My name is Kristin Osborn and I am the owner and clinician at Newcastle Lymphoedema and Lipoedema Clinic in Newcastle NSW. I have been operating the clinic since 2005 and over the years I have seen many positive changes in research, treatments and products in the area of Lipoedema, which have assisted me and many of my Lipoedema patients.
When I was studying many years ago for my Lymphoedema Certification from the US, I read a very small paragraph on Lipoedema. After reading it, I realised that this is what I have. I can also recognise it in my family on both my mother & father’s sides. From that moment on, I have never stopped searching for professors and institutes that know and can teach about this disease, so I can learn as much as possible and pass this knowledge on.
My mission is to keep updating my knowledge and continue to pass on what I have learned to my patients, and to the community. Dedication and education are key; they are both motivating and empowering.
Using my own knowledge, I have been able to assess my Lipoedema myself and believe I may have had Lipoedema from as early as nine years old, having noticed myself in a family holiday photo. I was teased with being told I had “Hippo Hips” and “Thunder Thighs” which has left mental scars, and when I attended an all-girls high school I always wondered why my legs were different to the other girls, they seemed to have nice firm skin and proportioned legs where as my legs were sloppy skinned and disproportioned to the rest of my upper body.
When I was pregnant with my son I lost 20kg, and then regained 10kg. I started to study diet and nutrition and utilised or eliminated certain foods and I lost 35 kg, without much effort at all. My patients requested I write what I did down so I ended up writing my book, “The Lymphatic-Friendly Diet” which has information on Lymphoedema and Lipoedema along with 100 recipes.
My main challenge to date with having this disease has been going through Menopause. Thankfully, I have only had very mild symptoms because I learned to balance my hormones many years ago, through studying about hormones in preparation for the time when it came. However, no matter what I have put in place and was prepared for, how diligent I have been with diet, exercise, and compression wearing, I still managed to put on 9kg. Apparently, it is expected for women to put on between 10-20 kg during this transition so I suppose I haven’t done too badly, however, I am now concentrating and putting into place a new strategy, using conservative treatment, to bring my weight back down, which is slowly working.
I do look in the mirror at my legs, from time to time, and although I don’t see what I would like to see, I realise I have a genetic disease, (so it is not my fault) and I am doing everything possible, conservatively, to keep it from progressing and that keeps me contented, as I know I am doing the best I can. I have a family who loves and supports me and doesn’t care what my legs look like, I also take comfort in that.
Having said all that, my hope for this article is to educate, inspire, bring hope and comfort in the knowledge there are Therapists out there working very hard to help others with this disease.