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Audrey Hepburn: Beauty, Class & a Kind Heart

Monday, May 30, 2011

Before 2012 Goals

Believe it or not, 2011 is already halfway over with! I swear, the older I get, the faster life just flies by. It's seriously scary!! I'm not one of those people who makes a whole list of resolutions each year, but there are always things I want to see myself accomplish each year. Hopefully, everyone feels that way b/c if not, you're probably doing something wrong! I've yet to meet a perfect person although, sadly, I do know some people who seem to think they are. Anyway, since my brain is kind of blank today (more so than usual) & b/c I don't have a great blog topic ready, I decided I'd list the things I want to see happen before the year ends. I figured if I made the list out & then actually published it for everyone else to see, I'd be more likely to hold myself to doing all, or at least most, of the things listed. Here goes:

  1. Beauty School~ I need to get enrolled in beauty school so I can licensed in aesthetics!! I've been planning on this for a few months now & I have researched schools in the area. I need to go tour some of them & then figure out how in the Hell I'm going to put myself through since unlike with a state run school, the government will not pay for me to go to beauty school! (If you're permanently disabled & want to go to college, the government will pay for your school if you go to a state run college.)
  2. Lose some more weight~ I've managed to lose a little over 5 lbs. (hey, better than gaining 5 lbs.) in the last couple of months & I haven't done much to do it. All I've done is quit eating fast food every single week. I know, SHOCKER! Who would've thought fast food could make you gain weight? To be honest, it sucked the 1st month or so but now, I hardly ever crave it. Usually, once a month I crave french fries (ladies, most of you know what I'm talking about), but if I eat it more than that, it makes my stomach upset.
  3. Pilates~ I have to start doing Pilates on a regular basis again. I used to do Pilates a few times a week but I've really been slacking the past couple of years. (Yes, that is correct. Years, not months!) I really don't know why I've been lazy about it b/c Pilates always relaxes me & I always feel better once I've done it. I've thankfully managed to stay really limber the last 10 years & I know Pilates has played a big role in that. It's a low impact workout that many people with limited mobility can do. It focuses on your core muscles & if you're in a physical situation similar to mine, those core muscles REALLY need to stay strong!
  4. Cardio~ I need to figure out some type of physical activity I can do that challenges my cardio system. Because of my prosthesis, I can't go on long walks & I definitely can't go jogging. I never liked running before I had prosthesis so I sure don't want to take it up now! Plus, if I decided to take up running, I'd have to go have a special pair of "legs" made just for that! I'd go for a bike ride but my right leg makes it kind of hard for me to do it. I came extremely close to losing my R leg above the knee & because of where they did end up amputating it, I have a bone that made it pretty hard for me to be fitted for a prosthetic on that leg. The bone rubs against the inside of the prosthetic & that's not good. You start putting yourself at risk for blisters which can lead to infections! Plus, it hurts! I've thought about taking my wheelchair & driving up to one of the parks that has a nice walking path. The only problem with that is that it's Summer. There's no way I can role myself for a mile or 2 miles in 90-100 degree heat. I get heat rash as it is! I could do it the rest of the year but not during Summer! The gym my family belongs to is just a small one & there's no indoor trail. I need to come up with some creative way to start getting some cardio in! If you have a suggestion, please, feel free to comment!!! Oh, & the gym my family goes to doesn't have a pool but even if it did, I am not secure enough to use a public pool! So, rule that option out unless you have a pool in your backyard that you want to let me use.
  5. Fruits & Veggies~ I get a couple of servings of fruits & vegetables every single day but I need to eat more. I'm really picky about vegetables but I like most fruits. My problem is, I don't just really crave them throughout the day. I need to make myself start eating them more often & get myself to a point that I do crave them more.
  6. FRESH Foods~ The only chips I eat are Baked Lays or Baked Doritos. The only cookies I eat are those 100 calorie pack servings. I LOVE Lean Cuisine's Southwestern Eggroles. Obviously, as long as I stick to the suggested serving size of these foods, they aren't high in calories or fat. What they are all high in though is sodium!! I need to quit taking the easy route and going for the processed foods. They all have just way too much sodium in them & I need to lower my sodium intake. I'm off of my blood pressure meds for now (knock on wood) & I know that lowering the amount of salt I eat could up my chances of staying off of them!
  7. Phone Calls~ I need to get better at making & returning phone calls. Over the past few years, I've developed almost a fear of the phone. I just don't like to talk on it anymore. Maybe I did way too much of it when I was younger. I'm not absolutely sure what the deal is! All I know is that I have got to start doing a better job of  keeping in touch with people I love. If I don't love you, I wouldn't hold my breath for us to have a phone conversation anytime in the near future!
  8. California~ I haven't visited my family in California since Spring of 2006!! That's just ridiculous. I have 2 little brothers who I have got to go see. My 12 year old brother is going to be graduating high school before I know it! I need to go see him before he heads off to college!! My grandmother is in her 80s now & I can't just let time keep flying by without having more visits with her.
  9. Get out~ I have got to force myself into going out & having a social life again! I went out more after I got home from the hospital when I 1st got sick than I do now. Seriously! (I have amazing friends who would come pick me up & take me out a few times a week!) I won't get into details b/c it's personal but something happened a few years back that made me kind of start isolating myself from all of my friends. It only got worse when after I began isolating myself from everyone, one of my absolute dearest friends died from diabetes. Everything started back in 2005 & I've just never managed to get things back to how they were. It only makes it harder that now the majority of my friends are married and/or have kids. Still, many of them get out a few times a month & I need to start joining them. Life is for the living & I majorly need to get out & live!
So, there's my list of things to accomplish before the year ends! I figured with the year half over, I shouldn't make it too long. I hope to accomplish every single thing I've listed! What goals do you want to accomplish by the end of 2011?

I seriously LOVE doing Pilates! I honestly don't know why I've slacked off.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I HATE Summer! Seriously!!

Memorial Day weekend is the start of Summer for many people. On my way home yesterday, I can't tell you how many people pulling boats I passed. On FB, I noticed a lot of my friends posting status updates about being at the lake or out by the pool. While most people look forward to this time of year, I absolutely dread it!! I think that if I didn't have to live in the South where the humidity is ridiculous, I'd maybe deal with it better. I'm pretty much the opposite of everyone else... instead of getting depressed in the winter & looking forward to the summer, I get depressed in the summer & look forward to the winter! If I had a pool, I'd maybe enjoy Summer a bit more, but still, unless I was literally in the water the whole Summer, it wouldn't make much of a difference. My mom & I are trying to talk my stepdad into going to buy one of those cheap, above ground pools. We did buy one 2 years in a row but we haven't bought one in 2 or 3 years. So, a lot of people are probably thinking, "How can anyone possibly hate Summer?" & "Why would anyone hate Summer?". Allow me to explain myself with the following list:
  1. I live in Tennessee. The South gets EXTREMELY hot during Summer months. It's not even June & we're already hitting the 90s here in Memphis. By this time next month, it will be well into the 100s!
  2. HUMIDITY!! The humidity here during Summer is absolutely indescribable. It's miserable. I get drenched just walking from my front door to my Jeep. It will be 95 degrees out but b/c of the humidity, the heat index will be like 110 degrees! And even once the sun goes down, the humidity is still miserable. Where my dad lives in California, it will be 100 degrees during the day but at night, it feels great out b/c it will be in the 70s with no humidity.
  3. No school! I like that during the rest of the year, I can go shopping during a week day without having to deal with a bunch of obnoxious children. In my neighborhood, we have a ton of kids & I love it that on days when I feel like crap & want to sleep, I can't b/c of the screaming kids directly outside my window. This obnoxious brat that lives across the street was seriously just screaming at the top of her lungs the other day. It was so bad that my stepdad came downstairs & was about to go outside & tell her to knock it off. The sad part is, I'm not talking about some small child. No! I'm talking about an 11 or 12 year old. This girl screams so much that I actually worry one day something is going to happen & b/c of how much she likes to scream, no one's going to even pay attention. Kind of like "the boy who cried wolf". Her own parents ignore her! The reason she's always screaming is b/c she likes to pick on her younger brother until he eventually snaps & starts beating the crap out of her. OKAY, can you tell I'm not a fan on this girl? When she was younger, she'd see me getting ready to go somewhere & she would walk up directly behind my Jeep as I was backing up. SMART!
  4. Steroids + amputations= BAD for hot weather! Steroids make a lot of people who take them hot natured. I can't give the scientific explanation that would explain this but they just do. Also, people w/ amputations tend to be hot natured. I CAN explain this one. Okay, so even though I have less of my body than you do of yours (more than likely), my body temp. is still going to run the same as yours. Well, I have less room for that temperature to spread out in. So, that's how that works out. I sleep w/ a fan in my room pointing right on me 365 nights a year! (366 in a leap year!)
  5. I never wear short sleeves out in public without a light jacket or cardigan over them. Because of all the damage Meningococcal did to my body, my arms literally look like I was burned. The scars were even treated as burns not long after I got sick. I was actually put into a burn unit at a local hospital for a while & had to wear pressure garments that burn victims wear. I know I shouldn't be self conscious about them but I can't help it. People stare or ask questions & it just gets annoying. I'm not one of these people who just wants to go out in public & wear my disability as a special badge of honor so that I can get special attention everywhere I go. When it's 105 degrees outside, long sleeves aren't comfortable!
  6. Biznitches w/ beautiful legs in short shorts! Do I really need to explain this one for you? Before getting sick, I'd been a dancer since the age of 4. Even though I was only 5'1, my legs were long. And they were very pretty. I had my momma's tiny ankles and all. Anytime I have to go out in the summer, it's just like a constant reminder of what once was & it can be a bit depressing at times. Oh, did anyone catch Carrie Underwood's gorgeous gams on the AI finale? WOW! That's all I can say!
  7. Cute toes w/ cute piggy polish. Again, this reason doesn't need much explaining!
  8. I no longer go to the beach b/c I don't want to scare everyone off at the sight of me in a bathing suit! I spent my Summers in California from the time I was 2 or 3 up until I was 18. I especially LOVED the beaches in Southern Cali... Newport & Huntington!! I also went to Florida quite a bit so I spent some time on the beaches there as well. And don't even get me started on the beaches in Maui... they made Florida's beaches look disgusting! I LOVED the beach until I got sick. Even if I did look decent in a swimsuit, it sucks to not be able to feel the sand squish between your toes!
  9. The 4th of July! Okay, before all of my fellow patriotic Americans get all pissed, let me explain. You know all these Southern rednecks LOVE them some firework stands... and man do we have plenty of them here. There is one that I could seriously walk to from my house. So, all of these badass kids that live around here go & by grocery bags full of them. They start shooting them off the week before the 4th and they continue to shoot them off for a week (sometimes even 2) afterwards. At 10:00 P.M., I really don't want to hear explosions right outside of my window for an hour straight! I also don't want to hear every single dog in my neighborhood howling b/c they're terrified!
  10. And the final reason I hate summer:  The clothing stores like to tease me with all of these beautiful Fall clothes!! Do they really need to put them out the first week of July? Of course, I end up buying these clothes as soon as they put them out & then, for 2 1/2 -3 months, I just look at them hanging in my closet, just waiting for me to wear them!!

There you have it. My hatred of Summer has now been explained. So, everyone else, go out, be happy & rub it in. In the meantime, I will be praying that Summer goes by ASAP so that the tables can turn & I can be out enjoying the beautiful Fall weather while everyone else sends their kids back to school & freezes!! =)

Friday, May 27, 2011

As Far as Health Matters, I Have to Say it's Been a Good Week!

On Tuesday, I had to go to see my endocrinologist. Since my adrenal glands no longer work, I have to take steroids b/c my body can no longer make them on its own. My endocrinologist is the doctor who has to keep an eye on all of that fun stuff so I have to see him twice a year. For once, I actually stepped off of the scales in his office happy!! I've lost 5 lbs. since last time I was there, which is good. He was kind of upset with me the last time I was there b/c I'd put on a bit of weight. Since that took place before Thanksgiving & Christmas of last year, I figured I'd actually gained weight so it was a pleasant surprise, to say the least. Another good thing is that my blood pressure has come down & it's low enough that I'm off of my meds for that!! I don't know if it will stay that way but for now, I'm happy with the situation. I also had to go up to my mom's work this week & have my eyes checked. My sight has gone down a bit so that's a bit of a bummer. I was born with a small cataract on one of my eyes, so I figured this would eventually happen. Plus, steroids can mess with your vision too, so I had a few things stacked up against me. On the plus side, I did get a REALLY cute new pair of glasses. I'd had the same pair since Christmas of 2005, so it was long overdue. This week I also received a phone call from one of my reconstructive plastic surgeons to let me know that I was one of four people IN THE NATION being recognized for an honor the American Society of Plastic Surgeons gives out each year! It's called, "The Patients of Courage". On the ASPS website it says, "The Patients of Courage Triumph Over Adversity program honors reconstructive plastic surgery patients whose lives were restored through reconstructive plastic surgery and whose charitable actions influence the lives around them. This award is supported by Mentor Worldwide LLC. ASPS members nominated patients who carry an optimistic outlook on life and positively affect people around them, despite the difficulties of their reconstructive procedures.". Kind of awesome that out of all of the people who were nominated, I was one of the people picked. My mom & I will fly out to Denver sometime in September with the doctor who nominated me & we'll all attend a banquet that will honor me, along with the 3 others! I think we'll be there for 3 or 4 days. One of Mom's younger brothers (she only has 6 brothers) lives in Denver with his wife so it's kind of a bonus that we'll get to spend some time with them. Not to shabby! Probably sounds a bit silly to some people but if you only knew how many surgeries I've had! I seriously have lost count but I can tell you if it's not at least 50, it's REALLY close!! I have a few more appointments coming up within the next month so I'll be sure to keep everyone updated!

I realize it's blurry, but this is the Patients of Courage logo.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Cha Cha Cha

Expect to see a lot of posts about Benefit Cosmetics in the upcoming months! I am seriously obsessed with this line. I started using the line in December of 2000 & it's been love ever since. I seriously get so excited whenever I find out about a new product release. Benefit is known for their cheek/lip stains. Benetint was actually 1 of their very 1st products. The story behind it is actually quite interesting! The twin sisters who started the line were asked to make it especially for an exotic dancer who wanted her nipples to have a more rosy flush while performing!! (Interesting, no?) From that request, Benetint was born. It has been 1 of the lines most popular products ever since. (I am a BIG fan) As of right now, if you go to a Benefit boutique or to a store that carries the line, you can purchase Benetint or Posietint (a pretty, poppy pink color). In June, the brand will be releasing it's 3rd tint, ChaChaTint. A couple of weeks back, I found out HSN was going to have a special bundle from Benefit that would be including ChaChaTint. Of course, I immediately went to the site and ordered. I absolutely LOVE the color of this tint! It's a beautiful, mango orange color. It will look great on tan, summer skin. If you're like me & have fair skin, don't worry. It looks beautiful on fair skin as well. (I do use a bronzer for a bit of color. More on that in a future post) If you're looking for an extra pop of color in your makeup routine for Summer, I very much recommend ChaChaTint! Aside from the beautiful color, since it is a tint, it's sweat/waterproof. If you're like me & live in the south where it's hot & humid June-September, you can understand the value in that!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Reality Killed the Video Star

I HATE MTV!! Seriously, can't stand it. I am a TOTAL 80s baby & grew up watching all the amazing music videos they used to play. Now, unless you're up while everyone else is sleeping, you're not going to see music videos on MTV. Instead, what do you see? A bunch of trash ball reality "stars". I think reality TV is the one of the worst things that has happened to mankind since I've been alive! The competition shows (American Idol, SYTYCD) don't bother me b/c the people who make it onto the show actually have talent. The rest of reality TV is a bunch of talentless, self absorbed idiots who are looking for there quick 15 minutes. I get pissed off when I think of how much the cast of Jersey Shore gets paid per episode b/c all they do is get drunk & sleep with everyone. In the meantime, teachers, police officers, firemen, EMTs, etc. aren't paid nearly enough for the jobs they do! Oh, & if you're wondering just how much the cast of Jersey Shore makes, $30,000 per episode!! (that was last year so they probably make more now!) I've heard reports that they're now getting ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS per episode, but I'm not totally sure if it's true. I'm sure if I Googled it I could find out. I'm sorry, but that's just ridiculous! Many teachers don't even make $30,000 in a year. How is this right? Somewhere along the line, MTV got greedy and forgot what MTV stood for. MUSIC TELEVISION! And VH1 (which is of course owned by the same company that owns MTV)? That stands for Video Hits 1! I wish there was a channel that just played music videos! VH1 Classic is actually decent. They play a lot of videos from the 80s and I love that. (I'm seriously 1 of the biggest new wave music fans out there!) I miss the days of Duran Duran, Bananarama, The Thompson Twins, Culture Club, The Human League, Petshop Boys, Michael Jackson, etc.. Obviously most of the new wave bands aren't even together anymore, so I understand MTV not playing their videos but there are plenty of artists around today who still put a lot of $$ into making good music videos. Britney & Beyonce are still doing amazing videos & even though I only like 1 or 2 of her songs, could there be a better music video star than Lady Gaga? It sucks that if I want to watch them I have to get on YouTube. MTV, it's time to remember why you were created in the 1st place & get back to the way things used to be. You can still make trashy reality shows! Just start a station that shows nothing but those shows! Dire Straits once sang, "I Want my MTV" in their classic, Money for Nothing. (actually, it was Sting singing that line) Well, MTV, I want my OLD MTV! And just a little pop culture history for everyone: Does anyone know where I came up w/ the title of this blog? tic, toc, tic, toc................ The VERY first video ever played on MTV was the song, "Video Killed the Radio Star", sung by the Buggles.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Feel Better!

After my last post, I figured I'd do something less depressing or sad this time. I am a daily "Facebooker" & almost every single day I see at least one comment about someone not feeling well. While some of them do annoy me from time to time, (GUYS, I'm mainly talking to you! Some of y'all need to toughen up!) I usually do feel sympathy for the person. I realize not everyone gets to go through all the fun stuff I do & that what can seem minor or silly to me can be Hell for another person. Sometimes I'll comment on these statuses but a lot of the time I don't like to b/c I feel like I'm being all, "Ohhhh, sorry you feel bad but listen to what I went through.". So, I thought I'd make a list of some of the things that make me feel better. Next time you're feeling under the weather, see if one of them (or more) works for you. Hey, it's always worth a shot. And remember, if it lasts for more than a couple of days and you're running a fever, don't ignore it!! (MOM, I'M TALKING TO YOU!!) Go to your physician and get checked. Always better to be safe than sorry!

  1. Heating Pad~ I don't think I could live without mine. Not only does it help out when I have an achy back or a stiff neck, I've learned it's great for phantom pain! (it's an amputee thing)
  2. Take a warm/hot bath~ Soaking in the tub for 20-30 minutes always makes me feel better. It's great to relax muscles & again, it helps with my phantom pain!
  3. Watch a movie or TV show that you REALLY get into~ It will help take your mind off of the uncomfortable feeling. I always love when there's a Criminal Minds or Golden Girls marathon on. They usually have Criminal Minds marathons every week on A&E and Hallmark channel shows 2 hours of the Golden Girls every week night, 10-12. Can you tell I use this method often?
  4. Read a good book or a magazine~ This is something I do pretty much every single day. If you're like me & really enjoy reading, it's so easy to get lost in a great book or a favorite magazine. When you get lost in something like that, your mind gets off of the pain.
  5. Do something or talk to someone who makes you laugh~ 1 of my favorite things to do when I feel down or blah is get on YouTube & watch some of the videos on there. There are some HILARIOUS videos out there in cyber world! I hate to admit that my favorites are of animals or someone getting hurt! (I know, I'm evil!) Also, I'll talk to my mom or stepdad b/c we usually laugh when we're all around each other. (think The Brady Bunch minus all of the kids except Marsha!) Laughing releases feel good chemicals in your brain and those chemicals help ease pain!
  6. Do a little online shopping/window shopping~ This is something else I do almost every single day. Now, you don't want to actually buy something every single time b/c then you're going to end up with a whole new set of issues!
  7. Take a nap or go to bed early~ When you're asleep, you're not feeling pain! Nuff said! (well, I'm sure on a sub-conscious level you do, but you get the point)
  8. Sit outside & soak up a little sun (unless it's Summer & it's 115 degrees out like it gets in Memphis!)~ Of course, make sure you put on a little SPF if you plan on sitting outside more than 15 minutes. We don't want wrinkles or skin cancer! The sun helps our bodies make vitamin D & we definitely need it! If you're like me & don't get outside as much as you should, it's always good to take vitamin D supplements.
  9. Journal/Blog~ Getting your feelings & frustrations out & onto paper helps you.  This also works if you're upset w/ someone!
  10. If all else fails, you can always call or message me!!~ It's easy for me to be sympathetic towards pain... if it's real, genuine pain! (Again, men, I'm mainly speaking to you. You guys like to deny it but take it from me, you're all mainly wusses. There's a reason God decided we'd be the one to give birth! And believe me, as often as I see guys gripe about being in pain from dumb stuff, i.e. ingrown toenails, paper cuts, hangnails, bruises, etc., the majority of you guys couldn't make it in my position!)
(This picture & the 1 above are both pictures of some of my "get well" goodies from when I was in the hospital.)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I Hope You Will ALL Read this! Meningococcal Meningitis, 1 Hell of a Disease!

My "collection" of wristbands from all of my hospital stays & surgeries!!

I know most everyone is aware that I got sick & something really bad happened, but most people don't know the details. It's not always easy for me to talk about it to people who knew me in high school during my "glory days". It's kind of ironic (in a REALLY cruel way) that I was a dancer. Anyway, back in 2001, I was at a keg party w/ a ton of people. The next day I started to feel sick. Naturally, I thought it was just a hangover, so I ignored it. The following day, my condition was getting worse. I had a really stiff neck & a killer headache. That night, I woke up & could immediately tell I was about to get sick. I jumped out of bed, made it 2 or 3 steps & collapsed b/c of how weak I was. My mom heard me fall & came & picked me up and carried me to the bathroom. For about the next hour, I was doing nothing but puking! I didn't know it was even possible for a person to throw up that much. It finally stopped so I got back in bed. My mom took my temp. (it was around 100, maybe a little higher), gave me some NyQuil, & I went back to sleep. My mom had to work the next day but luckily she came to check on me before she left. I was literally so weak that at this point, I couldn't even lift my head off of my pillow. Plus, I had photophobia like a mother trucker! I remember my mom turning on my bedroom light & I just completely flipped out b/c I was so sensitive to the light. Mom checked my temp. again & by this time, it was getting just a bit too high. (around 104 or 105) I happened to lift my arm above my head & my shirt lifted enough to expose my stomach. I remember my mom's mouth just dropping when she saw it. I had a purple rash all over my body... arms, legs, stomach, butt, you name it! My body was aching SO bad. I remember just praying that she'd leave me alone so I could go back to sleep. Luckily, she didn't! She knew she needed to get me to a Dr. ASAP, but I was so weak I couldn't even lift my head. She knew there was no way she could get me all the way downstairs & into the car, so she called my uncle to come help her. (my stepdad's work was too far away) My uncle came & carried me downstairs, loaded me into the car, & off we drove to see my pediatrician from when I was little. When we got there, my mom ran to grab the door of the office & my uncle carried me in. I remember everyone in the waiting room having an absolute look of horror when they saw me. One of the girls behind the check-in desk ran to get one of the doctors. They immediately rushed me into the back to get me in an exam room & I just remember out of nowhere having 2 or 3 doctors in the room standing over me. Now, I was lucky & had an AMAZING pediatrician when I was little b/c this woman took one look at me & IMMEDIATELY knew what I had. (it's sad to say that it can often be misdiagnosed as the flu in the early stages b/c of the flu like symptoms) She had someone go call 911 & while she waited on the ambulance to get there, she & 2 other doctors started me on IV antibiotics. I was slipping in & out by this point but I do remember, as they were loading me into the back of the ambulance, she grabbed the guy who was driving & told him, "Floor it! I don't think she's going to make it.". (she didn't realize I was still alert enough to hear her) Now, you'd think that would scare me... but you'd be wrong. I was praying that I would die b/c at this point, I was in the worst pain. My entire body literally felt like someone had just taken a baseball bat & gone to town on it. I wouldn't wish this type of pain on anyone! I don't remember anything about arriving at the hospital but according to my mom, I was still awake. She said I was crying & screaming at the top of my lungs for them to just make the pain stop. Unfortunately, my blood pressure had bottomed out, so they couldn't give me any pain medicine. Once my team of doctors checked me out & diagnosed me (Meningococcal Meningitis) they realized the best thing they could do to give me any chance of survival was to put me into a coma. My body needed everything it had to fight to keep me alive & having me sleep through it could only help. I wasn't expected to make it through that night! I shouldn't have made it through! I was raised Catholic & things were so bad that my mom had a priest come & give my Last Rites. You can't receive Last Rites unless you are literally at Heaven's door, knocking as loud as you possibly can! So, I beat the odds & fought through that 1st night. Even after that, I was only given a 20% chance of pulling through. By this point, I had serious Gangrene in both of my legs, the tips of several of my left hand fingers, & every one of my fingers on my right hand. My fingers were so bad that the doctors had to go ahead & amputate them while I was still in a coma. My legs would come once I woke up. I was in a coma for 6 weeks. When I woke up, I had not a clue as to what was going on. I remember seeing my dad & stepdad in my ICU room when I woke up. My dad lives in California so when I saw him, I knew I was in bad shape. I remember being really confused & for some reason, thinking I was in a hospital in Phoenix! (in my defense, I was born there) I remember 1 of my doctors coming in & asking me how old I was & when my birthday was. I went totally blank when he asked me. I remember looking over at my mom & apologizing for not knowing! I noticed that everyone kept making sure my legs were completely covered, as if they didn't want me to see them. When I finally saw them I kind of went into denial mode. Despite the fact that they were both completely black (like when something's so black it has a blue tint to it) below the knee, I didn't really think they'd have to amputate. I was thinking that somehow, as if by magic, they'd come back to life. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. I remember the nurses coming into my room to take me into surgery. I was just thinking, "God, no! This canNOT be happening, not to me!". I didn't really care that I would never walk on my real legs again... but I did care that I was about to lose the most valuable things a dancer has... my legs. As they rolled me back to where the OR was, my mom held my hand & we prayed the Hail Mary the entire way. I don't remember much from the next few weeks b/c they kept me REALLY doped up! (methadone, ativan & dilaudid!!) I'd become a below the knee, bilateral amputee. (I actually have quite a bit of my leg still below the knee. I lost basically from right above the ankle & below.) I was in the hospital for several more weeks. I know I went into the hospital on 6/19/01 & I was still there when 9/11 happened. That's pretty much it as far as how everything happened. I was in & out of the hospital for the next few years b/c of how low my immune system was. I kept getting random infections every few months. I haven't really had to stay over night in a hospital in quite some time (other than having my hip replaced in 2008 but that's an ENTIRELY different story). I do still have what I refer to as "touch up surgeries" once or twice a year but they're usually outpatient. Other than that, there's not much more to tell. I walk on prosthesis, I drive a Jeep, I work, etc.. My life is as "normal" as it can be for a person in my physical condition. So, hopefully this long ass blog will clear things up for some people. It's much easier for me to tell people the details this way. I STRONGLY recommend that every parent get their child vaccinated for Meningococcal. It is extremely deadly & it is VERY rapid. Usually, if you aren't at a hospital & on antibiotics withing 48 hours of contracting the disease, you're going to die. For more information on the disease you can go to http://www.cdc.gov/ & look up "Meningococcal" or "bacterial meningitis" or you can go to http://www.meningitis-angels.org/. I am part of the Meningitis Angels organization. The woman who started it actually lost her only child to the disease. There are a lot of parents in the organization who lost children to it. Pretty much every survivor of the disease is left disabled in some way. It's kind of a "damned if you, damned if don't" type of disease. You'll likely either die or you'll get "lucky" & become disabled! If I had been given a choice in advance, I can honestly say I don't know which one I would've gone with! This lifestyle is not pleasant & it is definitely not for the weak at heart! Aside from being left disabled, some of the things many Meningococcal survivors deal w/ on a daily basis are:  headaches, depression, anxiety, insomnia, arthritis, anger/temper issues, PTSD, vertigo, adrenal insufficiency, lowered immune system, seizures, etc.! And you don't even want to know how many pills I take daily. Let's just say I take way more than my 80 year old Grandmother! Oh, & back to that keg party... the importance of me mentioning that party is that my doctors believe this is where I contracted the disease. It is very common in college aged kids. People can be carriers without actually getting sick from it. I more than likely drank of a carrier that night. If you're ever at a party where everyone's drinking off of those red, plastic Solo cups, BE SURE TO WRITE YOUR NAME ON IT!! Seriously! Also, parents, teach your kids not to drink off of other kids or eat off of other kids and teach your girls not to share lipstick/gloss. These are a few of the main ways it can be spread. It's scary but it's true! I do work w/ a pharmaceutical company that makes a vaccine that prevents Meningococcal. For information go to: http://www.menveo.com/.  If you call you Dr. & ask to get your child immunized & they tell you that b/c it's rare you shouldn't worry with it, 1) Feel free to give them my # so we can have a little chat! 2) Consider finding another Dr.! Doctors who say crap like that are the reason we see more & more cases!

The INFAMOUS "rash"! It's actually blood collecting under the skin from the vessels bursting! (FYI, this obviously isn't me) I'd imagine this person lost part of their arms & more of their legs than I did... if this person was even "lucky" enough to survive!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I’m in Love! Benefit’s Total Moisture Facial Cream

I figured since I do plan on going to school to become an aesthetician & because I’m OBSESSED w/ skincare, I’m allowed to start handing out “advice”.  I’ve been lucky w/ my skin all my life. I never had to deal with acne aside from a “monthly” pimple. (ALWAYS in the exact same spot) However, from 9th grade up until about 2 or 3 years ago, I had a SLIGHT addiction to the tanning bed. A little scare with skin cancer put an end to that. Now, I know a lot of those tanning lotions you get in salons say they have anti-aging components in them and all but believe me, if you’re using them in a tanning bed, you’re gonna get wrinkles!! My neck now has those lovely “necklaces” on them. It’s horrible!! So, now, I spend a ton of money on anti-aging face and eye creams trying to undo even a little of the damage I did from all of those years going tanning. I use 2 different moisturizers but the one I use at night has become my favorite. It’s from Benefit Cosmetic’s new skin care line, b.right! . They’ve really done an amazing job w/ all the products in this line! Their moisturizer is called, Total Moisture Facial Cream. It’s rich but it hasn’t caused me to breakout anywhere. Sometimes the really rich moisturizers cause my skin to get a few of those really painful “underground pimples”. The moisturizer contains what they call theirtriple radiance complex”. The complex does 3 things:  1) Captures water on the skin’s surface 2) Maintains the water on the surface 3) Develops the skin’s reserve of water. The cream is recommended for dry-normal skin & has a slight fragrance of cucumber to it. (it also is mixed w/ a slight floral fragrance but all I smell is the cucumber, which I like) It’ll cost you approximately $40 but b/c it is so concentrated, a little goes a REALLY long way. (not to mention the jar is pretty big!) I’ve been using mine for a little over a month now & it’s barely put a dent in it. Like all of Benefit’s products, their skincare line comes in super cute packaging. The bottle is real glass (made to look like sea glass) and the top looks like it’s made of cork. I would definitely recommend this stuff! (unless you have really oily skin) My skin feels so smooth since I’ve been using this and I am really enjoying this entire line. I look forward to putting this stuff on every night before bed. I’ve got my mom using this stuff now too and she has pretty sensitive skin, so, this should be okay to use if your skin runs on the sensitive side. If you’re interested in buying this, Ulta & Sephora both carry the line. Some places also have Benefit boutiques but unfortunately, we don’t have one in Memphis. The closest I know of is in Nashville. You can also get on the web site, www.benefitcosmetics.com and place an online order. I’ve ordered from the site several times and it always comes wrapped up in the cutest paper. Plus, they always include samples of some of their best selling products!

Ask Away... & then Go Check your Blood Pressure!

So, since I started this blog to kind of let people into my crazy life, I figured I should let you guys ask questions. Seriously, I realize people can’t help but be curious about certain areas of my life. Believe me, when I’m out somewhere and see someone with some type of disability, I still get curious myself. It’s just human nature. I actually wish more people would just ask me questions instead of staring at me like I’m so kind of freak. I remember being at Target one day (this was right after I 1st got sick) & I had on a short sleeved shirt. Now, a lot of people don’t realize what Meningococcal does to a persons skin. Basically, my arms look like they were burned… like, REALLY burned. My left arm isn’t too bad but my right arm is covered in skin grafts. Anyway, this little kid at Target came up to me & wanted to know what had happened. I was about to start telling him when all of a sudden his mother came up and yanked him away. I realize she thought maybe he’d upset me by flat out asking me something like that, but it made me feel like shit when she did that. It’s so much better for you to explain these types of things to your kids than it is to scare them. They need to grow up realizing that not everyone is the same and that not everyone is lucky enough to be as healthy as they are. SO, if any of you have questions you’d like for me to answer on here, just message them to me. As long as they aren’t stupid or obnoxious, I’ll do my best to answer them at some point.
I’m feeling a bit better today than I have in about a week. For whatever reason my blood pressure is being good today. It’s what “normal”v blood pressure should run. I’m having to check it several times a day still. There have been a few days where it’s started to go back up, and on those days I take one of my meds to get it back down. Then, there have been several days where it’s been too low. Obviously, it’s not a good idea to take my blood pressure meds on those days. When it’s too low, I feel HORRIBLE. (not that I feel too hot when it’s high) I get extremely light headed and it takes everything I have to stay awake. Over the weekend it was pretty low and all I did was sleep. No amount of caffeine can keep me up when it gets low. Thank God my job only requires me to work a few days each month! It’s not easy to hold down a regular 9-5 job when you’re disabled. You have to have a VERY understanding boss and be able to take a ton of sick days!

So, be sure to message me your questions! I have a ton of free time as my next speaking engagement is a few weeks away! As I said above, please don’t send any rude or obnoxious questions… but at the same time, don’t feel hesitant to send me a really good question b/c you feel like you’re being too nosey! It’s time for me to go throw back a few pills and check my blood pressure. VERY exciting stuff!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

New in Town

So, after people telling me for quite some time now that I need to start a blog… I started a blog! I am still trying to figure out how to use the blog.com site, so this will probably take a couple of weeks to really get up & going. I realize many people are curious as to what life is like for me on a daily basis (although, I can’t say I get it), so I will definitely be using this blog to share all of my medical dramas. I actually believe this will end up being a great way to express my anger/frustrations on days I feel bad or worn down. However, I don’t want this to be just an extremely depressing blog either, so I will share pictures & entries about some of my favorite things. Well, it’s been a rough weekend for me due to my blood pressure not knowing if it wants to be too high or too low, so I am going to zonk out for a few hours. As I said above, I still have quite a bit to learn about working this site, so I’ll probably be back on at some point tomorrow… making myself mad for not understanding some of the blogger “lingo” on here. Ahh, well! Coco Chanel & I are turning in now. She’s already snoring & nothing makes me feel better like curling up to a big, fat, fluffy, flat-faced Persian & getting some beauty sleep. Ahh, crap! Speaking of beauty, I am religious about washing my face & doing my anti-aging routine (which costs way more $$ than you want to know) before bed so I guess I need to get out of my comfy bed and get that taken care of. I think I should have a sink built into my nightstand! xoxo    (this was actually published on my old blog page on Sat. night, 5/14. I decided I like this site better so I'm now moving all of my posts over to this site. thanks for being patient while I get my stuff in order!!!)