‘Have the courage to make your dreams come true’
Linda is one of our first #LipödemMutmacher who speaks to us about her lipo-lymphedema illness.
Since her birth, Linda has been suffering from a chronic disease. Therefore, the limitations that came along with it weren’t news to her. And yet, she was devastated when her legs suddenly started swelling up after a prolonged cold and the subsequent diagnosis of lipedema: ‘I became alienated from my own legs. They’d just become a part of my body that caused me pain.’
But thanks to the support of her family and friends, the 25-year-old quickly found her courage again. She sought psychological help and learned how to become one with her body again and how to pay attention to its needs. The team at her health care supply shop and her physiotherapy practice were also a great help as they slowly introduced her to the treatment and guided her through the process. That’s how Linda learned: ‘A lot is possible, but not too much. It’s important to get a break from sitting and standing.’ This wasn’t an easy realisation for a woman in her mid-20’s.
But Linda didn’t let this knock her down and learned to live with the limitations. Instead of having breakfast in her pyjamas, which she used to love, the first thing she does after getting out of bed now is to put on her flat-knit compression stockings. She wears these with pride and likes to combine them with short trousers or skirts in the summer. If she's out and about for longer periods, she includes a break in her plan in order to prevent swellings and pain.
I make up for small sins with regular exercise. However, what works for me might not be an option for everybody who suffers from lipedema – everyone has to find their own way to deal with the condition.’
Regular exercise instead of self-punishment
It has become routine for Linda to put up her feet every now and then. Apart from this, she also makes sure to maintain a balanced diet in order to keep her weight steady. Punishing yourself isn’t Linda’s thing – instead, she’ll happily grab a handful of crisps or a piece of cake every now and again: ‘I make up for these small sins with regular exercise. However, what works for me might not be an option for everybody who suffers from lipedema – everyone has to find their own way to deal with the condition.’
Now, Linda is even grateful that she got the diagnosis that early on: ‘Since I became aware of the illness, I’ve had the chance to keep my lipo-lymphedema at bay and to prevent it becoming worse.’ The diagnosis showed her that in life, there might always be something unexpected waiting around the corner – for her, it’s an incentive to think about her goals and to make them a reality.
Her big hobbies are reading and writing. It has always been her dream to write her own book. ‘You’ve only got this one life and your time is limited’, Linda thought, and so she made her wish come true. With success: She has since published her own book, a fantasy novel for young adults, and is already working on her second novel.
My special wellness tips
- Do whatever makes you happy – even if it’s a challenge initially. You can do so much if you just dare to try.
- If you’re scared about the edema becoming worse, get some help asap – there is always a way.
- Try out for yourself what feels good and how far you can go – be it exercise, nutrition or even your job.
- When it’s very hot or I’m in pain, cold compressions help. I like to use them when I put my feet up in the evening.
- When the discomfort increases, decongestive exercises or a short walk here and there can help.
- Even if it’s not always easy: wear your compression stockings with pride, even in summer.
Thanks to courage and perseverance, Linda managed to achieve her goals despite her lipo-lymphedema. That’s why she wants to send a motivational message to others with the illness: ‘Do whatever makes you happy – even if it’s a challenge initially. You can do so much if you just dare to try.’
Linda is one of the first #LipödemMutmacher who speaks about her illness and empowers others with the condition. The then 29-year-old spoke about her experience with the chronic disease. Her story inspired the launch of the #LipödemMutmacher initiative.
Using this hashtag, Instagram posts by courageous women get collected which tell of their daily challenges with lipedema. They create a whole information platform which is unique in its kind.
This is where courageous women share their daily lipedema challenges.