DIAGNOSIS RELEASED ME FROM THE FEELING OF GUILT

I first noticed and became self conscious when I was 12 years old. Other peers at school and my friends didn’t have legs like mine and didn’t get very sore in the inner thighs. Then as the years went by my legs and hips grew larger and began to be painful. Mum told me they were growing pains and I would grow out of the pain and the rest of me would catch up with my legs ! 
I longed to be a nurse and a midwife and at my interview for a student nurse place Matron said she would give me a six month trial as she felt I wouldn’t cope with the pace of the job. I proved her wrong and became a qualified nurse and won the best nurse medal. I then went on to train as a midwife and that became my profession over the next 40 years. 
During this period I met and married my husband and had two beautiful boys. Constantly during my career and pregnancies doctors treated me as “ obese” even though my upper body was “ normal” whatever normal is. I could paper my walls with diet sheets. One doctor gave me a food diary and when I took it back he barely glanced at it. Just asked what I really eat. !! 
As I got older and near retirement my legs grew and grew so I could barely walk. I retired at age 64 as I then couldn’t cope with the pace. 
Moving to Great Yarmouth my GP asked if I’d ever been treated for my “ Lymphoedema “ and referred me to the local Lymphoedema clinic. There I was immediately diagnosed with lipolymphoedema,the Lymphoedema being caused by lipoedema fat squeezing the lymph vessels. 
Being diagnosed released me from the feeling of guilt I had for 60 years but also gave me a feeling of anger that I had been let down by the medical profession. Lipoedema has been known since the 1940s but has never been given any importance and  liposuction is treated as cosmetic. 
I am now almost 78 and lipoedema has taken away my mobility and as now I have cancer too has taken away my ability to have an anaesthetic for the surgery I want to rid me of the cancer. I am a wheelchair user because of lipoedema. 
I write my story to spread awareness of this horrible disease so that , hopefully, in the future women will be able to go through their  lives without stigma, without pain and to keep there mobility to enjoy their lives not be hating every painful step they take.