A woman who was mocked by bullies and dismissed by medics over her ever-growing “thunder thighs” has finally found out that an undiagnosed condition was making her legs swell.
Nicola Grice, 33, from Port Talbot, South Wales, was a healthy, average-sized child.
However, once she hit puberty she began to notice that she was rapidly gaining weight on her legs.
As she gained weight, bullies at school began to pick on her and her self-esteem plummeted. She began visiting doctors in a bid to try and manage her weight.
Bullies at school nicknamed her 'thunder thighs’ and would shout at her to ‘put the fork down’. She was even beaten up and told that she should end her life because of how she looked.
Despite trying various diets, pills and even at times starving herself, Nicola's legs continued to grow and her mental health plummeted.
She began self-harming as a way to cope with the relentless bullying she was experiencing, reports Wales Online, and felt like she had nowhere to turn – ultimately leading to Nicola attempting to take her own life.
Nicola continued to try and lose weight. She met her husband Gary in 2012, and in late 2015 she discovered she was pregnant.
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During her pregnancy, she continued to suffer discrimination from doctors due to her size and was told her son would suffer because of her ‘unhealthy lifestyle’.
One night, when she was looking for liposuction clinics as a last ditch attempt, she came across the NHS page for lipoedema. Recognising her symptoms, she went to her GP and was referred to a local clinic.
She managed to receive an official diagnosis of lipoedema, a condition which causes an abnormal buildup of diseased fat in legs and arms which can be painful and affect daily life and mobility. It is characterised by a smaller upper body, larger legs and arms which are unaffected by weight loss.
Nicola said: “In November 2019 I contacted my local Slimming World consultant and she totally understood that it was a medical condition and my weight loss would be slower, if at all.
“I approached it slowly day by day and didn’t set a target or goal to begin with. I swapped higher fat and calorie meals for lean meat and vegetables.
“So far I have lost over one hundred pounds, however my legs and arms do remain larger than my waist. But, that's okay.
“The biggest change is my love for myself. It’s not because I’ve lost weight but because I have finally decided to accept myself as I am. I am worthy of taking care of myself and even though my legs will never change my heart has opened up and I am proud to say I am a lipoedema warrior.”
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