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Thursday, September 17, 2015

imPRESS Everyone With Your Great Manicure!

I work 4 day 10 hour shifts and the days I have off of work are usually filled with errands and appointments.  When I do my own nails at home it can take HOURS between buffing, filing, base coats, polish, top coats and drying time.  Since I can't just sit around waiting for them to dry because I have a million and one other things that need to get done, I do my home errands ever so carefully.  You know how it is, walking around trying to do things with your fingers all separated, looking like you're trying to claw something, when in actuality you just don't want to smudge the semi-perfect manicure you did all yourself.

Wraps come in all sorts of fun designs but they are flimsy and sometimes hard to position well on your nail bed because of that.  I've had many times where I've put one on, only to rip it off and so that one had gone to waste.  They conform to your nail also so if you broke a nail & one is shaped round, another square, you're stuck with that.  With me, my nails are also soft because of my (non-existent) thyroid issues and nail wraps will give you no strength at all

And don't even get me started on the salons!  Sure I love the pampering, all the cool artistic designs they can do, and the fact they don't paint the skin around my nail like I tend to do (on accident.)  But the time it takes to get there, sometimes wait to be seen if you don't have an appointment, and the cost... It's just too much!  Then depending what polish you get it sometimes chips within a week, or you think it has fully dried and you smudge it or get an indentation in it within hours of leaving.  UGH!  It's nice, but I really don't have the time nor money.

What's a girl to do?

Well, what about press-on nails?  Really?  I haven't used press on nails since the 90's and it was a try it once, and never again thing.  The glue was messy and they were popping off all over the place.  Well, press-on nails have come a long way since the 90's and imPRESS sent me 2 packages to try out!  One in a pink version of their Harlem Shake, & the other in Casting Call.  Below is some info, pics & what I thought.

  • Retails up to $7.99 at Walgreens.
  • About The Product: With over 40 colors, designs & accent nails to choose from, imPRESS Manicures are 2X longer lasting (up to 1 week) than other pre-glued nails with their ultra-hold adhesive technology!  They are the only waterproof press-on nails with a secure adhesive that will not damage nails & give you an ultra gel shine in no time.  Safe & natural with no glue, no dry time, no damage, & no mess!  When you're done with them they have easy, peel-off removal in seconds.
  • How To Use: Apply in just a few minutes by finding the correct size for each nail (if needed, use smaller sizes for best results.)  Once you find the best ones, lay them out in finger order.  Wash your hands with soap, dry thoroughly and use enclosed prep pad.  For best adhesion press firmly down the middle then down each side of nail, applying the thumb nails last, then file if needed.  Minimize contact with water for 30 minutes.  To easily remove in seconds, gently peel off from sides using no acetone or soak off removal.

I can't even begin to tell you how ridiculously quick and easy it was to apply these, and how great they looked!  I felt they were slightly long for my taste so I was also surprised how easy they were to clip & file.  Going through their site I was amazed at all they have to offer from plain, to accent, to full on designs.  I did have one fall off in just a few days but I was messing around with it and putting lots of pressure on it, something I normally wouldn't do.  The rest kept sticking on & toughing it out, looking perfect day after day, and they had good strength to them too without being too soft or flimsy.

Then I decided to take them all off.  I really didn't believe they wouldn't damage my nails because I've even had wraps damage my nails before.  I carefully started pulling them up from the sides and easily removed one by one.  Then I took a look at my real nails and they looked better than when I had 1st put the imPRESS manicure on! Well, they still looked awful, unpolished and untrimmed without any polish, but wow!  The adhesive didn't tear my nails up nor leave any residue, leaving my nail beds looking quite healthy. With the great price they are, and the short time it took to apply and remove them, I can't wait to see what designs my stores have in stock and try a few more! 

You can find them not only at Walgreens but also CVS, Walmart, Rite Aid, & Kmart stores nationwide, as well as other stores.  Visit their website at to look at their latest products; & while you're at it, follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, & YouTube for some inspiration!  Still not sure?  Watch the video below!

This is a sponsored post.  I received this product for free from imPRESS through BrandBacker to try & review.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

World Suicide Prevention Day - The Ups & Downs of Thyroid Disease

I've always wanted to write about this.  I've started many times and have stopped, then discarded everything I wrote.  Depression is a hard subject for me on many levels.  I've written about anxiety and panic attacks but never about my depression, and never about my suicide attempt.

I was a pretty happy kid.  I grew up well & did ok in school.  I was a very open-minded teenager, straight edge, and rebellious!  I had a good group of friends, and though they did help mould me, I always made my own decisions and knew right from wrong.  I would butt heads with my parents, get in screaming matches with them and have bouts of crying but I was a teenager and very expressive.  I never considered myself to be depressed or feel depressed.  Things got better after I graduated.  I moved out, I worked a lot of jobs, I hung out with my friends a lot, & I traveled.  Things were good.

When I lived in CA my anxiety got worse.  I had a terrible bout of hives that kept me out of work for almost 2 weeks after getting allergy shots, which I stopped the shots all together after that.  After that it just seemed month after month I would get more ill, more tired, and issues with migraines and asthma got worse.  I was afraid to go anywhere on my own, nor did I want to go out.  Most of my time was spent traveling to work, at work, then traveling home and just being so exhausted when I finally got home.  Work was good.  Even with my health issues I was excelling at my job and was chosen to work in our operations support after we lost our one contract.  Lots of other little things built up.  I went on prednisone a few times, gained about 20lbs and then my fiance broke things off.

I don't remember packing anything, I don't remember much of the move.  I remember not eating, not being able to.  Just wanting to sleep, wanting to find a way to work things out but feeling worthless.  Everything was my fault.  I knew my parents were there, even a good friend of mine came to visit me (we're still friends to this day), but I didn't know what was really going on around me.  I slept and cried for weeks.  I was put on an antidepressant & I moved back to NY leaving one of my cats behind.

The timeline of events after I moved back is a little hazy.  I was surrounded by people, friends, family but I didn't want to be there.  I didn't know why I had been getting sicker and sicker.  I couldn't comprehend everything that just happened.  Within a month my ex's new girlfriend moved in.  Not long after that, my 1st cat I owned on my own died right in front of me, drowning in the fluids that filled his lungs.  I later found out was caused by a fungal infection really only known in animals on the west coast so this made me feel like it was all my fault, if I never took him there it wouldn't have happened.  My parents were fighting with each other.  I felt like I didn't mean anything to anyone though people were constantly telling me how happy they were I was back, and how much they loved me and supported me.

I wanted to end it.  And I almost did.  I remember hearing my parents fighting upstairs and I felt stuck.  I was 25, had no job, I'm stuck with this.  I had put in so many resumes and no one was calling me back.  I'm a failure.

I went in the bathroom and took 12, 50mg Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) pills equaling a total of 600mg.  From what I've read, it seems the maximum dosing in a 24 hour period, spaced out, is 300mg.  I doubled that taking them all at once.

My mom came downstairs and asked if I wanted to shopping and I said, "Sure."  We weren't out for too long & things got fuzzy very quickly.  I think I remember telling my mom that I was just too tired.  The next thing I remember is waking up over 20 hours later on their bed.

I didn't dream.  But I felt like there was a long absence, some part of my life went missing for those hours, completely out of consciousness.  I woke up, hazy for the next few days, wondering if that's what death will be like.  Like... nothing.  But I was happy to be awake.  No one knew what I had done.  And my parents never found out until today, when going through my medical history with my new ND.  I never would have done something like that years prior.  I would have sucked it up and moved on.  So what had changed?  Not long after I had done that, my allergist confirmed I had antithyroid antibodies & Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.  I was hypothyroid.

And since, I've struggled.  I've had the hardest struggle of my life battling my thyroid autoimmune diseases.  Yes, depression, anxiety... mental disorders go hand in hand with Hashimoto's!  I've said I'd never do something like that again but I have been close.  When I feel my life slipping from my hands I start pushing people away from me because I don't want them to see me sick.  And many people don't get exactly what's going on.  I told someone once about having panic attacks and they were all like, "Yeah, this girl had one once and she was all flipping out!" Umm, no that's not it.  When I get them I'm in so much pain I tense up and get extremely quiet.  So I just stopped trying to explain it to people.  It's also why it took so long for me to write this post, though I've been meaning to.

Being in this boat myself, if you have a friend or family member who did commit suicide, do not blame yourself.  Don't think that if you could have done just one thing differently it wouldn't have happened.  It is ultimately our decision.  Still, be there for us as much as you can.  Constantly show compassion for your friends, family, and even strangers.

And for those of us suffering, I know all too well how hard it is to change your mindset.  Everything is easier said than done but I am living proof that if you fight you will come out on top.  If my one allergist hadn't known to check my thyroid just because of a hives outbreak years prior, I may have never known my thyroid was my issue and I probably wouldn't be here today.  It would have been easier to give up and there's things I'm still struggling with.  There is help!  Don't be afraid to ask.  Yes, there's some people who won't understand but there are MANY others who will.  When I thought I was going crazy because my one endocrinologist said Grave's Disease had nothing to do with my anxiety, many people in an online support group helped me learn it did.  It helped start me down a path of knowing my disease and finding the right treatment.

My dear friend lost her brother-in-law to suicide 1-1/2 years ago today.  Please watch the video below & please share.  No matter what your struggle is... thyroid, autoimmune, or not... We need you & you are loved!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Are endocrinologists are trying to kill me?

As you've noticed there was an absence between the last post talking about my excitement of going to my (4th) endocrinologist and this post.  As I'm sure you can tell, just by reading the subject it didn't go well.  I'm not very good at summing things up, I don't know if it's an anxiety thing or memory thing that makes me go into so much detail about stuff.  I'll try to, though a lot has happened since that appointment, both good and bad.  It has been hard to get the motivation, and energy, to write all of it.  Here it goes...

PART 1: The (4th) Endocrinologist

In her profile she stated, "I look forward to practicing and bringing the best and newest treatments to my patients," and this brought me some hope.  "Newest treatments," kept dancing around in my head and the fact that a friend had recommended her to me, it all gave me hope.  A few days before the appointment the office called and said she fell ill and wanted to push my appointment back another month.  This couldn't be happening!  I had already been waiting months for this appointment, I was running out of medication, I was a mess.  I set up the future appointment, while sobbing, and started looking for a naturopath because, by this time, I was done with endocrinologists.  Within an hour, they called me back and were able to get me in the beginning of the following week.  I put my additional search on hold.

I had expectations about how the appointment would go.  I would go over my history, concerns, symptoms, then go into treatment expectations. She would review the records I sent over with me and we would decide, together, how I can get better.  Oh, how wrong I was about everything.

When she came in she introduced herself.  Having a long and different last name she went over how it was pronounced.  From there she continued to talk.  And talk.  And talk...

It started with her telling me about all the time she had taken, before coming in to see me, to review the documents I had sent over.  I didn't get a chance to tell her how the majority of those "diagnosis" were years old, over with and never removed, incorrect, or also misdiagnosis.  She thought my other doctors are really trying to help me, yet once these other doctors realized I had thyroid issues they advised me an endocrinologist had to help me.  She tells me these other side effects of thyroid (or lack of thyroid) disorders need other doctors who specialize in those issues to help me.  I knew it was going to get worse from there and it did.

She continued on how she refuses to write scripts for Armour Thyroid.  That it is an unstable medication.  I was dying to ask her then why it's approved by the FDA and still on the market, & how Synthroid has had its own history of recalls due to its inconsistency.  I told her how the last time I was on Synthroid they kept increasing the dose and my pain increased with it.  How I was symptomatic of having a T3 conversion problem.  She goes on to tell me that TSH is the only number she, or any endocrinologist, needs to check.  Pain is a rheumatologist issue and I would need to see one.  (Oh God, this is getting worse by the minute.)  But she did make a point that, how could she tell if I had a T3 conversion problem being on a med with T3?  So she'll put me back on Synthroid, then check the T3 and my other thyroid levels later on.  Oh, she also said, "I'm not going to put you on a medication just to lose weight."  If she was listening to me she would have known I didn't want to be on it because of that!  After this I lost all trust in her treatment.

The remainder of the appointment she spends complaining about all the time she is spending with me and how it's going into her other appointments.  She, again, goes on and on about her name and how to pronounce it.  She goes over my blood work.  Oh hey, 0.42 TSH is in "normal" range!  Oh no, not this again!  No, I feel terrible at that level!  It's not normal for me!  Finally she goes into her plan for me.  She is taking me off 120mg of Armour and putting me on 100mcg of Synthroid.  I'll do this because I need some type of thyroid medication to live!  I have to have labs done on 2 different days and fasting before each one.  She's going over everything so quickly I ask her if she's writing it down for me because my short term memory has been off lately.  She tells me if that's the case, then I need to bring someone with me to help me next time.  Then again, goes over how to pronounce her name.  Wow, thanks.

I set up my next appointment and leave, then get in my car and start bawling.  I cry driving all the way home.  When I get home I start researching naturopathic doctors.

I already forgot how to pronounce her last name.

PART 2: The Naturopath

Not all naturopathic doctors dabble in autoimmune issues, so in my search I am looking for one who does and is close by.  The search is limited.  There's one in Rochester, but their initial appointment is pushing $400 (It may have even been $450, can't remember) and I just couldn't afford that.  Also, naturopathy is not "recognized" in NY state so they are not covered under insurance, nor are they allowed to write scripts for blood work or prescriptions.

I find one in Ithaca who says she can.  I send and e-mail of inquiry and in response I am told the initial appointment is around $250 (Better than $400  so that works for me!), but they are booking into September (and it's currently April or May, I can't even remember anymore)! So until I can get in, I am referred to a local ND whose initial appointment $150, additional appointments $75.  I like this, but since I have lost faith in endocrinologists, my primary is going to need to work with her as far as blood work and medication.  I have a good, long standing relationship with my primary doctor so this shouldn't be a problem.

The initial appointment with the local ND is great!  She is extremely thorough, going through my history, realizing and taking into consideration much of what is listed in my medical history is incorrect, misdiagnosed, and/or is irrelevant to my current situation.  She starts to confirm all my suspicions and research that I have done on T4/T3 treatment and why I am feeling ill.  Then, I knew it was coming and I dreaded it, she advises I need to change my diet.  No gluten, dairy, peanuts, red wines. Limit red meats, poultry, certain fruits, sugar, salt, and the majority of soy products, plus cut the carbs.  I need an anti-inflammatory diet.

She listens to me, explains things so I can understand them.  She goes over the blood work the last endocrinologist wrote for me & found out she wasn't even going to check my T3 at all! I'm adding a lot of vitamins and supplements to my diet.  I need to speak with my primary, get blood work done, put on an additional T3 medication, and go back on Armour Thyroid.  I'm so glad I did this!  The next day I call and cancel the future appointment I had set up with my 4th endocrinologist.  I'm OVER the terrible treatment I have had with them!

PART 3: TheAftermath

I have to gut out my fridge, freezer, and pantry of the foods I can't eat.  Wegmans has a good selection of gluten free food!  Unfortunately, most of the stuff that is gluten free has additional ingredients I need to be avoiding.  So I'd find something and, oh there's dairy in it.  Or, nope, that has soy, or that has peanuts.  I started crying in the middle of the supermarket.  It has gotten a little easier with time, but oh, what I would do for a Domino's chicken alfredo bread bowl every now and then!  Or pizza with fluffy crust!  Or, OMG, REAL ICE CREAM! *SOB*

The week after I saw my ND, on a Monday, I went into my primary's office.  I saw an NP who wrote scripts to for my thyroid blood work and I went to have my blood drawn.  I had already switched back to the Synthroid and my pain was getting worse each week that went by.  Then that Thursday I got a phone call from my NP.  She asks, "You're taking your medication every day?  At the same time?  You aren't eating or anything when you take it?"  Um, why am I getting drilled with questions?  What's going on?

My TSH was 17.11!  In addition to that, my Free T4 is low end of the reference range, my Total T3, Free T3 are low, and my Reverse T3 is at the high end of the reference range.  No wonder I was feeling like crap!  Everything is opposite of where it should be!

What concerned me the most was my TSH being 17.  I did a little research and found out that when my new endocrinologist changed me from my Armour Thyroid back to Synthroid she didn't do the conversion right and cut my dosing in HALF when it really only needed to be adjusted very minimally.  I had only been on Synthroid for a little over a month and can only imagine where I would have been if I would have kept course.

So, after being grilled with the questions by my NP she got me a script to get back on the Armour Thyroid, same dosing as before, & added on additional T3.  Within a few weeks I already started to feel better.  She wouldn't fill the dosing for the Cytomel (T3) at the amount the ND requested, but I saw my actual primary doctor a few weeks later, she collaborated with my ND, then raised the amount.

Some time has passed & now I'm subclinical hyperthyroid.  TSH low, T3 levels kind of in the middle of where they should be.  It still is going to take some more time to even out and labs to figure out the next step of action with me.  My overall health is doing well and I've lost a lot of weight.  It's amazing the roller coaster I've gone through all because of one stupid organ.  I'm only hoping my levels stay even and I don't get sick again.

And now that we're in September I'll be going to the new ND soon.  Eventually I'll write my experiences.  My goal?  To stop writing about my thyroid and autoimmune problems because I'll be feeling better.  Then I can start writing about more fun products and projects I am working on instead of depressing stuff about how terrible & misunderstood medical treatment is for thyroid autoimmune diseases!  I've been doing them, but more behind the scenes as of late.  You'll probably see more of them in my Instragram or Twitter as of now but hopefully I'll remember to post the stuff to my Facebook page now & then too.