A mother who spent 12 years coping with severely swollen legs which measured 28 inches (71cm) around needs surgery to remove litres of fat from them.
Hannah Geraghty, 40, has had one of three sessions of liposuction to shrink her legs, which ballooned because of a condition called lipoedema.
Left too embarrassed to wear a bikini at the beach and afraid of humiliating her two children, Mrs Geraghty is finally getting treatment after the problem began in 2006.
Three litres of fat cells were drained from the businesswoman's legs earlier this year, and she will have two more surgeries soon to try and free her from the painful condition.
'My legs feel lighter now,' Mrs Geraghty said. 'I didn't realise how heavy they were until now. I can now lift my legs higher and stand longer without them getting tired.'
'I feel much more hopeful now. Having the surgery is less about looking better, although that is a great benefit.'
Mrs Geraghty noticed both her legs beginning to swell after the birth of her second son in 2006 but it wasn't until 2018 that she was finally diagnosed with lipoedema.
Lipoedema is a long-term medical condition in which excessive amounts of fat build up in someone's legs, buttocks and sometimes arms.
The condition almost always affects women but the reasons why – and what actually causes it – are unknown.
Being overweight can make it worse but it may also develop in people who are a healthy weight – dieting will not make it go away.
Liposuction is the most effective treatment for the illness, and involves surgically removing the fat which has built up.
Estimates suggest the condition may affect as many as 11 per cent of women.
Mrs Geraghty, from Sydney, Australia, had thighs which measured 28 inches (71cm) around and weighed as much as 20kg (three stone) each at her worst and they left her in crippling pain.
She said: 'I just thought I'd put on weight during the pregnancy but the weight didn't go down.
'I didn't think about it at that point but it just got worse. It seemed no matter what I did nothing would shift the weight.
'I wasn't eating a ridiculous amount, I'd have cereal and coffee for breakfast and I'd have a reasonably healthy lunch, I was eating healthily – I shouldn't have been that massive.'
Mrs Geraghty, who weighed 140kg (22 stone) at her heaviest said she felt she had to cover up while out and about with her young children.
She said: 'I was very self conscious of my legs in certain situations when they were at their largest. I would think "do I really need to go to the beach?"
'I wouldn't wear my bikini and would just sit on the beach in a dress because I didn't want to embarrass my kids.
'I had to think what people would say about me, I didn't want my kids to hear it.'
But after her lipoedema diagnosis in February last year, Mrs Geraghty decided to get treatment so she didn't become too disabled to work.
And she says her life has already been transformed by the first four-hour session of liposuction – she has got her weight down to 84kg (13 stone) with the help of the therapy.
'My mum kept saying to me that there's something wrong with my legs but I kept ignoring it,' Mrs Geraghty added.
'The only reason I made the decision for surgery was so that I could continue working and not risk being medically retired if my mobility were severely impacted.
'But I'm glad I did it. I don't feel like I'm heavy any more. It feels weird to walk past a mirror to not see my calves trailing behind me
'I don't feel as obvious anymore, people treat you differently. I feel more confident, and can't wait till the other two operations are complete.'
Source: The Daily Mail