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Tuesday
Sep092014

No One Else 14 - To Write Love On Her Arms

More than 350 million people suffer from depression worldwide.

 Globally, there’s 1 suicide every 40 seconds.

 Source

 

A small blue heart adorns my left wrist. It’s permanent, and I’m thankful for that.

Every year, To Write Love On Her Arms, a non-profit organization aimed at raising awareness for depression and suicide, encourages youth from around the globe to reach out, connect, talk and leave a little “love” for that person to hold on to in the form of a small heart or the word “love” left scribbled across a wrist.

It’s more than a reminder - it’s a promise to keep fighting. Depression, many times, robs you of your common sense, your drive and passion, your will to live. No, a blue tattoo will never be able to save me or anyone else for that matter, but it’s a reminder that NO ONE can ever replace YOU. 

A reminder that you do not suffer alone.

This is a reminder that you are loved. 

An encouragement to just keep swimming.

I invite you to join us this year. 

 

NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION WEEK

9/08  Introducing: National Suicide Prevention Week
9/09  Connectedness and Community
9/10  World Suicide Prevention Day
9/11  Remembering Those We’ve Lost
9/12  The Stories We Share
9/13  There Is Still Some Time to Be Surprised
9/14  What Comes Next?
Friday
Aug222014

The End of My Essential Oil Journey - Sort Of

There’s a little “sleep happy” at the end of this story…And then I used my rescue inhaler around Day 8 (and 9…10…11…). But it wasn’t just that. Over the course of my two week (ish) fling with essential oil use topically and internally, I called it quits. Here, in no particular order, is exactly why I’m not singing out of the hymnal at the Church of EOs.

My Poor Stomach.

After some research, like this which cites the dangers associated with peppermint ingestion, I determined that any internal intake of essential oils – no matter their proclaimed safety – can make and did make my stomach do terrible things. I was having pretty consistent belly pains and bathroom visits, all of which I could directly associate with oils usage. For the record, I was ingesting peppermint, lavender and lemon essential oils with large glasses of water.

If I didn’t oil, my stomach was fine. I think it’s important to note here that digestion health is a big deal topic in my family. We take probiotics (I prefer Ultimate Flora Extra Care Probiotic Supplement Vegetable Capsules), eat extremely lean meats (like bison), and don’t buy sodas. “Juicing Night” is actually a thing in my house.

My Face.

Oh, y’all. This one by itself is enough to make me run for the pharmaceuticals (I joke. I’m still using a modified OCM cleanser for my face, which is natural).

I know my face. I obsess over its large pores, unsightly blemishes, dark spots, the occasional wrinkle or crinkle and all the weird dryness and oiliness that come to boot. I just have crap skin. However, after decades (literally) of fighting, it is better. Much better actually – thanks to that oil cleansing method above, some killer products, and education about my face (compliments of /r/skincareaddiction).

So when I began to have large, cystic acne appear on my face, neck and chest shortly after I started oiling, you could say I was a little concerned.

You could also say I freaked the eff out.

Day by day, as I continued using my essential oils (cutting down on the ingesting and placing them on my wrists and back of neck, or diffused) my face grew into a minefield of horror. I kid you not – some bumps were as large as a nickel if you included the inflamed area surrounding it.

That was actually my last straw. Knowing full and well that the only thing that had changed in 2 weeks was the inclusion of essential oils – I quit.

It’s been a few weeks now and I am slowly getting my skin back. I’ve had a couple of BHA chemical peels, but I’m getting there.

Inflammation.

There’s no miracle cure here. I knew that. I wasn’t expecting one either. But inflammation, chronic inflammation, is nothing to laugh over. It’s not a quick-fix medical problem. It doesn’t go away with any one thing. It takes a healthy diet, proper medical attention, and awareness. It may, FOR SOME, include essential oils.

But for me? No. It doesn’t.

But there’s good news.
My Children.

My children absolutely love it. I do not let them ingest any essential oils, but each and every night I hear the same thing.

Momma? Can I have some of that sleepy smell stuff?

I put 3 drops of lavender essential oil on each child’s pillow as they lay down for the night. Each of them burrow their little faces, taking deep breathes and exhaling in cartoon-ish style. It’s calming. I get it. And to be honest, I don’t care if it is placebo effect or not – my children are soothed by adding lavender oil to our nighttime routine.

As a benefit – I have children with bedrooms that smell like spas – not daycares.

I intend to keep lavender around for this sole purpose – to soothe and calm before bed and during stressful times. I have interest in finding other oils that the children find benefits from as well – as long as they don’t experience the negative side effects that I did.

And they may not. Which is sorta my point here.

Your “perfect health mix” is different than every other person on the planet. What is good for you is what you should do. While essential oils may not be part of mine, maybe they will be part of yours. So if you are interested, I recommend trying essential oils out. Do your homework and use them as directed (unless they begin causing you issues).

Should you have any questions? Hit me up! I happen to know people. 

 

 

Monday
Jul212014

Day 6: If You Were Looking For a Miracle

It’s been 6 days since I started a regime of essential oils. I’ve already posted one update which has held resounding truth throughout this entire experiement: I am more hydrated, softer, and likely overally healthier simply by nature of using essential oils properly.

Let’s try question and answer again, because who am I to re-invent the wheel?

How’s that asthma coming along?

I still want my inhaler. My inhaler is fast and efficient. My inhaler doesn’t require mix-matching oils, blending them with coconut oil or dropping them into my water (container-by-container). My inhaler takes 5 seconds to use from start to finish. I don’t have to rub my inhaler all over my feet, wrists or back of my neck.

But my inhaler has “other stuff” in it - honestly, I don’t even know the entire contents.

Have you ever thought about that? What the “other” is in your prescriptions? That birth control pill isn’t one big chalky compound of pure hormone - its got stuff in it to make it a pretty powder pink colored pill that is capable of being stamped and packaged. That extra “stuff” may very well be totally A-ok fine with human bodies, but it still bothers me that it’s not on the side of the dang bottle.
(What about kid’s medicines? What’s the other in those? Hmmm.. Now I’ve got googling to do.)  

I digress. You asked about my asthma, right?

Right. Can you breathe? Have you used your rescue inhaler?

I’m less congested (what I’ve learned to be inflammation - so less inflammed). That could be the essential oils. It could also be my additional water intake (I’m likely up from 16-24 ounces a day to double that) and coconut oil consumption (also very good for you). It could be a combo of those two things and a little placebo effect with me wishing something would provide relief.

With that said - let’s be real here. I don’t want to dig an unneccessary grave. My asthma symptoms are BETTER, but I don’t (as of this point) consider them to be under control. I still have an obvious, obnoxious cough. I’m still more lethargic in the mornings than I am when I’m using QVar.

But no, dear friends, I have not used my rescue inhaler.

So… whatcha thinking? Where to from here?

Fortunately for my blog content, I have enough EOs to keep going another week or two. I still have my rescue inhaler at hand should I need it.

I have been experiencing one not-so-awesome side effect in the Land of Stomach Happiness. Y’all - let’s call this “cleansing”. I’ve done a little research on the 3 essential oils I’m ingesting daily - lemon, lavender and peppermint - and once you cut through some of the over-marketed EO praise/ EO shaming, I found that lavender and peppermint essential oils can actually cause stomach distress in children and adults. 

I’m considering putting the oils in a capsule instead of in my water. Two problems here: annoying + I enjoy the water. I know I said lavender oil taste like lawn clippings, but you can’t taste it under a drop of peppermint and 2 drops of lemon. It’s refreshing. 

What about the children? Are they oily?

I didn’t want to bomb the house with oils or blindly throw a bunch of crap on my tiny humans without first trying it out. Saturday night, I let each of the boys pick out a scent they liked and I placed a drop or two on their pillows. At the very least, it was fun to watch them react to new scents. Chase picked peppermint and wintergreen - he burried his face a bit into his pillow, happy with his selection.

Conner loved lemon, which is no shock to me, but also enjoyed the Balance DoTerra blend which contains spruce, rosewood, frankincense and blue tansy. This was a perfect pick for bedtime as it has a very calming, earthy feel about it. He also slept quite well that night.

 

Here’s to another week of experimenting!

 

 

Wednesday
Jul162014

Hydrated & Moisturized: Day Two

 

I don’t really know how to approach this post halfway through the second day of my “To Oil Or Not” journey, but question and answer sounds like a randy good time, right?

So, how ya feeling?

Thanks for asking! Well, I can tell you that there are two types of medical people out there. The ones that know when they are pregnant, and those that have their children unsuspectedly during the neighbor’s quinceanera. To be fair - the majority of people seem to be a third type, the “I know enough not to die, but not enough to associate increased water intake with a healthier disposition”. I also fear many of those people end up in pyramid schemes.

Fortunately, I’m the first (and not preggers).

I feel good. I believe that most people would likely start drinking more water if they too intended to ingest essential oils (caution: not all are to be taken orally - consult the internet), and that’s no exception here. With lemon, peppermint and lavender (the allergy trio, Donya tells me), I ingest orally and with that come the added benefits associated with more water intake.

Including the disadvantages - hello, extra bathroom visits. 

I’m also softer. Although I consider myself heavy-handed with the coconut oil already, forcing myself to a nightly footrub (which debilitates me to the point my poor husband has to retrieve things like milk and vanilla roasted almonds) (it’s terrible) directly translates to softer piggies. I also put oils on my wrists and chest, so those things are softer too.

Bottom line is - having to use the oils makes you healthier overall. I hope people understand that if they start seeing major differences at first, perhaps it’s because you’ve cut a soda and replaced it with some lemon water. And hey - if the cost of some oils rewired that thought process? Worth it. 

Oh… ok. Well, that’s great! So overall you are feeling healthy, but what about the reason you started this whole oily, smelly experience - how is your asthma?

It’s day two. I wasn’t expecting a miracle in the asthma department. Inflammation builds and takes time to calm down. I will say these three things:

  1. I miss my QVar.
  2. I haven’t needed my rescue inhaler.
  3. I can mostly breathe, but still feel inflammed in my face. 

 

Anything you want to add?

The lavender essential oil tastes like concentrated grass. I will be placing it in a capsule le pronto. It smells great, still very woodsy and much like true lavender (thank everything, because fake lavender smells is that of cheap hooker).


The lemon will be bought no matter what. It’s just amazing. I feel like a fool for cutting as many lemons as I have in the past - especially for things like cleaning and mopping.


I want to try something for bug repellant. I consider that area to be one of my biggest household “cancer offenders”, and I know from gardening that bugs are very reactive to strong scents. In other words, I think it might work! 

 

Monday
Jul142014

To Oil Or Not

A long time ago, in a not-so-far-off land, a woman attempted to teach her young daughter the ways of the world, the ins and the outs, the ups and the downs. And during this time, the woman taught her daughter many important things, one of which was common sense.

It didn’t all stick.

Oh, I’m joking, mom - I like it when things make sense.

For example, if the juice of one lemon helps detoxify my body (with the evidence on my face in the form of non-existent zits), then naturally the juice of many more lemons would amplify the effect. This makes sense to me.

Essential oils are the slap bracelets of 30-year-old middle class women circa 2014. I’m telling you that you are either a) an oiler (www.your URL typically goes here.com) or b) a skeptic (pot. kettle. black). As I sit here, I can honestly think of one single person that has answered the “Do they really work?” question with a resounding “Not like people say they do”.

I thanked her for her honesty, and set forth with an agenda. I will not be the last kid with the slap bracelet, nor do I want to be the only kid left without her money from a Nigerian Prince for the low, low price of her childrens’ social security information. 

I am on week numero 2 without a steroid inhaler. You see, I spent most of my life fighting allergies. Around the age of 10, I was told I had a “touch of asthma” and was placed on a steroid inhaler. “She’ll grow out of it,” the Dr. would say. At some point, I ditched the inhaler thinking I was too big for it.

But every time the wind would blow a certain way or another plant would turn green/brown/moldy/yellow, my entire sinus cavity would go haywire and I’d chug Benadryl and allergy meds for relief.

I did this from essentially 12 to the age of 29. It stopped there after one amazing discovery on behalf of my primary care provider with a few simple words during an otherwise expected ‘I’m about to have a sinus infection’ appointment - “I used to have asthma”.

“You mean you have asthma and aren’t taking your medication… or you think you have asthma and would like to be tested?” he retorted.

I read his body language. He was being serious. I began to explain how yes, I was once diagnosed, but that I’d outgrown it. He quickly explained that this was old school logic. Yes, your airways get slightly bigger because your body gets larger, in general, but no (silly goose) you don’t outgrow true asthma.

I left his office with a very familiar inhaler - the same one Conner started nearly 6 years ago and one extremely similar to the one I was handed 20 years prior.

——

I took my QVar semi-as directed. Not daily, but at least every other. I made it through a Spring without decongestants. Y’all. I want to bold, underline, asterick, highlight, and otherwise shout that last sentence from the rooftops. I didn’t have to wad up toilet paper into each nostril. I didn’t have to breathe out of my mouth. I could taste my food. I wasn’t a zombie to my Benadryl or a bath-salts user due to decongestants. I was just… me.

Then, my QVar inhaler ran out and my pharmacist informed me it would be $100 a month.

WHAT.

$100 a month to BREATHE? There are no alternatives as QVar is a very tiny particule. There is not a generic. This is my only lifeline to anti-inflammation and oxygen.

And so, I did what any self-respecting, non-breathing person does in this golden age: Complained about it to Facebook. And just like my slap bracelet hustlers in 1991, I was immediately flooded with “THERE IS AN OIL FOR THAT!”

Hear me out. I love all things green and crunchy. We shop at the money suck known as Whole Foods. I love local farmers. No heated plastics here! And coconut oil goes on ALL THE THINGS. But smelling things to make me feel better? Nope.

$100 a month though? That’s not our only pharmaceutical expense a month, trust me there and I can’t afford that. I found myself thinking, just as The Robots wanted me to that those fancy oils are actually cheaper than $100 a month (if I didn’t lose my marbles like the rest of ‘em), and I didn’t even require fancy ones for my asthma. My inhaler though, it works, and I know it’s not working via placebo effect (which is my huge concern with how actually effective essential oils are). Courtesy of a friend, I’m in a cult full of slimy people.

I didn’t have the money to plop down at the pharmacy, so I took a friend up on a long standing offer: She would send me free samples of things to help with my asthma and inflammation (the inflammation being the reason for the asthma, in my case). All I had to do was try it out. No commitment. 

I threw the diffusing thing out the window before the oils arrived. I love the way natural things smell, but I also don’t firmly believe in aromatherapy (edited to add: My friend tells me I can put one of these blends (Breathe) in my nebulizer, so I may eat my words here). I was either going to ingest (via water or capsule) my essential oils (such as lavender and lemon) or apply them topically with a carrier oil (I use my beloved coconut oil). 

And today is my first day. I do not have an inhaler to fall on as far as steroids go, but I do have a rescue inhaler (albuterol) should I not be able to get past my inflammation. This has happened twice in the two weeks without my QVar. I will not take any anti-inflammatories (you know you have terrible inflammation when an Aleve can help alleviate your stuffy nose). 

Which essential oils I am trying to assist with my inflammatory asthma:

  • Lavender (twice a day, 2 drops in 4 ounces of water)
  • Lemon (4 drops to a gallon, and I’ll likely drink half this a day)
  • Wintergreen (topically using 1 tablespoon coconut oil, 1 drop, 2 times daily) mixed with…
  • Eucalyptus (topically using 1 tablespoon coconut oil, 1 drop 2 times daily)
  • Peppermint (either orally or topically. Haven’t decided yet)
  • A blend called “Breathe” a doTerra oil blend of Laurel Leaf, Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Melaleuca, Lemon and Ravensara (applied topically when I figure out how much).

My plan? To report back with all positive, all negative, and anything in between. Remember folks: I am not affiliated in any way with any essential oil representative. I just have really awesome friends who happen to know that I’m hurting, pretty granola, and totally willing to try new things. EVEN if that means all of my oiler friends hating me for calling them out on the stuff that doesn’t work. Because they know if any of these essential oils help with my asthma, I’ll be the first to hollar from the social medias.