Lipedema Awareness Interview with Shana Grantham  

Shana Grantham is a Medical Advisor for Essity in Northern California and is a lipedema patient who was diagnosed with lipedema in her mid-40s, even though she noticed at 13-14 years old that as she was trying to find clothing to wear and that fit her, she could not find clothes that fit. Her body shape is small waist, large thighs and hips. Trying to find pants to fit her was almost impossible. Here are some excerpts from the interview with Shana on Facebook live with Lymphie Strong.

Interviewer: Do you remember when you started asking questions, like ‘What is going on?’ and ‘Why is my body like this?’

Shana: The hardest part was at every doctor’s appointment they just told me I was obese.  That was it and all they would tell me is I had to lose weight. I was in high school when I started weight watchers. I have been on every weight loss journey there is. My background is I was a pharmacy technician and I expanded into durable medical equipment and compression.  I worked in the compression field for over 10 years and never heard the word lipedema.

Probably about 15 years into my career, I saw a picture of lipedema and asked my husband, does my body look like this? And he said yes. I thought - there is a reason for this!

Interviewer: You’ve probably had a lot of struggles with weight loss, can you share with us some of those struggles?

Shana:  I have had 2 weight loss surgeries, the first in 2008.  I was probably 285lbs at the time which marks me as severely obese.  I had the gastric lap band surgery and was happy with the weight loss.  It was successful for about 5 years, until I had to have emergency surgery when the band moved.  After this emergency surgery and a hysterectomy, I gained 100lbs in 3 months.

In 2016, I started my weight loss surgery again and had the gastric sleeve surgery. After this surgery, I had weight loss and was happy, but the majority of my weight loss was in my upper body but not in my hips or legs. Weight loss surgery is a good thing, but you better be prepared because it’s not going to be what you think it might be.

Interviewer:  Tell us about the sensitivity that comes along with lipedema.

Shana:  I have always had pain and sensitivity in my legs and upper arms.  I always thought that was normal, I would get bruises so easily.

Interviewer: Can you share with us your compression journey? Having worked in compression, I know that you have tried many options.

Shana:  When I worked at the pharmacy, I was offered compression from many of the reps that would come in but for years, I never tried it.  After I got my diagnosis, I tried Knee High compression and it felt great.  After my first weight loss surgery, I got a custom Elvarex pantyhose in Class 2 and it was too much compression, I could tolerate them for an hour or two but had to take them off.  When Elvarex Soft came out, I tried that in the lowest compression and I was able to wear those for about 5 hours, it was better but still couldn’t wear them all day.  Last year, JOBST® came out with JOBST® Confidence and I can’t tell you how exciting it is, people said to me this is a product you sell but it is also a product I wear.  It has made a turnaround difference for me and my lipedema.  It is crazy what the difference has been. I love the pantyhose and I can wear them all day.

Product Information

Find out more about the products Shana mentions below.

Signs and Sympoms of Lipedema

If you have questions about lipedema, know that there is a lot of information out there.  Here is some additional information on lipedema: Signs and Symptoms of Lipedema - LymphCare

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Don’t sit around and go through this in silence. Share your story. Doing that was a real eye-opener for me

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