STATEN ISLAND (PIX11) — A Staten Island mom who struggled to walk reunited Monday with the Staten Island University Hospital surgeon who removed masses from her legs, giving her a new lease on life in time for the holidays.

Linda Ortiz dealt with lymphedema and lipedema; they caused swelling due to build-up of lymph fluid and an an abnormal build-up of fat in her legs, according to Northwell Health. Ortiz had 15 pounds of fat, tissue and liquid hanging from one leg and 11 pounds from the other.

Ortiz had weight loss surgery more than 20 years ago. It helped her lose more than 300 pounds, according to the hospital. She also had skin-tightening surgeries on her mid-section and legs, but no matter how much she exercised, she couldn’t do anything about her swollen legs.

In 2015, she started to have vascular issues, according to Northwell Health. The mom had skin infections from the extra skin. Ortiz was reluctant to have more surgeries, so she decided to try and work around her health issues.

“If I was at the park with my girls and my legs got tired, I’d say ‘mommy has to sit on the bench and rest. I’ll catch up with you,'” Ortiz said.

Daily life became increasingly challenging. So Ortiz turned to surgery. She had a 15-pound mass removed from her left leg in Feb. 2020, according to Northwell Health. Then in July, she had an 11-pound mass removed from her right leg.

“Essentially, we cut out the entire mass along with the tissue and fascia underneath it,” Dr. Kuldeep Singh, director of limb salvage surgery at Staten Island University Hospital, said.

Ortiz was able to return to work in October.

“I can walk. I can work,” she said. “I can enjoy being at the park with my daughters. Life is so much better.”