Sea swimming changes life of woman suffering from rare weight gain condition
A woman from County Durham has been given a new lease of life after finding sea swimming in Seaham relieves pain and improves mobility caused by a genetic weight gain condition.
Kathleen Wotton, who lives in Murton says she is a ‘completely different person’ after taking up sea swimming at Seaham beach to relieve pain caused by Lipoedema – a condition where the hips, buttocks, legs and sometimes upper arms are out of proportion with the rest of the body.
Unlike normal weight gain caused by over-eating or lack of exercise, Lipoedema fat often can be painful or feel heavy, with many women describing their legs as being big, swollen and like ‘tree trunks’.
Kathleen, who has a degree in Public Health began swimming at Seaham beach during the first national lockdown after her sisters convinced her to come along with them.
Now, the mam of three says swimming helps her feel “alive” and has massively helped her mobility and chronic pain.
She said: “Me and my sisters used to swim in the sea when we were kids so during the lockdown they convinced me to join them and it felt amazing – I finally had relief from the pain.
"Swimming was a massive turning point, I couldn’t even get of the sofa and now I’m a lot more mobile and don’t need to use my sticks in the house anymore.”
The 48-year-old who also suffers from osteoarthritis, severe hypermobility, fibromyalgia, chronic asthma and depression now swims in the sea most days.
Kathleen also has two grandchildren and hopes to spend more quality time with them following her improved mobility.
She added: “I used to wear leggings to swim in because I was embarrassed but I now feel confident to wear a bikini – everybody is so supportive.
"My friend Paula has been an amazing influence and keeps me going, when I am pushing too hard she tells me to rest – she really looks out for me.”
The mam plans to start working again with her new improved mobility and wants to inspire others to “make that change”.
She said: “I do get negative comments but I just think about all the positive comments and the support I have – I want to influence others to do the same.”