Back in June 2022, I finally received the help the I have needed for so long regarding all of the issues I have had with understanding fluid retention, swelling, pain, and rapid weight gain. I was diagnosed with Lipedema. You can read more about that HERE.
Unfortunately, my Lipedema is pretty severe and it has spread throughout my entire body. At this point, surgery is the only thing that can help.
Lipedema surgery was canceled
So as much as I do not want more surgery and as frustrated as I am to be dealing with more body issues, I was all ready to have surgery number one on my legs and was so hopeful I would be on the path to start feeling better!
A few days before surgery, my surgery was canceled due to my iron levels being too low. I was and still am heartbroken. I later found out my iron was not just low, it was severely low and I was actually anemic. All of this makes sense since I have felt “off” for a while. I have had very low energy, felt exhausted, and just didn’t feel like myself. So finding out I was anemic was a blessing in disguise because not only do I need to raise my iron for surgery, but that explains why I have felt so exhausted. So my goal since August 2022 has been to raise my iron levels.
Iron level results!!!
So it has been about a month of focusing on my iron levels. I took some lab work and….. My iron levels are so much better!!
From what I have been told you want your iron levels to be at least an 11. When I began tracking my iron I was at a 7, got it up to a 9, and then a few days ago when we checked again it was an 11! I feel like this is some amazing progress and I feel like my energy is raising again and I am feeling better.
What have I been doing to try to raise my iron levels?
Let’s start by saying I am not a doctor and make sure you check with your doctor and care team before you implement any changes into your diet and supplement routine. I have been taking iron supplements as well as a blood builder supplement. I have been taking these supplements every other day as well as taking them with a small glass of orange juice because vitamin C helps the body absorb the supplements. Another thing I have been doing is avoiding dairy and calcium products close to when I am taking my supplements because the dairy and calcium block the absorption of the iron. My care team wanted to see if I could raise my iron level via diet and supplementation before trying other methods and it seems to have worked As I continue my journey my team will continue to monitor what is going on and try to help me as much as they can. Again I am not a doctor and I am not giving medical advice, I am only sharing what I have been doing and what has worked in my situation.
So what’s next and how does this affect surgery now?
Well now, I have to keep my iron levels up. Ideally, they want my iron to raise a bit more and stay up for 3 months. So for surgery, I do not have a new date yet. My idea is to possibly wait until after the first of the year and really focus on my overall health both physical and mental. I plan to continue to take my iron supplements and have my blood work checked regularly. I also want to keep working on my relationship with food and try to use my compression and shaking machine daily to continue to help the fluid as much as possible. I want to lose some weight, if possible, but not going to drastic measures in order to do it. I think a combination of helping the fluid as much as possible, trying to lose a little weight, and keeping my iron levels raised will really have me feeling good, strong, and ready for surgery.
Let’s do a quick weight loss update.
I 100% do not blame everything on Lipedema. I have acknowledged and I am aware that I have gained weight. My goal is to feel good again, to feel confident in myself again, and to be as healthy and strong as I possibly can. At my current weight and size, I do not feel my best BUT I am working on it. Having Lipedema is hard and makes it very hard to lose weight. Having an eating disorder is hard and it makes it very hard to lose weight. My new primary care doctor and my Lipedema surgeon both do not want me to focus on weight loss, but on making healthy choices. With the amount of fluid I have, there is no way to know how much I truly weigh so it’s pointless to be weighing myself and focusing on weight loss in a traditional sense.
I am continuing to work with my primary doctor and eating disorder care team, checking in with my Lipedema surgeon and seeing what he recommends. I am also having more regular appointments with my nutritionist (who is also a part of my eating disorder care team) and figuring out a way to have what I am eating help with my iron levels, my relationship with food, and with wanting weight loss. What I cannot control is how fast my body is changing, how rapidly I am gaining weight, and how much fluid I have in my body. I do not have control over that and that is really hard for me. But having Lipedema is not something I can change, I cannot snap my fingers and lose weight and get rid of the fluid and I cannot also hate myself into being “smaller”. Love, patience, kindness, and continuing to heal my relationship with food are the things that are going to help me heal and move forward.
So what now?
I continue to work on my relationship with food, continue working on maintaining and raising my iron levels, and make sure physically and mentally I am taking care of myself.
That is a quick little update as to what is going on with my Iron as well as my Lipedema surgery plans. I wanted to thank everyone for all of the support, love, and kind messages. Your support and love keep me going, keep me strong and keep me fighting every day. So thank you from the bottom of my heart. Let’s all remember to do the best we can to love, respect, and take care of ourselves every day and never forget to love ourselves every step of the way.
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