Follow by Email

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye 2013! Health update, life update, & December 2013 Birchbox!

2013 is coming to a close & what Hell this year has been.  I rang in, and am now leaving it with a foul taste in my mouth.  From jumping from one endocrinologist to another, multiple doctors & health problems of my own, having surgery to remove my thyroid, not being paid since the end of October, having a rough time getting multiple doctors to send off paperwork to each other & insurance companies, to being in a scary car accident on Thanksgiving.  Then on the 19th... my last living grandfather passed away early in the morning... I'm both sad & numb.


As far as my health goes, I am already seeing a slight improvement with the Armour Thyroid I have been put on.  I lost around 10lbs, I'm not as tired anymore (though there are days where I still feel beat up & need my 3 hour nap in the middle of it), I'm thinking a little more clear (though still get flustered easily), & the brush burn type pain is gone but I still have aches. 

Problems I am still having are that I'm still absolutely freezing cold.  I have the heat turned up to 73 in my home & my feet & hands feel like they are getting frost bitten, and at times I still get that sensation someone is applying ice to my arms.  My endocrinologist started me on an additional T3 medication, Cytomel, due to this, & since I started it, I feel itchy all the time & my skin seems more dry.  His response to every side effect is that is has nothing to do with the medication or my condition.  All my other doctors, and people I talk to who are going through what I am, say it does have to do with my condition & so I feel like I'm in a loop of trying to find someone who will help me!  When I last saw him I asked him if it was safe to add the T3 & if he checked my Free T3 / Reverse T3.  He said he did but when I got the lab test, it was only for TSH.  So he lied to me.  I also started randomly getting hot flashes again & my periods are all over the place (double, long & nasty, or short but always annoying).  My anxiety is still a mess, still nauseous a lot, & I'm still having on/off butt problems.  I'm also losing more hair than normal.  Not like handfuls or chunks of hair, but enough that it's noticeable.

I'm working with my job & doctors on getting back to work & will probably be released near the end of January,  They want to try a new anti-anxiety medication (I feel like I've tried every single one before) & so I was prescribed Lexapro.  Every daily medication like this I have tried gives me the same, crappy side effects & I always feel worse on them.


On the 21st I went to Rochester for Colleen's annual Festivus party.  The Betties exchange their holiday gifts, everyone gets "Bad Santa" gifts, we eat good food, get our drink on (though the ginger ale seemed to be the big hit this year), catch up on gossip & life stories, and have a lot of laughs.  It dissipated a bit early this year as there had been warnings all week of an ice storm.

Just one of many Festivus miracles!

Lucky we did leave when we had because by the time we reached home you could see how the ice was collecting on branches & power lines.  Then we had to deal with road closures & flooding the rest of the week.  The flooding didn't directly impact us, but we did have to take different routes to/from my family's home for the holidays due to road closures.  

Before Christmas, my mom and I have a few traditions.  One is going to see The Nutcracker ballet, but that always seems to be up in the air depending on weather.  We did get to go with my entire family this year & I love traditional ballet, especially when the BPO is doing the music live!  It was a few days after the car accident so I was a bit uncomfortable in my seat at times.  Also some lady behind me was coughing without covering her mouth.  Sure enough the next day I started a cough then, two days later, it had turned into a horrible head cold.  High temp close to a fever, coughing, snotty, chills & sweating, lost my voice.  I felt almost as bad as I did when I got that horrible illness right before I was diagnosed with Graves'.  Still recovering from that a month later.

The other tradition is making cookies.  Sometimes we make a few different kinds but this year we stuck to sugar cookies.  We made a few batches & in our 1st batch, we accidentally put on the frosting before we baked them.  It ended up bubbling up and looked a bit odd when we took them out.  So for our 2nd batch (pictured below) we put just the sprinkles & gel on before baking, baked, THEN put the frosting on.  Much better!

Then on Christmas Eve, my big Polish family always get together at my Aunt & Uncle's home to celebrate the holidays.  A bit upset she didn't make the pierogi this year (usually with cheese or mushrooms) but they do take a long time to make & she has had so much other stuff to do.  It's always nice to see everyone & share stories, good or bad.  I wish we would do things like this more often.

On Christmas day we went to my parent's, had breakfast of french toast, and exchanged gifts while watching A Christmas Story.  Chris & I went home for a break in between.  We then returned for a ham dinner, sparkling grape juice (that I'm now addicted to), and watched Elf.

Then this weekend, Chris' mother & sister came up from the DC area to visit.  We had dinner at Pearl Street Grill & Brewery then off to the Sabres game we went where we watched them beat the Capitals in a shootout.  By the way, we were all rooting for the Sabres!

Here's a few pics & then onto my Birchbox review!


December 2013 Birchbox Overview:

  • Protect & Shampoo / Condition by Beauty ProtectorAbout the product: I'm reviewing them together, since they work together.  Both have pearl powder in it, which contains conchiolin, that is claimed to act like keratin.  It's written on the bottles that both are vegan (though some vegans would not agree with that due to the pearl powder, also the honey that's in it), with claims of being moisture reviving, providing UV protection, are color safe, smooths hair, enhances volume, seals cuticles, & adds shine.  What I thought: Loved the scent as it reminded me of a sugar cookie.  Like a cross between Aquolina's Pink Sugar & Fresh's Sugar Lemon scents, though not as sugary, sweet, or lemony as the scent it left on my hair was very faint.  Using both the products together, just a quarter sized amount each time it lathered nicely.  I got great shine, bounce, conditioning, and volume though the volume didn't seem to last a full 24 hours.  I did use the shampoo on its own one day & it was a nightmare on my short, bleached hair as it left it extremely dry & matted.  Together though, they are fantastic!  I'd be open to buying these together, NOT separately. 
  • S.M.A.R.T. Skin Perfecting™ Polisher by Grand Central BeautyAbout the product: This product says it will exfoliate, tone, hydrate, & peel, remove dead skin, unclog pores, reduce redness, smooth your skin & give you anti-aging benefits.  It's a waterless formula with natural botanicals including watermelon, orange and lemon extracts.  Instructions advised to use up to 3x a week after cleansing but before applying any masks or moisturizer.  Apply a dime sized amount, massage into skin for 30 seconds, then you can either leave the product on or rinse it off.  What I thought: It actually has a nice, light floral scent to it and the consistency was like hand sanitizer, wet but gel-like.  When applying it dries very quickly so I could only massage it for about 10 seconds before it felt like I was just rubbing my dry face.  When dried, it left little, clear beads on my face so, instead of washing the product off, I decided to brush the beads off and then go about my normal routine by applying my moisturizer.  If I didn't use a moisturizer after applying, my face would feel tight and very dry so I didn't get any hydrating benefits from this.  I'm sure the cold, winter weather isn't helping but after a few weeks of using this, I ended up with dry, flaky skin patches.  I'm going to put the rest away & re-visit using the product during the summer months.  I wouldn't buy this.
  • Harlem Lights Collection Nail Polish in Baldwin Blues by Color Club®About the product: Color Club® polishes are vegan and cruelty free, having never been tested on animals.  They advise to apply a base coat, 2 thin coats of their polish, then a top coat.  The color I got, is described as an indigo blue.  What I thought: If you get it right, you really could apply one coat of this as the thin coat I applied left pretty good coverage.  Some spots near the nail bed were thin & could have used a 2nd coat though.  I've had it on for a week and 1/2 now & the usual chips I get around the tops of my nails are no where to be found, nor do I see any cracks in the polish yet!  I'd also describe the color more of a flat, dark denim.  I'm not too keen on the color but it has great shine & lasting power!  Another thing I noticed was that the scent it gave off was no where as strong as some other polishes out there.  I'd buy this, but in a different color. 

  • Chocolate bar in Pop Corn Pop by Chuao ChocolatierAbout the product: Chuao (pronounced chew-WOW) Chocolatier is a Venezuelan chocolatier based in the USA, pioneering in "fusion chocolate" with all natural ingredients.  The bar I got is described as mixing puffed whole grains, toasted corn chips, popping candy and a sprinkle of sea salt in creamy milk chocolate.  What I thought: Another fine sweet & salty treat that BB has provided me with!  It definitely reminded me of chocolate covered popcorn without those terrible hard kernel pieces.  The milk chocolate was creamy and divine with a little crunch.  The only thing I wasn't too keen on was the popping candy in it.  The pieces were very fine & I really only noticed them after most of the chocolate had dissolved.  So it's nothing like putting a whole package of Pop Rocks in your mouth (you know you did this as a kid!).  Upon eating it you kind of go through the thoughts like, "This is good!  What's that?  It's weird... but I want more!"  Even though I wasn't too keen on that part of it, I would still buy this bar again because it was just so interesting.  Check out their site too because they have so many other different products & flavors to choose from.  I would buy this!

Oh I also forgot though it's in the picture, I got some sticker that you're supposed to put on your phone to promote that they now have an iPhone app.  Well, I'm one of many who doesn't have an iPhone.  I just found that to be a waste.  Send me one when you get an app for my POS android.


I really hope & pray you all have a fantastic New Years!  If you are drinking, please STAY SAFE and get a cab!  That goes for any night out on the town!  My plans are still up in the air, though where ever I may end up, I'll probably be asleep on a couch before midnight.  I have a lot of new & interesting stuff to try out & write about, and a million things to do in general.

Happy bathing & wishing for a better 2014!