And so the journey begins!

I know it has been a pretty good while since I have written in my blog, but to be honest so much has happened and I was having a bit of struggles there for a while. Many of you know that I am now in Germany and I have already had my first surgery on my legs. I can tell you that I feel so grateful for Dr. Stutz and his staff, they are all very kind and compassionate to the disease and to the humility that comes along with it. Yes I said Humility. It is very humiliating to be ridiculed for the size and shape of your body and especially when you feel it affects those around you … like you kids and friends and family.  Many of my family and friends have fought battles for me and stood strong against those who like to pick at those of us with our large bottoms and huge legs… it is a joke to them, but they don’t know the physical pain…much less the emotional and metal anguish .  When I discussed with my soon to be husband the idea of traveling to a place so far away , the only thing in my mind was that I didn’t like the person I was, the person  I was becoming or the idea that there may be no other way for me to reunite with the person who was inside and desperate to get out.  You see I was so used to being this way, large on the bottom… small on the top, but I had remained active, I may not have been able to run a marathon but I could keep up with my kids and I did enjoy dancing and shopping… swimming and walking.  To say that in one year all of that disappeared is an understatement.  I didn’t even like me, so how could anyone else like me?  My fiancee understood because he too saw it with his own eyes, I became a snail in all things and I just didn’t have answers.  When I did finally learn of this condition and what it would take for me to get back to where I once was… it was mind blowing. My life as it was, was litterally becoming a handicapped 41 year old bed/ chair ridden woman! I knew that Germany was the answer… so we  ( my fiancee, and family ) decided Germany it would be!

The day that It was time for me to depart was so emotional and hard. I was saying goodbye to everything I knew and coming to a place where I knew nothing and doing it all alone. I begged my fiancee to take me back home, told him I would try to work things out stateside and that we could adjust and deal with it.  He was my rock, because just as hard as it was for me it was just as hard for him, but he knew without a doubt that Germany was were I needed to be.  I cried a lot , I cried because I was leaving my kids, my fur babies, my home, him and my family and I was terrified that when I got to Germany things would fall apart even more because that is how things had been for a year now.  When I boarded the plane there was still this very heavy feeling and terrified woman thinking that maybe my money had just been thrown out the window…. because for me 20 years of asking why and being diagnosed with everything under the moon and still not seeing changes… what would make this diagnosis any different?

The flight wasn’t bad and once I arrived at my apartment I went through another stress and panic feeling… being alone, in the mountains gives you a lot of time to think about all that could happen, even though this far nothing really bad had happened at all.

I had my first appointment with Dr. Stutz on Monday and he greeted me as if he had known me forever. He took his time with me and answered questions and thoroughly explained my condition to me in detail. He asked of my home life, my doctors and kids. He knew of my upcoming marriage and made sure to tell me that this was not cosmetic but more to stop this horrible disease from progressing. He told me that he was amazed by my measurements and the fact that no doctor in the US had really tried to help me soon because it was very clear that something was wrong and that my Lipoedema could have been treated many many years ago if only someone had taken the time to thoroughly go over my labs and do a full body exam.  He said he had traveled many time to the US to educate doctors.  I could go into many details about things that I learned from the visit, not by him but by observation but I will just tell you that when I left, I felt really good and I was ready to face this surgery and the remaining surgeries as a advocate for my own health with the wonderful help of a doctor many many many miles and a few ponds from home!

On surgery day I was again greeted with a wonderful, kind and caring staff. I didn’t feel ashamed when I had to expose my body to him or the nurses because there was nothing to be ashamed of and everything was about to change the moment I laid on that table. Dr. Stutz actually wanted to talk to me and educate me through the whole process, he told me everything he was doing and we talked of many things.  I won’t lie and say that there was no discomfort, because at times there was… but he was on top of it every time and it eased quickly.  When he was done that day he had removed 6 liters of toxic adipose tissue!  You don’t realize what a enormous amount that is until you are able to get up and you feel the difference right there… it was amazing. I was sore but my leg pain was completely different.  I go home and I follow his orders to walk and drink lots of water.  Now he is the kicker…. at 8pm that evening Dr. Stutz shows up at my apartment door to personally check on me. Imagine that.  This is not a doctor making a hospital round, this is a apartment in the mountains with snow and icy conditions and he comes out to see me and be sure that I am fine. I asked him why? His response is ” You are alone and I need to know that you are ok, because you have no one here to insure me that you are!!! This man, within 48 hours had shown me more compassion and caring then any of the doctors I had seen in the last 20years… I don’t say that lightly because I have had some really good doctors in my time.

I won’t say it’s been a walk in the park, because it hasn’t. I have had restless nights, swelling, pain.. sadness from being homesick….but if asked if I would do it again or recommend it for other stage 3 or 4 Lippy ladies and my answer would be an astounding YES!!! For 6 months or so I have needed assistance with walking, sometimes going to the bathroom and I have had to use a cane….. 24 hours after surgery,  I am doing it all on my own. NO cane… no trouble getting up from the couch or bed, no issues going to the bathroom in the middle of the night.  I am at the start of getting my life back and I am so thankful and blessed for that.

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