Lipedema sufferer and lawyer Ruth Leitenmaier: I am worth it

"I think it's great that you don't just see your job as a job, but practice it with passion",

so the statement of a participant at a lipedema event in the Donauries. This statement was made for yours truly and I am very pleased.

For lawyer Ruth Leitenmaier, there were also gloomy times in 2015 when it didn't look as if optimism was justified. After a hallux valgus operation (forefoot operation) with a relatively long healing phase and for me as a person who enjoys doing sports, a punishment and a painful death in the family, the next blow came: the diagnosis "lipedema". If I hadn't been a doctor's assistant trainee and always had an interest in medicine even a long time ago - in what felt like the Pleistocene - I would still not have known that I had lipedema and would probably no longer be able to do my job.

In the last few years I was amazed and also ashamed because I was becoming more and more clumsy and immobile. The legs and arms grew steadily thicker, and so did the stomach. Menopause and too much weight training, I thought. As early as 2013, the increasing immobility and clumsiness led to a skiing accident. Just a torn ligament on my knee, no big deal. However, in connection with the edema, it should mean that my knee never fully recovered from it. Gym three times a week, two outdoor sessions or swimming and always the nagging question: Why do I get fat bags on my knees? The hallux valgus operation was not nice, but it did give an indication of the existence of edema: With an AD knee sock, the left calf was always noticeably thinner than the right.

I guessed it had phlebedema, but that could not be confirmed by a regional phlebologist. Do I have lipedema? I asked. Of course, I googled what else was considered. I didn't like the answer. Yes, it could be, he replied, I'll send you somewhere else. Then the confirmation came.

ruth laitenmaier lipoedem fashion lawyer

Eigen-Sense in magenta

Out of defiance, I ordered my first thigh-high stockings in magenta. This has never been seen in the well-regarded sanitary facility in the small town. Still, I was close to tears. I should be often during the hot summer of 2015. A warm office with a bad indoor climate at my employer at the time did the rest. When the lawyer was alone in the office, she sometimes fought back tears. Because it was so bad. I am not a person who can stand not having control over my life.

Already at that time it struck me: Almost all patients have problems getting surgical therapy at all. A great many have problems getting MLD and the right compression. Many have given up. Some fight bitterly.

I was increasingly concerned with the legal side and very quickly - that was still in 2015 - in addition to my full-time work as a tax consultant and company lawyer, my first mandates in social law came about.

The apparently often hopeless cases spurred me on. This can not be!

My fighting spirit and my spirit of contradiction were awakened in this matter. Otherwise I wouldn't have become a lawyer either. Over time, I noticed how it all gave me wings. My job at that time was no longer as fulfilling as it used to be, the so-called glass ceiling was often in the way and the routine had me under control.

New beginning

Most lawyers are adrenaline junkies. We need that. I missed the contact with the client and the argument. The appointments with the tax office's auditors were not enough for me. Holding training courses in front of bored employees was simply not enough. Although in almost twenty years of tax law I have learned to negotiate tough but fair. Getting the best out of it. To be persistent. Always stay on the ball.

I got to know more and more lipedema patients, more and more interesting women. Became a moderator in a forum.

And I noticed that there was an immense need for advice. Many knew z. B. not that the operations can be claimed for tax purposes with a medical certificate. Or that this certificate must be issued before the interventions. Or that some services are considered approved if the health insurance company takes too long to make a decision. I used to juggle millions in a large corporation, but now I like to juggle with the fictional permit.

I have always placed high demands on myself. What I want professionally and privately. In my life experience it is like this with the really beautiful things: They cost no money, but are never free because they are given to you and they have meaning.

ruth laitenmaier lipoedem fashion lawyer


I've been privileged to be my own boss and run my own business, and I've noticed in the last few months how good and right that feels. And it's good to represent interests that you know are close to your heart.

With many patients and clients, I often feel a great deal of resignation. The disease hardly recognized, the operations dismissed as cosmetic surgery, the compression viewed as strange - we are just taking the first steps to really get going. We have to stand up and stand up for our rights, whether with or without compression, whether operated or not.

For me, especially after the first operation, in addition to the great feeling of happiness, a very great feeling of anger was characteristic:

Why did I have to endure this pain and heavy legs for years?

And why did I (as a passionate cyclist who also drives two and a half thousand kilometers to Santiago de Compostela) have to listen for so long that you are finally starting to do some serious sport? Apparently, I've been doing messy sports for decades.

Lipedema also has its good points

"Lipedema also has its good sides"A good friend of mine said a few weeks ago - she is absolutely right! I think it's very positive to have met so many really great women. And to be able to get up every day, to be able to move and do things that are close to my heart. Not everyone can say that about themselves.

Tax law is still an issue in my law firm today, but in a different way. Especially when it comes to women, topics such as B. a better protection in old age and the assertion and enforcement of medical expenses in the tax return in the foreground. Representing the interests of obesity and lymphatic patients in general is also a key issue. B. with regard to abdominal plasty or rehab treatment. Advising start-ups is also an issue, as is social security problems for self-employed women.

Women generally have to learn to be demanding on these points, to be worthwhile, especially lipedema patients with their often fragile self-confidence.

Hold it as Oscar Wilde put it so beautifully:

I have very simple tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.

Caroline and I got to know each other personally for the first time at the Lipedema Day in Göttingen and we immediately liked each other. I was invited by her to participate in this blog and I am happy to share some of my thoughts and also to show you: There are people who like to stand up for your interests.

For more information just have a look at !

ruth laitenmaier lipoedem fashion lawyer

Author: Ruth Leitenmaier

My focus is on social and medical law, tax law, inheritance law and senior law. I myself am a lipoedema patient, had an operation in 2016 and I am grateful that I escaped a less than good fate. Besides my family, art and literature are my constant companions. I like being in the great outdoors and I also have my balance in sports.

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  • Hello, I have had lipedema in my legs for years, now I still have knee osteoarthritis. I work every day. I feel pain and agony. What can I do? Please give me some advice

    • Dear Sevda,
      the most important is first of all a finding as mentioned by Caroline. Maybe first of all a rehab. To z. B. to be able to submit an application to the health insurance company regarding liposuction for lipedema, you should go to several surgeons and get advice.
      Kind regards, Ruth

  • Hallo,
    I'm sorry, I speak a little German.
    I have Lymphedema in my left leg which resulted in fat dispositions. To solve my problem the doctor suggested liposuction first the lymph node transplant.
    The insurance does not want to support the liposuction costs. Could you help me with that?


  • Hello Ms. Leitenmaier and everyone who reads this through needs urgent advice. A specialist diagnosed me with lipedema on my arms and legs. The specialist Dr. Cornely also sent me a letter for my health insurance company with a diagnosis and a cost estimate for the operation of my lipedema. I sent my application by post on July 01.07.20st, 02.07.20, according to Deutsche Post, it arrived on July 6nd, 5. After three weeks I sent my second letter with a copy of the receipt for the first letter because the three week period had passed and no one answered. Another two weeks passed with no response for me, and that was five weeks and I still had no written notification. When the XNUMXth week had started I called my health insurance company, the lady on the phone looked at my data and said I had a rejection and that for which the five-week deadline applies (I didn't speak to my clerk on the phone by the way). After this phone call I decided to write a third letter straight away, because I found out that my health insurance company had a XNUMX-week deadline and that was over at the time of the phone call. To this day I have not received any written notification, I do not have any money to pay off my surgery myself. What happens next? Do I have to continue to contact the health insurance company until they finally send me a written answer / commitment to cover the costs? Or can I make an appointment for the operation without waiting for an answer and then send the bill to my health insurance company? Can I hope that my health insurance will pay without having to go to court with you?

    • Dear Hilde Baumgärtner, if the application was only submitted with a medical report from CG Lympha, the decision was made belatedly, but no fiction in the legal sense occurred. Because: A purely private medical treatment may "subjectively not be considered necessary", at least if you are a member of a statutory health insurance. In the meantime, almost all social courts in Germany have refused to enter into fiction. It is always advisable to include (also) the doctor's report from an approved hospital (= "contract hospital") with the application so that precisely this consequence can be avoided. Another problem is - as is the case here - the agreement of a flat rate via the fee agreement; In court, only GOÄ-compliant billing can be enforced.

      • Thank you very much for your answer, Ms. Leitenmaier. Well since your answer a lot has happened these days. Mail from my health insurance company arrived on 21.08.20/13.07.20/20.08.20 with a rejection that was labeled 03.07.20/21.08.20/XNUMX (the stamp on the health insurance envelope has the date XNUMX/XNUMX/XNUMX). The rejection for my first letter with the letter from CG Lympha, which was delivered to the German Post with a throw on July XNUMXrd, XNUMX, has apparently been sent to an address that is no longer up-to-date after the address was labeled. Therefore, the cancellation from my health insurance company was only in my mailbox on XNUMX/XNUMX/XNUMX. Can you call that a bureaucratic error?
        in a contradiction (to send the rejection to an outdated address)? Since I only received mail from 03.07.20/21.08.20/XNUMX on XNUMX/XNUMX/XNUMX. If I was to see a statutory doctor as soon as possible because of my illness, with a letter from him, could I still object to a permit fictional?

  • Hallo,
    I have my first liposuction in a private clinic in 2 weeks. The diagnosis of stage 2 type 4 has been confirmed for years, and I also have the doctor's certificate. Now the question arises whether or not follow-up insurance is necessary. The answers to this in forums are very controversial!
    Necessary corrections and aftercare, e.g. puncturing of seromas, are included in the price of the surgeon.
    I am normally legally insured with TK.