A disabled woman whose leg adds 100 pounds to her total body weight has vowed never to have it amputated.
Mahogany Geter, 23, of Knoxville, Tennessee, was born with lymphedema, a long-term condition in which excess fluid builds up in the soft tissues of the body and causes swelling on her left side.
As a child, she faced ignorant comments and harassment that shocked her confidence, but now she says she feels “ beautiful inside and out. ”
The aspiring model ignores online trolls and proudly shows off her disability with powerful social media photo shoots.
Mahogany Geter, 23, (pictured) from Knoxville, Tennessee, is experiencing swelling on her life side due to lymphedema
Mahogany was diagnosed as a condition where excess fluid builds up in the soft tissue of the body after doctors noticed differences in her left leg shortly after birth. Pictured: Mahogany as a child
The mahogany leg adds 100 pounds to her total body weight of 300 pounds and has made her the target of trolls and bullies
Shortly after her birth, doctors noticed the difference in Mahogany’s left foot and her mother Timika Geter, now 42, was diagnosed with lymphedema.
There is no cure and excess moisture builds up in the mahogany leg, which can only be relieved with physiotherapy and lymphatic drainage massage.
At its largest, the Mahogany leg adds 100 pounds to her total body weight of 300 pounds.
Mahogany, the eldest of three sisters, said, “My mom was so worried when I was diagnosed, but we got through everything together. As a child I never felt beautiful, I always thought God had cursed me. I felt ugly, like a freak of nature and so often cried in private.
‘Then I decided I got this condition because I am emotionally strong and can handle it.
Since then I have learned to accept and celebrate myself.
Mahogany said that as a child she ‘never felt beautiful’ and would cry privately, feeling like she was cursed. Pictured: As a teenager
Mahogany learned to live with the condition and celebrate herself after realizing that she is emotionally strong. Pictured: Mahogany and her mother as a child
Mahogany who has received unwitting comments said she wants to inspire other people to celebrate their differences. Pictured: Mahogany at age 18
‘I want to inspire other people to celebrate their differences. I now believe that I am beautiful inside and out. I am proud of what my body can do. ‘
Trolls try to mock Mahogany with comments telling her to ‘amputate her leg to make her look better,’ but she’s learned to ignore them.
‘I’ve gotten quite a few ignorant comments, one person told me my leg looked like a ham sandwich and a girl at school called me a misshapen bastard. It was so difficult to rise above these mean people, but I have no choice, ”Mahogany said.
“ For the longest time I’ve felt so down about myself, but as I got older and with a lot of support from the online lymphedema community and my mom who is my inspiration, she’s so strong that I realized how beautiful I am. Not only the appearance, but also as a person.
Mahogany said the support of the online lymphedema community and her mother helped overcome feeling low about herself
Mahogany, pictured as a teenager, with over 8,000 followers on Instagram, said she wants to inspire others to accept themselves
Mahogany manages her condition from day to day with massages, compression bandages and physiotherapy
“It means I can do my best to inspire other people to accept themselves and see how beautiful they are.”
On good health days, Mahogany likes to stay active with her physiotherapy and creates content for TikTok and Instagram, posted on her page lymph.goddess23 where she has more than 8,000 followers.
What is Lymphedema?
Primary lymphedema is caused by changes (mutations) in genes responsible for the development of the lymphatic system.
The faulty genes cause the parts of the lymphatic system responsible for removing fluid from developing properly or not working as they should.
Primary lymphedema often runs in families, although not every child of someone with the condition will develop it on their own.
Secondary lymphedema develops in people who previously had a normal lymphatic system that then becomes damaged.
Source: NHS England
She said, ‘People have been so nice and supported me online. It’s not all trolling and negativity. I have met so many people online who are keeping me company on this health journey that I am taking.
‘I’m not currently working because I’m focusing on improving my leg. I spend a lot of time drawing, listening to music and posting content to my YouTube channel. ‘
Mahogany manages her condition every day with massage, compression bandages and physiotherapy. She drinks a lot of water to flush her system and should avoid salty foods and alcohol.
Unfortunately, she can suffer from flare-ups of cellulite, a painful skin infection caused by the swelling.
The model is often hospitalized for antibiotic treatment.
Mahogany said, “It gets frustrating dealing with flare-ups because I just want to live my life more freely and it feels like I can’t.
‘If I don’t keep my fitness up, I get flare-ups. It can be overwhelming. When I feel down, I now take steps to build myself up. I take a break from social media, I listen to music, meditate and definitely talk to my mom because she’s like my therapist. ‘
Mahogany added: ‘Despite the difficult times, I genuinely feel like I’m living a normal life. I try to be strong and stay focused on my dreams of making it as a model.
“If I ever grow up, I want to buy a house for my mother and take care of my family, then I will do everything I can to raise awareness of lymphedema and pay it back to anyone who has ever shown kindness to me.”
Mahogany, pictured with her mother, said she’s not currently working as she’s focused on improving her leg but hopes to build a modeling career
Mahogany said she hopes to raise awareness of lymphedema and buy her mother a house if she finds success as a model.