Wednesday, April 16, 2014

OMG-has it been a month already?!

I promise, I'm still here!

I'm battling a cold/sore throat. I've been battling it since I went back to work a few weeks back (coincidence?).

It's also tax time...so tax time makes for a busy Miz Flow.

I'm also still quite tired...hemoglobin is just lingering in the 92 area (or 9.2 for my american friends).

Right now, I'm in bed drinking hot water with manuka honey and a bit of lemon. Yes, lemon. Is it the best for my reflux? Definitely not. But my throat actually gets so dry that it HURTS at night, so I thought I'd try drinking some of this brew before bed. Hopefully it doesn't turn into horrible reflux and wake me up in a panic..you know what I mean. You know when something acidic shoots up your throat while you're asleep and you wake up in a flash and jump straight out of a horizontal position into a vertical position like that girl on the exorcist?

Yeah, that.

Back to my manuka and lemon.

Xo

Sunday, March 23, 2014

It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday

My iPhone started acting crazy yesterday.

I would be looking at an app or surfing around, when all of a sudden, several vertical lines would appear on the screen, then it would just shut off. After shutting down to black, the apple logo would appear, indicating that the phone had shut off and was restarting.

This is annoying, I thought. I take very good care of my electronics. I do plan on getting a new phone in the fall, though. But that's not because I had my current phone-I certainly do not. It's moreso because this phone was my first iPhone (iPhone 5) and I underestimated my shutterbug-ism as well as my app addiction. For this reason, I got both myself and my brother the 16gb phones. I would have been better with the 32gb, or even the 64gb. But 16gb just doesn't cut it-I need more space. So, I thought I would wait until the new iPhone comes out, likely in the fall, see what it looks like, how it operates, how many phones come out (I think two different kinds), then go from there. But-had it not been for the lack of space, I very likely would have held on to this phone for another year, making it 3 years..probably the longest I've kept any phone, except for my very first cell phone back in high school in 2000-my good ol' samsung sch 3530. Oh yes, I remember the make and the model.


I wanted this phone so bad that I sat on the phone for hours calling different Bell stores trying to find it. I tried to order it through Sears using my mom's Sears card, but then, even though they said it was in stock, it wasn't. But, they still charged my mom's card. Then, instead of refunding it, they charged it again. It was a nightmare. But, it did eventually get resolved.  But then, on that fateful day, I thumbed through the phone book and called a Bell store in Chinatown. 

"Do you have the Samsung SCH 3530?" I prepared myself to say "ok, well thanks anyway", and hang up, as I had done dozens of times before.

"Yes we do!" he said.  

..what?

"Well...how many do you have??" I asked

"We have six in stock" he said.

By the way, don't ask me how I remember all of this. I have a really good memory for odd things.

"Well...can you hold one for me?" I asked. He enthusiastically agreed. What a friendly fellow.

Now, it was time to get down to business.  I was too young to have a credit card, and a credit card would be needed to get this done. So, I called my sister at work. I had her fax me a letter with her signature, giving me permission to use her credit card, which was in her drawer, to get this phone. She promptly faxed it over to me. I then snatched up her credit card and TOLD my dad that he was driving me to China Town to buy a phone. 

Huh??

"A cell phone??" He said.

"Yes." I replied simply.  At this point, it didn't matter much. If he didn't drive me, I'd take the bus.

So, into dad's van we went and we were off to China Town. I got my new cell phone without incident. But, I'm gonna be honest with you. They actually didn't understand what this mysterious fax was that I was trying to give them. They just kept saying "ok, ok, ok". I knew they REALLY didn't get it when they thanked me at the end of the transaction and called me "Liz".  I have never been without a cell phone since, and my cell phone number has remained the same too.

Fast forward back into the present. I hope this issue that my cell phone is having gets resolved through this iPhone restore procedure I just completed. Prior to restoring my phone, I was sure to back everything up to my computer and also to the cloud.

The process was quite quick-no more than 20-30 minutes to back everything up, wipe my cell phone clean, then put everything back on.

Most of my apps and settings returned to the phone...except a few. Some were apps that I could very easily re-download, or, if the app no longer existed, there are tons of substitutes. But there were two that I was initially upset about: Note'd and photo safe.

Note'd is like a diary. I used this app to talk about heartache-all the things and people that upset me or made me sad. Lots of "why me's" and "this is not fair's". Photo safe was a collection of pictures under lock and key. pictures of people and things that made me upset.

In the end, it was probably the right thing for me to get rid of these destructive apps.  There was and is nothing wrong with these apps, but just what they were being used for.  I didn't use or go into these apps much-maybe once every few months to be honest. But the point is...they were still there. They didn't NEED to be there...and now they're not...and I'm not mad about that. Perhaps it was a blessing in disguise- a forced "let go".  Even if my phone ends up not working for real and needs to be replaced, it was (and is) an annoying, but perhaps slightly hidden blessing.

xo

Update: I called Apple and they told me that my phone needs to be replaced, so I'll be heading to the apple store later on this afternoon to get a replacement phone. Out with the old, in with the new..?

Update 2: I got a new phone to replace the old/broken one. Upon physical examination by the "genius" at apple's genius bar, the top part of my screen seemed to be lifted, almost like my screen was in the beginning stages of popping right off.  The apple employee also asked me if I seemed to be having problems with battery life-I responded yes. He said that the reason my phone was shutting off sporadically and showing those vertical lines was because my battery was defective-it was "swollen". This could have happened for a number of reasons-just a defective device, use of non-apple approved charging devices, etc. But in the end, and thanks to AppleCare plus, getting my phone replaced was relatively quick and painless, and did not cost me a dime :)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Mmm..Pamela's butter shortbread..

I love shortbread cookies.

Just thought I'd get that outta the way. 

Now, as I blogged about a few times, I've gone gluten free before. I did it for a whole year. It was difficult because I love cookies, cakes, pasta, bread...basically I love gluten-y things. When it comes to pasta, rice pasta was a great substitute as I found little difference between rice pasta and regular semolina pasta, especially after sauce and everything has been added in. But, bread was an absolute nightmare. I tried a couple breads that were just dreadful. One loaf of bread that I bought was so crumbly and weird that I couldn't even begin the THINK about putting it into the toaster, lest I destroy the bread, and more importantly, the toaster. For that reason, it simply wasn't worth it for me to buy or eat bread, so I cut bread out altogether. 

Cookies and sweets were difficult too. I bought cream sandwich typed cookies (think Oreo) and they were very "meh". I also bought a gluten free cake mix which my mom made for me. It was also very "meh" (at best). So again, I just didn't bother eating sweets at all for the most part. 

I was browsing the website well.ca the other day and came across some gluten free shortbread cookies. They were called "Pamela's Butter Shortbread". Of course I kind of wrote it off immediately in my head due to my previous experience with gluten free cookies. But then I thought-what's the harm in looking at the reviews? So I navigated over to the reviews, and people were just LOVING these cookies! The reviews were all excellent. But, were these reviews coming from gluten hating people who were either used to the weirdness that sometimes comes with gluten free products, or people who don't eat or have never eaten gluten? Well, the cookies cost about 4 bucks, so I thought...what's the harm? I ordered a box.

The cookies arrived yesterday: Pamela's Butter Shortbread-wheat free & gluten free.



There are the cookies' ingredients and nutritional facts. Meh, It's not a stalk of celery but I'm also not gonna bust outta my jeans either.



Ooo, agave syrup. 


The cookies are packaged in little stacks like this. There are 3 cookies in a stack.


Here is a cookie in my hand to show you how big they are. I do not have gigantic hands, nor do I have itty bitty hands-just normal hands with slightly longer than usual fingers :)



When I bite into a shortbread cookie, I expect buttery, sweet, slightly salty, crumbly goodness. Amazingly, this was the case for this cookie! Having in mind that it's a gluten free cookie, the crumbly aspect wasn't AS prevalent as it is in a "regular" non-gluten free cookie. But that did not take away from the scrumptiousness of this cookie.


I ate two and then stopped myself, lest I eat the whole box without even flinching (I've been known). These cookies were extremely yummy-best gluten free cookie I've had so far. Pamela's Butter Shortbread gets 4 and a half "get in ma bellies" out of 5. Definitely worth a try. 

And that is my Pamela's (gluten free) butter shortbread review! 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Skin peeling after swelling?

My leg swelling has gone down considerably since my TKA.

Now, anyone who knows me knows that I'm very serious about my skin moisurization. I ensure that my skin is always well moisturized, and my skin is always quite soft as I exfoliate with every single shower. 

That said, I've had some minor peeling of the skin on my right foot (the same foot as my knee replacement). My other foot does not have this peeling. I can only assume that this peeling is due to the stretching of my skin after the knee replacement, or perhaps it's due to the fact that I haven't exfoliated that foot at thoroughly as I have the other foot as it was difficult to reach that foot for a while after surgery. Who knows. But I'll continue to keep up with moisturizing and exfoliating and I'm sure it will resolve itself. 

Mmm..yummy.  lol

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Considering the future

Spending a lot of time by myself these last few weeks has really got me thinking. I've been thinking about the future a lot. I'm really looking forward to hopefully (my goal is on or before my birthday in May) securing a proper HR position. I've also been thinking about cleaning up my finances and getting my own place-perhaps a condo or a condo town home (as long as shovelling is included!)

I'm going to be honest. I thought that at this point in my life I'd be a lot...farther than I am right now. I thought I'd be married by now, have at least 1 kid, etc. I know that not everything happens the way WE plan it, and God knows that I'm not one to "settle", but I also know that my circumstances have played a role in my future.

I've been apprehensive about applying for full time jobs in the past. I'll admit it-I've been scared. Scared that I couldn't do it. I was afraid that something would happen with my health and I'd have to miss a whole bunch of days. I'm still scared about that.  I've missed wok because of sinus/ear infections, c. diff, stomach aches, etc...never mind the big stuff, like..joint replacements, kidney transplant, perforated bowel, etc. But, God willing, the real MAJOR surgeries have been dealt with and I can now progress without looking back.

I love to shop-this is no secret. But I've decided to cut way back on my spending habits so that I can save more as well as pay my bills. This way, I can hopefully get my own place. I've been fantasizing about it-I've even started looking online at different units and different town homes...just to see what's out there.  Hmm..maybe I'll play lotto max (the lottery) this week...

No but seriously, as I was saying above, I thought I'd be married and stuff by now, and already living in my own house or my own place with my husband. But, that's not where I am in life right now. Maybe that's what's in store for me, and maybe not. But, I'm not going to be that person who is 40+ years old and still living at home with her parents. In fact, I think living by myself would be a great thing. Being independent, making sure everything is within budget, etc..these are my goals for the next few years.

I don't know that the future will hold-I may meet my husband tomorrow. I may already know him...but I just don't know that he's my future husband yet. Who knows? All I know is that...I'm looking forward to making a change.




Sunday, March 2, 2014

Um..What?

I got lucky with the timing of my knee surgery. My very last day of monthly mensi was one day before my knee surgery. I was very glad about this, as I knew the last thing I wanted to worry about while going through the agony that is knee surgery recovery was my period. I didn't want to worry about getting up several times a day to change, adjust, etc.

Well, I must say that the days and weeks following my knee replacement...I was in a LOT of pain. Like, mega pain. Like, these morphine pills are a joke pain. Like, these oxycodone pills are also a joke pain.

So I looked at my calendar and the day my mensi was supposed to start came and went (around mid month). Good...again, one less thing to worry about. I figured, as has happened to me in the past, my body decided that it was currently under too much stress, so it did me a favour and decided that I didn't need to have my period this month. Well, that, or I was pregnant. And I'm not pregnant.

In the early part of February, I could barely deal with the amount of pain I was in. I actually felt like I was in an abnormal amount of pain. I was so close to having my Dad take me to the hospital or something because this simply was not right.  When I began physio, I couldn't do ANYTHING that they wanted me to do. I took my pain medication 45-60 minutes before physio as instructed. It still didn't help. Getting from the house to the car to drive to physio was torture. Getting from the car to my house after physio was even more torturous. Couple that with having to do this in the winter, where the ground was slippery and the sub zero temperatures zapped directly through my knee like a laser...it was nothing short of awful.  I really didn't think that the given number of physio sessions would be enough. I looked at everyone else that was at physio and thought that they were all stronger than me. Mind you, I had no idea what kind of injury/surgery they had, or how far along they were in their recovery...but that's how I felt. But, it didn't matter. I'm young. They're old. My recovery should be going much more quickly than it is.

On my first day of physio, I asked one of  the therapists what the procedure was for getting more physio sessions tacked on at the end, as I simply knew that I would be no where near ready to "go out into the world on my own" by the time my last physio session was due. 

But, through the pain and through the tears, I muscled my way through my physio sessions. There has been an amazingly huge turnaround from how I felt at the beginning of February vs how I feel now.  I was skeptical-I won't lie. But I've managed to get to a point where I'm barely reliant on my cane, and don't use the walker at all. I only use the cane to minimize extra stress on my knee, but I still practice walking without it and going up and down stairs without it. 

I got really irritated at physio the other day. Perhaps I shouldn't have, as perhaps my anger was not fair. But nonetheless, I was annoyed.  I was doing the physio class today instead of the one on one as there was a miscommunication as it relates to my schedule. In this room are two parallel bars that are at about upper thigh level for me. The bars are quite lengthy so that several people can use the bars at once. It is meant to help people when they are walking, doing squats, stepping up and down a box that a physio puts on the ground to help with building strength, coordination, and, of course, simply practicing walking up and down stairs of various sizes/heights. I was in the middle section of the bars, and was gripping one bar with two hands while I practiced going up and down on my toes. Another lady, an older lady-perhaps in her mid 60s, was at the end of the bars being assisted with her own exercises.  She couldn't have been more than a few weeks post-op.  While a physiotherapist instructed her on an exercise to do (stepping up on a low wooden box), she did it a few times then stopped. She said "I can't do it". She then gestured towards me "She can do it-she's young so she can do it. I can't". It burned me up. Just because I'm young it doesn't mean I don't feel pain.  Just because I seem to be very mobile right now, it doesn't mean I was this way 2 weeks ago. I turned around so that I wouldn't have to look at her.  Maybe I overreacted and was unjustified with my annoyance...but yes-I was annoyed.

Anyhow, this was a maaaajor tangent. Let me get back to the point. 

I didn't expect my period to come again until mid-march. I've been feeling much better as it relates to knee pain/flexibility, and for that reason the number and frequency of my pain medication usage has decreased. Imagine my surprise when my mensi decided to show up today-exactly 17 days late.  Why? Why couldn't you just wait another 10 or so days until you were actually supposed to show up?

I spoke in another post about lupus and irregular periods. Since my kidney transplant, however, my periods have been perfectly predictable.  So in this case, it would appear that my body was so in tune with the pain I was in that it didn't skip my monthly mensi entirely...it just...put it on hold?

I am really interested, moving forward, as to when my next mensi will come. Will is show up again in a couple of weeks? Will this be my new cycle? Only time will tell. In the meantime, I'm going to go make myself some cinnamon tea and a hot water bottle. These menstrual cramps are no joke whatsoever.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Two years strong

Today marks my 2 year kidneyversary! The days, weeks, months, and years leading up to my transplant were difficult.  There were a lot of setbacks, and at times I really didn't even think it would happen. At times I wondered if it was even "meant to be". But then, when my brother and I actually received a transplant date, everything became "real" again.  But the date was more than a month away. I was still afraid that something would happen beforehand which would cause the surgery to be cancelled...or perhaps an emergency would come up and my surgery would need to be cancelled.

Sure enough, about 3 weeks or so before the scheduled date of my transplant...I caught a cold and my sinuses went crazy.  Perhaps not the best thing to do, but I was afraid to go to the doctor to get it checked out because I didn't want my surgery to be cancelled.  So, I went on a mission to heal myself. Neti Pot, over the counter cold medicine, pain medicine, lemon+honey+hot water...you name it, I had it. Miraculously, I got over my symptoms about a week before my scheduled surgery. *whew*!

I'm glad, as I was counting down the days before I'd no longer need to insert large needles into my arm. Counting down the days before I wouldn't have to "plan ahead" before going to the washroom in the middle of the night. That was one of my least favourite parts-having to stop my machine, disconnect myself, flush my lines, and recirculate my machine because I had to go to the washroom...and my machine would beep every 15-30 seconds while recirculating. Disconnecting didn't take TOO long, but anything more than getting up and heading straight to the wash room is a LONG time when you REALLY. NEED. TO. GO.

But alas, I've managed, thank God, to make it through 2 years with little to no issues related directly to my kidney. I am so thankful to my brother for giving me this amazing gift.

Here's to many, many more kidneyversaries.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Operation: Prednisone Taper

When I saw my transplant nephrologist on Monday, he agreed that now was the right time to begin operation prednisone taper (and ultimately discontinue).

I've been on prednisone in varying amounts since I was first diagnosed in '96. I have prednisone to thank for many of my health issues past and present, including cataracts, stretch marks, moon face, and, of course, the avascular necrosis which resulted in the need to have both my hip and my knee replaced.

In the past, doctors have tried to taper me off of prednisone. The problem is the fact that my lupus would flare something terrible whenever I got any lower than the 7.5 mg daily dose. I've been on 5 mg for several years, with the exception of a temporary increase in the dose shortly after my transplant. The other problem is that my doctors were just trying to taper the drug off completely and not replace it with something that perhaps wasn't chock full of horrid side effects.

In comes Imuran
Imuran!
This is what I will be taking in order to replace prednisone. But in the meantime, we are still erring on the side of caution and tapering my prednisone dose slowly while including frequent blood work.


I'll essentially be taking half of an imuran pill everyday.

Half of an imuran pill = 25mg

Easily broken in half 
I will be pairing my imuran with half of a prednisone pill. (2.5mg) I'll be doing this on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.
25 mg of imuran and 2.5 mg of prednisone


On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I will take my usual 5mg of prednisone coupled with the 25mg of imuran. This will go on for one month.  After one month, what I'll be doing is eliminating the prednisone altogether and bumping the imuran up to an entire pill every day. My doc will be keeping a very close eye on my bloodwork to ensure there isn't anything funny happening.

So for now, this is what my morning medications look like:
On Mon, Wed and Fri, it is a full (5mg) prednisone pill


  1. Advagraf- immunosuppressant 
  2. Imuran - immunosuppressant
  3. Pantoloc- helps with my reflux
  4. Prednisone- the drug I love to hate
  5. Palafer- Operation: wake up, hemoglobin
  6. Vitamin D- well..I have low vitamin D.
It's nice to finally be taking steps in the right direction to rid me of this prednisone. I just sincerely hope that my body responds well and doesn't go crazy after the prednisone is gone, especially since I've been taking it for so long. I'll update as usual, including any changes to my bloodwork. Hopefully there won't be anything negative to report.

Wish me luck..!


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Looking forward to

Looking forward to the day when I can look back on all of this and laugh; the day that all of this is but a distant memory. 

But for now, while it all seems "fresh"...

This sucks. 
This sucks, bro. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

It's my healing & I'll nap if I want to!-PART 2!

Ok, I stand by my statement. Healing after surgery like knee replacement can certainly cause extreme fatigue. However, based on my history and for "just in case" purposes, I got blood work done a few days ago.

Lo and behold-my hemoglobin was 86 (8.6 for my American friends). Looks like my body didn't quite bounce back after the blood loss suffered during my knee replacement. So what's next? Well my transplant coordinator wants to  know if my iron stores are high or low, and that will dictate the course of action. It's either gonna be IV iron, or aranesp (EPO).

I'll keep you posted.  *sigh*...I'm soooo full of fun/surprises.  Never a dull moment..

Monday, February 17, 2014

It's my healing & I'll nap if I want to!

In the days following my knee replacement, I've had trouble sleeping. This was mostly due to pain as well as simply being unable to get comfortable. I'm a side sleeper or a stomach sleeper. After surgery, my available sleeping positions were, of course, pretty limited.

Now that almost a month has passed since surgery as well as some intense Physio, I'm more flexible and able to move around in bed a bit more. Also, the sheer amount of pain that I've been in has subsided a bit and is responding better to my pain medication. 

So? What does this mean? It means the the amount of sleep I've been getting as well as the quality of sleep I've been getting has increased exponentionally. I still wake up in the middle of the night a few times. Maybe 2 or 3 times. But still, even with that being the case, I'm sleeping much better. And, if undisturbed, I'll probably sleep comfortably until 9:30am. 

What has changed is my energy level by midday. I am doneeee.  Exhausted. Finished. Finito. 

This worried me a bit. I have an appointment with my Nephro next Monday, so I've scheduled some bloodwork for myself tomorrow so that the results are in by the time I go to that appointment. After my surgery, my hemoglobin dropped from its usual range of about 120 down to 79 (for my American friends, that's 12.0 to 7.9). This was to be expected. After all, I just had major surgery and some blood loss is inevidible. My hemoglobin began to creep back up as the days passed while I was in the hospital so obviously that is a good thing. 

So? Why am I so tired a few weeks after my knee replacement? Assuming my bloodwork tomorrow is all normal, I can only attribute this to one thing: HEALING! For crying out loud, major surgery means major healing. Our amazing bodies put so much energy and effort into healing out bodies when it senses trauma or illness. Perhaps the side effect for this natural process of healing I'm experiencing is fatigue. 

 Now, I won't lie. I jumped onto google yesterday to look up "tired after knee replacement surgery" and the above answer popped up. I don't know why I didn't think of that on my own, but it makes total and complete sense. 

So, if you too jumped on google and searched for what I searched for, or something fancier like "fatigue after total knee arthroplasty", and you've been checked out and are fine from a medical standpoint- here's my advice to you. SLEEP. NAP. REST. And, lastly- DON'T WORRY-this is NORMAL! 

Xo 


Disclaimer: while I wish it was, this gorgeous baby is not me-I found her on google LOL. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Progress Progress Progress

It has been 24 days since my knee replacement surgery and I must admit-things aren't looking quite as dire as I thought they did this time a week or a week and a half ago.

While I do still have pain, I don't feel it necessary to heavily medicate myself and maintain a medication/pain killer schedule any more like I did previously. I very rarely use the oxycodone any  more (I haven't used it for about 3-4 days) and I only need the morphine 3 times a day, especially when I'm doing my exercises.

I previously dreaded going to physio, as I knew I was in for some major pain and tears. Now, I do still expect pain, but I'm actually beginning to see major progress. When I went to my first physio session, the physiotherapist told me that generally, 3 months after knee replacement, the surgeon wants the patient to be able to achieve a range of motion of at least 90 degrees. I cannot recall the exact number on that first day, but I'm sure it was less than 80. Man, I definitely have some work to do.

In continuing with my one on one therapist, Alma, plenty of progress has been made. During my next physio session, I'm going to try and get Alma to take pictures of me doing my different exercises so I can post them up. After a few sessions with Alma, I had already met the 90 degree angle requirement only within a couple of weeks. After each physio session, Alma would re-measure my range of motion. Most recently, I went from (I think) 112 degrees to 126 degrees. Amazing. I simply cannot wait to be able to get back into the gym and do things I wasn't able to do before due to discomfort.

Here is what my knee is looking like nowadays. I think I need to wear mittens while I sleep like babies do, because apparently I scratch my knee like crazy while I'm asleep/half asleep.  Well, I'm actually scratching quite a bit, likely due to the morphine. But yeah, I trimmed my nails all the way down to help minimize "damage" to my scabs and scar. It's minimally effective ha.

The little "dots" on the sides of the long scar are the insertion points of the staples. Freaky lookin'!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Stand up for yourself! Dell Debacle!

Seems like I'm always finding myself in some sort of debacle! Well, here's the recent one: my online purchase of a dell laptop.

I bought my laptop online on boxing day. My good ol' HP has seen better days. The keys are popping out, the screen flickers in black and white when I go to a website that is mostly black, and the sound doesn't work. Not fun if you're trying to watch something on youtube, netflix, etc.

Luckily, I get a discount from a few different computer companies through work-Dell, HP, Lenovo, Apple, etc. It was essentially a toss up between Dell and HP. The first laptop I ever bought for myself was a Dell, and the second was an HP. I don't recall having any major problems with my Dell, but the second time around, at the advice of a computer tech, I went with an HP. My HP was a beautiful, albeit heavy, 17.3 inch screen laptop. It was a beauty! Loved her. Had her for about 4 years and would have happily let technology pass me by and keep her for another 2-3 years if not for the problems that began to surface. At that point, it was more economical to just buy a new computer.

When I spoke to co-workers and such and told them that my ultimate purchase was going to be between Dell and HP, everyone seemed to sing Dell's praises. Having no recollection of any major problems with Dell in the past, I decided to go with them again.

With boxing day around the corner, I didn't really have enough time to gather up all of the money I wanted to gather in order to buy my computer at a discount on top of the discount I already get through work. I went online and looked at various computers before deciding on the computer that I'm currently typing on-a 15 inch touch screen inspiron.

I liked the online purchasing process. There is someone on the other end in a "chat" typed capacity that walks you through your purchase and assists you. Before I began the purchase, I asked the person helping me if I could buy the warranty later, since, again, I was short on funds, but the computer I was purchasing was at quite a good discount. The Dell rep said I had up to one year to make the purchase. This worked perfectly for me, since I planned to make a purchase in about a month or so. What I wanted was the warranty in case my computer stops working for whatever reason, as well as the warranty that covers accidental damage. An additional 2 or 3 years should do.

So I made the purchase on December 26 and received the computer about 2 weeks later. I transferred most of my files from my HP to the Dell and worked on getting acquainted with this crazy operating system called Windows 8.

As you know, shortly afterwards, I had my knee replaced and the last few weeks have been a bit rough for me. First I attempted to do it through Dell's chat mechanism. I was told I needed to call and was given a phone number. I called-I was transferred to someone else...who told me I had to do it through chat. In all, I spoke to 3 different chat agents and called 3 different numbers.

I finally got someone through chat who did say that I had to speak to someone directly, but offered to call me, then connect me to the person I had to speak to. She was very passionate about having me fill out the chat survey that pops up at the end of every chat where I discuss how helpful the chat rep was. She told me that she was going to put me on hold and it might  take a while, so perhaps I could use that time to fill out the survey. I told her I would do it AFTER I was satisfactorily transferred over to the appropriate person.

Eventually I was connected to someone in technical support. After chatting for a while, he specified to me that I could extend my warranty, but I could not get the accidental damage coverage. Why? I asked. I was told that THAT particular coverage needed to be purchased within 30 days of purchase of the computer. What? That's not what I was told. How many days has it been since I bought the computer?

33 days.

What?!

I of course protested, but to no avail. I would have spoken to a manager . then and there, but I had company coming to visit me and my knee (haha) so I opted to call back after my wonderful cousins left.

I called back (and again, got the run around for about 20 minutes) before I got another manager. Out of respect, I'll refer to him at "C". After discussing with him, he essentially told me that the rep that assisted me in buying the computer told me the right thing, and I didn't ask the right questions. The warranty is one thing-the accidental damage is different-it's considered a coverage, not a warranty. I expressed to him that me not being a Dell employee, I wasn't aware that different warranties (he corrected me-it's not a WARRANTY, it's a COVERAGE) have different names and different time frames in terms of when they should be purchased. On top of that, it's 33 days later for a purchase that should, as per Dell's apparent policies, should have been purchased within 30 days. It's not like I called 3-4 months later. C wouldn't budge. When he seemed to be dismissing me, like "well, is there any thing ELSE I could help you with" typed verbiage, I told him yes-I would like to escalate this further.

In asking to have it escalated further, he reiterated to me that he would be happy to do that, but the person I spoke to would simply tell me the exact same thing that he has already told me, and if  I wanted to hear the exact same thing, he would be happy to arrange it. Well arrange it then-you're not going to deter me from speaking to someone else. He was also sure to let me know that he would fully note/document my account with the conversation we had and all that he had told me-again, trying to deter me, or perhaps thinking I would escalate it and change my story. Listen-just escalate it. He told me that someone would contact me the following business day.

The following business day, an escalations rep named Deb called me. He reiterated what C told me, but after hearing what I had told him, understood my point. He offered to contact the warranty department and ask them to give me both of the warranties/coverages that I wanted, especially based on the circumstance. Since the system that enters the warranty only allows for this particular warranty to be added to a system up to 30 days after purchase, he could not promise me that system functionality would allow this addition to take place, but he would contact the appropriate department and would try.

The next day, he contacted me again and said he was going to forward the information. In the meantime, he requested various pictures of my laptop just to ensure that it was still in good condition. I don't put it past people to try and purchase this warranty after the computer has already been damaged. I took the appropriate photos and sent them off. He said someone from the warranty department would call me the following day.

The following day, the warranty department contacted me and I was able to successfully add both warranty/coverages to my computer. The process was seamless, though it did appear that some things needed to be done manually, perhaps because it was past the 30 days. Other than that, everything went through just fine.

The day after that, Deb called me back again as he wanted to ensure everything went smoothly, and if it was ok for him to close the case. I thanked him for his diligence, and that it was in fact ok to close my case.

So in the end, I stood my ground and was able to get was I was entitled to. I wasn't given total and complete information and should not have been penalized for that. C didn't see that, but Deb did, and I'm happy about how everything worked out, even though I had to call/chat with over 20 people before getting what I needed.  In the end, it all worked out.

And that is my Dell Debacle.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Knee Replacement Surgery-The continuation


Let's be clear-I may have mentioned this in my previous post, but I'll mention it again. I've been through MANY a-surgery. I've experienced various amounts of pain, and have concluded that I am pretty good at handling it. That said-this knee replacement IS the most PAINFUL thing I've ever experienced. When the nerve blocks wore off (one in my back and one in my thigh), no amount of pain medication absolutely resolved my pain like it has in the past for other types of pain. My hope would have been that these pain meds would have completely resolved the pain I was in, but perhaps that is an unrealistic expectation. That being the case, I can honestly say that most time, my pain meds didn't even manage to take the edge off, let alone completely resolve my pain 100%.

When I began physiotherapy after my knee replacement, I learned that I was in store for a whole new level of pain. I took my pain medication a decent amount of time before therapy: 45 minutes to an hour. But this meant very little, especially since the simple walk from the house to the car, then from the car to the actual physiotherapy area of the clinic was already a battle in my eyes.

The things that we (and I) consider so...simple, were such big battles for me. I  began my physio at the end of January, and I am only now just beginning to be able to lie down on my back and straighten my leg all the way so that it's flat on the bed with my toes pointing up. My knee wants to remain a little bit bent-that's how it's more comfortable. One exercise we did was put a roll (the clinic uses a large coffee can covered with a soft cloth) under my knee while I'm lying down, and me straightening my leg from the knee down. This was one of those weird things where my mind was telling my body to do something...but it wasn't listening. Eyes squeezed shut, teeth clenched, beaded sweat dripping down my temples...but no. It wouldn't move. The next exercise involved removing the coffee can and just trying to lift my straightened leg up in the air, hold, then released. Couldn't do it. At this point, my tears came not strictly from pain, but from frustration. All I could hear were the words of my surgeon echoing through my head, telling me that if I didn't really hit the physio hard, my knee would "freeze", as in, develop scar tissue I suppose, and I wouldn't be able to move my knee properly at all. I definitely don't want that.

This week, what should have happened was that I should have been in the group physiotherapy class. However, based on my level of discomfort and difficulty in doing some of the exercises, we stuck to one on one treatment. I think I have really benefited from this and have seen great improvement as well.

One of the things causing a lot of pain for me was, of course, the staples. Another exercise, which involved lying on my back and bending the operated knee up as much as possible while keeping the sole of my feet on the bed, always seemed even more difficult, as I felt that staples were just ripping at my skin with every bend. I mean, of course- a swollen joint is more difficult to use. But, on top of that, imagine a swollen joint that has like 34-35 staples in it. No bueno.


Look at that. this is right down the centre of my knee! That hurts! Luckily for me, my staples were removed on Wednesday, or two days ago. Yes, that hurt too. The staples were removed by a family member who is an ER nurse, and very capable as well. Of course, being a family member, the extraction of the staples was done in as gentle a manner as possible. But, how gentle can it be to have little pieces of metal ripped from your skin that has now begun to heal around the staples and develop scabs? Well still, it was as gentle as possible.


After the staples were removed, my personal ER nurse applied a plethora of steri-strips to my wound. We certainly don't want or need a re-enactment of "stomachgate", where my stomach popped open like a squeezed bag of potato chips, when a doctor ordered my stomach staples out too early and the nurse obliged.  In this instance, my ER nurse checked my knee thoroughly before removing the staples. No re-enactments today.


Before and After

This is me, shoes on, cane in hand, and ready to face physio yesterday.


Physiotherapy yesterday went really well. My tears were minimal and I was able to do much more than I was in previous days. My physio Alma commended me, and that felt good. This felt good because I was beginning to get scared about my progress, and felt that I was perhaps falling behind. I'm glad that I'm not.

The other day, I got a special delivery from my office-lovely flowers! It's nice when your team thinks of you. This definitely lifted my spirits.

I was nervous about my progress at first, but I feel better about it now. Let's see what the future brings..!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Knee replacement surgery

I really wanna blog about my knee surgery. I really do. I don't know if it's the pain meds that seem to be breaking my brain or what, but putting sentences together is a difficult task for some reason. So, I'll post pics for now and try to create an actual post later...!
 
Pre-OP legs. Top of the pic = knee that will be operated on. One day before surgery. 


Post OP-wrapped with compression. Nerve block was still working then so little/no pain here. Pic taken same day as surgery-Jan 22. 

My cryo cuff. Helps keep the swelling down. My best friend for the next little while. 


Post OP, sans compression tensor bandage. Swollen city. So swollen in fact that I had to remove the (baggy) pyjama pants I was wearing-They got too tight. Mega levels of pain here. 7/10 MINIMUM on the "how would you rate your level of pain from 1-10" scale. 

My knee 3 days post OP. I just peeled the bandage back so I could take a picture of what the staples looked like. Note my doctor/surgeon's initials written on my knee to make sure the correct area is being operated on! That's an "N" and an "M", FYI. 

I'll type more when I can :S

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

This time tomorrow..

:)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

First "Selfies" and Blood Harvest of 2014

Yes...I'm silly. I already know. 


Monday, January 13, 2014

The day is getting closer!

It seems like time is just flying by these past couple of weeks.  I've been keeping myself busy; I've been working a lot of overtime since around November. We're very busy!

My knee surgery date is coming up. I'm trying to get things in order before I am essentially banished to home (and my outpatient physio) for the next little while. I really want to get a pedicure before the surgery date, but the listed instructions do state that ALL nail polish should be removed prior to surgery. I could understand fingernails...but would a little pink on my toes make THAT much of a difference?? Oh well-I had better not risk it. I'd hate to have my lovely pink nail polish scraped off after less than a week. Maybe I'll just wait and treat myself after I have the surgery and I am sufficiently healed.

I'm not scared or worried about the surgery, especially since I've had many other surgeries. I'm more just looking forward to getting it done and healing properly. I cannot convey how much I miss going to the gym. I really look forward to taking up HIIT (High Interval Intensity Training) and incorporating it into my workouts. I look forward to spinning, and BodyCombat...and throwing some weights around. When it comes to HIIT, I had looked at it before, but there was much that I couldn't do because of my knee (burpees, etc). I'm hoping that after surgery I'll be more equipped to do such things. I also need to work on symmetry and building up my right leg muscles. I've had to favour my right knee during my weight training, and for that reason my left leg/thigh is much stronger, physically and visually, than my right.

After I had my hip replaced, I felt so much better and was able to do so much more. I look forward to the same results with my right knee. Now, my surgeon did say that physio was going to be a bit brutal and I'd have to make sure to really keep up with it. I'll make sure to push as much as I can so I can get stronger and heal quickly...as well as maintain a good range of motion.  And, you know me..I'll keep up with pictures.

And yes, I know that Fistula Fridays and Stomach Scar Sundays fell totttally to the wayside. Blah! I'll post an update eventually...promise.  I DID see my plastic surgeon today and he's very pleased with the results. Now all I have to do is keep up with my silicone strips and get an awesome 6 pack so I can show off my now barely there scar! :)


Friday, January 10, 2014

Best Lupus Blogs of 2013

What a delight it was to check my twitter account the other day and to have received a tweet from Healthline.com stating that my blog had been voted as one of the best lupus blogs of 2013! That's sooo amazing!

It's great, because I blog just because I like to document my thoughts and feelings, through the good and the bad. When you do what you love doing and someone recognizes you for it..it's just so rewarding!

Here's the link directly to my blog: http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/best-lupus-blogs#4

And here is the beginning of the list so you can check out some of the other selected winners!
http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/best-lupus-blogs


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Here's to leaving the past where it belongs.

Here's to new and exciting things. 

Here's to excitement. 

Here's to accepting nothing less than the best. 

Here's to good health, happiness, and love!

Xo


Monday, December 30, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Better late than never!


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Happy Anniversary!

I've been so caught up with of the busyness that the holiday season brings that I forgot to acknowledge the fact that this Thursday that just passed was my blog's 6 year anniversary!

Honestly, when I started this blog, I hadn't the foggiest idea what I was doing or why-what I did know is that I needed an outlet of some sort. Blogging has definitely helped.

It's so useful and beneficial to me especially. I like going back into my blog sometimes and reading what I had written in the past. Nobody wants to stumble; nobody wants to fall. And sometimes, when I read back on those times when I did stumble, it helps me appreciate that things will eventually work out the way that they are meant to.

I'll admit-I still have trouble with that concept sometimes. Sometimes...some days...some weeks, some MONTHS are just..hard. But, when I read back about a point in time where I couldn't even walk, and now I can do all of these things...it just helps me remember that I am truly blessed. I hope I remember to keep that in mind more often :)

xo

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sephora Debacle and Color IQ

I went to Sephora today and got the color IQ thing done! This basically means that they take a special camera or something and it takes a pic of your skin in various places (head, chin, and temple) and it suggests makeup for your skin from different brands and the colours that work for your skin.

The following were the choices given to me as a suitable choice based on my "color IQ"


I found this color matching thing fascinating, as I'm always looking for a good color match.  For those in the know, finding foundation for darker skin tones can sometimes be a chore. Without the correct colour match, and also when the makeup begins to oxidize on our skin as the day goes on, these is the probability of our skin looking "grey". Not cute.

That said, I didn't feel that the above options would be suitable for me. First, when I came in to Sephora in the first place, it was actually because I wanted to return a product that I had purchased online days before. I had purchased a Lancome powder as suggested online within a forum for women who had the same skin colour as me based on the fact that we were both a colour match for Mac NW45 foundation/powder. The colour suggested was 510 suede (c). The name of the makeup was Lancome Dual Finish-Versatile Powder. When I decided to get on google and try to learn about cool skin tones vs warm skin tones, everything I saw online seemed to indicate that I actually have a warm skin tone and not a cool one.  Well, I just purchased makeup for cool skin tones! This simply won't work!

Well, as you can see by the Lancome makeup in the last photo up there, the color IQ seems to indicate that I'm a cool skin tone too.  At this point, I should have just took the makeup I walked in with and left.  But I didn't. I wanted to take the advice of the professionals!

Now, I told the very nice woman who did my color IQ that I have very oily skin, and I actually wanted a powder and not a cream based foundation. She still tried the Lancome 24H foundation listed above. She didn't seem to like the way it looked on my skin, so she suggested another foundation by Nars. She said that it would dry to a powder finish, and would be good for my oily skin. I took her advice. It was a bit pricey, but I took advantage of the $20 coupon that Sephora had sent to me via email the other day.

When I got home, I got on google and searched the Nars product I bought (Nars Radiant Cream Compact Foundation. I bought the compact too, which was a separate cost). There was a resounding DON'T USE THIS IF YOU'RE AN OILY GIRL in the product's reviews.

Annoyed! I'm not just oily-I'm downright GREASY. So after a bit of research, I decided that I would try out Kat Von D Lock-it Powder Foundation. I got to the store and had an associate pick out an appropriate colour for me. She went with Deep 72 in the Kat Von D Lock-it Powder. I've used it a few times-hopefully I'm not some strange shade of orange as the day goes on. We'll see I guess haha.

I went to the cashier to return the Nars products and exchange them for the Kat Von D Lock-it Powder foundation. I expressed to the cashier that I hoped that I would get my $20 off of my new purchase, especially since I was kinda...steered in the wrong direction with the Nars. She assured me I would. Lo and behold-I got home and looked at my receipt-no such luck.

I called Sephora online who advised me to call the store I went to directly.  I spoke to a manager at the store who told me that there was nothing I could do since I paid for my purchase with my debit card. My ORIGINAL purchase of the Nars makeup was made on my credit card, but my new purchase was made on my debit card. She advised me to just come in any time and they could fixed it. I expressed my displeasure, and that I had no interest in coming in for a 3rd time to solve this. She advised me I could come back ANY time and there was no time limit. This did not make me feel better. I'm pretty much done my Christmas shopping and the idea of traipsing through the mall in December really doesn't sound the greatest. The manager finally seemed to agree, and offered me a $30 gift card which she offered to send to me in the mail. I agreed. I haven't received it yet, but we'll see.

So that's my sephora debacle.

That said, for those looking for (possible) NW45 equivalents, please see my color IQ above. I also use/have used/have been suggested to use the following products. I will continue to come back to this page to update it as I use new things:

Side note: I've found what I deem to be MY perfect nude lipstick for my NW45 skintone: Fresh Brew from Mac! Pair it with a lip pencil, though (this step is non-negotiable). I enjoy cork (very close in colour to Fresh Brew) and Chestnut (darker, but works GREAT too).

Kat Von D Lock-it Powder Foundation in Deep72 (currently use-this actually falls into the color IQ 1R13, whereas above in the photos I'm listed as a 1R14)

Lancome Dual Finish-Versatile Powder Makeup-510 Suede (c) (suggested but never used-will likely try it when the Kat Von D is done)

Iman Cream to Powder Foundation- Earth 3 (currently use)
Iman Luxury Pressed Powder-Earth Dark (have used)

Valana Minerals Stardust Foundation-Gentle Amber or Red Amber, or a mix of both (have used)

NARS Radiant Cream Compact Foundation - Syracuse (suggested-but NOT for oily skin!)

Edit (April 2014): Revlon photo ready HD in Cappuccino works too (I've used it twice with no complaints..I bought it on sale for $14.00 CAD so I'm pretty happy about that).



Edit: Sephora sent me a gift card and other goodies in the mail. Oh fine, all is forgiven lol. 




Monday, December 2, 2013

We just don't know

We go to bed, we wake up, and we go about our day, not knowing that this day is our last. This is the last time I'll hug my family. This is the last time I'll brush my teeth. This is the last time I'll leave this house. This is the last person I'll kiss. I'm only 5 breaths away from my last...

We just don't know. 


Monday, November 25, 2013

...and then I went to Emerg...

Yeah, you read that right.

On Tuesday evening, I got my lunch and everything ready for work the next day. I went to bed and everything was fine. But then, I woke up around 2 am. My stomach was absolutely KILLING me. I couldn't sit still. Still hunched over, I made my way to the kitchen and quietly made myself a hot water bottle-I didn't want to wake anyone up. I crawled back upstairs and into my bed with my hot water bottle and I chugged back a few swigs of pepto bismol. To no avail.

I couldn't bring myself to even search for gravol, so I asked my sister.  Unfortunately, she only had those ginger flavoured chewable ones. The last time I took those, I threw up.  This time was no different.

Nothing was providing me with a shred of relief. I was in so much pain. I had my sister tell my parents, as it was becoming (literally) painfully obvious that an ER would be in my future.I threw on any clothes that were in arm's reach, put them on, and headed to the ER with my Dad.

A shred of happiness to this situation was the ER was completely empty when we arrived. The time that I arrived and the time that I was taken in was about 15 minutes.

I was immediately given IV fluids as well as pain medication...sweet, heavenly pain medication. I was also given anti-nausea medication as well. The IV fluids kept flowing, as I was very much dehydrated. My heart raced at 130 bpm because of my lack of hydration. An ECG showed no abnormalities. I did an X-ray, blood tests, etc. As a precaution, I was admitted.

I expected to be there overnight and go home by Thursday. I didn't actually get home until the weekend. I felt good after I was being taken up to my room, but had a rough night. The days that followed were better.

Odd things happened-an entire set of lab tests were lost, and I had to repeat them. I had to refuse to do bloodwork a couple of times because I felt it was excessive. I don't have veins, especially since my main vein had an IV in it. For that reason, anytime blood was drawn, it was drawn from the veins in my hand. That doesn't tickle, especially when you have a nurse who isn't especially skilled in the art of inserting needles into tiny veins.  Another time, a blood tech answered her cell phone and had a (brief) conversation with someone while there was a needle sticking out of the top of my hand. I was beyond annoyed. At another point, a doctor told me that it was almost certainly ok for me to go home, and he would go and check with the team. Well, he never came back. So I didn't get to go home as I planned. I was SO MAD AT HIM!

I cried a lot. Cried from frustration, and cried from pain. The fact that I was admitted to the hospital caused me to miss me ortho appointment that I had. I've been waiting a month for this appointment and was very disappointed when I had to miss it. I pleaded for them to let me go, as I felt just fine. They refused. In fact, everyone that came to visit me had to wear gloves and a gown, since the reason for my upset stomach hadn't been determined and they didn't want the run the risk of me "infecting" anyone.

So in the end, it was probably just a regular stomach bug. The CT scan I did showed minor abnormalities, so I'll have to repeat it in a few months. Hopefully it's nothing, as I don't need any more "abnormalities". Sometimes I feel like a tattered piece of paper being held together by tape!

Now, I'm waiting to hear back from my transplant coordinator who will try to get me another appointment with the ortho doctor. I'm praying that it's soon. I was so mad that I was forced to miss it. SO MAD.

I'm glad to be home. I'll resume limping around until I can finally see the surgeon, book a date, and have something to look forward to.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Who is Miz Flow?

Affable- I'm sure many people would say that I'm friendly and easy to talk to. I'm definitely someone that others come to when they need someone to listen to a problem. I try to give honest answers, but I also try to provide an angle that is perhaps different than the obvious angle that others may have already given. 

Bright-I would say that I'm pretty intelligent. I pick up on things quickly and am quick-witted. This allows me to adapt when in any number of situations. 

Compassionate- I am a very compassionate person. I care about others-a LOT. I care what happens to people and sympathize with others too. If someone is crying, I cry with them. When someone tells me something sad, I'm sad with them. 

Determined-I've faltered, but I've never been one to take "no" for an answer. I've been through unimaginable gauntlets, but when the obstacles knock me down, I get back up. Hell, I'll even crawl if I have to. Sometimes I'll sit at an obstacle and cry because I don't think I can make is past;I think maybe this time I've met my match. My breaking point. But, I always get up and move forward. 

Easygoing-I don't need the four seasons hotel when I go on vacation. Is it nice? Yes. But, I don't need it. I'm laid back, I let things happen as they will, and try not to stress over the little things. There are too many big things to be concerned with. So yes, you can have the last cupcake I was saving. I'll just buy more tomorrow. 

Faithful-loyal to a fault, in fact. If I'm in a relationship, I'm in it through thick or thin. If the relationship isn't working and it's time for the relationship to end, I'll end it as painlessly as possible. But again, based on some of my other traits, if I see faults in a relationship, whether within my family or outside of it, I don't just end it right away. I try to find a way. 

Generous-the blouse off of my back I will give to almost anyone. You need a coffee? I got you. You like my scarf?  Look-I got you the same one in a different colour. You need someone to hang out with? Sure-I'm there. Now, this generosity isn't always reciprocated, but I try not to let that bother me. It's hard sometimes-specifically when it relates to the generosity of one's time. 

Humorous-I'm good at conjuring up the perfectly placed joke at the perfectly placed time. My mind works a million miles a minute, and this enables me to crack the perfect joke at the perfect time. I love to laugh and I love to make people laugh.

Intuitive-I'm very intuitive. I very much have the ability to see things-feel things. I need to listen to my powers of intuition more often. Sometimes these powers are saying things that I don't want to hear, so I ignore them. I push them down and tune them out. And, almost always, my intuition comes back and says "I told you so". 

Kind-I like to think I'm kind. I'm nice to others and do what I can to help. This includes volunteering my time and my efforts. I try to read others, then bump up my level of kindness based on their needs. If I can tell someone is really down, I do my best to bring them back up. 

Loyal-I'm definitely a loyal person. This includes both my professional and personal life. I'm loyal to my employer. This shows as I've been there for 10 years. I'm loyal to my friends. While I try not to break plans with others, if a really good friend NEEDS me, trust that I'll be there. 

Optimistic-my family helps me out a lot with this one. My friends too. I try to look on the bright side of things. I've really had to exercise my optimism these last number of weeks. When one thing goes wrong, it is human nature to focus on that, even though 10 things have gone right. In life, and in my career, though I may falter, for the most part I am very optimistic. 

Patient-I put up with a LOT. Being patient is a big part of my personality. I'm patient with myself. Whenever I have a setback and have to claw my way back up to health, I'm patient with myself and my healing process. I'm patient with others, as I understand that others deal with things differently. My ways may not be your ways, and I understand that. I'm patient at work, as the nature of my job puts me in a position whereby I deal with nearly every demeanour of person everyday. 

Quick-witted-trust me: if you make a joke, I've got a comeback in record time. It will make you laugh, and, again, it will be delivered impeccably and placed perfectly. I have my siblings to thank for my quickwit. Being the youngest of 3 siblings helped me learn to hold my own. 

Reliable-if my friends need me-I'll be there. I try not to let anyone down and I try not to disappoint anyone. If I say I'm going to be somewhere, unless I'm sick or otherwise unwell, I will be where I said I would be. I'm even there for those who perhaps aren't there for me when I need them. It's just who I am. 

Sensitive-I'm very sensitive. Don't get me wrong, I'm a strong person, but if I feel wronged, I will cry. If someone says or does something hurtful, I will cry. Not often in front of others..but I do she'd tears. I think it's because I sometimes give others too much power in my own life. I need to take control (even) more. Something to work on perhaps. But there's nothing wrong with a good cry every now and then.

Thoughtful- I always take other people's thoughts and feelings into consideration. I think of others, and will do little things here and there just to let others know I'm thinking of them. 

Understanding-I have my ups and downs. I've said that before. I know who I am. But I can never know what others are thinking or going through. Sometimes others will do dumb or mean things, or say rude or insensitive things. Not because they're mean or awful people, but perhaps because they're going through something. I may not understand what you're going through...but...I understand. 

Versatile-I'm able to adapt to a number of different situations. This includes comfortably hanging out with people with different interests, in different environments, different age groups, etc. This is a great trait in my opinion, whether in a business setting or a social setting. 

Well-rounded-I try to have balance in my life. This includes making time for work, life, health, etc. At times, one thing in life may take priority over another, but in the end, I try to keep balanced. This even includes my diet. I eat what I want when I want. But, I crave and love broccoli, kale, asparagus, and brussle sprouts on one day, then cupcakes, chocolate, chips, and cookies the next. 

I felt the need to write down the positive things about me, as I sometimes get stuck on negatives. Oftentimes the negative isn't even about "me", but things that happened to me or around me that make me unhappy. I will go back and read this post whenever I feel down. Sometimes it's good to just...stop. Refocus. Be sad when you need to, but try not to let it consume you. 

Xo 



Thursday, November 14, 2013

Maintaining Clear Skin

Maintaining relatively clear skin while taking medication that actually WANTS you to have bad skin has been difficult. I've mentioned in a previous post my struggles as it relates to my skin.  I cringe when I think back to these days:
Yikes!
Trust me when I say I avoided social situations when possible because I didn't want anyone to see my skin. No amount of makeup could cover my acne...and even still, it was essentially a slippery slope. The idea of using heavy makeup while trying to heal your troubled skin just doesn't work out.

In the past, I went the natural route and used honey and brown sugar scrubs, clay masks, etc. I have good results with those, but after a short while, it was almost as if my skin got "used to" these products and stopped working.

In recent years, I managed to maintain moderately clear skin by using brown soap and an alcohol free toner, along with cerave skin lotion.  When I went to California to visit my friend in August, she showed me a bug by Paula Begoun. She essentially breaks down which products are the bad, good, the best, etc. These comparisons include makeup, makeup remover, face wash, mascara...everything under the sun. She also has her own line of skincare products.  The fact that she has her own product line, but still has a book that outlines products that she and her team think are good really struck me.  It's like..ok, I have my own products, but if you don't want to use them, check out these drugstore/department store/specialty store etc alternatives.  Maybe that was the game...because I bought some products and had them shipped to my home right away so that they would be there as soon as I returned home from my trip.

The first product that I bought was Paula's Choice Facial Toner.

When I started using this, I almost immediately started getting compliments on my skin. This toner really helped minimize my huge pores and control oil. Just in trying this product I could see a big difference.
I went on to try the facial wash and the BHA skin treatment.




 After this, I was sold. My skin is amazingly smooth and even. Of course, my skin isn't perfect. But it's much better than it has been in a while.  I rounded off my Paula's Choice regimen with her facial mask, sunscreen, and her shine reducing lotion. My skin is extremely oily-especially on my cheeks/under my eyes where my glasses sit., so it is really necessary.





So this is how my regimen looks.  I know it's probably going to look complicated/complex, but it works for me haha.   These links are accurate as of the date I wrote this post (Nov 14, 2013) and will remain accurate just as long as the internet doesn't change *haha*
I've linked everything to the site/page that I bought each product-just click on the name of the product and a page will open in a new window. And yes, I bought each product with my own money (or my dad's money haha) and used each for a number of months, so my testimony is real.

AM:
Wash Face: African Black Soap
Toner: Paula's Choice Toner
Treatment: BHA Lotion
Moisturize: 2 drops of grapeseed oil, a drop of cerave lotion, and a dollop of Paula's Choice sunscreen
--Then makeup-primer, foundation, Paula's choice shine control, powder on top.

PM:
Wash Face: Paula's Choice Cleanser
Toner: Paula's Choice Toner
Treatment; BHA Lotion
Moisturize: 2 drops of grapeseed oil, cerave lotion.

Weekly (or when I remember and have time):
Treatment: Paula's Choice Facial mask
--*used after washing, before toning, treatment, moisturizing.


Cheese!


Monday, November 4, 2013

Mish Mash

I'm calling this post a mish mash because I'm not even exactly sure what I'm going to talk about!

First of all, let's talk about the month of October. I'm not gonna lie-this month has been a tough one for me. It has had it's highs and it has definitely had it's lows.

One of the lows is the fact that my Godfather passed away. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease a number of years ago. He was always the one who would do the family's taxes, and as he became more and more ill, he invited me over to his home to teach me how to take over the taxes for my family. I'm thankful for that, as he taught me things that are not only useful now, but will be very useful and helpful in the future. The funeral was difficult for me. People always say the same thing when they go to funerals an approach the casket- "It doesn't even look like him/her". It really didn't look like him.  I remember many years back when my Godfather had an open house at his place of work and invited my entire family. He was so full of energy and excited to have us all there. Then I think to recent years, as he began to lose that extra "pep in his step" that he always had.  All this ran through my mind as I looked at him at the funeral. I walked out quickly and went to the washroom. I went into a stall and closed the door.  And cried.

My knee has been another source of stress for me. I had no idea that my knee was going to get this bad so suddenly, and I had no idea that surgery would be in the cards for me sooner rather than later. I've started to make some great contacts at work, and I'm hoping that another position will be in my future. I've been seeing some great positions come up, too. I'm afraid to apply for them now because I don't know when I'll be able to have surgery once I actually see my specialist. It could be very soon, it could be a number of weeks-I don't know.

Other things here and there have been difficult for me this month too.  I can't count the amount of time I've just spent in my room, my face buried in a pillow and wondering...why this...why now...just why. I know that everything will eventually work out the way it's supposed to work out in the end, but I sometimes just wish that things would work out exactly the way I want them to. But...it never does, does it.

Here's to what I hope will be a better month, full of good things, including happiness, peace of mind, and progress.

xo


 
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