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The Weight of Lipedema - Blog

a look inside managing a chronic disease

Crystal Ellingsen

About the Author

The Weight of Lipedema comes with heavy stigma, huge mental and physical health implications, and a severe lack of awareness among the medical community. Where I live in Nova Scotia, Canada, there are no specialists or care options that address Lipedema. 

This is a journey of the physical, psychological, financial, social, and political challenges I must navigate to keep my mobility and manage my pain in a world that refuses to acknowledge me as anything other than “fat”.

Here you will find my truth, my struggle, my support, my research, my triumphs, and my disappointments. Here you may also find your voice to advocate for yourself; as I have found mine.

Join me for an intimate look inside managing Lipedema, a fat disorder that affects 1 in 10 women; it usually runs in families and is commonly misdiagnosed as obesity or fibromyalgia

Crystal Ellingsen sitting on bed with compression
My Story

Why do so many Women give up?

Over the previous three years before starting CDT, I had lost some weight through pain management strategies. I was in a pretty good place, although I did have to give up some of the things I loved, such as sports, vigorous exercise, projects, and pushing myself in loads of capacities in general. I’d been pushing through incredible pain for years, and my disproportionate/uncooperative body was more prone to injury.

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woman walking away with lipedema
Lipedema Coverage NS

Little Did I Know

I was naïve, no question. How does one know until they need access to healthcare that it is incredibly ill-equipped to help them? Not only was a very common women’s health issue being completely ignored and women are being mistreated and discriminated against, but even when I knew what was wrong, I found professionals who want to assist me manage my pain and manage my swelling, therapists especially, and they were very willing to learn, but quickly they discovered until the underlying issue of lipedema is addressed, there therapies are cannot be as effective and are definitely not long term solutions. I’m not afraid to be honest and ask the questions and still the system works to deny access to the treatments both conservative and surgical.

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crystal next to fence
My Fight

Never Have I Ever

Never have I ever dreamed I would be seeking legal advice in Canada to get a much needed surgery. Never have I ever had to consider remortgaging my family’s home to secure healthcare. Never have I ever really questioned that fat people, myself included, lacked two things; knowledge of how to get thin and/or the resolve to follow through. Never did I ever think it could be anything other than my failure. But I did it! I cracked the code, I have lipedema.

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