Haddenham Healthcare’s Real Models

Haddenham Healthcare, dedicated to the treatment of Lipoedema, Lymphoedema, chronic oedema and wound care have launched their ETO tights using real Lipoedema Patient models, Sandra Slaughter and her two daughters. Sandra describes her experience.

On 24th March this year, I achieved something that I never would have ever believed I would have the confidence to do, I stood beside my daughters in front of a camera in compressions for a photoshoot as guests of Haddenham Healthcare!

Why would I never have thought this would happen? Because I have Lipoedema and this chronic condition has not only reduced my self-confidence, it has also depleted my physical, mental and emotional wellbeing for forty-six years. Ashamed of my body and fearful of ridicule, I have always shied away from having my photograph taken.

I became aware that my legs were disproportionately different to the upper half of my body and other children around the age of 8 years old. It was hard to hide in PE knickers and the harsh comments about my legs from others only reinforced what I recognised.

A trip to see a consultant at St Thomas’s Hospital in London resulted in being told I had ‘unusual puppy fat’ which would disappear at the end of my teens. Sadly, it didn’t.

“Why couldn’t have smooth fat legs or even just cellulite?”, I asked every medical professional I encountered. “It’s just fat, try dieting and exercise”, I was repeatedly told. I knew it was fat, but none of the numerous diets and exercise regimes had been effective. 

In 2016, for some unknown reason, my legs were starting to get even bigger. My GP suggested I try another diet, popular at the time. I knew I wasn’t guilty of overeating and this wasn’t the answer again!

Then, one week in May, two unexpected and coincidental events, suddenly led me to believe I might have Lipoedema.

This was confirmed in St Georges in November 2017. My two daughters were also diagnosed with the condition, my mum and clearly, her 7 sisters and her mother had it too (see more about our story on our Instagram page, @thelipoedemafamily_).

Despite the initial shock, this diagnosis was a relief as it explained my situation. A recommendation resulted in me attending the Lipoedema UK conference at the last minute. I found myself in a room with other women with legs just like mine and similar personal experiences. It was surreal.

I have since continued to support Lipoedema UK in various ways. In August 2019, we launched the online Health and Wellbeing Community for our members and it is a privilege for me to share the tools and techniques that I have developed over the years to help myself, with others living with the challenges Lipoedema creates.

It was through this programme, that I met Natalie Phillips (Clinical Manager) from Haddenham. A fly-away comment from me offering to model their new compressions as a joke, resulted in us being invited to do so!

The three of us were introduced to ETO tights following liposuction surgery and they still play a prominent part in our daily compression attire. So, it was a pleasure to have the opportunity to be amongst the first people to wear the bespoke ETO Grace tights. They fitted us perfectly, they are easy to put on and very comfortable. Just like our other ETO tights, they give us freedom to choose the clothes we like to wear on various occasions and are so easy and quick to wash and dry for daily wear and to suit our busy lifestyles.  

We received such a warm welcome from their team and had a fun day together in various poses. This was a day when I could demonstrate, that regardless of how Lipoedema has affected me, my life and my daughter’s too (as of course it still does every day), I have regained the confidence and acceptance of my shape to hopefully encourage and inspire others to feel able to do the same.

Haddenham Healthcare said: “Fostering body positivity via the promotion and use of our garments is extremely important us. That is why, wherever possible Haddenham garments are modelled by people living with the conditions they are intended to treat.”

For more information visit Haddenham Healthcare