By Kate Harrold
TROLLS caused this woman to hide away for TWENTY-ONE YEARS after a rare condition left her with ‘ELEPHANT LEGS’ – but now she’s unrecognisable after spending £10K on surgery.
Communications manager Yasmina Kemppainen (36) from Espoo, Finland, began to experience pain in her legs when she was just 12 years old. Soon after, Yasmina’s legs began to swell and she suspected something was wrong.
As a teenager, people would tell Yasmina that she was ‘too skinny,’ but she found herself unable to look past what she called her ‘fat legs.’ In February 2018, Yasmina finally visited a doctor who diagnosed her with lipoedema – a condition which causes an abnormal build-up of fat.
From the age of 12, Yasmina hid her legs away until her diagnosis in 2018 – covering 21 years in total. She hated attending social events or the beach. At work, she found herself tiring easily and the condition slowly took over her life. Other adults would refer to Yasmina’s legs as ‘elephant legs’ or tell her to ‘lose weight’ because she was ‘too big.’
For those who suffer from lipoedema, it isn’t as simple as losing weight. Whilst losing weight can alleviate symptoms, it doesn’t get rid of the condition and the legs can still appear larger than the torso.
In February and April of 2019, Yasmina decided to undergo liposuction surgery in Berlin, Germany, in which the fat was removed at a cost of £10,320 (€12,000). Alongside this, she also switched to a keto diet. This consists of high-fat, low-carb content.
Prior to the surgery, Yasmina weighed 10st 7lb and wore a size XL on her lower half. Now, she weighs 8st 6lb and is able to wear a size XS.
Since the surgery, Yasmina’s confidence has grown leaps and bounds and she feels like she’s taken control of her life again. She began posting her story online in a bid to help and inspire other women who might be in a similar situation.
“I was twelve years old when I started to notice pain in my legs,” Yasmina said.
“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.
“Even when I became an adult, people would still comment on it and say that my legs looked similar to an elephant’s.
“Others told me to lose weight because I was too big.
“I didn’t like to go 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 lipoedema in February 2018 and my doctor talked me through the various options.
“I flew to Med Plast Clinic in Berlin, Germany, and underwent two liposuction surgeries that really changed my life.”
Now, Yasmina feels full of both energy and confidence.
“I feel strong now,” Yasmina said.
“I feel confident. Lipoedema doesn’t control my life anymore.
“I want to raise awareness about lipoedema for all of the other ladies who are suffering. I hope my story gives them hope.
“Surgery changed my life but adopting a keto diet has helped a lot too.
“I’ve been surrounded by supportive friends and my husband throughout all of this. My husband always tells me how strong I am.
“I never would have met him without the surgery. We met at a party and I never would have gone to a party before.
“Don’t give up. Life can surprise you in a very positive way.”