There have been inspirational stories over the years about patients having their lives transformed by plastic surgery. The ability to enjoy life also applies to a woman who tried to hide the appearance of her legs for 21 years from other people. The reason she was ashamed of her legs? Take a look below to learn the story of a women who suffered from a rare condition that left her with the appearance of “elephant legs”.
The Story behind the “Elephant Legs” of a Patient
Yasmina Kemppainen was just twelve years old when she started to experience pain in her legs. Once her legs began to swell, the young girl began to suspect that something was wrong, but she was not sure what was causing the condition.
During her years as a teenager, people would tell Yasmina that she was too skinny but the other aspect of her appearance that she would focus on was the look of (as she put it) her “fat legs”.
It took until February of 2018 for Yasmina to gather the courage to visit a doctor about her condition. Once Yasmina, who lives in Espoo, Finland, was examined by a doctor, she was diagnosed as suffering from lipedema. This is a condition that results in an abnormal build-up of fat in the area impacted by the condition.
Overall, it took her 21 years to learn the answer to her condition in 2018. She hid her legs from the age of twelve until she was well into her early thirties.
Lipedema – Not as Easy as Simple Weight Loss
During that time period of 20+ years, she did not like attending any type of social event whether it was at work or with others outside of the office. She found that she became tired very easily and the condition seemed to slowly take over her daily life.
As her condition continued as she got older, other adults would refer to the appearance of her legs as “elephant legs”. Some people would even tell her that she needed to lose weight because they viewed her as being “too big”.
While that might seem easy in theory, treating lipedema is not as simple as losing weight in the area impacted by the condition. The loss of weight on the part of the patient can help to alleviate some symptoms but it does not eliminate the condition which means the legs can still have a larger look than the torso of the person.
Flash forward to 2019 when Yasmina made the decision to have liposuction surgery in Berlin, Germany. She also made the switch to a keto diet that consisted of food that was high in fat and low in carbs.
Before the surgery, her clothes were a size XL on the lower half of her body. Post-surgery, she is not able to fit into size XS clothing.
In addition, Yasmina says her confidence has grown and she has been able to take control of her life.
Yasmina Shares Her Story to Help Others
In an effort to help others who might find themselves in a similar medical situation, she posted her story online in order to inspire other women who might be at a loss of how to treat the condition.
“I was twelve years old when I started to notice pain in my legs. Sometimes, they would swell, and I knew they looked different. It was depressing to notice. People said I was ‘too skinny’ but I just saw my fat legs.”
She continued by saying, “Even when I became an adult, people would still comment on it and say that my legs looked similar to an elephant’s. Other told me to lose weight because I was too big.”
“I didn’t like going to social events because I didn’t want to show my legs. I didn’t go to the beach. I couldn’t go dancing without tiring easily. I couldn’t even manage at work anymore.”
“I was finally diagnosed with lipedema in February 2018 and my doctor talked me through the various options.” The doctor flew her to the Med Plast Clinic in Berlin, Germany where she had two liposuction surgeries that made a big difference in her life.
During a liposuction procedure, the surgeon eliminates excess fat from the targeted area of the body such as the hips, abdomen, thighs, and calves. The surgeon makes tiny incisions in the targeted area of the body and then a suction tube, known as a cannula, is inserted into the body in order to remove the fat deposits in the treated area. The fat that is removed is not able to return and the patient enjoys a slimmer shape and contour in the area where liposuction was performed.
Yasmina says she feels strong now and is full of confidence and energy since the lipedema condition “doesn’t control my life anymore.”
In addition, she wants to work to raise awareness about lipedema for all the other ladies who are suffering. I hope my story gives them hope.”