Renaye believes her life changed forever when on a holiday in Tasmania with her boyfriend. While buying some herbal tea from a naturopath there, she informed Renaye she could have a condition called Lymphodema. Renaye recalls crying tears of relief, after having tried multiple diets and exercise regimes at this point, it was a relief to hear that a condition could be the cause for not being able to shift the weight from her legs.
While researching this condition further, a physiotherapist and oncologist diagnosed Renaye as having Lipoedema, and it was then that Renaye’s conservative management process began. She began to use custom made compression garments and followed an anti-inflammatory diet, removing dairy and gluten.
While attending a Lymphoedema conference on the Gold Coast, Renaye came across Dr Chris Lekich, speaking for Lipoedema Australia. Renaye began to realise that she wasn’t alone with this condition and attended an information session on the condition at Dr Lekich’s surgery.
Renaye also travelled to Melbourne for a photoshoot with the Lipoedema Association, show casing her legs to help promote the condition and improve awareness.
Renaye then saw Dr Lekich at his Brisbane clinic for her vein conditions, which were an issue associated with her Lipoedema. This involved injecting either foam or medical superglue into the veins which closes holes that had formed. Renaye had a total of 6 treatments and believes the procedure was not invasive and that it’s possible to minimise the pain of the injections by following Dr Lekich’s directions.
Renaye believed she reached a stage on her journey where conservative management such as the compression garments, eating correctly and daily exercise was no longer enough. She made the decision to proceed with a surgical solution and had her first of a possible six surgeries in July 2020.
Renaye felt this was a huge step for her both mentally and physically. Physically she was struggling with the extra weight as it put pressure on her heart and made it difficult to perform daily tasks. Mentally, it had been a long and hard battle for her, not fitting into clothes designed for her age from eight years old and being bullied for her size only increased her anxiety and depression. Although Renaye faced more complications through surgery with her aortic stenosis, her first surgery was successful, with 5.3 litres of diseased fat being removed from her lower legs. Her immediate relief was apparent as Renaye walked out of theatre singing!