Monday, September 19, 2016

Crazy week ahead

My weekend was a quiet and restful one. Greg dropped me off at my friend/sis house to get my hair done on Saturday morning. In the afternoon, he picked me up and we went back to his place where his mom, dad, sister, and niece were visiting. Sienna, Greg's niece, is so sweet. She just turned one and is an absolute riot.

After they left, Greg and I planned to perhaps go see a movie. We got into bed to watch something on Netflix before getting ourselves together and heading to the theatre. We didn't stay awake long enough to even put a movie or show on. I woke up, lying on my stomach, with my nose in nestled in Greg's armpit, while Greg slept on his back with his arm around me. This was about 2 hours after we had gotten into bed. 

We were perhaps a little ambitious with our plans, as both of us were feeling under the weather, and both of us really only wanted to go out to appease the other.

We spent another lazy hour in bed before getting online and ordering some dinner via the Just Eat app. I like this app not only because it gives you a variety of places to choose from, but also because you can almost always find a discount code online. I found a 20% discount code online and saved a bunch on our dinner.

Anyway, this isn't a Just Eat commercial lol. We got Chinese food from this place called Duckee. It was good stuff. The general Tao chicken was delicious.

On Sunday, we caught a 12:30 showing of Snowden. We got to Yorkdale early so we were able to have some brunch and Michel's, grab some coffee at Starbucks, then head over to the theatre. The rest of our day was pretty low key.

But today though.  I got to work and was working on a number of things since my partner is off work for a short while. I then all of a sudden got an email invite for a meeting with regards to a manager's conference happening next week. The senior director asked me to bring the budget with me. Um...I hadn't created a budget. Now I had about 2 hours to "create" one lol. All this while still managing 3 other mailboxes and also responding to emails in my personal mailbox. On top of that, I was tasked with coordinating some work that is being done at our offices overnight. Some workers are coming in overnight to do stuff, so they have asked us to remove all of the stuff from our desks and put them into bins. They are actioning this in 4 steps so that everyone isn't putting all of their stuff in boxes at the same time.

Let's just say that I was getting pulled in every direction today. I've gotten most of the stuff out of the way in terms of emails sent on Friday after 4pm and up to Monday morning, but there is one mailbox that I've barely touched and it has at least 20 emails from 20 different candidates in it.

I love every minute of it!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Flu FTW (or FTL)

The inevitable happened-i'm properly sick. I have a runny nose, cough, and my regular fatigue on top of that isn't helping either.

One of the advantages of my current role is the ability to work from home if need be. Just today my access request was completed to give me access to working from  home. I tested it out today. It took a little while for me to get registered and figure out what to do, but I managed to get everything done.

Another advantage of my current role is the ease with which I can simply let my manager know that I need to rest and therefore will be coming into work later on in the day. Assuming there aren't any matters of specific urgency, it's great having such flexibility.

Now, time to go and get my fill of my fluids.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Epo

I went to the pharmacy the other day to pick up some epo which I am to use once every two weeks to help with my lack of energy. I injected my first dose two weeks ago, so I'll be doing the second this week.

I tell ya, it's been a battle. The part that sucks is that my body won't let me sleep in very much on the weekends. Midday naps have been my saviour when possible.

In light of this, I asked my manager last week to grant me access to citrix, which is essentially a small device that I can use to log into my computer from home and actually have access to my work information. On those days when I feel like I just can't stomach the commute to work, I can wake up, log in, and still get my work done. He gave me permission to set myself up with citrix, so I've submitted the appropriate online forms to give myself access.

Otherwise, work is going well. I'm sad though, because Friday was my manager's last day before he goes on to a new role. Thankfully his building won't be far so we can still meet for lunch now and then, but reporting into him has been amazing. He gave me a chance in HR when no one else would. He believed in me, and I'm glad that I was able to join this amazing team with amazing people and thrive. I'm not sure how he can be replaced, as he's just so brilliant.

Anyhow, I'm going to go and wash this facial mask off of my face and get myself ready for bed. I'm beat..!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Getting through my day

It has been two months since I started working at my new job...and time sure does fly! I'm pretty well versed in all of the tasks, though I'm still learning every day which is great. Being in this environment is so rewarding.  It feels good being on a team where your presence makes a distinct difference. I'm so used to being in a role where I perform tasks similar to hundreds of other people, and the contribution that you make often gets lost. In my two months at my current job, I've already received 7 emails of thanks from my co-workers-2 from my colleagues, one from my immediate manager, one from a senior manager, one from a director, and 2 from senior directors (one of them being my one-up boss) . I didn't know (or have forgotten) what it feels like when someone acknowledges the fact that you went out of your way to find a solution to the problem they're having.

Earlier this month, I started a once a week course of IV iron which lasted 3 weeks in total. I've been feeling really tired and getting up in the morning was becoming increasingly difficult. I've been fighting through it, as after I get up, get myself ready, and prepare to get out of the door, I feel better. But I've taken up drinking coffee, something I've never gotten into before. In my previous role, I'd have likely called in sick if I felt this way. Being glued to a desk and dealing with people would simply be too difficult. Also, people rely on me in my current role. If I wasn't there...lots could and would go wrong.

So after completing this 3 week course of iron, I waited until this past week to do bloodwork. What I found was that my hemoglobin was still low. Honestly, I didn't need a blood test to tell me this; I could feel it.

This weekend, Greg and I went to the Ex on Friday after I finished work. We got there around 5pm, and by 8pm I was so done. We got home and were pretty much in bed and asleep by 10pm.

The next day, we woke up and were on the road to Innisfil. Greg's parents are away on vacation so he's watching the dogs. We got to Innisfil, went shopping, and marinated the meat we bought for the barbecue we would have for dinner. Greg went outside to water the tree/lawn, so I went to lie down on the couch and cuddle with Primo. Before I knew it, I was full out sleeping.

Later on, we had our barbecue, took a shower, then hopped into bed. It was 8:30pm! By 9:30 or so we were both out cold.

The next day (today) we went to Nandos for an early dinner then came back home. We went to bed just to lie down with the dogs...again, fell asleep for an hour.

I called my nurse and left her a message asking her to look into my bloodwork to see what can be done to raise my hemoglobin, because this tiredness is getting to me!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Almost two weeks in

I'm almost two weeks into my new job, and I must say that I'm loving every moment of it! My department is comprised of many recruiters and directors and managers and such. As for me, both myself and my colleague (we are both coordinators and do the same job) report to one manager; we are his only direct reports.

This is definitely a change. I'm learning...I'm doing new things, and I'm feeling like my work is actually making a difference. Everyone is really nice. My priorities now are to try and remember everyone's name and to become comfortable with all of the processes and procedures in place. If anyone has a question about ANYTHING, be it a request for highlighters, the replacement of a broken headset, ordering business cards, responding to emails from potential job candidates, getting a new hire ready and set up with all the system access they'll need for when they arrive...or deleting all of their access after they've left...all of this falls on our shoulders. My partner has been here for 8 months and she's an absolute wiz. She's definitely a wealth of knowledge and definitely a Jill of all trades, so I look forward to continuing to work with and learn from her so that I too can be a "Jill of all trades". Tomorrow I have a business lunch scheduled. Me! A business lunch! So excited/exciting.

I've only been in this department for a short time...but in that time I've learned something very huge. What I've learned is that I NEVER want to do what I was doing before ever again. I never thought I could work full time, but I was wrong. I just couldn't work full time in the environment that I was previously in...and I hope to NEVER return. Hopefully after this temporary role is up, I'll either be able to stay in the same role, or, even better, apply to and be accepted into a greater role.


But for now...so far, so good. :-)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

I'm so happy!!

I hadn't realized that it had been so long since I blogged...!

Everything had essentially been the same for a while, so I had nothing new to report. I was still working part time for the bank, I was still loving my boyfriend. 

Something changed, though. I got a new job! I finally finally FINALLY landed an HR role with the bank. I can't tell you how ecstatic I was. 

Everything happened very fast-I had gone through two separate interviews and received the job offer in the span of about a 7-10 days from beginning to end. 

I can't begin to tell you how excited I am. If you have read my blog in the past, then you've read about my frustration. In spite of what I thought were my best efforts,I still seemed to be unable to get my foot in the door. I was doing the same thing for months...years even...and it just wasn't working. I had to do something different. 

I started to align myself with other people in the bank in order to build relationships and to network. I asked for help. I asked my senior director to help me, as he is also an HR professional. He helped me quite a bit with my resume. After that, I landed my first interview a few months later. All it took was that one interview...and my career dreams came true!

So I'm going to be working in an HR coordinator capacity, so I'll be supporting the recruitment team. It's exactly where I want to be, as there is no better place to be if you want to be a recruiter than working with recruiters! I mentioned my desire to continue to progress  in the field of recruitment during my interview when the HR Partner and the hiring manager asked about my career goals. They told me that this is an environment that encourages the continuous improvement and career development of everyone it. I was so happy to hear that...I was absolutely screammming inside of my head "pick me! Please please pick me!"

I met the director of the department a couple of days later. If I didn't already know that I wanted to work on this team (which, honestly, I already knew), I definitely knew after speaking to him. It was such an easy going and stress free conversation. We talked about cooking, my current job, my goals, etc. I don't know if I've ever felt more comfortable and at ease in an interview as I did when I met the director. 

I waited a nerve crushing 4 days to learn that I was the successful candidate. I was sitting in Starbucks after ordering my latte when I realized that I had missed a call from the hiring manager. My heart sank as I fumbled with my phone to check my messages. The message indicated that there was an update about my application and he would like to speak with me. I called him...no response! So I sat there, trying to do a crossword puzzle in an attempt to kill time. After about 30 minutes. I realized that I had to leave as I had a nail appointment. I turned the volume up on my ringer and headed downstairs (this Starbucks is two levels). When I got downstairs I looked at my phone. Missed call again!??  I stood there, staring at my phone in disbelief when my phone rang again. Phew!

We exchanged greetings. He then said "I'm happy to tell you..." before he could even finish the sentence, I mouthed the words "YESSSSS!" to myself. I was over the moon!  We discussed other details before we finished our phone call. I had a permanent creepy smile on my face for the next 20 minutes as I headed to my nail appointment. 

What I learned from this experience is that things will happen when they are supposed to. If it hasn't happened...it isn't the right time!

I can't wait to blog vaguely about my work adventures 😝

Sunday, February 7, 2016

$314.12

A week or so ago, I got a message from my kidney transplant coordinator. She told me that my nephrologist had gone over my blood work and decided to drop the dose of one of my immunosuppressants. My dose at the time was 12mg a day and he wanted me to drop it to 10mg a day.

I thought ok, that's cool. I currently take four 3mg pills of this medication. It's called advagraf. I happen to have some 1mg pills left over from last year, so I'll use one of those pills and three of the 3mg pills.  In the meantime, I responded to my transplant coordinator and asked that she call my pharmacy and leave a prescription for 10mg pills of advagraf for when I've run out of my current stock. I asked her to do 2 months per refill, as I usually ask for 3 months. There is a reason for this, which I will explain shortly.

For most of us, the start of the new year signifies a new beginning. Some people establish New Years' resolutions. Others simply see it as a clean slate. Me, I get a small sense of dread. I feel this dread because I know the deductible period for my medical coverage through work starts again. That means that the first few prescriptions that I fill will cost me an arm and a leg.

As my current cache of advagraf began to dwindle, I know the time is near for me to fill this new prescription along with some other ones that are coming due as well. Not wanting to be paralyzed by sticker shock, I called my pharmacy to ask what the damage would be for just that one medication. $314.12. I cheerfully thanked the pharmacy tech that I spoke to. I didn't want to let on that I felt like I was gonna throw up. I feel this same way every year at this time.

When I told my transplant nurse to only give me a 2 month supply, it was because I knew it would cost me a whole bunch of money at once if I filled 3 months worth of advagraf at one time.

This one prescription costs me much more than half of my biweekly payroll deposit, and I almost always get 3 or 4 other prescriptions at the same time-pretty much an entire pay cheque. I also get coverage from the government-all I have to do is submit my prescription receipts and they will reimburse me some money based on the amount of money I make. Pretty cool, huh?

 No.

I've learned to stop wasting my time by mailing those receipts. I send these receipts and wait from 3 weeks to a month for a response...not including the occasions where things went wrong and things got delayed. My receipts were never received, so I had to go back to the pharmacy and track down all these receipts again and resend them; they don't want photocopies. Or, there is a certain code missing from the prescription, and without that code, they cannot assess my claim. Gotta go back and have my doctor write a note with the code, or write a new prescription.  I always get a response back telling me that I would be betting zero dollars back, as I haven't yet reached or surpassed my deductible. On the few occasions where I've actually gotten a few bucks back...they send you a letter telling you how much you'll get back...then they MAIL a cheque about a month later. How about saving some time and sending me the cheque with the first letter!?

Hard core digressing.

I work part time right now. I'm looking for full time work in my field...but at the same time, I'm kinda scared. I'm scared that I won't be able to work full time. I'm scared that the stress of 40 hour work weeks will be too much. But I cannot stay in my current job either, as I actually really dislike what I'm doing. I've been doing this going on 13 years now...and I'm ready to move on. If I don't work full time, I'll never be able to move out from my parents' house to a place with my boyfriend. But, if I do work full time...am I setting myself up for failure? If I do move out and work full time...sure, I'll be making more money, but my other expenses will increase exponentially as well.

I don't know...I guess all I can do is try. The role I'm in makes me feel tired, drained, and unmotivated. Maybe if I'm doing something where I feel challenged...challenged in the right way...i won't feel so tired, drained, and unmotivated. Maybe a change of scenery would be good for me.

I'm currently making what I feel are the appropriate moves to help me go in the direction that I'm looking to go. I'm not the first one with a medical condition to work full time...all I can do is try.  Only time will tell.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

My Vagina-part 2

My Vagina-part 2

READER'S DISCRETION IS ADVISED

In the post before my last post, I talked about my experience with my first colposcopy and the awkwardness that goes along with it. I also mentioned that there was another story that goes along with it. Well, here it is.

As I have a few times before, I arrived at the hospital where my appointment was. I sat in the waiting room and played World Chef on my phone as I had arrived for my appointment early. After about 30 minutes, I was called in.

It was the usual routine-I came in and chatted with the nurse who I chatted with briefly. I asked her to explain to me again what it meant that I had a "irregularities" as it related to the pap I had with my regular gynecologist prior to being referred to the specialist. She told me that it just meant that there were a few abnormal cells that they wanted to keep an eye on-nothing to be overly concerned about. Okay, no problem.

After our chat, I whipped off my Citizens for Humanity and my underwear and slung them over a nearby chair. I sat awkwardly on the bed/table with my feet in the stirrups, using the opportunity to take a snap chat of my feet in the stirrups and send it to my boyfriend in jest.

Then, nothing out of the ordinary happened. The doctor came in and performed the pap. I was given a pad to wear, as usual. I put my underwear and jeans back on and away I went.

I got home and settled myself in my room with a bowl of microwaved popcorn. It's actually a contraption that I bought online; it allows you to take regular popcorn kernels, put them in the bowl-like container, put the lid on, and microwave for 4-5 minutes. It's pretty cool! Anyhow, I digress.

I got up to go pee as I often do after my kidney transplant. When I was done, I wiped myself and looked at the tissue and noticed blood on it. I looked into the toilet and saw quiet a bit of blood, including actual clots. What the hell! Why am I bleeding this!?

Ok, maybe it wasn't just a regular pap-maybe they did a biopsy as well. They did a biopsy the first time I went to see that specialist, so perhaps they did another one.  I kept that in mind as I continued to go to the bathroom and find a horror scene in the toilet after I had finished peeing.

The next day at work, I decided that it would be a good idea to call the specialist's office and ask for advice/direction. I was transferred to a nurse who told me that according to my chart, I only had a simple pap and NOT a biopsy.

"There's no chance that you're on your period, is there?" The nurse asked.

"No."

"Is there a chance that you're pregnant and are having a miscarriage?" She asked.

"No."

"Well...I'm out of ideas. I don't know WHY you're bleeding. I suggest going to emergency if you're soaking through pads and/or if you're very concerned.

Hmph. I decided to call Telehealth, knowing that they would likely ask me a gamut of questions which would end with them telling me to seek medical assistance in the next few hours, if not immediately. That's exactly what happened.

Freaked out, I told my manager that I had to leave the office early. I jumped onto the subway and over to the emergency room.

After a brief wait, I was seen by a doctor. The doctor used a speculum to crank me open and look inside. He said the bleeding was external and not internal, and it should heal up by itself soon.

"By the way, the speculum just cut you a bit more when I removed it...so you may notice more bleeding."

Um..is this would I came here for? To have my insides torn up worse than they already were?!

Anyhow, satisfied with the response I got, I collected my discharge papers and left. My luck-the bleeding stopped the very next morning.

I asked myself a few times if maybe I overreacted by going straight to emergency. Maybe! But c'mon. I'm anemic. I need to keep every last ounce of blood inside of me and not...everywhere else..!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

My Nufree waxing experience


More often than not, I like getting a Brazilian wax done. I appreciate the "bareness", especially when it's "that time of the month". It also goes without saying that the boyfriend appreciates it too.

But, let's be honest. It kinda hurts. It actually kinda hurts more than "kinda". I have sensitive skin. Whenever I get a Brazilian wax done, aside from ripping out the hair, the wax also takes bits of my skin with it, causing bleeding and...well...searing pain.  Hahah.

There is really only one place that I go and get my waxing done, and that's at aroma waxing (http://aromawcs.ca). A few years ago when I built up the nerve to get some waxing done, I did my google research and found aroma. It was relatively nearby and all of the reviews that I had read were really quite good. For a sensitive area like "down there", I'd prefer to have people who are used to doing this regularly...you know, as opposed to going to the nail shop or somewhere like that to get it done. Anyhow, after continuing my research on Aroma, I realized that they provide one of a few services for free for your first visit. Some of the choices were an underarm wax, upper lip, or a bikini line wax. Well...perfect. I booked my appointment for a free bikini wax.

When I got there, it was very nice inside and very clean as well. I was called in about 5 minutes after I arrived, which was great. After coming here a few times I soon realized that they always honour the appointment time that you made. No waiting around for service at Aroma. In fact, I've come a bit early on a few occasions and have been able to sneak in earlier than my appointment.

Anyhow...

"I'm scared as shit" is basically what I told the lady that would be doing my waxing. She calmed my fears by saying it wouldn't be terrible. She didn't waste time-everything was quick quick quick. Put that leg here. Pull here. Open here. Stretch there. Did it hurt? Yes. Did I like the result though? Yes. Was the pain worth it? Well...yes.

Since then, I've been back several times for Brazilian waxes. But, last week, while perusing the Aroma website, I noticed a different kind of waxing called "Nufree" waxing. Apparently this kind of waxing is made of all natural ingredients. It only adheres to the actual hair and not the skin. It was a little bit more expensive, but not much. I think it was $50 in total. I had tried sugaring before and I found it to be equally as painful as waxing, with the difference being that sugaring takes longer haha.

Anyhow, I went to do the Nufree. Everything that I read was true. It was less painful and it was just as quick as a Brazilian wax...which Aroma staff can usually complete in approximately 7 minutes. Before beginning, the lady doing the waxing for me asked if I had tried the Nufree before, which I hadn't. She reiterated some of the things I read online, including that it was less painful, it would only adhere to the hair and not my skin, etc. She also mentioned that the Nufree would feel hotter than the regular wax. She was right-the Nufree definitely felt hotter than the regular wax and I was concerned that I might get burnt, but that wasn't the case. I also did not have any bleeding or anything like that. After getting waxed, there was a tube of a cream called finipil, which helped soothe my skin after the wax. It felt warm and tingly when I put it on, as my pores were still open from having just been waxed. It wasn't unpleasant-it was more of a soothing feeling. I had purchased a tube of finipil during a previous visit to Aroma.

So to conclude-would I do it again? Yes-Nufree will be what I will request from now on when I get my next wax. The reduction in pain (note I said reduction, not "elimination") alone is enough for me to pay a few extra bucks to get it done. So next time you're getting some waxing done, try out Nufree if your waxing place has it. Compare it to a regular wax...or if you were a chicken like me and have never experienced a wax yet but are interested in doing so, go for the Nufree first.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

My Vagina.

Yes, you read that right. This blog entry will be about my vagina.

It started a few months ago when I went to see my gynecologist for a regular Pap smear. Like every other woman I know, I very much looked forward to getting my pap done (insert eye rolling "yeah right" face here"). My first pap occurred way too late in life-I was probably 25. And after that less than pleasant experience, I'll admit-I haven't been getting my check ups regularly. However, within the last couple of years, I've learned how to "remain as calm and comfortable as possible" until it's all done and over with. For this reason, getting my check ups are no longer a form of medieval torture for me.

Anyhow, I had gotten my regular pap done, and my gynecologist advised me that my pap came up as "irregular", so I was referred to a specialist. I received my appointment and soon learned that I'd be having a colposcopy, aka we're gonna examine your inner lady parts very closely.

Fast forward to the day of my appointment. I contemplated taking a couple of extra strength tylenols in order to take the edge off. You know, the feeling of a speculum slowly cranking you open. But, I figured...I'm a strong girl! I don't need drugs! So I marched into the exam room once I was called and sat down to chat with the nurse (if I'm being honest...I actually forgot to take the Tylenol and by the time i realized it, it was too late).

The nurse asked me the standard questions and then let me know what to expect. Behind a curtain in the same room was an exam table with stirrups, a long instrument that resembles a snake used to unclog drains, and a tv screen. Phew-at least they'll let me watch tv while they do this.

No. That's not what the tv was for.

The doctor came in-she was very friendly and explained everything that was going to happen. "I'm scared" I told her, half embarrassed. She told me not to worry, and she would be gentle. Mind you, we are having this discussion with my unclothed from the waist down, legs in stirrups self.
"Slide your bum down toward me" said the doctor-so I did.
"More" she said. So I did.
"More" she said. I inched even further.
"More..." she said.

Ok really what the hell! My ass was already very close to the cliff of the exam table, and I wasn't interested in falling off the table, as based on the current position of my body..I'd have fallen off with both my legs and arms in the air and would end up looking like a folded lawn chair.

I inched one more time-finally far enough.

I won't get into the details of me holding my hands together and squeezing them to get over the awkward and somewhat uncomfortable feeling of "the crank open".

"Ok-look to your left at the tv!" said the doctor. Oh finally-I can watch some tv now. "I wonder if they have CP24?" I wondered to myself.

You guessed it-they didn't have CP24. What I saw on the tv was my cervix and freakin' uterus! That snake thing had a camera on the end...I knew I would soon learn the purpose of that thing. Well, this is interesting.

I have to say-the scariest part was when the doctor did a biopsy and took a sample of a small part of my cervix. Everything is magnified times a kabillion, and therefore a small speck looks the size of a melon. First she squirted some sort of vinegar typed fluid which would make any irregularities visible. Then, she took the biopsy and of course the part she snipped at started to bleed. She told me that it was very highly magnified and this was literally a very small bit of blood...but I didn't really hear her as I immediately began to feel faint due to what I perceived to be massive blood loss in my cervical area. I snapped out of it quickly. She used some brown fluid stuff on a piece of gauze and put it on the biopsy spot-she was it was to help stop the bleeding. I was given a pad to wear and was sent on my way. Much to my dismay, days later, I began to excrete what I'm assuming were small pieces of gauze.

The biopsy was only mildly irregular, so I will continue to get checked by this very kind doctor. In fact, my most recent appointment was just this past Thursday...and you won't believe what happened then.

Stay tuned...

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Bittersweet

It seems like just a few short months ago I was ringing in the new year with friends at a local restaurant/bar. Now, seemingly out of nowhere, it's Christmas Eve. While Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year, it's hard to be the kind of "joyful" and "happy" that this time of the year is supposed to bring.

I know I shouldn't have necessarily expected a white Christmas, as apparently due to statistics, over the past several years, there has been about a 50/50 chance of a white Christmas. But over the last several days, it has been warm. Like, record breakingly warm. I think it was 16 degrees Celsius outside today. As we drove down the street, we saw people happily walking their dogs and otherwise strolling down the street-some in short sleeves. I've spent a Christmas or two in Florida, but those occasions were exceptions. I've always enjoyed the whole idea of snow and Christmas.

Also...I mean...I went the funeral of a dear, dear friend yesterday. I tried to remain strong, and for the most part I did. The beginning of the funeral and the end were the most difficult for me. Life is crazy. I'm sure when Anna went into the hospital on December 7...she didn't think she wouldn't see another Christmas. She didn't know that this past November would be her last...this past October/Halloween.  Hell, she didn't know what she wouldn't leave the hospital at all. She didn't know that she would be with God less than two weeks later.

But, I also have tons to be thankful for. Amazing friends, amazing family, and amazing things to look forward to. But this whole experience with Anna hits home more than ever that we shouldn't take life for granted. Say what you feel; mean what you say.

Merry Christmas to all.

Xo

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Anna

My mind is all over the place right now and it's so hard to focus. This year has brought me many joys, including good health and a wonderful man in my life. But my heart shattered into a million pieces on Sunday night. A million pieces...just from one simple whatsapp message.

I was at my boyfriend's house. It was late in the evening. We had just got back from having dinner at Jack Astors and a round of glow in the dark mini golf. We had a blast. We got home and were going to watch a bit of TV before settling into bed to recharge for the Monday to come. I had place my iPhone in "Do not disturb" mode, as it's not uncommon for me to receive emails and notifications in the middle of the night. I didn't want those buzzes and beeps from my phone to disturb our sleep. Little did I know that I'd be getting very little sleep that day.

I decided to take one last look at my phone when I saw a message from one of my coworkers. She said that she had some bad news. She said that one of our dear managers had passed away. My coworker knew that this manager and I were close. When I saw the message, the first thing out of my mouth was "what??" My boyfriend said "what's wrong?" All I could say was "what??" I think I said it at least 3 times before I could even respond to him. I didn't know how to act at first...it hadn't even begun to sink in.

I finished up my conversation with my friend...and I put my phone down on the table. It was at that point that I put my hands on my face and started to cry. I can't believe this...I didn't even know she was sick.

I spent the night tossing and turning, unable to get comfortable enough to sleep. I tried my best to turn my back to my boyfriend and cry quietly, but I'd feel him hug me from behind.

I always, without fail, wake up with enough time to do my makeup before going to work. But that Monday, I didn't care. I got up, brushed my teeth, washed my face, got dressed, and that was that.

Greg dropped me off at work and I headed for Tim Hortons. I knew I wasn't going to finish this bagel, but I bought it anyway. I headed to the elevator and landed on my floor. I was met with crying coworkers and managers trying to comfort them. I lost it; I bursted into uncontrolled tears.

Anna and I had a history beyond work. We met nearly 20 years ago when I was a patient at sick kids hospital. I'm not sure what her exact title was, but she seemed to be in charge of toy donations. She came to visit me as she was already a friend of my father. In passing, I talked to her about the "tickle me Elmo" craze, and how I'd love to have one. Wouldn't you know it...the very next day, she showed up in my hospital room with a grey plastic bag. She had a huge smile on her face as she squeezed the plastic bag...and out came the laughter that is synonymous eith Elmo. Oh my God...she got me a tickle me Elmo!! I later learned that she contacted the company who made the Tickle me Elmos, somewhere in the states, and had the toy fedex'd to the hospital. I couldn't believe it.

Years later, I'm sure you can imagine my surprise when I saw her again at the bank. I had just recently started working there, so a meeting was set up for all of us to meet all of the managers. She and I locked eyes and looked at each other for a few moments, both unsure why we recognized each other. Then, amazingly, the light switch turned on for both of us. We hugged and laughed as everyone else looked on, wondering what was going on.

Years passed and my relationship with Anna remained strong. She was an auxiliary police officer, and coincidentally, was my dad's partner. This just solidified our bond. We would always hug when we saw each other in the hallways or elevators at work. She always had a smile on her face. She always made you feel good.

Just a few weeks ago, there was a pilot training project happening at work. She was the head of this training project. And, in typical Anna fashion, she showered my whole team with gifts-company branded gym bags, pens, winter ice scrapers...it was amazing. But, I wasn't surprised. I knew that if it had been anyone else heading up that pilot project, we would not have gotten all of those thank you gifts/tokens of appreciation.

Fast forward to now. There was no opportunity for her to fight, as the cancer was already at stage 4. It was just too much for her loving and caring soul to deal with...so this angel took her rightful place in heaven next to God.

I spoke to grief counsellor at work, and that was helpful. I just...I'm sitting here imagining her smiling face and her kind voice.

That's the thing with the passing of a friend. We cry and we sob because they are no longer here with us, and we love and miss them. But, I honestly and truly do take solice in the fact that she is no longer in pain, she is no longer suffering. But God...I'm gonna miss her so much.





Saturday, December 12, 2015

I can't believe it's already December!

The last few months have definitely been eventful, both for amazing and not so amazing reasons.

My creatinine is still acting crazy. At last check, it was 170-something. It has been hovering in this range for the last few months. It bothers me, because my baseline used to be around 100 or even lower. A couple of weeks ago I had a kidney biopsy done. I have a follow up appointment with my nephrologist on Monday, so we will discuss the results of the biopsy then. I imagine that it's not anything dire or I would have received a phone call.

I also managed to sprain my ankle in mid November. I was just walking down the street after having just left the grocery store...and suddenly my ankle started hurting. I didn't do anything to it as far as I know, but I guess it's possible that I rolled my ankle and didn't notice. All I know is that it was painful. When I sprained it, I was actually headed to the bank. I met a delightful man sitting in front of the grocery store entrance who was asking for change. I didn't have any, but I felt compelled to give him something. I don't always feel that way...but I did this time. I had made the decision to go to the bank, withdraw $20, buy a drink from Starbucks, and take some of that change and give it to the man. It was when I was on my way to Starbucks that this ankle shit started up. I almost said to myself to forget the whole thing and head for the subway so I could go home. But, since I had made this commitment in my own mind, I decided to follow through. The gentleman at the door of the grocery store seemed to really appreciate the gesture, and I felt good about it.

Two days later I spent the day at the hospital waiting and waiting. In the end, I was diagnosed. A sprained ankle with some torn ligaments sprinkled on top. I got an ankle splint as per the ER doctor's suggestion, then off I went. A month has passed and my ankle feels much better-I'm not limping all over the place thankfully. But I want to give it time to heal properly.

Other than that, life is good. Greg and I just recently celebrated 10 months together, and I'm happy to have him. He makes me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world! He's super sweet.

Speaking of Greg, he's right beside me right now so I should probably pay attention to him :)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

How to Remove Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay in Place Foundation

If you're reading this blog post, you're probably like me and are a fan of Estée Lauder's double wear stay in place foundation. The coverage is great and I love the consistency. When I wear my double wear, I put it on in sections. So essentially I do the bottom left of my face, top left, top right, bottom right, and a quick overall sponging with my beauty blender. To actually apply the foundation, I use either the expert face brush or a stippling brush,  both from real techniques.

But, as many of you who use this makeup may have experienced...when Estée Lauder said double wear and stay in place...they were NOT lying. Trying to break through that foundation is like trying to break through Fort Knox! I'll wash and wash and use my toner afterwards and the face pad I use to apply the toner is covered in foundation...it's almost as if I didn't wash my face at all! My skin is sensitive. I don't want to scrub the shit out of it to remove my makeup. On top of that, after a few weeks of using this makeup, I began to develop bumps, pimples on my forehead.

Like many other women, I do experience the occasional pimple here and there around the time my period is about to come. But I might get one or two on my cheek or chin...never on my forehead. Ever since I've started using Paula's choice products, my pimples are few and far between. That said, I can only, of course, equate this to my foundation and the fact that it isn't being removed sufficiently.

I got on google and searched for ways to remove double wear foundation, as I knew that I couldn't be the only one with this problem. I came across many natural methods, including coconut oil, olive oil, etc. I didn't try the olive oil, but I did try coconut oil. It worked well and did get a lot of the foundation off. But..it just wasn't to my satisfaction. I used the coconut oil on my dry face, rubbed it around, washed it off, then used my regular face wash. It still wasn't enough!

I later found out that Estée Lauder has its own makeup remover. I mean, they created it so they must know the secret to removing it! But as I continued to search, I found another option that many people were using and having success with. It was Clinique's take the day off makeup remover.  It was kinda pricey-$30 something bucks. But since this product is available at Sephora, I figured I'd just try it...and if it didn't work for me I could return it and look at trying the Estée Lauder makeup remover.

Well...I won't be returning it.

The Clinique take the day off remover worked amazingly well. I used it in a similar fashion as I used he coconut oil. But this time I ran my hands under water so that my hands were wet, then used a pump (and a bit) of the Clinique makeup remover and rubbed it on my face. I could see the makeup coming off of my face and on my hands. I washed my face off and followed up with my Paula's choice face wash. I then did the "toner test". Aside for a little bit of makeup by my hairline that I had missed...my face was spotless! I'm pretty impressed by this makeup remover.

Admittedly, I still needed a little bit more of help removing my mascara for which I used an eye makeup remover. Other than that, I highly recommend it.

So if you're looking for a product to remove your Estée Lauder (or other hard to remove foundation), I recommend Clinique take the day off makeup remover. I believe there is more than one kind of remover from Clinique, so I'll put a picture of the one I'm talking about below. The makeup remover can be purchased at Sephora and also on Clinique's website. It works so well that I bought the mini version and left it at my boyfriend's house.

My face, fully made up with Estee Lauder Foundation

My face with the Clinique "Take the Day Off" makeup remover on my face

My clean face after washing off the remover and completing my regular skin care routine

This is what the bottle looks like



Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Also, this is an honest review. All products were purchased by me and I was not asked to do a review of the product by any companies (or anybody for that matter)

:-)





Monday, October 12, 2015

Thankful

This past weekend was Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada.  My weekend was packed and relaxing all at the same time.

On Friday evening, my boyfriend came to pick me up at home as soon as he finished work as per our usual routine.  We stopped and picked up some hakka cuisine and headed to his place. We ate our food and headed to bed early, falling asleep to the sound of the tv playing in the background.

The next day, we headed to Pumpkin Fest, where, of course, we picked out a pumpkin. Before that, we went into an indoor flea market that was located right in the same area. We walked around and perused through the usual flea market fare- cell phone cases, wallets, and questionable brand name clothing.  We stopped at their small food court and bought some food at a local Latin joint We got a tamale and pupusas. I liked the pupusas...but the tamale con pollo was not my favourite.  That's okay, though.  We hadn't yet reached Pumpkin Fest, and I knew that there would be food trucks there.

Greg is a big fan of watches, especially those silver coloured ones where the band stretches so you can put it on with ease. He picked himself up a few of those.

When we finally made it to the actual Pumpkin Fest, we went to the Rebozos food truck. I got 3 tacos for $10-two chicken and one pork.  Anyone who knows me knows that I love salt...and maybe it is for that reason that I felt the chicken tacos could have used just a touch more...but it was delicious just the same.  We also picked up a beavertail and some churros. Then, our pumpkins.

After we were Pumpkin Fested out, we headed to Starbucks for a quick coffee before heading home to watch a horror movie before falling asleep. 1408 was the movie of choice.  Yup-pretty scary.

The next day was thanksgiving dinner day. It would be my first thanksgiving with Greg and his family. After a quick stop for some bread, breakfast, and cappuccinos, we picked up Greg's uncle and Nonna before heading to St. Phillips bakery to pick up the cake. After that was done, it was time to head to Innisfil.

Dinner was great. There was an amazing spread of turkey, corn, rice, mashed potatoes, stuffing...you name it. Needless to say, I was stuffed. We had a bit of fruit and then had the cake. We sat outside for a while as it was an absolutely beautiful day. As the day grew dark, we headed back home. Thankfully, traffic was good to us both ways.

The next day (today), Greg picked up a very healthy breakfast for us at McDonalds as I stayed in bed and slept. After breakfast, we thought about what to do-movie, go for a walk, etc. With today being another gorgeous fall day, we decided to head downtown and just take in the good weather. Of course, Starbucks made its way in there somewhere.

We stopped and had some lunch at Toma burger (delicious!) The burger and the onion rings were both divine. I got a burger with chipotle mayo, cheese, caramelized onion, spinach, and some bacon which I asked for on the side. Greg got a more traditional burger with onion, cheese, and pickles. I gave him my bacon so he had bacon in his burger too.

While the meal was absolutely amazing, my favourite part of it was when Greg turned to me and told me what he was thankful for on this thanksgiving. He told me that he was thankful to have someone like me in his life, and how much he loved me. I held my tears back, as I definitely wasn't expecting anything like that.

After finishing our meal and doing some more walking, it was time to head home, pick up my stuff, and for me to head home.

When we got home, it was at that point that I told Greg how lucky and thankful I am to have him. Every day with him feels like a dream that I never have to wake up from. We have been through some ups and downs as it relates to my health, and Greg has always been nothing but supportive and loving. One of my fears about being in a relationship was ending up with someone who didn't understand (and didn't want to understand) that sometimes I'll have good days, and other times I'll have bad ones. He is always there with a smile and a hug no matter what the situation is. I never have to call him, as he calls me every morning before we start our days, and every evening when he is finished from work..and after dinner..and just before bed. He makes me feel like the only girl in the world.

What are you thankful for this thanksgiving?


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Lupus Nephritis Study!

I wanted to take a minute to write about some interesting info I had received earlier this week. This info is with regards to lupus nephritis study that is currently seeking volunteers!

A small pharmaceutical company based in Canada is developing an immunosuppressant for the treatment of lupus nephritis. This company is conducting a study to demonstrate its efficacy and safety when taken orally twice daily when compared to a placebo.  The duration of the study is about twelve months and consists of about 13 visits to the study clinic for that twelve month duration.  Not bad, about once a month.

As a volunteer, you may or may not benefit from taking the study drug, but you will be contributing to research that may well help those suffering from lupus nephritis in the future. Volunteers will also have more tests and clinic assessments through the study than they would normally have in the course of their treatment, which may allow their own doctors to more thoroughly assess their condition.

There are a dozen clinical sites participating in the study located in the United States. The website linked below will give you more information and tell you how far away the closest clinic to you is.

If the above looks interesting to you and would like more information about this study, the study's link is http://www.yourlupusstudy.com. This page also has a pre-qualification questionnaire that you can go through which will help you determine whether this study is a good fit for you.

Also note, as with any research study, your private medical information will be protected if you chose to participate in the study.

Check it out!


Monday, June 8, 2015

Times flies when you're having fun

The last couple of months have been packed...in the best possible way. Blogging is actually pretty important to me. I definitely like the ability to look back at the good times..and reflect on the perhaps not so good. But, I'm glad it crossed my mind to write a life update, so here goes.

In May, my mom, dad, sister and I went to Italy! It was an absolutely amazing experience. We got to visit a number of amazing places, including Tuscany, Rome, Florence...It was all simply breathtaking. I feel infinitely blessed to have been able to go on such a trip. The fact that a good friend of my dad owns a house there and we had a place to stay as well as someone to take us around was absolutely phenomenal!
Florence Italy by Night
Mmmmm Pizza from Move On in Florence

San Grimignano
Gelato in Florence on my Birthday!

Mom, Me, and my Sis in Rome


Mom, Sis and I in San Grimignano


I basically can't wait to go back, This was my absolute favourite vacation ever! When it was time to come home a couple of weeks later, the first of our two connecting flights got cancelled. Now what?? Luckily, my Dad spoke to the people at the airport and they were able to make alternate arrangements for us. We went from Florence to Amsterdam to Detroit to Toronto. Phew! I would have been content leaving the airport after we found out our flight was cancelled. Maybe this was a sign that Florence is supposed to remain IN Florence! But, for the first time in probably my whole life, I was actually looking forward to getting home. Why, you ask?

Because I had this face waiting in Toronto for me

Greg and I are still going strong. He is such a delightful and kind soulwho accepting of me, ALL of me, as I mentioned in my previous post about him. He speaks a lot about the future, but in a good way. He talks about our future together, our goals, our lives, and his determination to make it happen. He tells me all the time that he will be here and IS here to take care of me in any way, shape, or form. He's ready to face any and every obstacle that may come...and I don't know how else to describe it except by saying that he makes me feel so safe and so beautiful. Only a short while after we first met, he called me one evening after 10pm and told me he wanted to come and see me. About 5 minutes later, he was outside of my house. I went out and got into his car and we chatted. I was only in his car for a few minutes when, without hesitation, he told me that he loved me, and how happy he was to be in love with me. Everything about him and me was just...right. The feeling was absolutely mutual...and since that evening in his car, we never let a day go by without sharing this feeling, this emotion each other, whether over the phone or face to face.

He embraces my silliness and I love and encourage his...and it's absolutely amazing.

Ok, I'm done gushing.  But I'm not done sharing pics of my love.







And now, here's me, smiling like the Cheshire Cat with glee.






xo

Sunday, April 26, 2015

My friend's wedding

I'm here lying in my boyfriend's bedroom at his parents' house. Yes, I met his parents for the first time yesterday. They're absolutely delightful and kind. Their two dogs, Primo and Bella, are delightful too. Bella is sweet but Primo is still unsure and curious about me. I'll win him over soon enough I'm sure.

Anyhow, the point is this post was to share pics of my friend Joy's wedding last weekend. It was a wonder and beautiful wedding with a beautiful bride, groom, and wedding party. And, my dad performed the wedding ceremony! That said, it was a large wedding and therefore I didn't have the pleasure to get a photo with the bride, but below are some of the photos from that night. (Greg cleans up well, no?)






...when you leave your phone unattended and you turn your head, this is what happens.






Sunday, April 5, 2015

All Your Curves and All Your Edges

I've blogged through tears way too often.

I've felt sad and without hope way too often.

The strange thing is..even though those past situations and occurrences hurt so bad, I think they were necessary. Not only have they taught me that I, at the end of the day, have to honour me and put ME first, but they also taught me that I deserve more; I deserve better.

You know what I thought? I thought that because I have an illness/condition, that I have to..."put up" with things, like perhaps not being treated as well as I should be treated, because I did not have the right to be "picky" about men. I should be so happy/lucky that someone wants to be with me in spite of the fact that I have a tricky and often unpredictable condition. I felt like I was either going to have to put up with that kind of shit, or I was going to need to "date down". When I say date down, I mean that I would have to date someone that I actually had little in common with and wasn't really attracted to simply because they wanted or was willing to give me the time of day.

Crazy, huh?

Having learned to talk to others about my feelings and having learned to be open to and accept the (unbiased) suggestions of others, I began to heal. I healed enough to feel like I was ready to "put myself out there" again.  I was guarded-very guarded, but I did it.

I went on many first dates. Many of those first dates would also be last dates, but I did go on many dates and met many nice people. But, while dating these nice people, I had to keep in mind that I'm allowed to be a bit picky. I had to keep in mind that people could be nice people and still not "be for me".

I met one guy in particular-he was great. Our first date was to a local pub for dinner, then out for coffee after dinner. On that first date, he baked me gluten free red velvet cupcakes from scratch. They were quite good, too! We sent text messages back and forth several times a day.  We went out a second time, this time for dinner and a movie. He was super nice and I very much enjoyed his company. Pretty cool, huh?

Not quite. Yes, he was a wonderful, kind, and thoughtful individual. But...just not for me. There were certain things about him that I didn't like.  I didn't like that fact that he was sometimes...negative for no good reason.
"That movie looks terrible. I wouldn't be caught dead watching that."
"Only an idiot would watch "

Aside from that...it just didn't feel right. I knew that he really liked me. When I became distant and pulled away from him, he chased. But I let him go.

Just as I was letting him go, I met another guy. We texted back and forth and spoke on the phone daily for about a week before going on a first date.

The day we were to go on our first date was a day with near blizzard conditions. Undeterred, he picked me up right on time. When he picked me up, he came armed with sour peach candy (I had mentioned that sour peach candies were my favourite type of candy) and had in mind exactly where we were going to go for dinner. Much to my delight, he pulled into the parking lot of a pizza place that I told him was one of my favourites. The fact that he was not only listening, but incorporated these things into our first date was quite impressive if I do say so myself.

We chatted and laughed over pizza, often pausing without words while exchanging shy smiles and giggles.

I like this guy...and this was only after the first date! And what's more? He lives, literally, without exaggeration, about a 1-2 minute drive from my house!

We went out a few more times and I realized that I really did like this guy, and it was very clear that he liked me too.  When this realization began to sink in, I knew that the time for me to tell him a little bit about me and my condition was here.

So I told him.

I told him that I had lupus. I told him about my kidney transplant. He knew about my knee surgery, as the scar on my knee is very apparent. I drew my breath in and let it out slowly.I was scared. I was scared about what he would say or how he would feel about it.

What he said next is something I will never forget.

He told me that he wanted to be there for me no matter what.  He told me that he would take care of me.

He told me he wanted to be my rock.

I couldn't help it. I burst into tears. No one has ever said anything like that to me. They way he looked right into my eyes when he said it...I don't know how else I can describe it except to say that it was powerful. We sat there for about half an hour, me crying quietly in his arms.

As my tears began to dry, he asked me a few general questions about my condition that I was happy to answer. He asked me if I had any limitations he should know about, or anything that he should or shouldn't do. The fact that he asked these things because he wanted to make sure that I was well and comfortable...it was just plain thoughtful and amazing.

This all happened at the beginning of February. We have spoken to and/or seen each other every day since then.

He's always very complimentary.  He makes me feel like the prettiest girl he has ever seen. He never makes me feel self-conscious about my scars or my less than perfect body. He's loving and accepting of all my perceived imperfections...all of my curves and all of my edges. When he looks at me...the way he looks at me..I can tell that he feels just as lucky to have me as I feel lucky to have him.  In fact, he tells me this often. I tell him too.

Since our first date, I've told him whenever I'm going to a doctor's appointment, what it's about, what happened at my appointment, etc. Since then, he's been nothing but kind, gentle, caring, and attentive. He has been perfect. There is still much to tell and much to learn, but we're in no rush. I tell him new stuff about me often, and he always impresses me with his amazingly supportive responses.

Is he my knight in shining armour? Is he the guy I'll end up with forever and ever? Who knows. But what I can say is that it's absolutely extraordinary to know that there are (still) amazing people like him out there...and I just feel privileged to call him my boyfriend.


Oh yeah, meet Greg, my boyfriend.



xo

Saturday, April 4, 2015

A few small updates

It has certainly been a while since I have posted an update...so here goes!

The last couple of months have definitely been months of change-months of growth, so some time of sharing is definitely overdue.

My scleritis went away with continued treatment, but shortly after stopping the treatment...it came back! I'm currently seeing the eye doctors at the hospital who are keeping a close eye (no pun intended) on my scleritis and are making sure that they taper me off of the prednisone drops more slowly.

I'm sad to announce that I'm still searching for a job. I've been applying regularly, but it seems that every single job I come across, even ones that appear to be "entry level" require 1-2 years of experience.  It's a real bummer. I'm thinking that at this point, perhaps it might be a good idea to start attempting to make lateral moves within the organization that I'm currently in as opposed to focusing so strongly on HR jobs. I have come to the realization that these HR jobs are few and far between, and once someone does get an HR role, they tend to stay there for a long period of time. All I can do is keep trying...and hope for the best.

I had been attending boot camp last year on a free trial basis.  I really liked it, but number one it was expensive, and secondly...I wasn't too fond of travelling to that location. Much to my surprise and delight, a boot camp opened up close (closer) to my home, AND it offered a grand opening discounted price. I have been going to classes there and it has been amazing. It is an all women's boot camp and it is such a positive environment. It's not the type of boot camp where a drill sergeant-esque individual screams in your face as you struggle through 5 more pushups...no.  It's nothing like that.  Yes, we work hard, but it's more an environment of encouragement and support than anything else. All of the other girls are so supportive of one another, and this is also a factor that encourages me to get up and get there. My instructor is super sweet, supportive, and always ready with modifications for me to ensure I do not injure myself.  So far so good!

There is another topic of importance to me that I would like to get into..but I'll get into that tomorrow, as I feel that it probably deserves a post of it's own. 

xo

Friday, February 20, 2015

Focus groups!

On a couple of occasions, I've received phone calls from various market research firms asking me if I wanted to participate in a focus group. Ive been to 3 in total. The topics varied-one was about a new food product that was soon to be released, another about ads for a new travel agent. Various things. Each of the groups I have participated in had about 10-12 people in them. There was also a moderator. The moderator would ask various questions while the rest of us spoke of our experiences, opinions, and thoughts. At the end of there sessions, which usually lasted between one to one and a half hours, I would receive an honorarium for my time. I have received between $75-$110! Not bad at all!

I received an email the other day that I wanted to share with you. A firm called Focus Pointe Global is looking for individuals with lupus or caregivers of those with lupus to participate in focus groups. Based on the email I had received, the focus groups conducted by this market research firm pay anywhere from $75-$200. If you're on the Philadelphia or Chicago area and wouldn't mind making some extra cash, check out the links below!

Philadelphia: http://bit.ly/83994CO

Chicago: http://bit.ly/83993C

Xo

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Ringing in the new year...with Scleritis!

So I did have an amazing new year. I pretty much rested on New Year's Day and prepared to go to work the following day. 

When I woke up, I felt a dull ache in my left eye. I thought perhaps I had slept with my watch on my eye and it was aching. So, as usual, I headed into the washroom to wash my hands and then to brush my teeth. Trust that I was shocked (and scared!) by what I saw in the mirror:

What the hell?? What happened to my eye between me going to bed and me waking up in the morning!? There was a bit of water/tears, but no excessive "gunk" in my eye, so I don't think it's pink eye..? And pink eye doesn't "hurt", does it? 

Well, I was concerned enough to want to go to emerg and get it checked out. I didn't want to leave anything to chance. I really didn't want to call in sick to work, especially on the first day back after the new year. But seriously-something was wrong. 

I got to emerg and was seen rather quickly. Oh, side note-did I mention that some weird cyst developed on the underside of my tongue a week and a half or so ago too? Also uncomfortable. So, while in emerg, why not get that checked out too? 2 birds? 1 stone? So as a side note to this story, I ended up having an ENT come see me in emerg. He reviewed my tongue and I believe he said it was a mucosa. He drained it, but warned that it would likely come back. If it did and didn't disappear on its own after a month, I should see my GP to get referred to an ENT and perhaps it would have to be cut out like another cyst I had on my inner bottom lip a few years back. So there's that. As I type this post, the cyst is slowly but surely returning. 


Anyhow, the ER doctor saw my eye and referred me to an eye clinic at a nearby hospital for an appointment that afternoon. Overall, while I don't enjoy being in the ER or in the hospital at all for that matter, this was one of my more enjoyable ER visits. The ER doctor was amazingly pleasant as was the ENT doctor. Boy I lucked out. 

After hours of waiting (luckily my mom was with me to keep me company) I saw the eye doctor who diagnosed me with Scleritis. What's that!?! Well, it's this. 


One percent!?! Ha! My luck for sure. 

Anyhow, I was given eyedrops to use 4 times a day


and my prednisone was increased from 5mg daily to 30mg daily for 7 days. 

This whole fiasco began on Friday January 2nd. Progress has been excellent. I have included pictures of my eye on Friday January 2, Saturday January 3, and today, Tuesday January 6. Seems like my scleritis responding well to treatment. 
 
Crazy, right? And yes, I have to put alarms in my phone to remind me to use my prednisolone drops. 

:)





Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Holiday Season

This holiday season was just about family, friends, and having a good time. No stress, just smiles. Hope your holiday season was good to you too. 












Thursday, December 18, 2014

Crazy Few Months

The tears haven't stopped, but they flow less frequently. The hurting hasn't stopped, but I'm managing to find joy in things all over again. 

I love to write-I love to blog. And when something happens in my life that is so...strong that it takes me to a point where I don't feel like doing things I love...I dunno how to explain it. It's just amazing and terrifying how you're so sad, so hurt, that you don't even want to ATTEMPT to find joy in things. 

I had gotten to a point where I felt so overwhelmed, so hopeless. And the thing is...whenever something negative happens in my life, I need to find something to blame. I blame my health-I blame it a lot. I have said this more than once-I strongly believe that if I didn't have to deal with all of these hurdles, I would have certainly been at a point in life where I would already be married, with a house, and at least one child by now, if not two. 

I do think about that a lot, but at the same time, if my life's path had taken a different turn, I certainly wouldn't be the person that I am today, nor will I have been able to establish many of the friendships in my life that I cherish. I may not have been so caring-so sensitive. If someone that I love/care about is hurting, I'm hurting too. When people tell me the rough things they have gone through in life, I cry for them and with them. I care SO deeply for others, and I hate to see others sad or down. Sometimes I think of things that a friend had told me earlier in the day, something sad, and I'll go home, go into my room, close the door...and cry. Is it because I'm a crybaby? Nah. It's simply because I'm an emotional person who...who loves those around me. I'm thankful for those around me. 

I know I've said this before, but it's on my mind so I have to say it again. I often wonder if I care TOO much for others. If I care about someone, LOVE someone, trust that every inch of me, every hair on my body, every cell, every inch of me, cares and loves for that someone. I've often thought to myself that I should stop doing that. Stop caring so much. 

I don't know how to do that. I don't know how to "not" care, or even to care less. After this last...blow that I suffered, I've learned that everything isn't always what it seems. I've learned that actions speak louder than words, and if I'm being honest with myself, the actions that I often witnessed were telling.  I need to stop...settling. Don't get me wrong-in spite of the great disappointment that I suffered because of this guy, I do still care about him. He did treat me quite well in the beginning. He did chase me. He did text when I didn't. But then, when I was "got"- when I was no longer a challenge, when things flipped from him really going out of his way to see me to the other way around, what's what I began...holding on for dear life. How stupid. I don't hate him, and I don't think he was being malicious and set out to hurt me. But he did make poor choices, and he did put me through some shit that just wasn't necessary. But...I knew that. And I didn't run for my life. How stupid. 

I think I'm a pretty cool person. I'm kind, I'm funny, I care about others, I help others, and I think I can safely say that I'm not ugly. I think that I sometimes need to just...step back and remember these things. I think that if I can do that, I'll be ok. And if you're reading this, and you are going through some shit, whether it's related to your health, relationships, life in general, just remember that a single "setback" doesn't define you. You're allowed to be sad. You're allowed to cry. You're allowed to feel like.."why does crap like this always happen to me?"  Do it. Take the time you need to take to mourn. Once the acute pain and sadness has faded, you may still have your ups and downs where you think about that "setback". 

Just remember, no matter what, you'll be okay. Wounds heal but scars remain-but even those scars fade to a point where they are so faint that they're just a distant memory of a past pain. It's alright-you'll be okay. WE'LL be okay. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

I Get By With A Litle Help from my Friends

It's a good thing to talk. Talk about stuff.

I go back and forth when it comes to the above statement. Sometimes...I don't want to talk about stuff, because I know, mid story, it'll make my cry. At the same time, if I don't, the tears that need to be "cried" simply remain inside. That's not good either.

This weekend was one of catching up with friends-good ones.

On Friday evening, it was date night with my close friend and confidant, Mikey. Mikey and I have known each other and immediately connected as friends soon after we met each other back at our first job in a ritzy Italian grocery store. He was 14 and I was 16. Mikey is one of those friends that I can tell absolutely anything and everything. My most embarrassing of stories, even my secret embarrassments..nothing is too embarrassing for me to tell Mike. What I also like about our relationship is the way it has evolved. Back then, we were kids with not a worry in the world. We spent most of our waking moments together, whether it was going to the movies, out to dinner/dessert, or just aimlessly driving through the streets without a destination or a care in the world. Now, we're adults. We have responsibilities, and oftentimes these responsibilities prevent us from getting together as regularly as we did. In spite of this, what I do know is that things will be exactly as they were when we last saw each other, regardless of how many hours, days, or months have passed.

Anyhow, Mikey came by to pick me up so we could go and do one of the many things we enjoy doing together- grabbing some dessert. I wouldn't believe the following story if I hadn't been there-as we drove down the street, did we NOT see the car of the gentleman I was dating and have been whining about these last few posts driving almost right beside us??

"That's his car!!" I yelled at Michael. He, rightfully so, instantly thought I was crazy. Yes Flo, that car, which looks like a million other cars, just so happens to be HIS car? I didn't have my glasses on, but I could see some distinct characteristics which lead me to believe that this was, in fact, HIS car. The back of the vehicle was damaged from a previous fender bender. The license plate wasn't one from my city-it was from another city from another province...just like HIS.

We both got caught at a red light. There was another car between us, but it was clear it was him. I noticed he had a passenger. I'll admit it-I went mad for a moment and contemplated jumping out of the car, opening the passenger door of his car, dragging the occupant out, and spreading her across the street like jelly on toast. "Relax, it's a guy" Mikey told me. Even if it wasn't...I really had no jurisdiction to attack his passenger. But, I won't lie-the thought went through my mind. Since HIS car was on Mikey/the driver's side, I turned my head to look out the passenger window in an attempt to not look "obvious". I say this because as I noticed the vehicle and told Mike, we certainly did...adjust our speed to get a closer look. Very obvious indeed.

Anyhow, we went our separate ways and headed off to enjoy our dessert. What I enjoyed about talking to Mikey is the fact that he gives my advice based on his own experiences. He relayed advice of his own, as well as advice given to him from others when he needed it. I was tired that night, but was sad when the night ended, as I could have stayed there and chatted with Mikey for hours.

Last night, myself and my friend Sadia met up for dinner, dessert, and, of course, debriefing. She also another amazing person to speak to because her experiences and thoughts have been similar to mine, but in a different way than they are with Mikey. See, Sadi and I met in the hospital system, as we both had kidney issues and both eventually received kidney transplants. She knows what it's like to go through these emotions, especially with the health aspect attached to it. Since meeting, we've gone on many adventures throughout the city as well. Again, one of my favourite things to do. Trying new restaurants and just "hanging out" is something I really enjoy doing with Sadi. She's also someone that I can share my inner most secrets with-and trust me-there are few people I can do that with.

She also gave me some perspective based on her own experiences.  In a previous post, I talked about wishing that I was the woman I was a number of years back-I was "tougher", "stronger", and "less willing to put up with shit". There was one factor that I didn't consider that Sadi brought to my attention: Prednisone.

Prednisone is a medication I've spoken about before. It's an evil drug side-effect wise, but works well to control my lupus symptoms as well as minimize the chances of rejection of my kidney. But, that said, take a look at these side effects:
 
  • Aggression
  • agitation
  • anxiety
  • blurred vision
  • decrease in the amount of urine
  • dizziness
  • fast, slow, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
  • headache
  • irritability
  • mental depression
  • mood changes
  • nervousness
  • noisy, rattling breathing
  • numbness or tingling in the arms or legs
  • pounding in the ears
  • shortness of breath
  • swelling of the fingers, hands, feet, or lower legs
  • trouble thinking, speaking, or walking
  • troubled breathing at rest
  • weight gain


Being on a medication like this coupled with some of the low lows I've been feeling...it could very likely be an issue as well-one that should be explored.

It's ok to be sad, but it's also ok to reach out to those you love when you are feeling sad. This is still a concept that I'm struggling with, but I'm getting better.

xo























 
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