Guest Blog: Endometriosis & Other Conditions with Sewcrastinate

Welcome back to the blog! This month Fridays are going to focus on Endometriosis experiences and first up Sammy from Sewcrastinate (IG: @Sewcrastinate_uk ) is going to be sharing her experience of trying to get a formal diagnosis of Endometriosis alongside living with another complex health condition. I am extremely grateful to Sammy for being willing to share her experiences, its a brave thing to do and I’m sure I speak for all of us when I say thank you to her for sharing with us. Take it away Sammy!

At 29 years old my endo diagnosis journey has begun; but my menstrual health issues predate this by many years.  

At 14 years old I found myself unexpectedly in excruciating abdominal pain one night, a trip to the hospital revealed ovarian cysts on both ovaries. This was highly unusual and unexpected as I hadn’t even started menstruation yet. I had to have surgery to remove these.

Due to previous surgeries from when I was born I wasn’t able to have keyhole surgery, so open surgery it was. Not many 14 year olds expect to have a caesarian style scar and hear the words ‘you may find it difficult to have children due to the severe scarring’. To stop the cysts coming back I was placed on the pill. 

I was also born with a rare disease named Hirschprung’s, the only cure of which is surgery to remove part or, in my case, all of the large intestine. So at age 14 I had already had 3 major surgeries. 

From age 14 till now I have always suffered with bad abdominal pain, with no pattern to it. Each trip to the doctor has always resulted in phrases such as ‘try a different pill’ , ‘you’re a woman, some women have this much pain’, and ‘it’s just stress’. I’ve always come away feeling like a burden and that maybe it’s all in my head. 

2020 was the year I had finally had enough of being in pain with no resolution. I was sent for yet another ultrasound and this time I was lucky enough to have someone that actually listened, she sent me to a specialist sonographer who specialises in endometriosis. It was confirmed there are signs on the ultrasound to suggest endo. The consultant I’ve seen has suggested due to my previous surgeries and altered anatomy he isn’t sure that endometriosis is the cause so wants to run more tests.

So In 2021, as it stands now, I have been for an MRI to get further images to understand what’s going on and I’m still waiting for those answers. Either way, due to the previous surgeries and scarring,  it won’t be possible to operate to remove endo, if that is the diagnosis, so I’m hoping for some good news and advice on how to manage this going forward. 

I am an active person and love mountain hiking and Spartan obstacle course racing; I refuse to let endo stop me doing what I love.  I’m hopeful the more awareness we raise and more money we raise we can help future generations with a better course. 

If you would like to support the vital work of Endometriosis UK please visit the #SewYellowForEndo Just Giving page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sew-yellow-for-endo

#SewYellowForEndo: Where to buy yellow fabric & DISCOUNTS

Hello everyone! It is day three of Endometriosis Awareness Month and I have just done my first Instagram Live of the Series talking about my experiences with endometriosis and my journey. The response was overwhelming and I am so lucky to be part of such a wonderfully supportive community. Now onto the exciting part! I bring you not only yellow fabric inspiration but also DISCOUNTS! And the best kind of discounts as these ones also contribute a percentage of sales to my EndometriosisUK fundraiser on Just Giving.

Who’s Offering Yellow Fabric Discounts?

Felicity Fabrics

Felicity Fabrics are not only one of our fabulous competition sponsors but they are also offering a 10% discount on yellow fabrics throughout March and will be donating 10% of sales to Endometriosis UK. Check out the gorgeous yellow fabrics below to get you started! The discount is automatically applied on yellow fabrics.

The Sewist Fabric Shop

The Sewist Fabric Shop have some stunning yellow fabrics in stock and will be offering a 20% discount throughout the month of March on yellow fabrics and will be donating 5% of their sales to Endometriosis UK! They will also be donating one of our prizes for the #SewYellowForEndo so check out some of their yellow fabrics below to get your inspired! Discount code: SewYellowForEndo

Sewing at Number 51

Sewing at Number 51 will be offering a 15% discount on yellow fabrics throughout the month of March and donating one of our prizes for the #SewYellowForEndo competition! The discount is automatically applied on yellow fabrics.

https://www.sewingatnumber51.com/product-page/cotton-jersey-1

Jenny Stitches Fabric

Jenny has kindly offered a 10% discount on her gorgeous range of yellow fabrics and will be matching that by donating 10% of yellow fabric sales to Endometriosis UK! Check out some of her gorgeous yellow fabrics below and use code SEWYELLOWFORENDO to activate the discount.

The Specky Seamstress

The wonderful Laura from The Specky Seamstress has also provided a discount on her yellow ‘You are a Superstar’ bias binding and she will donating a portion of her sales to Endometriosis UK this month.

https://thespeckyseamstress.com/product-category/bias-binding/specially-designed-fabric/page/2/

Who Else Is Stocking Yellow Fabrics?

Hey Sew Sister

https://heysewsister.co.uk/shop/p/linen-leaping-leopards

https://heysewsister.co.uk/shop/p/organic-cotton-single-jersey-ochre-dots

The Rag Shop

The Rag Shop are one of our competition supporters and have a fabulous range of yellow fabrics in stock! Go Go Go!

Rainbow Fabrics Kilburn

Checkout these two gorgeous yellow themed fabrics from Rainbow Fabrics Kilburn! There’s a gorgeous yellow floral viscose challis and the yellow version of the rose viscose I used to make my Trend Patterns Raglan Dress.

https://www.rainbowfabrics.co.uk/product-page/yellow-rose-viscose

https://www.rainbowfabrics.co.uk/product-page/yellow-mustard-kim-viscose-challis

Sew Anonymous

Sew Anonymous also have some wonderful fabrics in stock so check out their range of yellow fabrics!

https://www.sewanonymous.co.uk/fabric/p/pre-order-lucerne-yellow-crinkle-swiss-dot-viscose-12-per-metre

https://www.sewanonymous.co.uk/fabric/p/ochre-bird-pearl-peach-prints-7-per-metre

Hopefully these fabrics have inspired you to get started with your sewing project for #SewYellowForEndo! Let me know in the comments below if you’re using any of these fabrics.

#SewYellowForEndo Challenge: How to Enter!

Hello wonderful people! Appologies I’ve been a little quiet on here recently but I’ve been working on a very exciting project which I am now able to share – I am of course talking about my Endometriosis Awareness Month activities and in particular the #SewYellowForEndo challenge which will take place on Saturday 20th March.

Endometriosis Awareness Month

Endometriosis is a cruel condition that affects one in ten women and is the second most common gynaecological condition in the UK. It causes agonising periods, pain with sex, problems with bowel and bladder function and can contribute to infertility. Despite that diagnosis takes seven years on average and honestly? Thats way too long.

No one knows what causes endometriosis and there is no known cure however the earlier you catch it the more effective treatments can be. The first step to catching it is knowing something is wrong which is why discussing menstrual health is vital. I am an endo-sufferer and although I had a successful surgery back in June 2019, it is still a condition I will have to live with for the rest of my life.

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month and provides a chance for us all to talk openly about Endometriosis and menstrual health, to engage openly and share experiences. I decided to arrange a months worth of activities to raise awareness and champion experiences in the sewing community. The month includes Instagram Lives where I will be talking to a range of guests about their endometriosis experiences, I will sharing resources throughout the month, running mini-quizzes and sewing up plenty of yellow garments! I will also be raising funds for Endometriosis UK.

Endometriosis UK is a fantastic charity who support and advocate for the Endometriosis community encouraging research, running support groups and championing us at the highest level of government and after a very tough year for charities I want to support their vital work! 

So What Is The #SewYellowForEndo challenge?

I am inviting you to learn more about Endometriosis and sew up a yellow or partially yellow garment/outfit – yellow is the awareness colour for Endometriosis. Put your sewing skills to the test and support the Endometriosis community by whipping up a gorgeous yellow garment and show it off on 20th March on Instagram!

How Do I Enter?

Like the sound of the challenge? Well entering is super easy! All you need to do is:

  • Sew a yellow (or partially yellow) garment/outfit and post a picture on instagram with the hashtag #SewYellowForEndo on the weekend of the 20th March. Please tag me @sowhatifisew so I can find your entry.
  • Donate £1 to Endometriosis UK via my Just Giving Page – this challenge is for charity after all!
  • Include a fun fact you’ve learnt about Endometriosis or tell me whats been your favourite part of the Endometriosis Awareness Month in the caption of your post.

Entrants must be over 18 and UK resident to be eligible for prizes. If you’re none UK based and still want to take part I would love to see your yellow outfit!

Prizes!

I am extremely pleased to say that we have some fabulous sponsors on board who are donating prizes to the challenge! We have…. *drum roll please*

  • A stunning fabric bundle from The Rag Shop
  • 2m Metre of gorgeous yellow double gauze and £10 gift card from Hey Sew Sister
  • A £25 gift card from Felicity Fabrics
  • 3x Tilly and the Buttons Patterns + 3 x Yellow Pink Coat Club Pins from Fabric Magpie
  • A £25 gift card from The Sewist Fabric Shop
  • A beautiful fabric and haberdashery bundle from Sewing At Number 51

Winners will be chosen randomly on Monday 22nd March and I will also be aiming to produce a little video/reel of everyone who takes part to share at the end of the month (stay tuned for more on this in March!)

What Else Is Going On?

The other big event I’ve arranged is a series of Instagram Lives to talk about Endometriosis every Wednesday throughout March. Join us every Wednesday on instagram to talk about all things Endo! Lets normalise discussing menstrual health, raise awareness of the condition and the variety of experiences had within the Endometriosis community. We will also have some more scientific content talking about what the condition actually is so anyone who hasn’t heard of it can learn more. I’ve listed the lives below so check it out and come along!

3rd March 6pm – I will be kicking off by sharing my experience and hosting a live Q&A (I’m super nervous)

10th March 6pm – So What If I Sew & Martha Made Things – Endo Experiences

17th March 7pm – So What If I Sew & The Mindful Scientist – What is Endometriosis anyway?

24th March 6pm –  So What If I Sew & Sew Much To Say – Endo Experiences (with some surgery and post diagnosis chat in there as well)

The fact is that many women have to go through an average 7 years of agony to get diagnosed and it’s terrible. How many women will go their whole lives not being believed about their pain, being told its normal or ‘part of being a woman’ to suffer? This year I want to shout about menstrual health and wellbeing and support EndometriosisUK, an amazing charity who support 1 in 10 woman. Let’s end the stigma around menstrual health and getting talking about Endo.