For as long as I can remember, I’ve been the big fat friend. The one that sat on the “boyfriend” bench at the stores in the mall during high school while my friends tried on outfit after outfit from any store they stepped foot in. The one that no matter why she went to the doctor’s, it turned into a lecture on how she needed to lose weight. I felt everyone was so focused on my weight but I rarely even thought about it. To me, there was no point in thinking about it due to the fact that nothing I did changed my lower half.
When I was in high school, I sustained an injury to my lower left leg. My left leg started to swell to the size of a football right about the ankle. If I massaged or put pressure on it the swelling would go down. The ER doctor, a chiropractor, and my PCP had no idea what was causing the swelling. Their solution was just to massage it and to lose weight… Shocker! It wasn’t until several years later when I was pregnant with my son that I finally found out what was wrong with my leg. After googling, I was convinced that it was Lymphedema. My PCP at the time (who was a horrible horrible person) told me “you google too much.” I had to talk him into giving me a referral to see a physical therapist for Lymphedema.
2008 changed my life. I had my first series of compression wrapping. As much as I HATE that process, the way my legs felt afterward was amazing. I got my first pair of compression stocking which to my surprise brought on a new set of insecurities.
In 2010 I switched physical therapist when it was time to get new stockings. During one of my sessions with her, I was complaining about how I was always just told to lose weight. She turned to me and said, “You know you have Lipedema right?” She went on to explain it as “a special fat that you can’t lose through diet and exercise.” I felt a weight had been lifted. (Oh the irony…) I had finally received the reassurance that I wasn’t just some lazy slob. And while I felt better, I still felt alone.
Fast forward till spring of 2018 and the start of Palegingerpear on Instagram. PGP started as an #ootd type Instagram. The negative comments I received led to me mentioning my Lymphedema, Lipedema and compression stockings. I realized that I’m not alone. That they are so many women out there thinking they are flawed because all they were told over and over is they need to lose weight. I decided I was going to use PGP to get the word out there about Lymphedema, Lipedema, and Lipo-lymphedema.