Why I’m Having a Photo Session Before My Lipedema Surgery

Dec 18

Why I’m Having a Photo Session Before My Lipedema Surgery

I’m planning to have a procedure called WAL (Water Assisted Lipectomy) for my lipedema in about two years. Before we go, I plan to have a photo session with a professional photographer.

It may seem strange that I want to have this session before the surgery instead of after, but I feel a need to do this. I’ll try to explain, but really it’s just something I feel I need to do.

I spent a long time hating these legs. They started changing on me when I was 10. By the time I was in high school I didn’t wear anything that rose above my knee. I was gaining weight and rolls of fat had already started moving down the back of my leg. I wanted to try out for flag corps in high school but I wouldn’t wear the sparkly leotard because nothing covered my legs.

My knees and calves were still good, though, but sometime in 2001 – 2003 they started to change as well. The fat pads grew around my knees and the spanx shorts and the Legg’s hose no longer helped. Physical issues I’d been coping with started to get worse. Rashes became more common. I had to watch insect bites to make sure they didn’t get infected. And then my calves changed, growing and expanding further downward until I had an ankle ring – a common occurrence in stage 3 lipedema.

I hated these legs even as they carried me through spin classes, zumba classes, weight rooms and ellipticals. I hated them because they wouldn’t change. The fat rolls not only stayed, but grew worse. The ankle ring widened and the swelling began. First in the ankle, then in the foot. Up, down, up, down, the swelling would come and go.

I hated these legs even as I got a diagnosis. No, it wasn’t my fault. I had a disorder. But the name of the disorder didn’t stop the hate. It didn’t stop the growing pain in my thighs, my hips or my ankles. I felt hopeless to do anything about this disorder or this hate for my legs. I found out that lipedema was in my arms too, and according to current medical knowledge nothing was going to change.

So why have a photo session? Why make these legs look pretty when they’re not? When they’re large and misshapen? When they hurt and ache?

My only answer is because they’re mine. They’re the legs I have right now and the legs I’ve had for 43 years. Even as I believe God led me to the answers I was seeking back in 2012, led me to Dr. Stuz in Germany and is providing the money to have the surgery, I want to honor these legs that God gave me. After my surgeries, they won’t be the same.

These legs have carried me through 43 years of life. They’ve carried me through good times and bad, through pregnancy and childbirth, through hiking in Germany, the mountains of Colorado, the streets of Manchester, Georgia, the historic district in Opelika, Alabama and the missions of San Antonio, Texas. Even with everything they’ve done and been through, these legs aren’t in a lot of pictures. If I’m in a picture, my legs are hidden. They’ve been hidden and covered since I was ten.

I plan to wear three outfits for the session. One of them is a dress. I rarely wear dresses. When I do, I wear them with black or colored tights. It gives me the illusion that my legs are covered and hidden, even when they’re really not. This time, I don’t want to wear tights or even sheer hose. I want to wear a summer dress and sandals. I may even wear shorts. Once the pictures are done, I’ll be posting some of the photos. My legs will be different, but I never want to forget what they’ve done for me.




One comment

  1. You are such an inspiration! I can’t wait to see the photos. Sundresses are a lovely sip of spring, and you will be a tall drink of water with your sandals.

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