The thing about Endometriosis

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Poster borrowed from Endometriosis UK, to learn more about Endometriosis week, see here. 

In my journey with Endometriosis, I’ve come across some really inspiring people who have written about their journeys and have helped me so much. It’s nice to know you’re not alone. March is Endometriosis Awareness month and I was diagnosed during Endometriosis week in 2014. In fact, I watched a feature about Endometriosis on This Morning whilst sitting in the hospital waiting room on the morning of my laparoscopy.

Without me going into too much detail and this sounding like a medical post, find out more about Endometriosis here.

One of the reasons why I’ve been putting off writing this is because firstly, Doctors would say that my Endometriosis “wasn’t that bad.” I had a diagnostic operation (a laparoscopy) in March 2014 to find out what was causing me so much pain every month and they found two spots of Endometriosis, which did not justify the amount of pain that I had been in. I was glad to have a diagnosis but the year that has followed has been a year of trial and error trying to get back to normal, figure out what normal was and making lots of trips to the Doctors.

The second reason why I have been putting off writing this post, is because I don’t think my Endometriosis is that bad! It’s not too significant so why do I think I have enough to say about it? I might not even have it any more so what right do I have to talk about it? I’m not like the other girls who also write about Endometriosis, so what makes me feel like my story needs to be heard. Well, these are all the reasons why I should be writing about it.

Not every girl who has Endometriosis is in excrutiating pain every single day, some girls are and I really can’t imagine what they must go through, some girls don’t even realise they have Endometriosis because they have little to pain at all.

So this is me, from the age of 11, I would have excrutiating pain for 7-10 days every month before my operation at the age of 26. I would also have problems with my digestion (again, I’m trying not to gross you out here so won’t go into detail!). I had an pelvic ultrasound scan when I was 15, which showed up nothing so I believed that I was probably just feeling normal pains and being really dramatic. But still, some nights I’d wake up in such pain that I’d be sick, I’d feel like I would pass out on my way to work and would sit in pain for days on end. I started to think this definitely wasn’t normal and so insisted I was referred to a specialist. In the end, I couldn’t wait to have the operation, to find out what was causing it all and hopefully make me feel better.

The pain got a lot worse immediately after my operation whilst I was still healing but then my Doctor suggested I go on the contraceptive pill and my symptoms started to settle down a little. I also tried to make healthier changes in my diet and tried to exercise as much as I could to help my symptoms, I knew that these changes wouldn’t stop the Endometriosis coming back, if they were to come back. The symptoms were no where near as bad as they were before the operation but still quite painful, I also felt very lethargic all the time, sometimes like I would faint. I feel like it didn’t matter what I did, I’d still be suffering in one way or another. Every time I would speak to my Doctor, she wasn’t very sympathetic, I wouldn’t explain myself very well due to lack of confidence and I felt like I was going round in circles.

The pill then started to not to agree with me. It didn’t matter how much I looked after my diet, how much I exercised and how truly happy I was, I felt so down and had such horrible mood swings. The last straw was when I spent the second evening in a row laying on the sofa, not wanting to talk, not wanting to watch anything, not wanting to sleep, not wanting a hug and not wanting to move. It was the worst and something needed to change.

The next morning, I called the doctors to make an appointment. I started to look forward to this Doctors appointment and actually started to feel a little better because I knew what had to be done. I decided to come off of the contraceptive pill. I discussed it with a new Doctor and we agreed that even though all Endometriosis advice leads to having some sort of synthetic hormones pumped into your body, this isn’t suitable for some Women. I needed to figure out what was normal for me and move on from there. And that is where I’m at at the moment.

I feel so much happier now, no more dreadful evenings on the sofa! And I’m slowly but surely getting on top of my symptoms. I’ve learned when to take pain relief so that it gets to work before the pain sets in. I practice yoga regularly, I eat less bread and sugar and eat (a lot) more fibre.

The biggest thing that I have learned in all of this, is how to listen to my body. It is always trying to tell you something, especially when you’re in pain. A lot of the time, my body is telling me to slow down and to stop trying to do too much! I’m not sure if I have endometriosis anymore and I’m not sure if it’ll come back or get worse but I know that if/when it does, I’ll be ready for it, if I listen to what my body is telling me.

I’m not a medical professional and I’m only writing from my experience. Feel free to ask me any questions and if you think you might have endometriosis, don’t think it’ll go away, don’t think “ooh it’s not that bad, it’s fine” (like I thought for a long time until it got much worse) go to see a Doctor to get it checked out.

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February 2015

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I think the word to describe February was “exhausted.” After feeling very overwhelmed in January, the cold and the dark was still getting me down and I have felt very thoughtful about a lot of things. Thinking is exhausting!

I celebrated my birthday in February which was good and I went to a few Wedding Fayres. I’ve realised that a lot of wedding planning happens behind the scenes at the beginning (ie. in my mind!) and a lot gets achieved that way!

I felt down in February so I’m not lamenting on it but now moving forward to more positive times. I have a few resolutions which I’ve decided on for March and moving forward, they are as follows:

– Be more organised with my time at home, predominantly with cleaning/chores so that I can take back my Saturday mornings.

– I considered stopping this blog completely as I couldn’t find/make time for it. I hope that taking back my Saturday mornings will give me some time to write, draw and in turn, take back the blog!

– I get very worked up about certain things, I hope to be able to shake it off and relax a bit more.

– I’m also taking a photo of my walk to work every morning at about the same place, on the 20th of each month.

As of today, I’m feeling positive and excited about the future. Happy Friday!

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Twenty-Seven

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I didn’t feel ready for this birthday but I guess birthdays wait for no-one. 

Twenty-six was kind to me. I learned that I have endometriosis and how to listen to my body. I also learned to embrace my curly hair. We went to Bruges, Florida, The Bahamas, Mexico and Jamaica and had the best time in each of these places! I was a bridesmaid and attended one other wedding. We saw our friends get engaged then got engaged ourselves. It has been a full year. 

Being twenty-seven has been strange so far. As I mentioned, I didn’t quite feel ready for it, I guess it is because most of my time is full of wedding planning and a few other things that my birthday has been pushed to the back of my mind. I woke up extra early (5:45am, just 10 minutes before I usually get up) Rob made me a cup of tea and I opened my card from him before he went off to work. I then got ready for work and went on my way, everyone wished my a Happy Birthday at work and a friend made a “PanPancakeCake,” it was a cake, in a pan, made of pancakes!! A brilliant creation of you ask me! Everyone sang Happy Birthday too and I had to blow out the candles! 

I’m now looking forward to a quiet night at home, my Mum is joining us for dinner and more pancakes. I have a few cards and presents to open too. 

I hope to enjoy every moment of being twenty-seven, to do good work, love a lot and choose happiness. 

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January 2015

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We’re almost half way through February and I have hardly been blogging at all! I would say “time goes so quickly, I haven’t had chance” but really, months are so short and my weekdays are full with work and then my weekends have been filled with wedding planning central so far, mixed in with a bit of relaxation.

The word that I’ll use to describe January is “overwhelm.” The start of January began our wedding planning, well just wedding thoughts, I started to write lists and we started to discuss what we wanted for our wedding. You can plan a wedding one step at a time but I don’t think it’s possible to think about it one step at a time, as soon as I was thinking about the budget, I was thinking about all the things that had to be paid for, then I was thinking about numbers, that lead to “who do we cut down?” That lead to table plans and I spiralled into an overwhelming heap of not really thinking about much at all. Not only that, I had been dreaming of what my wedding would be like for a while, then when it comes to the real decisions, I started to doubt myself and started making those decisions from scratch. As of now, I think it’s going well. We have a date, we have a church, we have a bridesmaid, my honorary bridesmaids and a best man, we have eachother and that’s all you really need. I keep having to remind myself of why we’re doing all of this.

Other than that, the dark days have been getting me down, I’m so glad it is starting to get lighter earlier in the morning and darker later in the evening now, with that I hope it starts to get warmer, I like winter but not for this long!

I have been creating a photobook of all of my photos from 2014, I had finished it by the middle of January but then the file corrupted and I thought I’d lost it forever! I sent it off to the lovely people of Adobe and they managed to save it, thank goodness! I had managed to back up my computer using time machine and so found an older version of this photobook but in that version, I would have had to re-do two months worth of documenting, not ideal! My time machine is now plugged in to my computer 24/7, it’s saved me very often recently that it would be silly not to.

Lastly, I’ve enrolled in the Get Messy class. I followed along with the Get Messy project last year but didn’t get involved. I haven’t managed to get round to doing anything for the class just yet but let’s hope these longer evenings will mean I feel a bit more awake when I get home. I was wanting to go to sleep at 8:50pm last night, we hadn’t long finished dinner!

January has been full and I feel tired and overwhelmed. Let’s hope things start to be clear in my mind and feel lighter.

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3 years, 3 photos

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Around this time of year, I start to get fed up of Winter. In October/November time, I get excited and nostalgic about winter, I look forward to cozy nights in. I even decided last year that I think December is my favourite month because I just love Christmas and everything that goes with it! I thought to myself on midwinter’s day that if this is midwinter, this winter hasn’t been so bad, it hadn’t been too cold, the dark hadn’t got to me and I was feeling positive. Soon after that was a lovely Christmas and New Year.

Then, it was January. Don’t get me wrong, I love that New Year enthusiasm, the fresh start, the celebrations that start it off. But by the middle of January, that’s when it gets to me. The dark evenings, the coldness, the having to start getting ready to leave the house 15 minutes earlier due to putting on all the layers! I think this is why I look forward to my birthday in February because very regularly, the goals that I set in January haven’t quite worked out just yet and I see February as a new start again and by then it’s starting to get a little warmer.

So, for the last couple of weeks, I have been feeling a little down. Not really bad, I just don’t like the dark and cold. Then through the power of the timehop app, I was reminded of a few photos I had taken. The first photo was from Thursday 24th January 2013, the second was from Friday 24th January 2014 and the third was from Friday 23rd January 2015. Due to the nature of timehop, I hadn’t seen the previous two photos before taking the third one on Friday but saw them pop up on timehop on Saturday morning. I had taken these three photos on almost exactly the same day at almost exactly the same time (they are taken on my walk to the train station in the morning). I see something significant in these, that it is this time of year when I look to see the beauty in the grey, dark and cold days.

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In progress

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At the weekend, I got right into starting my new sketchbook by setting myself up on the sofa and got started by making my plans for this year look pretty with some hand drawn type.

The Moleskine sketchbook paper was a complete game changer! I’m very late to the party with this one but it is amazing! I’d just been using a plain Moleskine notebook before and now using a sketchbook it just feels nice to draw on, it’s so smooth and I even think it makes my drawings look better, even on the left hand side!

http://ift.tt/1I9lLk8 via Instagram

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Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015

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“An idea that is developed and put into actions is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea” Buddha

“Goodbye 2014
- explore

- look after yourself
- give yourself a break
- enjoy it
It is now new year’s eve and I say goodbye to 2014 and hello to 2015. I’m genuinely thankful for 2014 and all it offered us. Yes, there were some truly difficult time with stresses of the house move and my health at times, a few scary times of other people that I love being sick but we all got to the other sides of those times together. 

On a more positive note, 2014 was great, work was good, there was the wedding of Henry & Harriet, the engagement of Kate & Pat and Bruno & Craig. Rob and I bought our little house and I’ve really enjoyed making it home and entertaining our friends here. We had a fantastic holiday – the best holiday ever and finally got engaged and I’m the happiest girl in the world. 

I look forward to all that 2015 has to offer, Paloma Faith, Kate & Pat’s wedding and fun times in our house.

Hello 2015
- create
- enjoy every second
- find balance
- love a lot
- do good work
- choose happiness”

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This also marks the end of my 2014 journal, I didn’t quite get to the end of the book but I was a good way there. I still have to add some photos into it but that may take some time! 2014’s journal was a Moleskine plain notebook and due to the great success that it has been, I’ve bought a Moleskine Sketchbook for this year. It is looking very thin, white, clean and scary at the moment but I hope that I can add more sketching, more doodles, and more colour to it this time. I do like to write a lot too so we’ll see what happens.

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So Happy

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“After the events of the last few days, I feel so happy! I love Christmas anyway but things have been made much better by Rob asking me to marry him! I feel so grateful for all our friends and family, who have been so supportive and happy for us. I feel so lucky to have received the gifts that I have. I loved the giving of presents, playing games with family, walks in the woods and eating lots of nice food.

2014 was a great year, the best! I didn’t start this year thinking it’d be this good and I won’t start the next feeling like that either. I have the best hopes for 2015 though, I’ll take each day, enjoy each day and this time next year, who knows where we’ll be.”

I hope you had a great Christmas, I’m sorry my wishes are a bit late but as you can see, I’ve been slightly pre-occupied! There is so much more that I can say about the last week, I feel so full of love and happiness, I can’t find the words.

I hope to post pages from my journal every now and then, they’re not usually as minimal as this but I thought this deserved a spread to itself!

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Blog plans for 2015

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To cut a potentially long story short, I’ve been thinking a lot (a lot, a lot, since September, a lot) about this space and what I want to do with it. Truth is, I haven’t really been happy with the way things have been going, I even considered stopping the whole thing for a while. However, I’ve loved working on it so much that I really don’t want to give it all up.

So, I’ve decided that I’m going to give the content of this blog a facelift. To tell the truth, I’ve even felt bored reading/writing some of these blog posts in the past and so I need to change things up.

I want to feature more and more of my design work, illustrations and artwork. I want this to become a colourful space to show the process in some instances but also as an extension of my portfolio. Writing is still something that I do on a regular basis and so I hope to still feature some writing but the design work will take centre stage.

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Explore 2014

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For the last couple of years I haven’t chosen New Years resolutions as such but chosen a word to live by for the next 12 months. My one little word for 2013 was “Grow.” My one little word for 2014 was “Explore.”

Why I chose “explore” as my one little word for 2014
My one little word for 2014 was Explore. I’d had a tough year in 2013 so wanted to give myself time to heal, to get used to my new life and also explore creatively as well. I wanted to take away the pressure of creating something for a specific reason. Before this year, most things I’d made were for education or for work, not for myself, not just for the sake of creating. This meant that when it came to creating for myself I would, for example, paint a picture, I’d expect it to be perfect first time, I wouldn’t practice, I wouldn’t explore all the possibilities. Professionally I would try but I guess, not exploring in my personal work may have affected my professional work too. It really seems silly admitting this now but it is the truth and I’m glad I’ve spent this year exploring the possibilities.

I chose 12 phrases to go with the word explore, they’re loosely related to each month of the year. These would be just a quick reminder of what I wanted to focus on throughout the year.

Reminder of the 12 phrases
Explore new things
Explore art
Explore silence
Explore love
Explore nature
Explore colour
Explore paint
Explore the process
Explore creativity
Explore places
Explore my voice
Explore design

What did I do throughout the year?
There were a few things that I purposely did to keep the word “explore” at the front of my mind. I have a little notebook that I’ve written the 12 phrases down on a page each, and throughout the year, I’ve written things that have happened or that I’ve done which related to that phrase. The only other thing I did was to keep a piece of paper at the front of my diary which I’d written “explore” on it as a note to myself in a way to remind me.

New things
I used brush pens for the first time this year, I enrolled on some online classes to try my hand at hand lettering, I also started making my way through watching a huge list of films, films that I wouldn’t necessarily watch. I’m not a film watcher and I’m always that person who hasn’t seen the film that people are talking about and I don’t want to be that person.

Art
I’ve done a lot of painting, drawing and creating this year, a lot more than I usually do. I started an art journal that, when I started, I would work on it every day then it started to slow down after a while and now I just work on it every now and then. It has been a great experience though and I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ve almost filled a whole sketchbook in a year, that has never happened before and I think of it as an achievement.

Silence
This was mainly relating to yoga and rest. I’ve managed to get into a routine of practicing yoga regularly this year, I really notice when I haven’t been able to practice. I also explored silence in not using social media for two weeks. I learned that I didn’t always have to be looking for the next piece of information.

I closed my Etsy Shop (reluctantly) as it was clear to me that I wasn’t ready to have a shop and didn’t have the time to maintain it either. Having a shop just put more pressure onto an already exhausted Sian!

Love
Rob and I moved in together. This year we celebrating our ten year anniversary, which I still can’t believe it has been that long! We’ve learned a lot this year and I very much look forward to the future in our house!

Nature
This was to encourage me/us to go on more walks on weekends. I now walk to the train station every morning and I’ve really enjoyed it. We managed to get to a country park in the summer which was really nice to walk around and observe the view. It’s difficult because Rob walks a lot for his job (he’s a postman!) he walks about 11 miles a day and so when it comes to the weekend, the last thing he wants to do is walk and I don’t blame him.

Colour
I created a orange journal in 2013 and wanted to explore colour a bit more, maybe do the same for a different colour. I didn’t do that! In creating my art journal, there is a lot more colour in it than I’ve used in the past so maybe I’ll explore a different colour next year.

Paint
I love to paint and this year I’ve used acrylic, watercolours and watercolour pencils for all sorts of things.

Process
Taking part in two skillshare classes has been so beneficial to learn about different processes. In creating my art journal too I’ve learned more about the way that I think and work.

Places
This year we’ve been to Bruges, Orlando, Bahamas, Jamaica, Mexico and Miami. Three of those were in the same trip and I loved seeing so many places. I never really considered the idea of going travelling but I love the idea of visiting a lot of different places on holidays.

My Voice
I’m not sure anyone really can say, “yes, I’ve found my voice” I think it is an evolving thing. I certainly haven’t even found one thing that I enjoy doing yet. I fear becoming a jack of all trades, master of none. I’d love to become a master of just one thing, or even just good at one thing that I enjoy. Am I a writer? Am I a hand letterer? Am I an ilustrator? I’m a graphic designer professionally and enjoy it but I want to find “my thing” that I’m good at!

Design
It’s difficult to see where I’ve progressed as a designer. However, I have been pleasantly surprised when working on new-to-me projects at work and have felt like I’ve done well with happy clients all round.

Next Year
My little word for next year will be “create.” I want to continue the great work I started this year. I don’t feel like I created as much as I wanted this year due to buying our house, I’m sure there will be something that comes up next year and I’ll still be as preoccupied with other things but I’ll try my absolute best.

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Currently November

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MAKING Christmas plans
WATCHING Lots of rubbish TV, also all of the Christmas adverts.
COOKING Chilli con carne and Jacket potatoes, an oldie but and goodie
DRINKING Green Tea and SO much water
READING Before I met you by Lisa Jewell, Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks and “How to make sense of any mess” by my cousin Abby
LOOKING Forward to decorating for Christmas
BUYING Far too much!
PLAYING With water colour pencils!
FINALLY Getting to grips with my medication then taking two steps back again
WISHING Time would go a little slower
BAKING Mini Christmas Cakes
ENJOYING All the Christmas adverts on the TV
DRAWING Penguins
WALKING To and from the train station in the rain
NEEDING Weekends
SMELLING Christmas spices
WEARING ALL the layers
NOTICING The difference that 15 minutes of yoga in the morning makes to my entire day
THINKING About seasons
GIGGLING With the girls at work
FEELING Down and thoughtful
THANKFUL FOR Umbrellas
EMBRACING My crazy curly hair

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For the love of Pink

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I’m not sorry that I love the colour pink!

My earliest memory of my colour preference is at Sports day in primary school. I must have been aged about 6 or 7. I loved the fact that I was in a house called Gade because it’s colour was red, which was the closest colour to pink (out of red, yellow, green and blue.)

At the time, I’d tell people that my favourite colour was red and not pink because pink was “too girly!” I have no idea why being “too girly” was a problem, my 26 self who has recently watched Emma Watson make a speech at a UN conference and is reading “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg would have had a quiet word with my 6 year old self and said you can be as girly or non girly as you choose, but that is beside the point!

I don’t really remember what my favourite colour was as a teen, I’m sure it changed weekly depending on what my best friend’s favourite colour was. I’m sure at some point I loved the colour yellow because it was the same colour as Tweety Pie!

Then when I was fifteen, I wanted to be girly, (make up your mind Sian!) and had my bedroom decorated pink…but with blue carpet and blue curtains! I’m sure it looked dreadful but I loved that room. My family made a video of that time and I did a tour of the house, when it came to my room, I excitedly sang “it’s pink, it’s pink, it’s pink!”

Fast forward to when I was packing my room off to university, I set my room in halls up exactly how I wanted it and I loved it. Then one of my new friends commented that everything was pink! And it was! It never even occurred to me! Then I realised all of my clothes were pink and I didn’t like it. Throughout my years at uni, I slowly and deliberately steered away from the colour pink. How could people take me seriously as an adult and as a creative if all I wore was one colour? (It wasn’t that bad but it might as well have been in my mind)

As time went on through uni and afterwards, I diversified with the colours that I wore and preferred. I wore a lot of stripes for a while, still do and floral patterns too. I then realised a few weeks ago that I just naturally gravitate towards pink without really thinking about it. A couple of weeks ago, it got to Friday and I realised I’d worn pink everyday that week!

But do you know what, whether it’s girly, or non girly, immature or bold, I am finally embracing the fact that I love pink.

I’m unsure even why I love it. It’s the colour of roses, the colour of the roses in your cheeks after you’ve been smiling, the colour of the sunset, the colour of strawberry ice cream, the colour of most of my nail polishes and lipsticks and the colour of Rosé wine.

And then all of a sudden it isn’t about a favourite colour any more. It has become about accepting what I love. I wrote in my advice to my younger self that I should embrace what I love and I guess this bit is still a work in progress.

I am coming to terms with who I am after “the horrible years” that tore my world apart. I suppose I am putting my world and myself back together piece by piece and accepting things that I love, things that I do, things that make me different and things I cannot change. And one of those things is that I love pink!

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