Thursday, June 25, 2009

Where were you when you heard?

This day started off wonderfully. I dialyzed for 8 and a half hours. Boy did I feel "cleansed".

I went to lunch today with a good friend. We had a great time. Well, the lunch wasn't particularly good. In fact...I didn't eat it at all. It was shrimp, veggies, noodles and wontons in broth. The shrimp must have been cooked in the broth...but I don't think the broth was hot enough when they put the shrimp in there because the shrimp was raw. Raw in spite of the fact that the shrimp was cut down the middle length wise. The veggies were also raw. I'd have liked it much better if the veggies had been blanched at least for a couple of minutes. The huge raw red onions were unappealing. The actual wontons were gross. They eventually took it off of our bill. I gave our server a $10 tip on a $30 bill. It was the right thing to do, especially since I would have been paying for the meal anyways...I gave less than what the meal cost, but a generous tip nonetheless.

After that, my friend and I shopped for a short while. I picked up a few shirts here and there that I could wear to work. We enjoyed some ice cream...then went home.

I went home and watched the young and the restless. After the young and the restless is the news. I was lying on my bed watching tv when the story first broke: Michael Jackson has been rushed to the hospital due cardiac arrest. I was still on my bed minutes later when they announced that there had been reports that he had passed away.

I went onto facebook. A few friends here and there has posted about it as well. So did the popular tabloid website TMZ. I needed more confirmation. I didn't know what to do with myself. I text messaged my sister. She was just as shocked.

After a few hours of crossing my fingers and hoping it wasn't true...the bad news was confirmed my the coroner in L.A. Michael Joseph Jackson - dead at 50 years old.

I was raised on Michael Jackson's music. I don't personally remember this, but my mom told me that when I was very young, we were at disney world in Florida having lunch. While we were eating, the song Billie Jean came on. I immediately started grunting and fussing at my mom, wanting her to lift me off of the chair and onto the floor, which she did. As soon as my tiny feet hit the ground, I started to dance up a storm. I danced and I danced. Not many artists or songs were powerful enough to pull me away from a plate of fries...but Michael Jackson was one of those artists. I was so animated, people around me enjoying their own meals stopped to watch and clap. Some even gave me money.

I am at a loss. This is such a tragedy. Michael Jackson- an icon. An inspiration to many artists.

This post is not meant to take away from the other two icons that we have lost this week: Farrah Fawcett and Ed Mcmahon. The loss of these great icons is also terrible -'s just that the death of Michael Jackson was just so out of the blue and unexpected (for me).

Where were you when you heard?


There is much going on in my city nowadays. Some of our city workers are on strike. So, what does that mean? Well, those who take their kids to city run daycares are out of luck. The think the affects most people is the fact that this also means that there is no garbage collection until the strike is resolved. Great for me, a dialysis patient who makes plenty of garbage daily.

The fact that it is 30 degrees celcius outside (86 degrees fahrenheit) doesn't help the garbage strike either. The smell of garbage baking in the hot sun is not pleasant...not pleasant at all. It is also supposed to rain a little bit later on today. Hmm, rain, followed by hot sun, and garbage. A delish combination.

Being so busy with school and such, I didn't have time to do my bloodwork in a timely fashion (ie the beginning of the month). So I did it last Friday. Here are my results. They are looking pretty good if I do say so myself.

Myself and an old friend are going to head out and grab some lunch. I love meetings with old friends :)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sickle Cell Walkathon

Wow, what a long stretch of midterm assignnments/tests and such! I'm glad that it's over and I'm on reading week now. It'll be a much needed break!

Yesterday, I participated in a walkathon for Camp Jumoke. This camp is specifically for children/youth with sickle cell disease. The camp is fully equiped with medical personal, so in case anyone there suffers a sickle cell crisis, help will be right there. I participated mostly in the capacity of volunteering. I also carried the torch of life. The torch of life is for organ transplant/donation awareness. This torch represents everything, from kidneys, to livers, to bone marrow...everything. I must say that the torch was a bit heavy...! But I was happy and proud to hold it for a portion of our walk (which I believe was about 6 kms).

For more information on camp jumoke, please see, and for more information on organ transplant awareness, please see

A great time was had by all. My friend and co-worker Carm took some pictures of the event. Here is the link if you wanna check it out:

In the meantime, I plan to spend the next week doing the little things around the house that need to be done - laundry, clean up/organize my dialysis supplies room, catch up with friends, and work...! (..and homework, of course. I have a group assignment due for Human Resources).

Today is father's day. My friend Carm took a wonderful pic of myself and my father which can be seen via the link above...but I love it so much I'm going to post it here too. I hope you absolutely love it as much as I do!


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Skin Care

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am uber busy with studying and also an assignment. In the first two days of next week I have two mid-terms and one assignment due. I decided that I needed a break, and I decided that I'd do a post on skincare.

Everyone in my family has great skin. My parents look very young for their age...they perhaps look more like my mature siblings as opposed to my parents. My older sister's skin is stellar and so is my brothers. But alas, my skin suffers. Why? Probably lupus or lupus related drugs...or drugs related to drugs related to Lupus.

I've been on what seems to be an endless search for the perfect skin care product for me. I've tried so many things. The following are my personal experiences with certain products. This is not to say that it may not work for you, but it's simply what I've experienced.

I've tried Proactive. When I first used it, it seemed to clear my skin up after two weeks, but after a short while, much to my disappointment, it stopped working for me.

I've tried Murad. The informercials were encouraging so I gave it a try. Unfortunately, I guess my stubborn skin fell into the percentage of people who's skin wasn't cleared by this product.

Facedoctor: Facedoctor seemed to work a bit longer than Proactive did. I used the bar soap and the cream. The cream seemed to work great, but I really disliked the smell of it. I disliked it enough to stop using it.

Oral Contraceptives: Diane 35 and Alesse. I was on Diane 35 first, but I was switched to Alesse by my gyno. I stopped taking contraceptives altogether in 2007 after I got a blood clot in my intestine.

OTC products: The ones I tried didn't seem to work for me. In fact, some just dried my skin out and made it worse. I have combination skin. My forehead is an oil slick. But I still moisturize everyday as I didn't want my skin to produce even MORE oil.

benzamycin and tazorac: these products also seemed to work for me as well. I remained commited to putting on my tazorac at night and my benzamycin in the day. I would put the tazorac on my face for 10 minutes, then rinse it off at the advice of my dermatologist. I suppose it's a strong drug and this process of washing it off for the first week is meant to help you build up a tolerance to it. The benzamycin would ball up on my face/skin. I had to wait for it to dry and to be honest, in the morning when you're rushing around...that's a bit of a hassle.

Blue Light Treatment: This worked well for me. It helped clear my skin. But geez, it cost like $60 a half hour treatment. How often am I supposed to be able to afford THAT??

So, here's the magic question: are there ANY skin products out there that'll help clear my skin, is convenient, and won't burn a hole through my pocket?

My (current) answer to that question is this: Yes.

What's the secret product, you ask? It's this: Benzoyl Peroxide.

Yes, we've all heard of it, and if you've had problem skin you may have even used it too. But the question is this: were you using it correctly?

I wasn't. I was on a great skincare website where I currently purchase my skincare products. The creator of the products created a "regime", basically outlining how one should apply his products or comparable products to their face in order to get results. He recommended a GENEROUS amount of Benzoyl peroxide. This equates to two pumps of his product, or perhaps about the size of tablespoon full of benzoyl peroxide. Then, you use your finger and dab some product all over your face (a dab on both cheeks, your nose, your forehead, your chin, your upperlip, etc). Then, gently, you smooth the benzoyl peroxide all over your face, carefully, for about two minutes until it is completely covered.

Your face will most definitely still have product on it. That's ok...just grab a magazine, watch tv, do whatever you do before you go to bed. But just wait for it to dry up on your face. But don't be lying down or changing your clothes during this process. Benzoyl peroxide can and will dye your clothes (my face towels will tell you this).

After that (oh by the way, this benzoyl peroxide thing is after you've washed your face, patted it dry, and waited a few minutes to make sure it air dries even further) you follow up with a good moisturizer (i put the moisturizer in the palm of my hand, add a few drops of jojoba oil, smush it together with both palms, then apply to my face). Jojoba oil doesn't and won't clog your pours so it's ok for your skin.

I've also recently started using alpha hydroxy cream in an attempt to fade the scars from the ghost of acne past. So far I'm pretty happy with my skin care regime. I still get the odd bump here or there, but if I put a dab of my alpha hydroxy cream on it, that bump it toast.

In the mornings, I also use a good face cream with SPF. This is vital when using benzoyl peroxide.

There are a lot of otc products out there that have like 5% benzoyl peroxide in them. My favourite of them is panoxyl. It's on the shelf at places like Walmart. I have some of that on hand if I run out of my regular stash, which I get from a website It's a company based in the United States. The benzoyl peroxide that they sell is 2.5%, but is apparently just as effective as 5%. Hey, why not use less if it works just as well? Plus. they sell this huge size of benzoyl peroxide so I can order and not worry about re-ordering for a short while.

I wash my face twice a day, I (still) use Valana Minerals, even though every department store vulture that sees me when I walk by tries to get me to switch. I'm hooked on Valana Minerals and don't see myself going anywhere soon. I also use concealer from prescriptives. I never forget my SPF, whether it appears sunny outside or not. I use a sephora brand eye make up remover before I wash my face with the cleanser also sold on I use their moisturizer too.

If there's anyone else out there that may have problem skin, what do you use?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I Know, I know

It's been weeks since I've updated my blog. It's not going to get much better now either as this post will be short and sweet.

I have two mid terms and one assignment due next week so I gotta get workin' and studying.

So, here will be my only contribution until after I get over that studying/assignment hump.

At the end of May, my dad threw his former partner a retirement party. Here is a link to the pictures at that party. And yes, that cake you see in those pictures that look like a police shirt? GUESS WHO MADE IT?? :):):)
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