Size 8 woman has debilitating condition which makes her legs size 20
A mum-of-six has been left housebound after a debilitating condition caused her legs to rapidly grow in size.
Claire Oldfield, 37, always had ‘chunky’ legs as a child and was diagnosed with lipoedema at the age of 14.
However, after giving birth to her eldest daughter aged 21, her legs started to balloon and she now wears size eight clothing on her top half, and a size 20 on her bottom.
Claire, from Huddersfield, told Metro.co.uk she also struggles to turn in bed due to the ‘excruciating pain’ in her legs, and fears she could end up in a wheelchair within the next five years.
She continued: ‘I’ve gone completely downhill to the point I just want to cut my legs off.
‘I just feel so depressed I don’t want to be here anymore. I’m still young and this condition is ruining my life completely.
‘I get a lot of swelling in my legs and it can be extremely painful, even if the kids just put their hands on my lap.
‘I was able to do so much with my oldest children, because I wasn’t so affected when they were little, but now with my youngest, I can’t do anything. I feel so guilty all the time.
‘I used to go to the gym three times a week, but now I walk with a stick and need a lift to get me in and out of the bath.’
Claire’s condition first deteriorated when she had her eldest daughter, and then worsened once again when she gave birth to her youngest girl, who is now three.
She had previously worked for Kirkwood Hospice, in Dalton, and a nearby junior school, but is now on disability benefits after her condition prevented her from returning from maternity leave.
Claire explained: ‘I’m now stuck in the house now nearly 24 hours a day, seven days a week and I only really pop out for medical appointments.
‘When I do go out, I get a bit anxious because I feel like people are staring at me or judging me because I can’t find clothes to fit.
‘I’ve got the tiniest little waist that is a size eight to 10, but then I need to get my bottoms in a size 20.
‘The majority of the time I’m just at home in my pyjamas and some slip on shoes because it’s the easiest thing to do.’
Lipoedema involves the abnormal build-up of fat cells in the legs, thighs and buttocks, causing them to swell up and feel ‘doughy’ in texture.
The deteriorating condition is resistant to diet and exercise – yet, despite affecting 11% of the British population, there is currently no effective treatment for it available on the NHS.
The best way to beat the condition is by undergoing rounds of liposuction, which the NHS only classes as a cosmetic procedure.
Claire said: ‘Every time I am told I can’t have funding because it’s cosmetic, it’s horrible.
‘It’s not just the fact of how it looks. I think could live with that. It’s the pain that comes with it. It’s not being able to go anywhere or do anything.
‘I don’t want to look like a supermodel. I’ve never worn short skirts in all my life, except for at school when I was made to wear them.
‘I miss doing things normal people do, like running around the park or socialising with friends.’
Claire, who also suffers from fibromyalgia and anxiety, has now set up a GoFundMe page in a bid to raise money for three rounds of liposuction, with each surgery costing 6,000.
You can support her crowdfunding page here.
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