Be Gentle With Yourself
by Denise Bennett
How lucky was I to have a doctor who saw me as a human being and not as just a patient. She was a nun, yes, a nun, and the best Internal Medicine doctor I had ever been blessed to call my own. I was devastated when I got the news that she had terminal liver cancer at 69 years old. But her words, advice and wisdom remain in my thoughts.
“Be gentle with yourself Denise,” she said, when I was experiencing symptoms of anxiety after selling my home in Chicago without going to the closing. “You didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to the house that represented your success,” she said.
“Be gentle with yourself Denise,” she said after my mom died and my heart was broken. “There is not a timeline for grief.”
“Be gentle with yourself Denise,” she said some years later when despite successfully losing weight, my left knee still needed to be replaced. “We don’t know where you would be at today if you hadn’t been dieting.”
Wise advice from my primary care physician of many years. I miss her.
Lipedema Anxiety and Stress
I want you all to pay attention. You need someone in your life to tell you to be gentle with yourself. I see so many of you that are frantically trying to “diet” lipedema away. I see many of you in a frenzy to purchase every single brand of compression garment… thinking somehow this will be the solution. I see you spending obscene amounts of money on supplements, and vibration plates, and cookbooks, and just about anything someone mentions may help you feel better, end swelling, shake the fluid out of fat cells, look better, or countless other promises.
Stop. Take a deep breath. So many women have gone before you. I know you feel panic. I know you are scared. I know you think that trying just one more thing might finally be the answer for you. Slow down. Find a group of women who are ready to support you and your efforts. Beware of groups that hustle products, promises and hope. Find resources that are based on medical facts and personal evidence. Don’t fall for magic potions and witches’ brew. This is a long journey we are on and we should be thankful for having the opportunity to be on this road. Many women before us had no idea that there was a “thing” called lipedema, and many brave women before us offered themselves up as experiments for treatment. My advice is to take your time making decisions. Surround yourself with others who understand your journey. Talk to your spouse or best friend and ask them to be a check point for you along the way. Ask them to point out to you when you seem to be going off the deep end. Don’t let geography be your main consideration. Look for experience and results. Ask around. Talk to women in the various resource groups. Not any one doctor is best for all.
Be gentle with yourself. Take care of yourself like you would a beloved friend. We’re all here for you and we’re wishing you the best.
A good article to read about having lipedema anxiety and stress is on the Lipedema.org website. Lipedema anxiety and stress does not just happen to you. Everyone who lives with lipedema experiences it. Learn to spot when it starts and practice these suggestions to keep it at bay.