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. 












 
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