- Sandra DuPree
My Lymphedema & Lipedema Story
By Sandra Dupree
I have always been active – dancing, hiking, and exploring with my family. When I hit puberty, my legs became heavy. Pregnancy was another challenging time for me. I gained weight and my legs seemed to change shape. I no longer had defined kneecaps and my legs appeared lumpier. When I had early-onset menopause. I added 40-50 pounds in a few months, and my legs felt like cement blocks. Hiking became very difficult. My legs were painful, and I was easily fatigued.
I became a certified lymphedema therapist and immediately began to connect my younger daughter’s symptoms with the diagnosis. She was seen by the vascular anomaly clinic at CHOA and was given a diagnosis of lymphedema. I still didn’t attribute my leg heaviness and swelling to lymphedema until I received a diagnosis of stasis dermatitis, which led to a diagnosis of lymphedema for me, as well. I had all the symptoms, but often wrote them off as something else. I also received a diagnosis of lipedema, which helped me make sense of so many of my experiences, such as easily bruising, tenderness to touch, and difficulty losing weight— despite efforts to eat healthy and exercise.