Everyone was so proud of Emily Bartley when she began to slim down. Weighing 203 pounds at only 15 years of age was taking its toll on her.
But after she lost about 30 pounds from eating clean and exercising, she noticed something was amiss about the way she was losing weight.
"After I lost the weight, it was obvious that my legs were much bigger than the rest of me," Bartley said.
No one had any explanation for this mystifying problem, until Bartley's mother stumbled upon an article with a term she'd never heard before--lipedema. Lipedema is a chronic disease of the fat tissue that causes the excess deposit and expansion of fat cells in an unusual way.
Unlike "normal" fat accompanying obesity, lipedema cannot be lost through healthy eating and working out. It has to be surgically removed.
Thank you guys so much for all the love and sweet messages💗 My surgery went so much better than I thought it was going to! I had no pain pretty much the whole time😳 I've been resting all day and my legs are starting to hurt a little... But I still haven't taken any pain meds! They are super swollen and leaking a lot😩😷they took 3 liters of fat out of my thighs which is crazy! Sorry for the kinda gross pic but I wanted to show the difference between normal fat and the diseased fat. I have my appt tomorrow with my surgeon, @davidamronmd to check the incisions (there are 12!) but he said everything looks good so far. They say that the final results won't show for about 12 to 18 months but I should see a significant difference within 6 to 8 months! I'm so happy that I found Dr. Amron, I felt so comfortable the whole time! Him and his staff were amazing☺️
At first, Bartley was embarrassed by her diagnosis and didn't want to tell anyone.
"After about a month from being diagnosed, though, I started to realize how few people actually knew what it was and acknowledged it as a real disease," she said.
And it's a real disease that almost exclusively affects women--nearly 11 percent of women in the United States. Some of them go their whole lives without knowing they have it, which can potentially leave them unable to walk. So that's why Bartley's raising awareness of it.
Now at her lowest weight yet--165 pounds--she says she's already seeing a huge difference two months post-op. She says her pain and swelling levels going down, and most importantly, she feels better on the inside.
I swear I always buy something when I go into work😁 I'm just so obsessed with this @aloyoga sports bra and I will basically buy any pants that are high-waisted😆 Anyways... I've been eating super clean and working out a lot more recently! I'm at my lowest weight yet -165.7lbs- (almost 40lbs down🙈) after being stalled for about 3 months!!! I can already feel a huge difference in my body... It feels so great to be back on track!💗 • • • #fitfam #healthyliving #cleaneating #fitness
"Nobody deserves to suffer from a disease, but if that is what the universe throws your way, make the best of your situation," she said.