Tag Archives: chronic illness

Stand By Me ~ The Importance of a Support System with Chronic Illness

It’s here, y’all! Friday … in all her beautiful glory! My days all run together anymore, but I do get excited for everyone else who gets to have a break from work for a little while. Time to spend doing nothing, or catching up on everything they don’t have time to do during the week. My last out of the house job I had was as a teacher, about eight years ago. It’s recent enough that I still remember, vividly, in fact, the mad dash to get housework and laundry done, plus errands … in a day and a half. I say a day and a half, because there’s really only a half day available on Sunday if you think about it. After the chaos of trying to accomplish everything before heading back in on Monday, ya gotta decompress!

I was lucky enough during that time to be healthy. That was a few years before I got my RA diagnosis. To read the backstory on that, click here. I was also lucky enough to have a spouse and a kid who pitched in when I got overwhelmed. As a housewife/SAHM for most of my marriage, housework was not my strong suit. I still stink at it haha I just think there are far better ways to spend my precious time, but that’s another post for another time. I’m not saying there wasn’t a lot of grumbling going on from both of them because there definitely was. But, my husband at least, recognized my weaknesses and did what he could.

That ability came in handy shortly before my diagnoses. My strength and stamina were quickly going downhill and my pain was increasing daily. For a while, my hubby just thought I was being lazy, and of course, there were plenty of arguments to be had over that. After the diagnoses came, there was a lot of guilt on my husband’s part, and I hate that for him. Unfortunately,  “being lazy” is something a lot of women with chronic illnesses hear. It was also a mindset that he quickly adjusted. While I felt a bit victorious in having a bonafide reason for my then-current inability to perform my stay-at-home duties, seeing how crushed my hubby was devastating. He was crushed for having thought about me in such an ugly way. He was crushed because I was in true pain and he wasn’t necessarily my knight in shining armor when I needed him to be. He was crushed because he knew what I was in for. My mom had RA, so he was fully aware of the road ahead.

If you don’t have a partner who understands your dis-ability (hyphenated purposely), I strongly suggest taking them to every doctor’s appointment possible. It is vital that they understand, as much as they can, exactly what you are going through, and will be going through. It’s one thing for you to tell your partner, but it’s a whole different ball of wax, sometimes, if it comes from a doctor, especially if you find yourself with a less than supportive partner. This isn’t just for partners. This applies to anyone important in your life, be it parents, siblings, or friends.

There will be times in your journey when even the simplest of tasks is impossible. I underwent some brain testing a few years ago. There was a possibility of a seizure disorder, on top of everything else, (thank goodness it wasn’t seizures). I underwent EEG testing, which required my brain to be mapped out on my scalp. The technician used a type of soft grease pencil. She had to press a bit hard and, of course, it triggered a fibromyalgia flare-up. By the time I got home, I was in a full-blown flare, crying near hysterically from the pain. I barely got myself out of the car and into the house. When I am in such a state, the only thing I want is a hot bath. I couldn’t even undress, or lower myself into the tub. My hubby had to undress me, help me into the tub, help me out, dry me off and re-dress me, then put me to bed. I was basically a 200-pound infant.

The physical toll is bad enough, but the emotional toll can be much, much worse. I remember the day I started methotrexate, my hubby happened to have the day off. He took me to breakfast. I was supposed to take my medicine with food, so I pulled out my little baggie of five deceptively tiny pills. I sat there at our table, staring down at this baggie of life-changing medication and I started to cry. I was terrified of these tiny, tiny pills. Would my hair fall out? Would they make me ill? What other damage might these cause? Why did I have to get RA? What had I done to deserve such a horrid fate? What had I done to deserve such a punishment? How could such tiny pills have such a HUGE impact?? My hubby reached across the table and just held my hand. There were tears in his eyes too, as he told me everything was going to be okay. He held me and told me everything would be okay, as I stood in the bathroom, holding handfuls of hair that had just fallen out from another mediation. He held me and told me everything would be alright as we faced a possible liver cancer diagnosis, even though I could see the absolute terror in his eyes. I cannot even imagine having to go through any of this alone.

There are plenty of days that find me unable to do much more than move from the couch to the bathroom and back. That means no laundry, no cooking, no nothing. My family understands and we have those “fend for yourself” nights. Or, if my hubby is feeling particularly brave, he will attempt to cook dinner. He’s gotten pretty good at laundry, and cleaning too!

Since mid-January, I’ve broken a rib randomly, had a colonoscopy and endoscopy, several X-rays, an MRI, and a CT scan. This is my life. Recently, I had to have new images of my liver taken. I’m being sent to a medical university because all of my doctors are baffled by whatever it is my liver is doing. My family doc, rheumatologist, gastroenterologist, and oncologist have NO idea what is going on. I can’t tell you how scary it is for FOUR doctors to be stumped about what your body is doing. My RA treatment has been on hold for TWO years because of this. My hubby will be going with me on Monday to get the results, and I cannot tell you how much I need his strength on those visits.

I don’t know what condition I would be in emotionally if I had to go through this alone, or if I had a family that dismissed my health complications. I cannot tell you how many women DO NOT have a supportive family. I have read hundreds, if not thousands, of their stories in RA support groups. Their stories are so heartbreaking that I actually felt guilty because my family has been so amazing.

If you suffer from any chronic disease/disability and your family doesn’t support you, my heart goes out to you. Keep trying to find ways to get them to understand. Take them to appointments, email them links to articles, print out studies for them to read, find a local support group and go together. Support from family and friends is critical, not only to our physical health but our mental health, as well. If you need support, I am here for you, to the best of my ability. You can contact me here and I will contact you back. These diseases are too hard to go through alone ♥

Carrie♥

@ 2018 Look Good, Feel Good

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Thursday Thoughts ~ How Rheumatoid Arthritis Can Affect Your Appearance

Hey y’all! Happy Friday Eve! I hope everyone is doing well today! I’m kind of meh. After being in the car for long periods of time, I’m pretty wiped out for a day or two. It’s a bummer because I really enjoy road trips. It is what it is, though. It’s one reason that I am very glad I don’t do much haha If I was a busy person I don’t think I’d ever be rested.

I thought I would talk to you guys today about how having RA has affected my appearance. I’m sure y’all are thinking “how that could even be possible?” I sure never thought it could be possible, and yet here I am. I feel as though I don’t address autoimmune/chronic illnesses enough here, even though it’s part of what this blog is about. Autoimmune diseases and chronic illness are not easy topics of conversation, but they are important, nonetheless.

I was diagnosed in 2014 and immediately put on methotrexate, which, if you don’t know, is chemotherapy. The dosage for RA is lower than for treating cancer, but that doesn’t always mean one will be immune from the effects. Luckily, I was spared the worst of the side effects. It was also completely worthless for me. The next med my doctor tried was Arava, also known as leflunomide. This is where I experienced some ugly effects.

I had only been on it a few weeks when I noticed some heavier than usual hair fall. While that was happening, my blood pressure was also creeping up significantly. Within a few weeks, my hair was coming out by the handfuls in the shower. There wasn’t a time that I showered that I didn’t exit in tears. The first time it happened, I screamed for my husband. Not knowing what happened, he was there before I even finished screaming his name. I just stood there, holding out my hands and crying. Full disclosure, even writing about it, nearly three years later, is causing me to cry.

I had been blessed with such thick, curly hair. Looking back, I am so grateful that I had so much hair. Had my hair been any thinner, I think I would have had significant balding because of that medication. I was on it for roughly five months. Shocker, it didn’t have any effect on my RA either. After almost three years being off of it, my hair still hasn’t fully recovered. The crazy thing is, this med has to be scrubbed out of your system. Otherwise, you can experience side effects for up to TWO YEARS after stopping it. There’s an old-school cholesterol medication that removes it from your system pretty effectively. Within days, my blood pressure returned to normal. I wish my hair would.

Balding can be addressed. There are wigs and hair pieces that can be worn. My hair never got to that point, but it was close. The next topic isn’t so easily addressed, however. It’s something that happens to nearly everyone with RA, and that’s joint deformity. If you’ve ever come across someone with gnarled looking hands and/or crooked fingers, it’s likely they have RA. The joints become so swollen and disfigured, due to the ongoing damage, that fingers begin to twist and bend, often into very unnatural positions. Because of that swelling and the constant pressure it puts on the tendons and ligaments, they can no longer help to hold the fingers where they need to be (and toes, if there’s RA in those joints). The result is often a claw-like appearance to the hand. The fingers become unusable and the joints are basically frozen in those positions.

There are surgical options, but they aren’t pretty. No surgery is. This surgery is usually to fuse the joints. That will restore the fingers to a more natural position, but they are fused. There will be limited, if any, movement. Forever. My mom’s hands were terribly deformed. After my diagnosis, I was gutted every time I saw her hands. I was literally looking at my future, and it was terrifying. I can only imagine how she felt because it had actually happened to her. I was just anticipating what was going to happen. She was living it every day, not being able to open anything and dropping things constantly. Clearly, those are just the minor inconveniences.

Yikes, y’all … this took a bit of a dark turn. That wasn’t my intent, but it is the reality for me and the 1.5 million others in the US alone, who have to deal with this horrendous disease. Never in a million years did I think an arthritic condition could affect my appearance. Now that I know, I do what I can. I take mega amounts of biotin. With it being a B vitamin, whatever my body can’t use will get excreted quite readily. Please, always talk to your doctor about taking vitamins first, though. You never know how anything will interact with any medications you may take. I also try to not have my hair in tight ponytails or clips. Anything that pulls on the hair can weaken it at the root, often causing it to fall out. I have found, for me, keeping my hair shorter helps a lot. No idea why, but when it’s shorter I have less hair fall than when it’s long. Right now, it barely grazes my shoulders, and that seems to be a good length for keeping it in my head.

As far as the finger joints, there are exercises that you can do to keep the joints from getting too stiff. I’m on the fence as to whether they are effective or not. I guess I’ll know in ten years or so. Staying hydrated can also help keep the joints lubricated. Lubricated joints are less likely to lock up. Honestly, I’m not the best at drinking water. I try, but I often fall short.

So there ya have it, y’all. It’s not a fun topic, but it’s something that so many like me have to deal with every day. And it sucks, I’m not going even try to sugar coat that. I definitely don’t dwell on it though. I’m not a dweller. I can’t afford to be. I know there are other autoimmune diseases that can affect appearance, like lupus, but I don’t feel qualified to talk about those. If you have any questions, or you’re just curious about something, I’ll be more than happy to answer, or if you have anything to add to the conversation, please do! I’d love to hear your perspective!

Carrie♥

© 2018 Look Good, Feel Good

Quick life update

Happy Labor Day, y’all! I know I have been away from the blog for quite some time, and I apologize for that. I thought I would share a bit about why, and what’s been going on with me!

As you may remember from previous posts, my hubby came home from Texas to help get our daughter moved back to school. He came home just before Harvey hit, and he’s been stuck home ever since. I say stuck like it’s a bad thing lol it’s not. He was working and living about 15 minutes from the coast, about 45 minutes south of Houston. Everyone working on the project was evacuated back to their hometowns.

We also found out that he might potentially be in TX until February. That means that he has had to be working here at home, nearly nonstop, to “winterize” our homestead before he heads back out. There are a lot of things I either don’t know how to do, or simply cannot do because I don’t have the strength. Not to mention, the potential of Hurricane Irma hitting our state is quite high. He’s basically having to do a season’s worth of house and yard work in a week.

Of course, I am doing what I can to help him. It isn’t easy, because I tire easily, and I just cannot move at the same speed that he can. I’m trying, though. I can’t sit back and watch him work himself into a frenzy, while I sit and watch. That also means, I have triggered some nasty flares. There have been several nights that have seen me asleep on the couch by 6:30. Asleep for the night. Unfortunately, my pain meds are ineffective during flares, which has made life pretty darn miserable. I’ve had to keep pushing through, though, because I just don’t have a choice. I do what I can, which upsets my precious hubs. Like any decent spouse, he can’t stand to see me in pain, or struggling, so he makes me rest. I’ve read some absolute horror stories of women with autoimmune diseases and/or chronic illnesses with regard to their families. Many women who battle these diseases do not have supportive families, and even have loved ones accuse them of being drug addicts and faking it for attention. These women are expected to continue on with their household responsibilities, as if they were totally healthy and physically capable. Time and again, I have read their stories, with tears in my eyes, thanking my lucky stars for my husband and daughter. My hubby refuses to allow me to run myself down (or even get close), and most times I don’t argue. This time, however, I didn’t give him the choice. There is just too much work to be done, and he’s only one person.

I don’t want y’all to think I’ve forgotten about you, or that I have let the blog slip away. Oh no! Unfortunately, though, getting things done around here must be the number one priority. I know y’all understand that. I have gotten a ton of cool new products in the mail, I’m working with some really awesome companies that I will be talking about and I have a lot of cool stuff planned for the days and weeks ahead. It’s just that my personal life has to come first right now. I have to help my husband get our house and land prepped for winter, mild though they might be. We have to make hurricane preparations now, because he likely won’t be here if and when Irma decides to hit. We’re clearing out the crap and clutter while I have a partner. I work so much better with a partner haha and he knows that, thankfully. We’re making repairs and improvements to the house, while he’s here, because who knows when he’ll be home again. These things will make my life easier while I’m here alone for the next several months.

Thank you all for understanding my crazy life right now. Things will settle down pretty soon, and I’ll be back to telling y’all all about the coolest in skin care and beauty. I have been posting randomly on Instagram and Twitter while hubby has been home. That only takes five seconds, versus the few hours of prep and writing the blog takes. My Insta username is carriegulledge and my Twitter is @LkGoodFeelGood. Check me out over there because there are random, super quick posts on those platforms. I’ll be back soon, y’all!

Carrie♥

© 2017 Look Good, Feel Good

Midweek Mask ~ Recovering

**This post contains affiliate links. Read more about that here**

Good Wednesday, friends! I hope everyone is having a great week, so far. Mine has been … meh lol As I mentioned in a few previous posts, I did some traveling last week. Having a few chronic diseases, anything outside of my normal routine is very hard on my body. My fatigue is more pronounced, my joints hurt more, my rosacea flares, my face swells … you get the idea. Unfortunately, there isn’t much I can do to get my body back to its “normal”. As I get back into my normal routine, my body will slowly follow suit. I do have a few tricks up my sleeve, though. One is copious amounts of hot baths. The second is intensive skin care.

What that means for me is I do parts of my normal morning skin routine a few times throughout the day. Briefly, my current morning routine consists of washing with Philosophy Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser, 16 Ounces, applying my current rosacea medicine, misting my face with Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater, 8 oz., slathering on generous amounts of Garnier SkinActive Moisture Bomb the Anti-Oxidant Super Moisturizer, 1.7 Ounce, moisturizing my eye area with Clinique All About Eyes Duo Pack ( Travel Size ) - 2x7ml/0.21oz, with a few drops of squalane oil on my dryer areas. (<< affiliate links)

What I’ve been doing since I got home is the above routine in the morning, like normal. Then, I repeat this process again, sometime around midday, with lots of spritzing my face with either the Mario Badescu mist or my PETER THOMAS ROTH - Cucumber De-Tox Balancing Essence Water Mist by Peter Thomas Roth(<< affiliate link) for an additional bump in hydration. I understand that some of these products are a bit on the spendy side, but when it comes to my skin, I have found that you definitely get what you pay for. When you have problem skin, you just cannot get by with less expensive products sometimes. I tried for years, just buying drugstore products. Some are okay, but some just make the situation much worse.

Considering the condition of my poor face skin over the last few days, I felt I really needed to break out the big guns for tonight’s mask, or should I say, masks haha

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(Sorry this is so large! When I tried to size it down, it got very blurry)

First up was the Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber Gel Mask 5.0 ounce (<<affiliate link) I didn’t take a goofy pic with that one because you simply cannot see it. Immediately, I noticed that it was very cooling. Even several minutes into the 10-minute time, if the breeze from the ceiling fan hit my face, it was instantly cooler. I would imagine this could be stored in the fridge for an even more cooling effect, during these final days of summer. Also, the squeeze bottle I have is a deluxe sample size of 1 oz. Like the Sephora sleeping masks, there are easily three to four uses in the bottle, which is awesome. I’m not sure if you are aware of how expensive Peter Thomas Roth skincare tends to be, but it’s up there. (This particular mask is one of the least expensive I have seen from the brand.)Being able to get several uses out of this sample will really give you an idea of how well the mask works for your skin and whether it’s a worthwhile investment for you.

I wish I would have taken a pic of my face with the mask on, so you could see just how much redness it took out. That could be from rinsing with cold water, but that usually doesn’t have much effect on my rosacea. I really think it was the mask. Also, I really dislike rinsing with cold water hahaha My face has NEVER felt softer. I am sitting here, literally rubbing my face and am stunned at how nice it feels. Home run, PTR!!

On to the eye pads !

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These things are THICK. There was so much serum in the package that it started pouring out as soon as I opened it! That was certainly a first for me. After a few minutes, the tops of my cheeks started burning, and not just a little. I remarked to a friend that I wasn’t sure I would make it the whole 20 minutes with these on. It did fade a few minutes later, thankfully. Once I removed the pads, there was no serum to pat in. My eye area sucked up every bit of serum there was hahaha Yay for an easily absorbed serum … boo for having such dry under eyes.

This is a situation that requires before and after shots.

Ummm … y’all … there is a definite difference in my eye puffiness. My left eye is significantly less puffy than it was. There seem to be less puffiness under my right eye, as well. Do you know how many eye pads I have used and how many have been total fails? Every single one. Until this one. I just knew this one would fail, too. I am tickled pink to be wrong about this one.  Just imagine, if my eyes look this much better after ONE treatment, how good they (and potentially your under eye) would look with regular use?? I am shook … as the kids in the beauty community say hahahaha You can find them from Birchbox (linked above) for $18 for five sets. If you used them once a week, that’s not too bad.

I am in love, y’all. Complete and total love, with both products. Still … forty minutes later, my face is smoother and softer than I have felt in a long, long time. While my under eye area doesn’t look perfect, it sure looks better than it did before the pads. Both of these products have earned a permanent place in my skin care routine, without a doubt.

Have you used either of these products before? What about eye pads … are there some you have used that gave you real results? Lemme know what they are!!

Carrie♥

© 2017 Look Good, Feel Good

Sephora mini haul and July Play! box

Good Tuesday, lovelies! I hope everyone is doing well on this fine day! It has been quite rainy here, and this weather is KILLER for those of us with chronic pain and/or conditions. I don’t know what it is about the barometer falling, but the storms yesterday and Sunday sent me into a horrible flare. None of my prescription opiates were working and I spiked a fever, which is pretty common. I am not fully recovered yet, today, so I thought I would do an easy and fun post!

I am the worst when it comes to online shopping. Having access to apps makes it even worse hahaha I get emails from Sephora and Ulta daily, telling me all the cool things they have on sale. And I am weak!! Weak, I say! This is a mini haul, because I actually practiced some self restraint. It was tough … have you guys seen the new Sephora Pro palettes???? It took every bit of self control not to put one of those suckers in my cart, but at $68 a piece, they’ll just have to wait. But they are soooo prettyyyyy …

 

I am pretty sure I’ve talked about the Clinique pep-start pods before, and the Sephora sleeping masks. I wouldn’t recommend the pep-start wipes for eye makeup. I have found (the hard way) that you have to use a little too much force if you are wearing waterproof products. They are great for face makeup, though. And those sleeping masks … y’all … incredible products and well worth the money. There is way more than one use in those little pods. I have also found the Sephora brand lip balm to be some of the best I have ever used on my lips. They seem to be perpetually on sale at $4, which makes them very much worth trying out. The formula is very smooth and buttery, and delivers lasting hydration. I have not used the blotting papers before, so I am looking forward to trying them out. Nor have I used the Caudalie facial mist, but I know the brand’s reputation is impeccable, and I read grape water is great for soothing rosacea. Win-win! Finally, the freebies!! I am excited to try out the eye makeup wipes. I’m not gonna lie … I’m a lazy girl  sometimes and I just want to lie on my couch instead of taking off my makeup. With these, coupled with the Clinique pep-start pods, I can do just that hahahaha! I am unfamiliar with the Jo Malone perfume, so I’m also excited to try that out, and a girl can never have enough Juliette has a gun 🙂

On to July’s Play! box …

 

Isn’t that a cute little bag? I am most excited about the Peter Thomas Roth mask. I use a facial mist from that brand (same line, in fact) that is AWESOME (and always sold out at Sephora … that’s how amazing it is)! Also very excited about the perfume. I spritzed a bit on a piece of paper and it is divine! Sephora Play! runs about $10. They do charge tax, so it does vary based on where you live.

Do you guys sub to any subscription boxes? I also do Ipsy and Birchbox. What are your thoughts on sub boxes? Love ’em or hate ’em, or just confused by them? Lemme know!
Carrie♥

Midweek Mask ~ Primrose Oil

Hello lovelies! Happy Wednesday! I hope everyone is having a fabulous day. I have procrastinated writing this evening’s blog for hours haha I took an unexpected nap around 6 this evening and that ruined me for the rest of the night. One of the problems that goes hand in hand with chronic conditions and autoimmune diseases is chronic fatigue. Fatigue isn’t just being tired. It is life altering tired. It’s not being able to control falling asleep. It’s not being able to do the things you need to do because of exhaustion. I sleep about seven hours a night. I putter around for about an hour after I wake up doing things: taking my dogs out (separately, of course), feeding them, taking my medicines. After I get everything finished, about an hour has passed. Then, I usually take an unexpected nap for about an hour and a half. And I take another unexpected nap in the late afternoon/evening, which means I end up going to sleep late. So, if some of my posts come through later (or early, early the next morning) that’s why. Just my body being completely uncooperative with what I’m trying to do with my life hahahaha

Anyway, for this evening’s mask, I chose a really cool one from the Yes to brand. I used to use their cucumber facial wipes until my face skin revolted against wipes. They are all just too scratchy for some reason. But, while I was able to use them, I liked them a lot. The also have some pretty cool face masks. I chose the primrose oil mud mask tonight.

It’s supposed to calm and soothe skin, which I always like, having rosacea. It had a neat cooling effect as I was applying it. It seemed to warm up, though, and got a little bit sting-y. It was short lived, and not that painful. Just something I noticed. The time for this mask was only 5-10 minutes, which I thought was interesting. Most masks are 10-15, or 15-20 minutes. If you’re short on time, this would be a great option.

I tried something new this evening to remove the mask. I saw these at Walmart when I bought this mask and figured they’d be really cool.

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I was mistaken haha Because this was an oil-infused mask, this sponge just moved the mud around on my face. It might be a good tool for other types of masks, but oily ones are just a no. Funny story, after I bought a pack of these sponges, I got a pack in each of my Walmart beauty boxes. So now, I have three packs of them. Let’s hope they work better on another type of mask!! I really want them to work!

After I finally got the mask removed, my face was very soft. Four hours later, it’s still incredibly soft and hydrated feeling, even on the tops of my cheeks, where I experience the most dryness. It didn’t do much for my redness, but it never claimed to remove that. I was kinda hoping it would, since it’s a calming/soothing formula. This one is a winner. And for the price, around $3, this is an excellent choice.

Have you tried this mask? What do you think? Lemme know!

Carrie♥

Family fun 

I have a five year old niece, and she totally has me wrapped. Maybe more than my own daughter haha We love to have slumber parties. Tonight is her second night with me this week, and she is sweeter than pie.

You all know I’ve been flaring for about two weeks now. That doesn’t stop us from partying, though. It definitely slows it down, but the party doesn’t stop. Five year olds are not known for their patience, but she tries. Her mommy, (my baby sister), has systemic lupus, so Keyra understands bad days, as much as a five year old is capable of, anyway. 

Hot baths are my go-to when I feel like this, and they happen to be one of her favorite things to do! She LOVES dropping the bath bombs in and watching them fizz. I ordered some random bombs from Amazon a few months ago, and tonight we picked cherry. Phew … talk about highly scented!!! 

After bath time fun, we were in the den, and she had a bowl of cereal. She stopped eating, looked at me and said “Kewy (she says Carrie so funny), what else sweet can I do for you? I could massage your feet?” My heart immediately melted. This precious little angel …


She does give a good foot massage, but what we did instead was a mini facial. I have a Peter Thomas Roth cucumber toner spray and she loves when I spray her face. Not too much though, that stuff sprays like a fire hose hahaha Then I give her two little squirts of ELF hydrating serum and she rubs it all over her face. We finished up with our “scent of the day”, which was a few squirts of Bath & Body Works Winter Candy Apple.

I hate that this disease has caused a five year old to be so concerned about making me feel good. At the same time, it has allowed her sweet soul to shine. And does it shine!! Don’t misunderstand me, she can be hell on wheels sometimes. Most times haha, but in my worst moments, her best moments shine bigger and brighter than anything I’ve ever seen. 

Do you have a special little in your life? When do they shine their brightest? What are the little things they do to show that sweet side?

Be on the look out tomorrow for a Dior mask review. I am super stoked to share it with y’all! Have a great day today! 

Carrie❤️

How to make money without leaving your house

**This post contains affiliate links**

When you have a chronic condition, leaving your house to shop can be a daunting task. It takes a lot of time to get ready to leave the house, and the trip itself can be an arduous task. I don’t know about you, but I tend to walk quite slow because I hurt. What may be a thirty minute jaunt for healthy people could be a two hour nightmare for us. I mean nightmare literally.

Often, there aren’t enough handicapped parking spaces, if you’re lucky enough to have a handicapped placard for your vehicle. That means we’ll end up walking farther than we really should. Then come the stares when you get out of your vehicle. Because we look healthy, people assume we are. When we exit the vehicle without a wheelchair or some type of aid, we get all sorts of nasty looks from people in the parking lot. Once we get through that, we have to navigate gargantuan stores. Why do they have to be sooooo large?? I am not ready to drive around in the little electric carts. Not yet. It’s a mental thing for me. So, I brave the mega-stores on foot, knowing how badly I will pay for it. I usually take a pain med before I go in, hoping to ward off the worst of it.

Most shopping can be done online, these days. THANK YOU, INTERWEBS!! Online grocery shopping isn’t a thing here, yet. Dry goods can always be ordered, of course, but not actual groceries. Everything else, though, can be delivered to my door with a few keystrokes. Did you know there are ways to actually make money on those purchases? Wanna know the secret? You have to promise to keep it just between us, okay?

Ebates! Ebates is the answer! Nearly any online store you can imagine is affiliated with them and offer varying percentages of cash back on purchases. Until July 1, Walmart is offering 10% cash back. 10%!!! That can be quite significant if you are ordering your household supplies for the month. Sephora, Ulta, Macy’s, Bloomingdales all have cash back offers. I started my account May 5, and I have over $37 in cash back already. Not bad when you consider most offers are around 3%. That 3% adds up!! Also, I may have a slight shopping problem hehe There are times when these companies double their cash back offers, too. 

Check them out here. (<<affiliate link) If you do as much as I do to avoid going out, and possibly create a worse health situation, I highly recommend checking Ebates out. I mean, if you’re going to shop online anyway, you may as well get some cash back from it! Lemme know what you think … do you use a rebate service already? If not, why not?

Carrie♥

Flare I go again … 

Or, should I say still. I’m ready for whatever is going on with my body to be over with. My hands and fingers have been ridiculously swollen over the last few days, and I have had absolutely no energy to do anything. My fingers legit look like sausages. That makes typing challenging.

Of course, flares happen at the most inconvenient of times. My hubby is leaving tomorrow to go to Texas for several weeks. That means we had to make a trip to Walmart. On a Saturday afternoon. I think that must be a “thing” to do on Saturdays in my town. I swear, everyone was in that store. Surely several fire codes were violated with the number of people there.

For those who don’t have chronic illnesses, it’s hard to imagine why that might be difficult. Well, aside from the fact that it was two hours in Walmart. That, in and of itself is tough haha The best way I can describe it is to imagine your legs are filled with wet concrete. They get heavier and heavier with each step you take. Then, imagine someone set sandbags on your shoulders. And they add sandbags every few minutes until you are totally hunched over from the weight. Now, imagine someone has put your ankles in a vice. With every step, the vise gets tighter and tighter until you are sure the next step will shatter your ankles beyond repair. I honestly don’t know what I would do without shopping carts. They are my lifeline in those situations, truly.

I am so thankful for a caring and understanding spouse. So many of us who deal with chronic health issues do not have caring and supportive partners. I can’t even tell you the sadness I have experienced, reading the stories from women whose families actually think they are faking it. Who would choose to fake something like this?? Who would want a life like this? No one needs attention that badly.

My husband has been beyond incredible. He knows when I’m having a hard day, just by looking at me. I try my best to hide it, but he sees through me. He has been to countless doctor’s appointments, cooked, cleaned, dealt with the laundry, made our daughter’s breakfasts and packed her lunches (when she was still in school). He’s not the most patient of men haha, and he was raised in a family where all of the above was “women’s work”.  When it comes to me, though, he is the kindest, most patient, most helpful and considerate man in the universe. He is truly my rock. He has the biggest shoulders, I swear. They carry so much weight. I don’t know how he does it.

I hope I don’t sound whiney. That’s not my intention, because I am not a whiney person. I don’t dwell on the negatives of this disease. There’s no point. It won’t go away and it would be a never ending downward spiral. I just wanted to offer a glimpse into what many chronic illness sufferers go through with a simple Saturday afternoon trip to the store.

Okay, now that all that is out of the way, I have some really cool items up for review over the coming weeks. Here’s a sneak peak of just a few things:

With my entire family gone for a least the next week, I should have plenty of time to pamper myself and work through this nasty flare. What are some things you do to help yourself feel better? Any tips and tricks you’d like to share?

 

Carrie♥

Midweek Mask and something cool

My original plan for this blog was to publish six days a week, with either Saturday or Sunday off. This flare is kicking my tail and messing with my publishing schedule! That’s life with a chronic disease, though. I know that and I accepted that long ago. It’s still frustrating, not being able to what I want to do, when I want to do it. I want you to know why there may be gaps of a few days with my posts, and I hope you are okay with it, too. This is, after all, a blog about looking and feeling great while dealing with chronic conditions. Sometimes, those conditions get in the way. Ugh! 😉

Now, onto the fun stuff. It’s Wednesday and that means … midweek mask!!! (Cue lively band music.) Before we get into tonight’s mask, I have some really cool news to share with you. It’s mask related, so it fits haha I have been doing midweek mask and skin care Saturdays (and some makeup reviews) on my Instagram for a while now. A few weeks ago, I received a DM from the company SOO AE Beauty. Thy make a lot of the masks I use. They make a great product, what can I say? Anyway, the message was informing me that I was chosen as a winner in a contest they run, and they needed my personal details so they could send my prize. I had no idea they were even running a contest!! I just legitimately love their products, and I always tag the companies I talk about. I want them to know what I think, ya know? Needless to say, I was stunned. My prize came a few days ago and this is what they sent:

Soo AE prize package
Check out my prize package!

How cool is that??? The pink package is an açai berry sleeping mask, and the white package is a donkey milk sleeping mask. Yes, donkey milk. It’s exactly what it says it is. Anyway, many, many thanks to SOO AE Beauty. I really love my prizes and they will be used, with much love!

Tonight’s mask was one from my prize package. I chose the Donkey Milk Gel Skin Mask. This was unlike other sheet masks I have used in the past, and I have used A LOT of them. The serum was very gel-like and thick, and the mask was kind of clear. I set the timer for 17 minutes, and had a little siesta on my couch! I’m telling, ya, 17 minutes may not sound like much, but I think it’s the perfect amount of time to kind of check-out of the real world for a bit. I think we can all use some “check-out” time every now and then. It was very cold haha, which is pretty much par for the course, I’ve found. It’s very refreshing this time of year, especially after fighting a sprinkler in the garden for 20 minutes, at 7:30pm and 92° and holy cow, is summer over yet? I’m not even kidding. Focus, girlie … focus. So, yes, very refreshing for it to be chilly. After the time was up, I patted the remaining serum in, and basked in my very moisturized skin. It stayed tacky for quite some time. It’s been about three hours and it’s still slightly tacky. I’m not sure I really like that part, so this is absolutely a mask to use before bed. And, as always, I followed up with my regular nighttime skin care routine.

Midweek mask 2 June 14 2017
I love making funny faces when I have a sheet mask on!

Gentlemen, don’t think that these masks are for women only. You men out there have face skin, too, ya know. And I daresay it needs a little more babying than our skin. You guys are ROUGH sometimes! A lot of men out there have very physically demanding jobs. Not that women don’t. Please don’t misunderstand, me. It’s a different type of physicality, oftentimes. Men, you really need to consider some type of skin care. Moisturizer and sunscreen, at the very least. Or a moisturizing sunscreen hehe. Either way, you guys really need to jump on the skin care train. Your skin has to last you for the rest of your life, too. Pssssstt … I’ll let you in a little secret. Come a little closer … a lot of women really like it when men take care of themselves. I’m not talking metrosexual levels, here. I’m talking some basic care, a little pride in yourself and your appearance.

Overall, I really like this mask, and I LOVE all of the products I have tried from this company. I dunno what it is with Korean beauty products, but they are killin’ the game, in my opinion. If you’re looking for a nourishing, restorative mask, I highly recommend this one. The price point is excellent and it works!

Midweek mask 2 package June 14 2017