The theme of my life since the beginning of 2018 has been “How can I heal my body and feel better?” I got some lab results back this past week, and found out that my intuition was right; I have major estrogen dominance which feeds my Endometriosis and Hypothyroidism as well as my fibromyalgia. But I do not have PCOS. So yay? I started on a natural progesterone cream, and while I believe it’s already starting to affect my system, my estrogen dominance symptoms are rearing their ugly heads.
Along with getting answers to health issues I’ve had for at least a decade, most likely even longer, I’ve turned attention to what I’m using on my body – makeup, hair care, lotions, deodorant… – and am trying to figure out what I want to start transitioning to more natural and better for my body products. I spent an hour or so last night researching natural beauty brands and some skin care brands. Half of my skin care routine involves natural skin care (essential oils, rose water, witch hazel…) but the majority of my makeup products and hair care products do not. Now, I have no intention of going full bore with changing out all of the products I use! That would cost and arm and a leg and all of my favorite clothes, but I think it is feasible to slowly change out things purposefully. So today, I decided to switch from my spray deodorant to a Schmidt’s deodorant. I grabbed the Rose + Vanilla one. It has a delicate scent, and I’m eager to see if it will work! I’ve heard good things about Schmidt’s deodorants.
Let’s talk beauty though for a few minutes. I currently use a Korean brand for my BB cream and frankly quite love it! But I’m looking in to a few of the newer beauty brands coming to Target! I’m really excited about trying Hue Noir Foundation and HALEYS Beauty. Which, speaking of Target, I just applied to become an affiliate because I shop there frequently and am super excited about all of the new brands they’re introducing!!
I have officially been diagnosed with chronic illnesses – Endometriosis, Hypothyroidism, andFibromyalgia. I have also been diagnosed with secondary conditions of adrenal fatigue, estrogen dominance, and unofficially/officially IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Not to mention depression (dysthymia) and anxiety as well. My eyesight is nearly perfect, but I have and get significant eye fatigue and now use 0.75 reading glasses when I’m using my computer. It actually does help my eyes rest and help some of the headaches and migraines I get.
With chronic illnesses, taking care of myself has become vital. It’s also been good for my mental health. Smelling, looking, and feeling good are all connected for me. My body is in such chaos and has been for a very long time that if there are even a few small things I can feel like I have control over the better I can function. There is something very validating in finally getting answers to why my body hasn’t felt good in a very very long time. I honestly can’t remember what it’s like to not be in pain of some kind, or not feel like I’m struggling against wave after wave of fatigue. This doesn’t make me as depressed as it used to though. I know how to function to the best of my ability and I’ve figured out the things that give me a little edge over the pain and fatigue. Things like doing eyeliner, eyebrows, and bronzer or a touch of blush almost every day. Things like wearing the clothes I want to that make me feel good and sexy on my short, short-waisted, and pear shaped body. Things like having to drastically remove foods from my eating-thing (I hate the word d i e t) even though it means I will most likely not be able to add those things back into my eating-thing. Now that I have gotten actual physical confirmation of what’s been going on with my body, I now have the tools to take even better steps towards getting my body to the best place I can health-wise.
What are some of the natural beauty or health-wise things you do? Have you found things that help you feel better? Or what are your comfort items/things/actions that you do when you’re having a bad day?
I am two and a half weeks out from my second laparoscopic surgery (4th surgery overall) and I figured I’d share my top tips for recovery and healing from surgery.
One of the things I have known from previous surgeries is that I don’t handle anesthesia very well – like at all. I had my deteriorating gallbladder removed two years ago, and ended up having to get admitted because I was unable to keep anything down and was in so much pain they couldn’t get a handle on it. So when I went in to have my right ovary removed two and a half weeks ago, I made sure to explain to the anesthesiologist that I needed all the anti-nausea meds they could give me.
First, let’s talk through what typically happens in the week before and day of surgery. You will typically have a pre-op appointment with your surgeon or doctor, then either the same day or another day, usually at the location of your surgery, you will have blood drawn, and sign a whole bunch of paperwork for surgery. Day of surgery, depending on the time of your surgery, you will be cut off with food at midnight the night before, then roughly 5-4 hours before, you will be told to stop drinking everything. I was allowed to take a few sips of water to take my thyroid medication and my Zoloft, but that was it until after surgery. When I showed up to the hospital, I brought along an overnight bag just in case, even though my surgery was technically outpatient. Think bare minimum. If you do get admitted, you will not be up to doing your normal night time routine (if you have one) and I can guarantee that you won’t be up to wearing many of your own clothes.
You’ll get your weight done (this is an important step for anesthesia), leave a urine sample, and get an IV started. I always prefer an IV in my left hand so it doesn’t get pinched in my elbow, or get in the way of my dominant hand. The IV will start a drip of saline, and you’ll get anti-nausea, pain meds, and antibiotics through your IV as well. Then it’s settle and wait for everyone to come see you. The anesthesiologist will come see you and go over everything with you and any concerns you have, then the head nurse for the OR will come, and once you see your surgeon, that means you’ll be wheeled back within minutes of them leaving. When I had my gallbladder taken out, I remember everything up to being strapped down and getting cozy on the operating table. Then everything goes black. For this surgery, I remember being wheeled out of my pre-op room, and then everything peacefully and happily fades. I’m not entirely sure what they gave me, but my awesome pre-op nurse called it happy juice. It kicked in within minutes of her pushing it into my IV, and boy do I much prefer that way of heading back to surgery than being fully aware.
Now waking up in recovery is always going to feel weird. I can’t remember the moment I actually woke up this time around, but I do remember I was just suddenly awake. SUPER groggy, but not nauseated or in pain at all. Which was so incredibly relieving. I could barely keep my eyes open, but I felt amazing. I credit that solely to my anesthesiologist getting the drugs balanced correctly and giving me pain meds BEFORE surgery.
Alright, on to my suggestions!
If you are nausea prone, then I highly recommend talking with the anesthesiologist about getting those anti-nausea meds. Especially if your procedure is supposed to be outpatient. I got something this time around called a Scopolamine patch. It was this little brown/tan patch that went behind my left ear. I did experience some of the side effects, such as blurry vision and headaches AFTER I took the patch off 48 hours after surgery. These side effects were so minor compared to dealing with nausea. I didn’t have any nausea at all post-surgery this time around and it was glorious! Also ask your anesthesiologist if they can give you the anesthesia through your IV instead of giving your gas. That will greatly reduce the risk of reaction and nausea post-surgery. Another note about nausea – have some instant rice or soups on hand. I wasn’t hungry for several days after surgery, but I managed to easily get down soups/broth/rice.
DO NOT SKIP A DOSE OF PAIN MEDS! Especially in the first 72 hours after surgery. You typically get an IV dose of pain meds while you’re still in the OR (Operating Room), so if you do get to go home after a hours in recovery, it should be time to take a dose of pain meds as soon as you get home. This surgery I took Aleve and Percocet together. Percocet every 6 hours, Aleve every 12 hours. I know from experience I can’t handle prolonged doses of Ibuprofen, and Tylenol does next to nothing for me. Ask your doctor for their best recommendation for pain meds, and then seriously, stick with a schedule. If you fall behind on doses, it will be very hard to catch back up and you will be in a lot of pain.
Okay, so during surgery you will have a breathing tube down your throat. This is a given for any surgery you’re fully under for. The nice thing is that you typically never even know you have a tube down your throat…caveat for those who scarily wake up during surgery. The downside to this is a scratchy throat and cough for a few days to a week after surgery. If you’re having any sort of abdominal surgery, this is going to kill and you’ll feel like any cough or aggressive clearing of your throat is going to rip your stitches out. Have 12 hour cough syrup on hand, and a whole bowl of throat/cough drops next to your bed or wherever you are going to sit yourself when you get home. Also, have a blanket or small pillow you can hold over your incision whenever you do cough or blow your nose or sneeze 6 times in a row like I did. My youngest kindly gave me his cold after surgery so I was sneezing and blowing me nose a lot and man that hurt. Another suggestion I have is get a bottle of 100% pure pineapple juice. I had big glasses of pineapple juice and ginger ale mixed together. Pineapple is very soothing to your throat and it tastes good, win win!
Shoulder Pain/Gas/The big “C”
This mainly is helpful for anyone having an abdominal laparoscopic surgery. For that kind of surgery, anything to do with any of your organs, your abdomen is pumped full of gas. It is very easy for that gas to get stuck in pockets after surgery and this typically manifests itself as major RIGHT shoulder pain and neck pain. After my gallbladder surgery I couldn’t lie on my right side for a whole week because every time I tried to lie down I’d almost black out from how sharp the pain was. So I was prepared after this surgery. Get a bottle prior to surgery of ULTRA or EXTRA strength GasX pills or a store brand. And take those almost like candy. I took them every time I took pain meds and I only had a few twinges of shoulder pain for the first 36ish hours. Stay on top of those, and also ask your surgeon if they get as much of the gas out before closing up. Apparently this is thing as my surgeon said she’s rather anal about making sure to get out as much of the gas as she can before closing incisions. Next, get some Icy/Hot cream or Arnica gel, or Salonpas patches. And make sure to have a heating pad on hand as well!! These things will help shoulder and neck pain if you can’t get on top of the gas pain with the GasX. Okay, now this is VERY important. Make sure to have a bottle of stool softener on hand too. Any time you take heavy duty pain meds, constipation always shows up. Take a stool softener as often as you can, and keep taking it until you’re no longer take the heavy pain meds. Another thing to keep on hand are some probiotics. Because of all of the antibiotics they’ll pump in for surgery, it’s a good idea to combat them and keep your gut healthy by taking an actual probiotic (link for my favorite down below).
This again is probably more helpful for those having abdominal surgery, but make sure to have loose fitting sweats or yoga pants to wear home from surgery. Or even better, a maxi or swing dress (here are links for my two favorites: one and two). After my breast biopsy/lumpectomy ten years ago, I wore sports bras for a few days, but went braless whenever I could. For abdominal surgery, high-waisted leggings that don’t rub on your incisions are helpful; tunics, and comfy nightgowns were all my go to’s as well. Plan to stay in bed for a few days, just to let your body rest. It is easy to overdo it, especially if you feel good. Take. It. Easy. Even being two and a half weeks out from my own surgery, I am still needing to take it easy. Lots of leggings and yoga pants still.
As long as your incision are glued shut/steri-stripped shut, you should be good to take a shower within 24 hours of surgery. I had to wait like 50 hours after my c-section to take a shower, but that was because I had a 48 hour pain pump attached to my incision and I couldn’t take a shower until that came out. Make sure to ask, or have your partner or who ever is with you and takes you home after surgery ask when you get discharged. I waited until the steri-strips came off about 5 days post surgery and then another 4 days after that before I took a bath. If your incision still have scabs, I’d say wait until those have completely fallen off before taking a bath.
Before I wrap this post up, here are pictures of my three incisions. When I had my gallbladder surgery, it was only one incision in my belly button, but I can’t say I minded having three tiny incisions. I did get some geranium oil (I got this one) which is supposed to be good for healing scars and incision. It has a sort of strong floral/greenery scent. But I swear putting a tiny bit on each incision (AFTER every bit of scab had fallen off) has helped especially with the bruising and tenderness of each incision. Vitamin E oil is good for incisions too, but I’ve always been pretty lax about remembering to put some on my incisions.
List of supplies for post-surgery care
GasX or store brand equivalent (extra or ultra strength is the best!)
Throat Drops (I used these)
Salonpas patches (I use theseI did get some bigger patches, but didn’t end up using them)
Arnicagel (I use this one)
Probiotics (I use these I did see these at Costco so when I run out, I’m going to get those instead)
Wide waist/loose waist yoga pants
High-waisted leggings (favorite leggings!)
Swing/Maxi dresses (I like this one)
Comfortable loose nightgowns (it’s uncomfortable to have waistbands rubbing against healing incisions)
Small pillow/blanket to hold against your incisions
Instant rice mixes (they were still gentle on my stomach, but tasted good)
Applesauce for if you really don’t feel like eating
**Disclaimer: may contain affiliate links! I will get a very small percentage of anything you purchase through an affiliate link.
Welcome to Chronically Curly! I am so excited you’re here, and am very much looking forward to what I can create in this space. I have had a burning desire to learn more about makeup, hair care, fashion, and beauty for several years now. The older I get, the more comfortable I am with my makeup, taking care of my curly hair, and being adventurous with my fashion and overall aesthetic. My dream is to become a makeup artist one day, but I haven’t gotten there yet.
Something you will soon learn about me is that I struggle with two officially diagnosed and three suspected chronic illnesses. These are a HUGE part of my life, and during the bad weeks, I don’t always have enough spoons [more on this in another post] for doing a full blog post. So bear with me please. During those bad weeks, you will probably see posts about self-care, counting spoons, and how I’m functioning especially being mama to two young boys (ages 1 and almost 4).
I grew up very conservative Christian and didn’t get my first “stylish” haircut until I was 20. All of my teenage years, my hair touched my waist, and I often wore “modest” clothing and didn’t start really wearing makeup consistently until about 2 1/2 years ago (at 24-25 years old). I am no longer a Christian, my hair is in an jaw length curly a-line bob that is a dark brown and burgundy ombre, and I wear some sort of makeup daily. And let’s face the truth, most days I live in yoga pants or leggings and comfy, cozy tops! But! Stylish clothes are only what you’d see me in when I’m out in public. It’s all about balance, ya know?
Okay, let’s talk Chronic Illnesses quickly. My officially diagnosed illnesses are Fibromyalgia and Hypothyroidism. The three suspected are IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), PCOS, and Endometriosis. I was officially diagnosed with Fibromyalgia February 2nd, 2009. Hypothyroidism was only officially diagnosed roughly a month ago on February 13th, 2018. I had surgery two weeks ago today (on March 8th, 2018) to remove my right ovary due to chronic cysts. Turns out my ovary was at least tripled in size, full of hemorrhagic cysts, and a large benign cyst. My surgeon also found a lot of scar tissue, including scar tissue binding my bowels to my abdominal wall. The scar tissue sounds a whole lot like endometriosis scar tissue, but I will have to get a second opinion about that.
I am short. Like 5′ 1″. So short. I wear typically a size 10/medium, but I have thunder thighs, a bubble butt, thick calves, and am short-waisted, and struggle with body image at times. When I’m in a lot of pain, or after both of my children were born, I have issues staying grounded and connected to my body. I started a habit a decade ago that each time I look in the mirror I will not leave until I have pointed out at least one thing I like. This has helped greatly with my self-confidence. That AND learning what clothes and styles look best on me and what I love and like the most <– that is important, I always tell anyone I’m giving fashion advice to, do not wear it unless you are comfortable and really LOVE it. Not just like, you need to LOVE the clothes and things you wear.
As I’m nearing 30 I have found skin care is becoming more important to me. So I will be sharing tricks and tips I’ve learned with taking care of my skin (more specifically my face). Also the makeup I use daily, the products I have found the easiest to use or cheapest, and hair care, let’s not forget about that! With my curls, I will be talking most about taking care of your own curls, so I apologize straight haired beauties! I don’t have as many tips for you as that is not something I’m as familiar with. But, I do know that several of my favorite hair care products are good for all types of hair, so keep an eye out.
Well, until next time! Stick with me as I continue to set up the blog and get it the way I want it looking. My hope is in the next few months to get my YouTube channel back up and running, but I am in need of several crucial pieces of equipment before I can start that again.