Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Hidden Beauty?

So this post isn't about the surgery, I've sort of moved on from there, but I thought this might be interesting........

Last week I went to a glass making masterclass with a fabulous glass artist called Amanda Simmons. It was to learn how to make glass vessels. They're not called vases as they aren't functional items.

We were asked to introduce ourselves and also to say why we wanted to learn how to do this technique. The class introduced themselves and then it came to me last. During this time I'd been thinking and looking longingly at some of Amanda's work that she had bought with her.

It suddenly struck me that if you put a foot at the bottom of the vessels then that's what my leg would look like. Here I was looking at something which resembled my leg but I was thinking about how elegant it was and how beautiful it was.

Does that mean that I could think my legs could be beautiful and elegant if I think my leg looks like one of those gorgeous vessels? Shocking thought isn't it? Maybe we have to look at things a different way.

So I came away with a new glass making skill, a new design process, a hat full of ideas including a range of designs based on how having lipo-lymphedema makes me feel and a new respect for the shape of my legs

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Swelling!!! And other stuff....

Well it's 4 months since I had surgery with the amazing Professor Schmeller. All has gone really well until the last 3 weeks or so....

I started noticing some swelling on my left leg. I always get a little swelling as the day progesses even though I try to keep my legs up during the day. (They are currently up on a large cardboard box as I took my builders step home from work. Probably less than ideal and not a long term solution as the weight of my legs is slowly crushing it!)

This started almost immediately after starting to use a body brush. I had read that this dry brushing was great to move the lymph and also for the appearance of cellulite (hey, I'm going try anything to make my legs look better). Apparently all you have to do is brush your skin in the direction of your heart, so up your legs or up your arms. I quite enjoyed the sensation and my skin felt silky smooth in a couple of days.

The swelling went from my ankle up to my calf. It was quite bad, unpleasant, unsightly and felt really odd. It was if my skin was rippling or wet. I was very concerned and immediately stopped the brushing as it was the only thing I'd done differently.

My legs remained swollen although every morning they'd be back to their usual svelte-ish post op look. In desperation I email Professor Schmeller to see if it was anything to do with my op or if I had perhaps damaged them whilst they were still healing. He replied that I hadn't done anything wrong and when I saw him in January my legs were healing perfectly. The swelling was definitely worse now than it was post-op!

Here's a picture...it's a bit dark, but you get the gist

Fortunately I had an appointment at the Lymphedema clinic the next week. The nurse assured me that there was nothing to worry about my legs...phew! That was a relief. It was just good old Mother Nature with her monthly visit playing havoc with my lymphs & hormones. Funny because I've never had, or certainly never noticed such a big change before. All I can think is that because I am peri-menopausal then the hormone shift is that much worse. She also said that my compression stockings were too tight for my legs in a such swollen state. So now I have some sexy black ones being made to measure in Germany (....what is it with those Germans and lymph!!!) And I love playing dot to dot on my legs after they're done a-measuring!

Also, I'm the first person the clinic has had who has had surgery...go me! The nurse was amazing at the radical change in my legs and from my notes told me I had lost 11 cm from the circumference from top to bottom. That is HUGE!

Annnnnd, she knew nothing about the surgery, who does it, how they do it, so I spent 40 minutes enlightening her. She also didn't have any support groups from a young lady who has lipo-lymphedema in her legs and arms....so Facebook support pages given out too. This worries me very much. Surely the people who are out there in the field should know about support groups. There is such a limited amount of information and help for us, surely they be up on what we have got available to us?

So....measured my legs....my first boots were fit at Christmas and my calves measured 46cm. They now measure 42cm. Boom! Stoked to the MAX!!

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Hello again!

Well, it's been a long time since I last posted here. I guess with Christmas and not a huge amount happening with my legs I didn't think there was that much to show or tell you.

But I have recently visited the good Professor Schmeller at The Hanse Klinik in Lubeck for a check up and am really pleased to report that he is as happy with my result as I am!

My long suffering husband ;0) joined me on a long weekend trip to visit the Klinik and come home with some very happy memories of Lubeck rather than it just be the place where I had my legs cut open! See how beautiful it is!

So we met with the Professor after walking around Lubeck for about 3 hours, my legs weren't possibly in the best shape they could have been. They are always the best in the morning after a good nights rest.

He asked how I'd been, any problems, & discussed the outcome. Was I happy? Yep, you betcha! And was happy too. He said that given the amount of weight I had lost & along with my age (an aging 45), this was the best possible result I could have achieved. He suggested new compression stockings for me, level II as I was still (and am) wearing the compression stockings from the surgery.

He measured me again, and there was at least a 5cm reduction at every level. The only part he said he was disappointed with was above my knees where he had removed the fat but the skin was drooping. I know that I need a skin tightening procedure on my thighs and this part was to just ease the joint around my knee.

So here is a 'before' photo...

And here are some afters.....

The Professor said I would continue to see improvement in the lower calf to ankle area where there is still scar tissue, and this could take another 6-12 months. I will see a reduction in the swelling too, which would be great.

I have lots more pictures which are more of the same and I'm more than happy to share.

I'm also happy to report I'm sleeping better now as my legs have calmed down. This makes me a happy bunny also :0)

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

They're alive!!

yes, my legs are alive!

Sounds obvious doesn't it, but let me explain some more! Since the surgery my legs have been pretty numb around the shin and ankle area and up by my knees. This is obviously where the cannulla went into my skin and really took the brunt of the lipo.

But now the healing process has got the point were the nerves are all coming back to life, which is a good thing! It's not painful, just a bit strange. Before I just had this odd feeling, a bit like someone was trying to brush my hair backwards and little electric shocks occasionally. Now they just feel a bit achy, especially at night. I assume that's more to do with relaxing and being more aware of what's happening in my body than at any other time. The annoying thing is I keep waking myself up by knocking my legs as I turn over in the night. Again, it's not painful, just that I am more self aware.

Other than that I am still wearing the compression stockings every day. My legs seem to want to swell if they are down for too long, as because life has to go on, my legs do need to be down occasionally! I think they'll be on until after Christmas and then I'm going to try and slowly wean myself off them :0)

My husband & I were having breakfast the other day, sitting on the sofa with our porridge and tea and he says to me 'The Professor did a really good job'...he'd been admiring my legs. How lovely for him to essentially say that my legs are looking good!

Was it worth the money? yes! Was it worth the pain & hassle? yes! Would I recommend anyone having it done? yes! Will it change your life? yes! Would I go through it again? Yes, although I wouldn't really want to if I didn't have too.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

The good, the bad & the apology...

Ok, so a funny titled post but it's been a funny sort of couple of days. Let's start with the apology & get it out of the way...

I don't normally ask people on the internet to give me their addresses & if anyone asked me I probably wouldn't tell them! But something has happened to me in these last few weeks and I feel changed, in a very special way. I think I've mentioned it before, like finding God, that I have this need to help & be kind to people randomly that I've never had before.

I had massage this afternoon and my therapist said it was all to do with feeling vulnerable and recognising that in others. It's a bit like people have been so kind to me and I just want to give something back, even if it's just in a small way.

So I'm sorry if I've offended anyone by asking for a certain lady's address, it was done with the best of intentions and a couple of hours later (in the bath) it hit me that weirdos do what I've done. I run a small business, I'm a nice person & I felt very sorry at that moment for that certain lady. I thought I could make her smile with a small act of kindness. I stand by that. If it compromises my integrity or my standing in the Lipedema Sister group, then so be it. Also, I'm open to being mugged off myself at the moment, for example, I could get one of those scam emails which asks for my bank details to give me $5,000,000....I'm likely to say, hell, yeah, I trust you! ;0)

And the bad...well my poor leggies have been quite sore this week. I make glass jewellery as a hobby which I sell and I spent saturday at a craft fayre, sitting for the most but feet were down. Then we went to the opera (Tosca...was amazing!) again legs down & on Sunday we walked around a Christmas market in Salisbury. All lovely things but my legs were not happy. Swollen and fizzing like crazy. I emailed the Professor and he said my poor legs were still healing inside and I should continue to wear the compression. He said it could take a number of weeks before they stop swelling. It's 4 litres of fat they took, lots of irritated flesh still not very happy with me.

And saving the best for last, the good! I have seen amazing improvements in my mobility & balance! My balance has always been exceptionally poor. I can be standing somewhere and for no reason, I topple to one side. Makes me look drunk! But this seems to have stopped! Hooray! Also, when I squat at the gym I can go reallllllly low, the knee joint is so much free-er which a better range of motion. Nothing proved this more than getting out of the bath like regular people. I used to have to flip over onto my front. And finally, I actually saw my calf muscle. Again in the bath, I had my leg to one side and as I flexed my foot, there the little devil was! And with an actual line down one leg moving! I was transfixed! Little magical miracles.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Doing too much.....AGAIN!

Well yesterday was a very exciting but scary day for me.

I was going back to my beloved gym and to my trainer Kane after 3 weeks of doing nothing. It's hard to do nothing when you're used to doing quite a lot! This comes after doing next to nothing for most of my life.

Last year I ran (well, ran and walked a fair bit) a 10k (6 miles) for the first time ever. I was dressed up as Santa, along with about 2000 other Santa's. Some people were doing a 5km but Kane & I decided we should go for it. I trained quite hard for it and on the big day, more and more people passed me, but I did cross the finish line. I actually came officially last....yep, not something you'd normally be proud of, but I actually finished! Other people dropped out, so technically, I guess I wasn't really last (you keep telling yourself that love, lol!)

Here I am crossing the line, amazed at what I had achieved!

So yesterday was supposed to be a good day. My legs were looking good, I was feeling good. I walked around the lake at work as a warm up. Took me 40 minutes to do a 2.2km walk which would normally take me about 25-27 minutes, but that was ok. At the end legs were good to go!

At the gym we worked fairly hard on some weights on the upper body, and a fair bit of stretching. Nothing overly challenging and again I felt no pain, and felt good. At no point did my body say 'OWWW!' to me.

Driving home after about 10 minutes of the 20 minuite journey I started to feel very strange. I could tell I wasn't concentrating and I felt I was just looking at other things, other than the road! As I drive through a fairly rural area it didn't feel safe to just stop. So stupidly I just kept going. I was like one of those cray people staring out of the car window, hands gripped on the wheel, willing myself to get home.

Once home I started to cook dinner, pasta with bolognaise sauce, how difficult is that to make? Quite when you feel completely spaced out and feel disconnected! My husband came in about 5 mins later and said 'are you ok', 'no, you're going to need to finish this'. I sat down and then the shakes hit me with a sick feeling. Very very scary!

I forced myself to eat and then we just sat there. I looked 'monged out' but I was experiencing what I believe to be a low sugar moment, hypoglycemia. After about an hour I started to feel better. And tiredness hit me. I felt very emotional and felt very silly about 'doing too much'. I went to bed and more waves of tiredness hit me.

I feel perfect today. Nothing hanging over from yesterdays problem. I've bought some glucose sweets to keep in my bag in case it ever happens again. And yes, I am going back to the gym on Thursday, but have told my trainer we've got to take it down a notch.

And everyone was right about doing too much!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Gory Photo Time!

So here are the photos taken after my surgery...finally I hear you shout!!

This is me literally moments after the surgery. I'm laying on the surgery bed and the Professor says 'smile' and I did! The other picture is of the fat they took from my legs, all 4 litres of it! The red fluid below isn't blood, but fluid with a few drops of blood in.

These photos were taken the day after surgery and before flying home. I remember being quite shocked by my legs but putting a brave face on. I was thinking oh god, what if it stays like this? I had been warned by the Professor that there was a chance that may happen but thankfully, the skin has retracted bag. I guess at this point it was like emptying a plastic bag and expecting it to just bounce back!