Updated: Oct 23, 2019
Does anyone remember the T.V. reality show 'The Swan' or 'Extreme Makeover'? It was my absolute favorite. They take a homely looking young lady, who has some feature that made her stand out in some way of another. They follow her through plastic surgery, give her a make-over and voila! Brand new beautiful lady...
I have dreams of being featured on a show like that since before that show even started shooting! I have always had funny ugly legs and floppy upper arms since before I can remember.
So today, when I spoke with Dr. Marc DuPéré, of the Visage clinic in Toronto, I feel life I am going to be the star of 'The swan"!
I was very nervous going into this consultation. I wasn't sure what to expect, terrified that we would get on the line and he would gently tell me that I would have to continue my search for Lipedema treatment outside of Canada. I am thankful to say that the news he told me was quite the opposite!
Dr. DuPéré was so friendly, and kindly explained to me how he could help me. He explained the treatment, and the special technique he uses, even when and how he learned it. He reassured me about the procedure while still being 100% realistic about what my expectations should be for each procedure. He can only take out 5L of fat to stay within Canadian safety standards so He explained what he recommended prioritizing.
So this is how the treatment plan is laid out:
There will be 4 stages, each focusing on a different part of my body.
The first stage will focus on my lower legs, from Ankle to knee. He estimates that he will be able to remove 3L -4L of fat from my lower legs. This will leave alot of excess skin. So He will immediately perform a lower leg lift. Honestly I am really hoping to have a beautiful vertical scar up the back of my leg - I feel like I could tattoo a bow on the back of my ankle and pretend I am permanently wearing panty hoes from the 1950's
The remaining Litre he will start to do a little work of the next section which will be my thighs. Once he's done they'll pop a pair of compression stockings on me and keep me overnight. I will have to remain in the area for the 1st couple weeks and return for a follow up to check on the incision and take the stitches out. The recovery time between surgeries will be 3 to 6 months.
This first stage is so exciting because almost half my pain is in my lower legs and ankles, the lymphatic system is clogged up, my veins aren't functioning properly and the excess fat globs are pressing on nerves. The relief I feel from all the pressure in that area will be immediate! Sure there will be some recovery pain and discomfort but that my friends is only temporary! and anyone can deal with anything if it is only temporary! Am I right? If you had to endure 4 days of excruciating pain but get to enjoy the rest of your life healthy and strong or a lifetime of moderately terrible pain, limited capability and immobile - which would you choose? Honestly I am just thrilled to have a choice - after years of living with the latter I am ready to do and endure anything to have a chance at chasing my son across a soccer field and dancing comfortably at my daughter's wedding. Want to add a caption to this image?
Did I mention the $35k price?
Any who... back to the present.
The second stage will focus on the thighs. I have big thighs, what can I say. Dr. DuPéré estimated that my thighs will have 8 or so Litres of fat to be removed.
But Katie, you say, isn't the limit in Canada 5L per session? Why yes lovely reader, that is correct. If you recall before my rant, we had one or two Litres to play with after the lower section was done. So he will do what he can and again make a beautiful scar up the leg, which I will proudly rock, and remove the excess skin with a thigh lift.
Again I will stay overnight, follow the recovery procedure.. blah blah blah.
Oh did I mention this round only costs a cool $26k.
Third Stage - now this is where it get really exciting.
Are you ready for this?......
My gigantic butt, thighs and all the saggy blobbly skin left over from losing my 150lbs a few years ago will be completely transformed!
How you ask? What amazing, magical procedure could transform someone so drastically? Well my dear reader, let me tell you.
A complete lower body lift with Lipo to the buttocks.
This one is quite drastic actually. They will take a whole belt of skin - 360 degrees around my body! Amazing! I have really just a ridiculous amount of skin from my earlier weight loss, I am glad he will be able to take care of that at the same time. The amount of weight he will be able to remove in excess skin will relieve so much pressure off my hips and back. At the moment, the fat in my buttocks makes it so that when I sit, many of my key nerves are compressed, my lymphatic system is blocked and so on... let's just say - I don't spend much time sitting at my desk anymore.
I would even wager to say that the largest source of my pain, discomfort and immobility starts with this section.
This life changing stage totals in at a whopping $31K - but who can put a price on a life?
The Fourth and Final stage isn't quite as remarkable but it will make a big difference in my day to day comfort.
Arms. or as my daughter lovingly refers to it - my 'Flob'.
I remember having there bat wing like growth on my arms all throughout high school - I distinctly remember being very concerned about my sleeveless dress at prom exposing these flabby arms to the world, or worse my classmates.
These days I have learned to accept and even love my 'Flobs' they make great pillows while camping or taking impromptu naps. So why not just keep them? Well unfortunately the extra weight has been pulling on my arm or something because both my elbows and shoulders are worn out. the joints are under excess strain and I have a hard time lifting my arms above my head, not to mention the million things I knock over while reaching for anything. - I will have to take a picture to explain this one I think.
Smaller pricetag but no less important Stage 4 comes in with the price of $13k.
So to sum things up - 4 stages, 1-2 years, and $92k. I will be able to go on long walks, go back to my beloved job as a Chef, and play with my kids!
Now comes figuring out how to pay for getting my life back.
If you would like to contribute please visit www.gofundme.com/katiebaker If you know someone who could help share my story or can help create awareness for Lipedema, please share.
I am only one of estimated 11% of the female population that is afflicted with Lipedema. So how is it not even recognized by the world health organization or our nation's medical system?
Thank you for traveling this journey with me. Stay tuned for more as I start my fundraising efforts!