder to live with.   The physical pain any time I do even a small activity is a nightmare. The mental anguish of not being able to participate in so many of life's pleasures is painful, too.  Being misdiagnosed and treated by rude medical staff isn't fun either. 

Learning more about this and finding others out in the world who live with it makes us all feel less alone, even though of course I wouldn't wish this on anyone.   If any of you have daughters it's important to realize that they don't have to be big to have this.   My daughter went with me to my appointment and she (doc) said that my daughter has the very beginning signs of it so hopefully she'll be able to prevent it from getting as bad as mine has.   That alone made me cry at the thought of it!   My daughter is being diligent about wearing compression garments already in her 20's to prevent worsening.  

I can't find any that I can wear, they are way too painful for me to put on and I bruise horribly with each attempt.    I have a generalized weakened connective tissue disorder of some kind that complicates it for me (causing a long list of other issues and contributes to the worsening Lipedema).  I don't know how anyone could get those stockings on if they have even half the pain I do, it is just impossible....and I"m pretty tough with pain because I have MS and other issues as well.  It's frustrating that they don't make them bigger than they do, I've tried to get them at max size which is way bigger than the charts say I should get and I still can't get them on.    I've had to start wrapping my entire legs in ace bandages (so hard) if I need to go anywhere.  

I'm so scared that this is as good as it will get but I can't give up hope.   I am hoping to get better and get back to work as a nurse so I can spread the word in my work, too.  Hopefully more education to all will bring more hope and better treatments in the future.   Thank you for your posts, I know they are old and not sure if you're still around but I hope you're doing well.  

Hugs to all going through this! 

on 6/18/13 1:06 am - Portsmouth, OH

Sara you forgot your H. 


You touched on two things I relate too very much, the relief of finally knowing it's now our fault, then the realization that if it's not our fault that also means there isn't much we can do to change it. And with that changing it, yes early diagnosis would have made life much easier, instead I was just deemed "fat" for so many years and just gained gained gained to a point with the lymphedema, etc a lot of damage is not reversible at this point. I wish your daughter the best with early maintenance. While I can wear compression, not for very long, I notice the pinching etc makes me not able to wear them as long as I once did.

I have Lipedema and Lymphedema. I also have a passion for Obesity and Health Insurance Advocacy

Blog: Facebook: Born2lbFat Twitter: @born2lbfat

on 7/9/10 9:14 pm - FL
 Hello:  I have had bilateral lower leg lymphedema since I was 13.    I had been diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis and then the swelling started.  I was not overweight then.  I have been wearing compression stockings since then (I am 57).   Have you looked into decompressive therapy?  
It is a very gently done special massage technique with bandaging or compression garments afterwards.  It may provide some relief to you.
I have a massage therapist friend who has done this for me in the past.  Think it is time to start again.
Good luck and I am thinking of you.
on 7/10/10 12:12 pm - Portsmouth, OH
Yes, I've had mld many times, that is why my legs are so much better now...and I keep them that way by wearing daily compression garments...Elvarex by Jobst.

I have Lipedema and Lymphedema. I also have a passion for Obesity and Health Insurance Advocacy

Blog: Facebook: Born2lbFat Twitter: @born2lbfat

on 7/9/10 9:17 pm - FL
RE:  compression stockings--Sigvaris has thin, comfy ones with cotton--good for hot, humid climates.
Ames-Walker has their own brand, heavier weight with cotton, also comfortable.