Thursday, September 14, 2017

Lola Update!

Well, guys, guess what?

LOLA IS CANCER-FREE!!!!!


I don't even have the words to describe how RELIEVED I am about this news. Not only because I couldn't possibly afford cancer treatment for my dear furry love, but because the stress of finding a way to would have put me in a mental asylum ( if they even really have those anymore ) I would have, though. I would have done whatever I had to. 

We took Lola into Rye yesterday for a one-week post op check and I hoped they'd have the pathology report ( which they did ) It came back that the lumps were just mammary cysts that were benign...at least at this point in time. They, of course, could have become cancerous but since we removed them, they never got the chance to be. 

She has an incision on her belly about 8-9" long...with staples...which broke this mama's heart. But Dr. Whalen said that they incision looks fantastic. Very little redness, little-to-no swelling; she's lost a few staples, but she said that's normal. Instead of an Elizabethan collar they gave us this nifty doohicky called a Surgi-Snuggly, which is like a doggy onesie. It's been working great! It prevents Lola from licking or chewing her surgical site and also, it prevents staples from snagging on clothing or blankets. I definitely recommend the use of one if your vet usually gives an E-collar.

She has the staples removed next Wednesday. I cannot wait

I'm so happy that she's in the clear. And I'm thankful for everyone's good thoughts and prayers during this time. Lola is my little everything, and I couldn't imagine losing her. Everyone knows that she's my baby...literally. I would've drained my savings account and gone into debt to save her. But now I can ease my mind for a while, knowing that surgery NOW hopefully preventing major issues down the road. 

So, yeah...that's 2 dogs down...with one more to go...*sigh* We already know that Sadie is going to need a cyst removed at the base of her tail, so that's gonna be another surgery. But hopefully it'll be a simple, quick and less-stressful procedure for her!

Time to start saving up! 😂😢



Sunday, September 10, 2017

Social (me)dia & (me)ntal Health

Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. These are all platforms to show our lives and our opinions. But when does it stop getting fun and start becoming harmful?

Social media is a way to express ourselves. We get to share a little bit of our lives with friends and strangers alike. With the use of hashtags, we can connect with people all over the world that have similar interests and tastes. I've become friends with a girl out of state whom I have a lot in common with such as our love for pugs, crafting and sarcasm. Cara is a pretty cool chick and someone I would have never met outside the realm of Instagram. 

But then there are the negatives to such apps. The trolls; the obsession with posting or searching-out posts. 

I follow a gal from Tennessee ( I think? ) who has been working on a healthier lifestyle for years.  Last year, she leaned out and competed in her first fitness competition. Afterwards, she learned that it's not about having the "perfect body" but about being a better you each and every day, and living a healthy life. Yes, she's gained some of the weight back. But she's okay with that. Since she decided to share her life with people on Instagram, though, she now has to deal with comments like these:





Tesia is a strong woman who is just trying to be comfortable in her own skin. She's realized that the "fit" life isn't always the "healthy" life, and while trying to be inspiring to those who still struggle, she's harassed and judged but complete strangers.

This is just one major downfall with the "social media age".

 
Another major downfall of such sites is the fact that we compare ourselves to others. 

Why can't I be as skinny and beautiful as her?
Look at her expensive shoes and handbag!...I wish I had money like that.
She looks so put together--her life must be perfect!

We get down on ourselves when we see how "great" others have it. But what we must understand is, just like a photograph, they always show the good times and rarely the bad. You don't take pictures or write statuses about the hard times ( well, usually... ) Things like that cause pity. We want to mask the bad by over-accentuating the good. Lavish trips. Expensive objects. In social media, WE have "the power" to show the world whatever we would like to. And while some are crudely honest to a fault, others show only the good side of things...leading one to believe they have the perfect life.

The younger generation knows nothing but this technological age, and I feel bad for them. Self-esteem is at an all-time low and kids feel like they will only gain acceptance in the amount of friends and followers they have. They post pictures for 'likes' because they don't know how to like themselves. 

And just like how these apps make us feel like crap about ourselves, they are also a way to make people feel bad for US. Get on your Facebook once...I bet you have at least one friend who only posts negative shit. Whether it be statuses about "how much their life sucks" or vague quotes about life, insinuating that theirs sucks. They strive for attention, because they feel whether it's bad or good, at least it's attention. I have an old friend who has been constantly posting about her "failing life", trying to make excuses like karma isn't to blame. No excuses!...if you're a bad person to others, people will be bad to you. The first step in becoming a better person is being REAL with yourself and your downfalls. Don't play the boo-hoo-pity-party card and make everyone feel bad for you when YOU are the cause of the chaos. 

...which leads me to the last issue with social media: it prevents us from letting go of the past. 

We reopen wounds when we go searching for our ex-boyfriends or ex-friends. We go in search of things we were never meant to see, thus causing undue pain that could be easily avoidable. Why do we torture ourselves? Because it's so easy to.

Why do you care about what your ex-girlfriend is doing? You want to compare lives. You want to make sure that you're doing better than her. What check out your ex-BFFs page? Because you want to see if karma came back around. But what does that solve? It only angers you more. It brings about bad feelings. 

WHY DO WE DO THIS TO OURSELVES?!

It is not a healthy way to live. And even though social media has a lot of benefits when it comes to current events, bringing people together for a cause, education, etc...there's always bad with the good. There's always people who will abuse the system and use it for evil. 

I, myself, have learned that I really need to disconnect. I need to block people I don't have reason to care about; I need not follow people with whom I compare my looks/attitude/skills with; I need to focus on ME and not strangers 5000 miles away.

We all only get one time to live our lives...

...why be sad the whole time that we aren't living someone elses?  


 
 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Time To Talk-Therapy

About a month ago, I took the initiative to change therapists. I'm still unsure of this transition, as sometimes I do miss my old therapist and feel like she already knew so much about me. It becomes quite unbearable at times to know that I have to go over all that shit AGAIN with someone else. But I said I would give this a fair shot, and that if it didn't work out that I'd go back to where I started. So far, I think I've had 3-4 sessions...

But while in treatment with this new lady, she spoke slightly about a technique she uses call EMDR.

EMDR is short for "eye movement desensitization and reprocessing". The basic premise ( from what I grasp, so far ) is that when you're deep in thought about things, your eyes move in a certain "pattern". Through this pattern, you can retrain your brain to process things different. It was harder for her to explain in words, but I looked up more information and uncovered this:

"No one knows how any form of psychotherapy works neurobiologically or in the brain. However, we do know that when a person is very upset, their brain cannot process information as it does ordinarily. One moment becomes "frozen in time," and remembering a trauma may feel as bad as going through it the first time because the images, sounds, smells, and feelings haven’t changed. Such memories have a lasting negative effect that interferes with the way a person sees the world and the way they relate to other people.
EMDR seems to have a direct effect on the way that the brain processes information. Normal information processing is resumed, so following a successful EMDR session, a person no longer relives the images, sounds, and feelings when the event is brought to mind. You still remember what happened, but it is less upsetting. Many types of therapy have similar goals. However, EMDR appears to be similar to what occurs naturally during dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Therefore, EMDR can be thought of as a physiologically based therapy that helps a person see disturbing material in a new and less distressing way."


There is also documentation on how the process works and the steps to achieve the desensitization, which you can read here. The concept is intriguing and I told her that I'm on board to try this method out.

She told me at our last appointment that we will not discuss the traumatic experiences aloud but simply have me think about them. She feels like reopening past issues can cause retraumatization, so she refrains from doing so. I must give consent for her to physically touch me due to the fact that with EMDR you must use sensation on each side of the body to trigger both sides of the brain. My therapist tends to use the tops of a patient's knees to achieve this. 

I'm eager to see how this technique works. It's used a lot for patients that suffer from PTSD, and although I wouldn't consider having PTSD, I sort-of have something like it. There are a few events in my life that I still harbor pain from and that caused me to the be the person I am today ( good or bad?...I don't know ) 

I hope that EMDR will allow me to view hard times in a less devastating manner and, in a way, help to desensitize me as a whole. I am a very emotional person by nature; to the point that I feel everything SO strongly it's disruptive to my life. Whether it be a hurtful name I was called, someone's attitude towards me, a suffering animal on the side of the road, or that my coffee spilled on the way to work...things like this can ruin my whole day and cause me to ruminate the situation all day. It's not healthy. 

...and I really want to be better at coping with life as a whole.

So here's to hoping EMDR is as successful as I'm hoping it will be!!!


Saturday, September 2, 2017

I! LOVE! BREAD!

Actually, I don't. Unless they are breadsticks from the Olive Garden...then this is valid.

 

But reading that title probably makes you think of Oprah Winfrey in the newest Weight Watchers commercials. That was the point.

Years ago, I decided to start WW to try to lose weight. In about a year, I lost 35 lbs. This was back in 2011/12, and I kept the weight off for less than a year. This was due to going back to bad habits and making it less of a point to make it to the gym regularly. 

In either case, it did work for me. That's why I decided to try it again.

I have 2 weddings approaching that I'm to attend toward the end of the month. A few weeks ago I decided that I wanted to lose 10 lbs before these weddings. So I made it a point to facilitate my WW app and get back on the cardio bandwagon. Tomorrow I weigh myself--but the first week I lost 1.4 lbs. 

Now, there have been advancements to the Weight Watchers "algorithm", but since the Points Plus system worked for me last time, that's the one I use. With PP, it is based on your intake of fats, carbs, fiber and protein. I'm not sure the equation they use to figure out your food points using these 4 nutrition facts but that's why they have apps! 😁

What I love about WW is that you can eat what you want ( but within reason ) With this plan, you don't have to restrict yourself or get angry for eating "bad food". It teaches you moderation; you can eat that brownie for 6 points OR you can have a sugar-free Fudgecicle for 1 point. That would leave me with 5 additional points to eat MORE food with. If you eat shit, you will go over your points and not get results. It helps you make better choices so you don't have to starve yourself.

Also, you're given weekly points or "cheat points". If you want to eat a little more one day, you can do so without beating yourself up. And actually, I've noticed I lose more weight when I use these points rather than not. 

Here's an example:

I'm given 29 points a day to consume.
Let's say a bowl of oatmeal is 3 pts and a banana is 0 ( on PP, fruit/veggies are 0 pts )
So breakfast-3 pts.

Then for lunch, I eat a SmartOnes that's 7 pts.
And I want a Light Cheeseheads string cheese for 1 pt.
Lunch-8 pts.

So there's 2 meals and I've only used 11 of my 29 points, leaving me 18 points for dinner/snacks. 

But I like a snack around 10 AM, so if I eat celery and Bolthouse Ranch dressing ( 1 pt per TBSP )--that snack is only 1 pt. 

( you should get my drift at this point ) 

And when you work out, you earn points back--thus meaning you can eat more that day if you would like. Not saying you have to, but you can.

If you don't want to do Weight Watchers through WW ( meaning you have to pay their monthly dues ), there are 2 apps that I've really liked.

WWDiary by canofsleep is the app I used back when I had an Android, and when I lost the weight the first time. It's a free app and it's super easy to use. And if I recall, they have various restaurant entrees listed in their database for when you want to grab something outside the home.

Now that I have an iPhone this time around, I actually had to pay for an app. Blah! But the one I use is ProTracker Plus Weight, Calorie & Exercise Tracker. It was a one-time fee of $2.99 and you have the choice of either using the old or new calculator. 

I definitely recommend WW to anyone trying to lose some weight because it not only keeps you in check, it also prevents you from denying yourself certain foods in your diet. Moderation is key!

So far, the progress is slow ( like it always is ), but as time goes by there may be an update on progress!...maybe.

 Stay tuned!

 

Friday, September 1, 2017

August Birchbox

Well, I didn't make it--it's September now and I failed to write a blog about my latest box. This is partially due to having such a busy few weeks at work, and partially due to laziness. 

Shame. On. Me.

I feel like I got a lot of skin products in this box, which bored me. But I've tried pretty much everything...so here we go:


Coola Mineral Face SPF 30 Unscented Matte Tint
This is more-or-less a sunscreen, but it can also work as a nice primer before you apply makeup. With SPF 30 it's great for protecting your face from the harms of the sun. The tint is very mild--barely noticeable. When I used this product, it just felt like a primer. No greasiness. Not sunscreen odor. It's light and has natural ingredients to ( hopefully ) avoid reactions on sensitive skin.

Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo
I rarely use dry shampoos, although I probably should try. I avoid washing my hair daily due to the dryness I've been seeing as I age. With the grays starting to come in, I feel my hair gets a lot more frizzy so I try to avoid it by washing my hair only every 2-3 days. But come day 3, I do feel my roots get a bit oily. This could help.

Avene Cleanance Cleansing Gel
This cleanser is unscented and great with a facial brush. I put about a dime-sized amount on my brush in the shower and scrub away. It works great for my sensitive skin and, actually, a dime-sized is usually too much ( but it comes out real easily ) You could probably get away with a pea-sized amount to make it last longer. When you rinse it off, your face doesn't feel dry but it does feel clean.

Stila Cosmetics Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Perla
This was my Birchbox pick for the month, as the curated box choice had a DEEP red in it that I did not want to receive. So, my thoughts were that to avoid getting another dark color I probably would never wear, I'd choose this to avoid that chance. The color is very pretty and goes well with my skin tone. It is a matte color and it actually does stay a good while. And unlike my favorite matte color by Tarte, I don't seem to lose my lip color around the opening of my mouth as much. 

In real life, my upper lip is NOT that full!
  
Balance Me Congested Skin Serum
I've used this once or twice right before bed to help with red spots and break outs. The scent isn't strong like some products and, although I didn't see much progress with the product, it's probably because I didn't use it often enough. I actually kind of forgot I had this product and just continued using my Zap Zit ( which also never seems to work ) But maybe I'll just have to start using this ritually...

I already chose one product for my September box, so the other 4 will be "tailored to my profile". 

Here's to hoping for just a little more variety in this month's box...

  

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Lola's Impending Surgery...

So, last Saturday while my sister Abbey was visiting, she had Lola snuggled under her arm...on her back...when she says to me, "Jenny, Lola has a bump under her nipple".


At first I'm thinking, "It's probably just a lipoma..." but then, I felt it: this bump was harder than that. It felt like a tiny knot, or what I would compare to a swollen gland when you get sick. I, myself, used to get swollen glands in my neck and groin area when I would get sick quite frequently. But since she had a vet visit the following Tuesday to have shots updated, I just made sure to mention it at the appointment. It just didn't feel...right.

Between the day it was discovered, two more bumps appeared; one next to the original, and one above the nipple that did feel like a lipoma ( or a bug bite ) 

Tuesday comes and we go to see Dr. Kirmayer. I mention the bumps and, of course, he ends up feeling the bug-bite-type bump first. He's thinking it's just a lipoma. Then he feels the other ones. And he goes, "I don't like these bumps...I don't like them at all"; my stomach drops.

 
He tells us that he wants to remove these lumps. Kirmayer talks kinda fast and is very straight-forward, so I don't initially catch the medical jargon that he spews...but what I do understand is the words "breast cancer". He tells me that he needs to do a few x-rays and a blood panel prior to surgery to make sure that she's healthy enough for anesthesia and, I'm presuming, to make sure that he doesn't see anything that would indicate a cancer that has spread via the x-rays. Thankfully they came back clear. We got a call on Thursday with the bloodwork results. He said they were clean but during the surgery he wants to do another panel because her blood cell count is up like she's trying to fight off something. He doesn't sound too concerned, but wants to make sure. 

I'm concerned, though, and praying that my Mama-Pug is okay. She's been by my side for 10 years and I cannot imagine my baby having cancer. They are going to remove the two small bumps AND the entire mammory duct just to be safe; then it will be biopsied to determine if it is benign. He said that he doesn't THINK that it's anything yet, but it could potentially become something.

When I called for a quote on the cost of surgery ( since he forgot to let Nate know during the bloodwork call ), I also asked the receptionist to let me know exactly what he thought these bumps were since I didn't catch it at the appointment. I told her to just let me know via voicemail since I was at work. This is what they may be:

Hyperplasia, which is pretty much a benign overgrowth of cells in an area...but could potentially become cancerous.

Adenoma, which seems to pretty much be just a swollen gland.

Adenocarcinoma which is cancer in the mammory gland ( in her case ) But I'm praying to God and anyone else that this is NOT the case!!!

So these are the scenarios. I'm hoping that, if it's anything, it's benign and was caught early enough that we don't have to continue any treatment. After what happened with Haley, and this being my child, it's a little overwhelming. Thankfully, the surgery is estimated under what I was hoping the max would be...so that eases a little bit of tension. I'm just a very worried fur-mom right now...

Surgery is scheduled for September 7th. We will drop her off in the morning and Kirmayer said that the procedure itself should only take about 30 minutes. It is an outpatient procedure and she will be able to come home that day, so that's good not only for my mental health but also my bank account.

Baby Lola
I'm asking all of you to keep Lola Jane in your thoughts and prayers and send good vibes for benign lumps and a speedy recovery. If you know me, you know Lola is everything to me and she's been my rock for these 10 years. And if you've ever met Lola, you're probably in love with her, too. 

*fingers crossed*



Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Thank God for Care Credit

**This blog is not sponsered by CareCredit or Synchrony Financial and is solely my personal opinions.
 

 I need to start off by saying...thank GOD for Care Credit!

I was talking to a fellow coworker after work today about this. She said that anytime someone hands her a Care Credit card to pay for their procedure, she smiles. Why? Because her dog just had to have a tumor removed and, without this payment source, they probably would not have been able to do so. 

...and had it not been for this credit card, I would've wiped my savings account clean with the Haley fiasco thus leaving me at a loss when it comes to what will be going on with Lola ( I'll blog about that later this week when the results come back... ) 

Care Credit is a healthcare-based credit card that it helpful in numerous cases. Once you're accepted, you can use it at participating doctors, dentists, vets, and various other health care services.  

One of the best features is that for more expensive procedures, a lot of offices have "promotional offers" for free-or-low interest up to so many months.

Without this option, I would've had to pay $6500 out of pocket immediately for Haley's misdiagnosis and surgery. I would've had to pay $334 unexpectedly for a vet bill I assumed would be less than $200. And, if I chose to, I could use it for Lola's procedure...but I've decided not to abuse it if I have the funds. 

Of course, people worry about approval. I wasn't too worried about being approved because I've really focused on building my credit these last few years and have worked damn hard to do so. But if you are coming upon a medical expense that you aren't sure you can afford, you can go to the website to see if you are pre-approved prior to your appointment. Even if it's just for a small amount, something is definitely better than nothing.

And like I told Nate, I could use Care Credit for a breast reduction if I decided. It can be used at the chiropractor. It can be used for Lasik surgery! But you want to make sure that your provider accepts Care Credit before anything. And ask them if they offer any promotions! 

I also learned after the second vet bill that you CAN have multiple promotions on your card. Although you only make one payment a month towards it and they automatically apply it to the promotion that ends the earliest, you can call to have that sum allotted to each charge: meaning that if you pay $300, you can apply $60 of that to one charge and the other $240 to the other. That way you are paying down both charges at the same time and one doesn't have to suffer over the other. 

Yes, it sounds a little complicated but if you need to see the dermatologist for a mole you just can't stand anymore or you are sick and tired of glasses...or your dog suddenly gets sick or you really need a readjustment...there's always Care Credit to fall back on.

It has definitely been a saving grace for me and I'm so thankful to have it as an option!


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Dumbing Down Dental Implants

UH OH!

So, you went for your 6 month ( or year...or first-visit-in-a-while ) check-up at your dentist's office...and they tell you that your tooth is bad. SHIT! Now what?

Hopefully for you, it's not a visible one. Then, at least you won't have to worry about "walking around with a missing tooth" ( there is a temporary fix for that, though, that I will go over briefly ) But it does happen. Heredity, hygiene techniques and diet have a lot to do with how our teeth behave for us. And unfortunately, sometimes that really sucks.

My last two jobs focused on dental implants in their practices. So what I'm going to do today is answer some of the questions people may have about dental implants and what they are. And, as always, comments and questions are welcomed if I don't cover something that you've wanted to know.

comfortscaredentalshermanoaks.com  

So what IS a dental implant?

If you take a look at the picture above that I found on another dental office's page, you will see 2 images. The first image is what we specialize in--the dental implant. A dental implant is a titanium "root" that is placed to replace a tooth that has been previously extracted. What you see sticking just slightly out of the gum tissue is called a healing abutment, which has the sole purpose of keeping the gum from growing into the implant.

You see, a dental implant is hollow on the inside about halfway down the post--this is because there are interchangeable parts to the implant from placement to full restoration, so we need to keep that "hole" safe from tissue overgrowth, schmutz and food particles.  

A good amount of people ask me, "Will I leave the office with a tooth?" and the answer is no. The process of dental implants from start to finish takes numerous months and 2-3 "stages". The very last stage is permanent restoration which is pictured in the second image. That is the stage where your general dentist will cement on a permanent crown which then cannot be removed. Unfortunately, you will NOT leave ( our office, at least ) with a full tooth that day. 

Dental implants are a good idea for many different cases:

Agenesis, or hypodontia, is when a patient doesn't develop certain teeth. With the help of orthodontics ( braces ), space can be made in the mouth to place an implant where a tooth never developed.

A tooth has abscessed ( became infected ) and needs to be removed, but you do not want to live without said tooth.

Sometimes patients find it a better option to have a tooth pulled rather than go through the headache of having a large cavity filled/a crown placed/root canal therapy/trying to fix a tooth that they can't guarantee will last them much longer. 

Implants are also used for edentulous ( no teeth ) patients as stabilizers for dentures. That way, instead of having to use pastes and constantly worry about loose dentures, they snap on to implants as to stay in place.

Now I'm going to go through a quick run-down of the process of dental implants from the surgical end--please also be aware that these our the steps in OUR office, so opinions are not of ALL oral surgery offices!:

Stage 1 is where we extract the tooth and place a bone-grafting material in the socket. No, we don't take bone from a donor source on your own body; it's sterilized materials from a bank. Grafting is done mostly to larger teeth like your molar areas due to the fact that once a tooth is extracted from that area, well, you have a big hole. And you can't successfully fill a big hole with a little implant. So the grafting is done to promote your body to grow bone in that hole; without it, the hole will begin to kinda "cave in" on itself, thus leaving nothing good to put an implant in to. Do we graft the other teeth? Sometimes. Do we have to ALL the time? No. Everything is done on a case-by-case basis.

...but if we do place grafting material, we allow it to heal for at least 3 months before moving forward.

Sometimes we can get away with doing what is called an "immediate implant". This means that once the tooth is extracted, everything else looks good around the hole and the hole is small enough to place an implant right away. We usually still put a little bit of the bone graft around the implant to fill in the space, but when we are able to do it this way it shaves 3 months off of healing time and gets you a crown a lot faster. This is not a valid option in all cases, though...

But if an immediately placement is not an option for you, once the graft heals and an xray determines that we have adequate bone, we move to stage 2: placing the implant.

Whether asleep or awake, the gum area is numbed where the implant will be placed. The tissue is reopened to expose the bone we just grew. A "pilot hole" is then made in the bone with the handpiece and, with the use of X-Guide Navigation, the implant is drilled and placed. It's kinda like laparoscopic surgery but for implants, is how I explain it. Once the implant is placed, we put on that healing abutment and you usually get a few stitches. And that's that.

When people hear the words "dental implant" they automatically assume it's a lot of pain; but actually, dental implants usually hurt a lot less than an extraction of a tooth!

Once the implant is placed, we allow THAT to heal an additional 3 months--thus making the process ( on OUR end ) about 6 months long. Of course, each person heals differently so it can be slightly longer, but usually 6 months is adequate. And if the tooth is a tooth you're worried about not having for 6 months, your general dentist can make you what is called a flipper, which is a temporary "partial denture" to mimic a tooth while the area is healing. Each office will charge a different fee for a flipper, but it's usually a few hundred dollars...

When the implant has healed the 3 months, we do a quick test by torquing the healing abutment to make sure the implant does not move. This shows that the jaw bone has integrated with the implant and is ready to be restored. 

The reason we wait to have your general dentist make a crown for your implant until this final check is because each crown is made SPECIFIC for that case. Even with technology, if something is redone even a millimeter different, the crown will not fit...thus leaving you to have to purchase a whole new crown! We want to make sure everything is as it should be before you begin the process of restoration.

If everything looks good at the final check, we give the OK to go see your dentist and they will go through the process of getting a crown put on your implant for you.

I know that this is a lot of info and it's probably not "dumbed down" as much as I'd planned ( it's hard to do that when you understand the process, apparently... ) but that's why I strongly advise you to educate yourself, have consultations/second opinions if necessary, and research all your options. Each office operates differently, charges different fees and, well, has a different "feel" to them. If you speak to a doctor and don't like their vibe, go elsewhere. Price shop. Look at their reviews on Google and Facebook. And please!...never go to a "same day" dental implant office! It may sound better, but it's not. 

There's a process for a reason. And you get gut feelings for a reason, too. Go with both of them when it comes to your body and your health ❤ 



  

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

What I Threw Together

Sometimes, I get lazy.

...okay, a lot of times I get lazy...

...and after waking up early, working all day and then going to the gym, I don't really feel like making dinner.

But a bitch gotta eat! ( and Nate... )

Chicken is a staple in our house and we eat it quite frequently, so sometimes it's hard to come up with "new" ways to make it. So in turn, I get creative ( and...lazy ) Then we get things like this:


( looks pretty good, right? ) 

This is what it is:

*chicken boobs
*green peppers
*white onion
*jalapeno

Yup!...that's it.

I had chicken marinating in teriyaki for, like, a day a half. Grandma ended up having dinner one day during the week, so chicken took the back burner. Usually when I don't have a specific meal planned, I just throw chicken breasts in a Tupperware with some kind of marinade ( Aldi usually has some good ones for less than a $1 a bottle! ) So I thought, "What can I throw in with this chicken to  use for a *side*?"

Well, Doc gave me a bunch of jalapenos, green peppers and chili from his garden. I decided that since I like green peppers and Nate likes jalapeno, that I would just throw all of that under the chicken ( with some onion for good measure ) Threw that sucka in the oven on 425* for about 30 minutes ( covered ) and there you have it!

BUT!

...I didn't realize how much the jalapeno was going to taint everything else. Because holy shit were the vegetables SPICY! Also, after making it, the chicken should have been on the bottom because ALL the juice from the chicken went downward and none of the chicken got jalapeno flavor. 

Yes!...I know I mixed Asian with Mexican...but this was all just thrown together, okay?!

I think I made rice or something on the side, but for an impromptu healthier dinner, it wasn't half bad.

It's better than Ramen noodles!!! LOL!



 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Baby Daddy Bullshit

Sorry for the crickets. There's only a few weeks before school starts so, in the oral surgery world, that means I don't get to breathe for about 3 weeks. Lack of energy and constantly being on the go, I haven't made time to sit and write. Which is ironic since it's so therapeutic. Anywayyyyys...

I had a few ideas for topics to write today, but since my plans were made and then cancelled due to stupid baby daddy bullshit, let's talk about that for a bit.

First and foremost, I do not understand how a parent can deny their child or children...EVER.

I started seeing a new therapist. I had my "entrance appointment" last time I saw her, where I have to give her a rundown of my background. I haven't spoken to my mom in about 17 years, as you've probably read before. When mom said dad had to fly us both ways or "we are stuck down there", that scared us--we didn't want to live in Florida anymore. So what did we do?...we didn't go. Then as pre-pubescent girls, we would be out running around the neighborhood whenever she called, spending time with kids our age and having fun...so then it became, "Why do I even bother calling? They're never around to talk." So...then the calls decreased, until they eventually stopped. 

Since when is it the responsibility of the child(ren) to maintain a relationship with their parent?!?!

To this day, I feel that our mother resents us for "choosing our dad over her" and for not continuing a relationship with her, when in all honesty it is the responsibility OF THE ADULT to continue being a parent to the KIDS!

When did shit get so messed up?!?!

Life happens, and shit gets hard--but when do your kids get to start being an option instead of an obligation?!?!?!

...they shouldn't. Ever.

Plans to go to Bingo have changed today because a certain baby daddy bailed on getting his two children. After being incarcerated for years for drugs and theft and missing out on so much of his children's lives, his excuse for not getting them?: "I don't have the gas to meet you for them". Wow.

How does a decent father go from 10 to 1 like that?! 

I feel like people have their priorities are SORTS of fucked up these days, and kids are just a commodity; left in the ruins of man-children and spiteful women to use as their own pawns for games they never agreed to play in. Mommy hates daddy, daddy hates mommy, let's use the children as a means to hurt each other and make them endure the collateral damage. Do you know what this shit causes in these children?

Lack of self-esteem.

Feelings of neglect and not being wanted.

Bad behavior.

Shyness and fear.

Lack of healthy communication skills.

Emotional anger.

Co-dependency and fear of abandonment.

Kids are smarter than you think and they pick up on things far more often than what you may assume. And if they know that daddy was planning on getting them and, all of a sudden, he's not--what do you think those children are thinking? That daddy doesn't love them or want to spend time with them.

I'm not sticking up for one sex over the other; I'm simply writing this viewpoint due to the events of today. Also, because this isn't a "once in a while" situation--there's always an excuse.

And sure, if your life went askew and things happened that you wish didn't, why do your children need to pay the price for your bad decisions? Why do they have to lose a father simply because you don't WANT to get your shit together?!

It's infuriating and disgusting. Not only does mom never get a break, bare ALL of the financial burden AND have to pick up the pieces of their little broken hearts...these kids are missing out on having the family they once knew, all because dad is selfish. 

Drugs fuck you up. Jail gets you sober. But it's your choice as to what path you're going to follow once you're out. And you can either choose to be a victim of the system and live in that pattern forever, or you can take the experience and BETTER YOURSELF to be the man you should've always been. 

Just some food for thought...

  

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

July Birchbox Goodies

I think I've had a chance to try all of my products by now. I used the last item today after my shower, so now I can critique everything!


Michael Todd Charcoal Detox Deep Pore Gel Cleanser
I really like this cleanser A LOT! I use it in the shower and leave it on as a mask while I wash my hair. My face feels smooth and very clean afterwards. I like the charcoal concept now and I've definitely jumped on the "black mask" bandwagon. This cleanser retails for $23 in the full-sized bottle and a little goes a long way.

Benefit Cosmetics Goof Proof Brow Pencil
Sooooo, I failed to change my hair color in my Birchbox profile prior to getting July's box--thus causing 2 of my products to be for dark hair. This was one of them. I received color 05-Deep which is the second-darkest color available. I have dirty blonde eyebrows and blonde hair. BUT I realized that if I used this pencil lightly and made sure to blend with a brow brush after, it actually worked out. I really like this brow pencil! I like the shape of the pencil, the ease of application and how versatile it is. I plan to buy a full sized pencil, which actually comes with a brush on the end. It retails at $24. This is a picture of me from the weekend while wearing Goof Proof:

Brows "on fleek" HAHA

Klorane Dry Shampoo ( for Brunette/Dark hair )
I didn't use this. I was concerned that since my hair is much more blonde than when I originally signed up for my subscription that it was going to end up looking like spray paint in my hair. I actually ended up giving it to my friend Mallory and, to my surprise, it was her very first time using dry shampoo! BUT--she loved the stuff! She had said that although her hair looks awesome on day 2 at the ends, her scalp tends to get oily far faster. She used Klorane on Sunday after our girls night and her hair looked fantastic! Hey, sharing is caring!

Oribe Apres Beach Wave and Shine Spray
I do not have naturally wavy hair. But sometimes I'll attempt to "scrunch" my hair to give it some beach waves. After my shower today, I decided not to bother blow drying it so I sprayed some of this product in my hair. Although it really didn't help my hair become "wavy", it DOES smell awesome. Eventually I just ended up throwing my hair up into a messy bun, but I think this product would work far better on someone who doesn't have stick-straight hair.

Avene Cleanance Expert
I actually forgot I got this--and I didn't try it! Hahaha *oops!* Birchbox pretty much describes it as a mattifying moisturizer than helps alleviate break outs. Maybe I'll try it tomorrow.

Birchbox allows you to choose one sample a month if you'd like, wait for your picks to come "as a surprise" or you can choose that month's Featured Box. If you decide you want to try out Birchbox, please use my referral code DXMHL or follow the link on previous blog reviews!

 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

I Call This Blog 'Bitchfest', Don't I?!

So yeaaaaaah......today, I'm gonna bitch about what has been bothering me all day today--the incident that happened last night...

WARNING!: THIS POST IS GONNA HAVE A FUCK-TON OF PROFANITY!

Background: I understand that, no matter how much you may love where you live, you unfortunately cannot choose your neighbors. IT FUCKING SUCKS! 

That being said...

Yesterday, Nathan let the two larger dogs ( Haley and Sadie ) out to go potty. While they were out, Nate went to the bathroom also. I was sitting at the kitchen table, painting my nails, when we hear all this yelling outside. Nate looks at me and says, "Who the hell is yelling outside?" My response was, "I have no fucking clue." Well, we shortly figured THAT shit out.

Nate goes out to get the dogs and call them back in...but when he does, he finds out who has been doing all the yelling: it's the neighbor across the street. But you see, it's not even our neighbor--it's the husbands sister who is apparently watching their house while they are away at Knoebels. HERE is where the story takes a left turn:

I start to hear Nate yelling. At first I just sit there, wondering what the fuck is going on. Then I decide to go outside onto the porch. This is where I hear this clearly intoxicated, half-dressed woman state that "your dogs ran out at a lady and her dog and she went off running scared--YOU NEED TO KEEP YOUR FUCKING DOGS IN YOUR YARD" She then goes on to tell us that "if those dogs go in my yard you'll be sorry" and "I'm gonna call the cops" She implied that our very loving and sweet dogs were trying to ATTACK these strangers. When in reality, this lady lives down the road from us ( the one apparently "running" ) and she JOGS with her German Shepherd.

So here's where things escalate.

She begins to taunt Nate. She's threatening to call the cops on us ( for what, I'm not sure because she was harassing us first ), she's coming towards Nate in a threatening matter and, at one point, she is literally IN NATE'S FACE yelling at him. He told her that she's lucky that she's a woman as she's screaming in his face and pushing him with her largely-protruding stomach to "go ahead". This goes on for what feels like forever. That's when she says "I have someone else who saw it" and brings out the neighbor, Wendy. 

Wendy is also a neighborhood gossip who loves to stir the pot. She comes out and pretty much implies that our dogs tried to "attack" this German Shepherd and owner. Um...no. But after a few more screams and low-blows, we all go inside and what's done is done. 

We go inside and I'm fucking pissed and shaking. I tell Nate that I want him to go to the GSD owner's house and ask her what exactly happened. He drives down to her place and asks her about the dogs. Her response when he asked if they tried to attack her dog?: "No way! They just came up to the edge because they were curious and wanted to say hi. My dog is a bit skiddish but he needs to learn to socialize with other dogs, anyway" This is from the "apparently scared" owner...

And if you didn't get it by now, none of this happened on this bitch's "property" ( her brothers--and actually, they rent ) AT ALL!

So now I'm freaking out...because she not only threatened our dogs but also, even though it came out in the completely wrong manner, there was a point: even though WE know that our dogs are harmless doesn't mean that strangers do. 

We've been talking about putting a fence up because Lola likes to run past the property line and then "act" like she doesn't hear me when I call her to come home. I'm very afraid that someone is going to fly down our road and hit her. But NOW, I'm scared that the crazy drunk bitch across the way is going to hurt my dog.

...and Andrew did die suddenly at only age 7...maybe it wasn't cardiomyopathy...

Needless to say, I've been stressed about this all day because 1) my "vacation" next week was intended to be the week we FINALLY paint the house and now 2) we have to plan to build a fence a LOT sooner than anticipated. Plus, it was a little scary to see a side of Nate that I never had before. My anxiety has been through the roof today...

But the major issue with this entire situation is my lack of understanding as to why people must be so hateful and rude?! I just don't get it. We don't bother them. We don't spread lies or cause drama or even look in their general direction. Fifi ( I can't even make this shit up... ) has a vendetta against Nathan for no reason at all and it's escalated into them accusing Nate of killing their cat, accusing us of stealing ANOTHER one of their cats ( in which we found outside and I immediately placed on Find Toby to find it's home *sidenote: she saw us talking to the neighbor diagonal to us about the cat and us carry the cat to Nate's shop but did not once come outside to claim him/tell him he was theirs* ) and now this. It's like the fuckers get bored and just decide to fuck shit up.

We literally have the worst, trashiest, pot-stirring neighbors and once of these days this "pushover" that everyone thinks they can walk all over and say/act however they want to is gonna fucking snap!

So there...there's that...and I guess we're building a fence...

 
 

Monday, July 17, 2017

How Do You Prefer Your Eggs?

...well, unfertilized, of course!

😉

The other day we had a patient in the office--beautiful girl, late 20s--and when we asked if she'd ever been sedated before she said she had; she'd actually donated her eggs. Twice. So it got me thinking: if I'm not planning on having children, what about donating my eggs?

My coworker Jim went through the process of getting an egg donation. He actually got a few from the donor. So once the patient recovered and left, I asked him to look into the requirements from the group they used.  I mean, if I'm not using them, why not give them to someone else? Plus, you can make a couple thousand dollars doing egg donations. And the person who receives your eggs ( should ) cover all expenses associated with said donation. 

The first site that Jim and I looked at was ConceiveAbilities, which is based out of Philly. My main concern was my age. Being 30, I didn't really think that I could be a donor anymore. And unfortunately, the cap through ConceiveAbilities is 29. But then I read their list of requirements...it's as follows:
 -you must be between age 21-29
-have regular periods
-no reproductive disorders
-physically/emotionally healthy ( not sure what they mean exactly )
-BMI of 29 or under
-no nicotine/cigarettes/drugs
-can't be on Depo-Vera
-willing to have a med and psych eval
-willing to use injectable meds
-must commit to at least 6 months
-have to communicate with the clinic within 24 hours of being contacted
-excited to help build a family

Seems like a lot, huh?? And I actually don't fit a few of these requirements.

But then I sit and think that my eggs are pretty much going to waste. Sure, I don't want children--but what about people out there that truly do and can't? Plus, we all could use a few extra thousand dollars for what-have-you. So today, I checked out another group: Shady Grove Fertility.

Shady Grove has an office right here in Camp Hill, PA and has a less taxing list of qualification criteria. Plus, at this clinic I can actually participate. You must be between the ages of 21 and 32, in overall good health with a BMI of 28 or less, non smoker that works or lives within 1 hour of the donation site, with a high school diploma. And there will be some travel restrictions. They also provide this informative chart on the egg donor process:




In their one statistic they say, "On average, our egg donors donate twice receiving $14,500 for their time and effort". Ummmm, WHAT!? I could totally use money like that!

With that, I've been seriously thinking about doing this. 

The only drawbacks are that you must inject YOURSELF with hormones to boost egg production, egg donation ( at least with Shady Grove ) must be done either in one of two clinics in MD or one in Chesterbrook(?), PA, and you must be put under general sedation for the removal process. I don't mind being sedated as I would rather it that way--but I'm not sure I could inject myself with meds in the abdomen for 10-12 days *eek!*

I write about this, though, because the idea can do well for the many people involved. 

For one, you are helping to complete a family. I personally know a few couples who struggle with infertility and it seems those are the people who want children the most. If you can do good for someone else, why not do it? It's like donating bone marrow--it's not a pleasant experience, but it can help someone in need.  

And two, it puts some extra cash in your pocket. Maxed out credit card? College debt? Want to pay off your car loan? $14,500 is nothing to scoff at. Hell, $6,500 after completing one egg donation cycle would pay off my car with a bit to spare!

I just recommend that if you decide to do something like egg donation, do your research first! My cut-off is coming up quick, so my plan is to look further into the idea, see if I can find other blogs or feeds where women discuss their own personal experiences with it and go from there. But seriously, what do I have to lose?! 

For more information on both clinics, follow the links provided above to go straight to each clinics main webpage. And you've ever donated or know someone who did and you'd like to share your story, comment on this blog! I'd love to hear what you have to say!

 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

REVEALED: A Review

I caved. And although I cannot sit there and validate a $54 purchase for such things, I could spare $19.95 in the hopes that it was a good product. That thing I'm talking about? The Revealed 2 Palette by Coastal Scents. Yes, it's an eyeshadow palette.




All those girls who buy the Urban Decay palettes...I don't know...I just can't imagine spending SO much on a collection of eyeshadows. BUT--I don't have very good eyeshadows so, while window-shopping on the Birchbox app I found the 1 and 2 palettes and thought, "What the hell!" I decided to do the reds/purples/peaches instead of the tans/browns/neutrals. 

...I am not disappointed.

I use an eyeshadow primer before application from NYX, which you can get at Target or Ulta. I use the flesh color, even though my complexion is fairer than most. These are my results from my last 3 "looks":

First day: I used more of the peach colors and a "cleopatra eye" ( as Jim called it ) This is after all-day wear
.
Second day: I went a little darker. These are pinks with a dark, glittery base lid color. More of a night look, for sure, but since I wear glasses it's not as noticeable.

Day three: this was my lazy, Friday look. I only used eyeliner on the bottom of my eye and used lighter shades of brown/peach.

I was actually super impressed by the quality of this collection. I wasn't expecting it to be as long-lasting, easy to apply or flattering. I usually try to do a dramatic eye ( when I even apply makeup--which isn't often ) since my glasses hide my eyes 100% of the time, and this palette has a nice collection of shades to make your eyes POP!

So if you're looking for an inexpensive, quality product...I definitely recommend Revealed by Coastal Scents. If you click the link above, you will be directed to the Birchbox website and you can order directly from there.

Be on the lookout for my July Birchbox review. I received my products and am in the midst of trying them out!

 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The World of Animal Rescue

After a long(er) discussion yesterday with one of my rescue friends, I felt the need to delve into the topic of dog rescues. One, because I am a part of one--maybe a minuscule part, but a part nonetheless.  And two, because there's a lot that the public doesn't see or hear about.


First off, I work with Central Pennsylvania Animal Alliance. CPAA is a group that first and foremost aims to educate pet owners of the importance of spaying and neutering your animals. This is to help alleviate overpopulation and unwanted pets. We have the Desex in the City program that offers low-cost spay/neuter at a handful of local vet offices. One of the largest problems that rescues and shelters deal with is overpopulation, thus leading to lack of space in their facilities. The amount of animals that are euthanized simply due to lack of space would make you sick to your stomach. 

There is also the HOPE Program where dogs are fostered by non-violent inmates at the Camp Hill prison. It works as rehabilitation not only for the dog, but also the handler. It's an amazing program that your donations also help to fund. 

We also host Woofstock every year, which showcases local affiliate rescues and businesses. We have a low-cost vaccine clinic with microchipping, also. 

Unfortunately though, since we do not have a brick-and-mortar facility and the lack of fosters is real, we haven't been able to take it many dogs...as, they have nowhere to go.

What you WON'T see from us, though, is lying. We don't take in more than we can handle. We don't have dogs suddenly disappearing. We are honest about what we think our mix-breeds are; not just based on looks, but by behavior and skills during thorough evaluations. We are upfront about who are dogs don't get along with, be it children, other dogs or cats. Our goal is not only to get a dog adopted, but for that animal to be someone's pet until the very end. No rescue wants to adopt out only to receive the poor pup back months later. Ever wonder why some rescues have such a strenuous list of "requirements"?...that's why. We want to make sure that it's no only a fit for YOU, but also the animal.

Unfortunately, though, not all rescues live by the same moral code.

I know everyone wants to believe that they are out there trying to "fight for the cause" and raising funds for all the right reasons, but that is not always the case. And I'll be honest: if I didn't have some of the connections that I do, I would probably think the exact. same. way. Why? Because we, as humans, want to believe that there truly is good in everyone. And there are a LOT of people who truly ARE good. But then there are many that are simply just good at PR and manipulation.

The topic of last nights "text-a-thon" referred to one rescue in particular. And it made me realize how the public has no idea the true goings-on of that *facility*. You truly must be in the belly of the beast to believe such things. And if you haven't realized: girls in the rescue world talk--they talk A LOT. So if something shady is going on at a local rescue and a girl who volunteered there goes elsewhere, you better be damn sure she's going to let those guys know what all she saw and dealt with.  

Oh and don't get me started with the control problems. You don't have the slightest clue the things I see on my Facebook feed, posted by fellow rescue girls. I just saw an article before I decided to write this entry about a 4 month old puppy who was euthanized while not even finished with her "bite quarantine" by a NC animal shelter. You can read the official post here, but it pretty much states that there was a litter of siblings who were in foster care after being dumped and a member of the shelter stated that, during a home visit, a puppy bit them. When they came back to said foster's home, they not only took the wrong puppy, but the county manager then refused to discuss options for after the 10-day quarantine was over. Instead, because this woman refused to admit she was wrong and make things right, she ordered the euthanization of a perfectly healthy, playful 4 month old puppy before the mandatory 10 day quarantine was even done! If you watch the video attached to the post, you will see someone STICKING THEIR HAND IN THE KENNEL to pet the "vicious" puppy, who only meets their hand with kisses.

...guys!...this happens all. the. time. Women ( or men ) who care nothing for the animals, only worry about the incoming monetary donations and being able to have full control over something.

I could go on with this for pages and pages, but no one wants to hear all of that shit. But I will say, as the public, we need to be better educated. We need to learn to ask the right questions. We need to be able to read between the lines and see the signs. So if you're thinking about donating your time or money, or possibly adopting a dog yourself, please be careful to follow a few tidbits from someone who has heard some horror stories:

1. Ask to see the facility where the dog is being fostered. A reputable rescue or foster home will not make you stay in the front yard only, while they bring the dog out to greet you. You should have every right to see the conditions in which the animal is being kept. 

2. Make sure you get vet records. A good rescue will keep all documents associated with the animal to give to the adopter upon adopting. This should include vaccinations/microchipping/spay-neuter. 

3. Take mind to how the animals are treated by the "leader" of the rescue. I've heard of one lady who literally hits and kicks her fosters, and keeps them in poor living quarters...yet, outsiders don't see that. If you're in a situation that makes you uncomfortable, get out. I know that people want to stay for the sake of the animals, but you don't want to be around when her world starts burning around her.

4. Every donation should be properly accounted for. I know when I have PetValu events, I account for every cent earned and make sure to count magnet and food sales separate from standard donations. This is because as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, you need those specifics for tax purposes. A proper rescue will keep all receipts, reimburse volunteers accordingly ( if they purchase supplies ) and use donated money and giftcards for the purpose of aiding the animals ONLY! 

5. If more than one person is saying it, 9 times outta 10 it's probably true...so trust your gut. The facility I will not name has had at least a dozen volunteers who have said the same thing; these are volunteers that are not even associated with each other and have volunteered at different times. Abuse. Misspending of funds. Unkempt living quarters. Unwarranted ( DOCUMENTED ) deaths of at least 10 dogs. Picking the worst cases as to receive the most in donation money. Denying those with background in training/behavioral issues due to one's own pride, thus leaving the dog to suffer. 

Rescue has become more of a popularity contest instead of, well, an alliance. People let their pride get in the way of helping these poor defenseless animals and instead fight tooth and nail with each other for popularity and funding. There are still a LOT of reputable rescues out there, but you're finding more and more that are trying to be a money making scheme. There are actually two in this area that have insane adoption fees for pups that aren't even old enough to fix--meaning your dog doesn't come spayed/neutered and you have to show them proof that you do it when they come of age. No voucher to pay the cost associated--this is an additional fee on top of the $450 you'd pay for your new pet. Yes, down south, they will euthanize pregnant dogs...due to the overpopulation issue. So these "rescues" are technically saving these dogs. But why such a high adoption fee?! To me, it screams "for profit".

Please educate yourself before you boast of, adopt from or volunteer for a rescue. Not all rescues are the same, and looks can be quite deceiving. 

Everything looks better on television, doesn't it....?