I can count on two hands the number of times I’ve publicly worn shorts or a short skirt, in my entire life. I’m 33. I’ve always wanted to hide behind fabric because my legs looked and felt different (not knowing then, why).
Once I received my diagnosis of Lipedema (stage 1), I understood better. Not sure what it is about lipedema that scares the living hell out of me, but it does. It’s a fear that is ever present for me, that I work to manage regularly. A cut on my calf – will that turn into cellulitis? Sprained ankle/contusion – how long will it take that deep lump/bruise to heal? Why are my legs covered in bruises and why do I bruise with the slight touch of a finger or a bump into something? Why are my legs so tender and painful? Will the added stress on my vascular system have diabetes implications in the future? Why do my legs feel so “heavy” and “thick” today? Why is the lymphatic buildup so bad right now – my insulin pump sites won’t work.
You get the idea.
I’ve worked really hard to change the way that my legs look and feel, and my mental thoughts. The last few years have been transformative in all areas and some have asked if it’s possible that I’ve put my lipedema into remission (don’t know if that’s an option?). They’ve changed shape, become lean, toned, and I’ve almost mentally arrived. Our trip to Mexico played a huge role in this. For the first time in my life, I wore nothing but shorts and skirts! And I felt completely comfortable in my own skin. For the first time, I thought, “hey! I’ve got real, visible ankles – look at all of my hard work!” Mexico was empowering for me, and it’s been many baby steps to get to this point, but here I am!
First two pics, are after flying/dehydration – they were extra puffy!
For the first time in my 6 years living with diabetes I want to take my insulin pump off. While, it may not seem like a big deal to some, it is to me. I’ve reached a new point in my diabetes life and am experiencing another diabetes first.
I long to roll around on my sides and not get tangled in tubing or have to move the pump. I want to get a massage without having my therapist work around my site and not having an area massaged. I want my chiropractic adjustments to not be awkward and feel the cannula poking my muscle. I want to be able to put lotion on in the morning, without having to work around an infusion site, I want to be able to rub and itch my skin like anybody else does. I want to not have an abdomen and sides that look like pin cushions from bleeding, bruising, painful sites.
A couple weekends ago, Seth and I laid low and stayed in, relaxing at home. We went to bed early on Saturday, I crawled into bed, got cozy, then said, “fuck, I have to change my site.” I ripped it off, and felt this sudden freedom; I started giggling, rolling around and rubbing on my sides like I haven’t done in years? I laid there for a while, before finally dragging my ass out of bed and changing my site, since you know, I have to have insulin or I’ll die and I’m a responsible adult. This insertion stung a little more than usual, perhaps because my 10 minute freedom was no more. Since that night, I’ve been thinking about it constantly.
I know my feelings are normal, but they’re not normal for me. It’s an odd feeling to want things you’ve never wanted before and in a million years, I would have never thought I’d be saying, “I’m really tired of having this fecking medical device attached to me 365/24/7!”
Interesting when the pump itself has provided me with so many freedoms, yet I want freedom from it.