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Go and be awesome.

It has taken taken nearly 19 weeks (plus four ER visits, one urologist visit, three orthopedic visits, one neuro-surgeon visit, three MRIs, two X-rays, and seven doctor’s office visits), but I finally have a tentative course of treatment for my back (four bulging discs + mild degenerative disc disease) and left shoulder (not barring my June 5th follow-up visit with the neuro-surgeon, during which we’ll presumably discuss in detail the MRI findings and any plan of action she wants to take beyond what is already being done):

Shoulder: after having my continual left shoulder pain (which sometimes arcs across the back of my neck to my right shoulder, and/or creeps up the left side of my neck and subsequently makes it difficult and painful for me to turn or lift my head) ignored from late February onward (at the time the orthopedist was more interested in my back, and dismissed the shoulder pain as a simple muscle strain), the ortho I saw today specifically because he treats shoulder injuries (I took Dan to him last summer) suspects either a rotator cuff injury or a torn labrum. He gave me a steroid injection, pain medication, and a seal of approval on the Prednisone my PCP prescribed and I follow up with him in a week – if the shoulder feels better, then we’ll go with “rotator cuff injury” and treat it with steroids and physical therapy. If the shoulder doesn’t feel better, then we’ll go with “possible labrum tear” and set up a contrast MRI.

Back: the ortho I saw for my back (side note: in my experience female doctors are bitchy and dismissive and don’t like being questioned or have suggestions/ideas/theories brought up to them, so I jump for joy when I am given a male doctor) did an MRI and X-ray, then tossed me to a neuro-surgeon. The neuro-surgeon didn’t like the first MRI images so she sent me for additional ones at a different imaging center, and also set me up with physical therapy (on hold until the shoulder is situated) and a TENS unit.

The shoulder pain right now is worse than it was earlier today, presumably from driving all day (thus no sling) and letting the ortho maul at it and then inject liquid steroids into it, and my back is throbbing, so I’m not going to be typing much more…so let’s just wrap things up with this:


Words to live by.

Filed under General

Life lately

Life lately has been a blur of pain, medical appointments, pain, family drama, pain, kids galore (sleepovers, playdates), pain, and did I mention pain? The latest MRI revealed four bulging discs. To top it off, the left shoulder pain I complained about in February hasn’t gone away – it’s gotten worse. When I started PT, my (cute, heh) therapist’s manipulations of my shoulder combined with my description of the pain and what I did to injure my shoulder (shoveling three inches of pure slush while dealing with constant back pain) has him concluding that I don’t have simple “muscle strain” (which should have gone away weeks ago), but a torn tendon. Fun! A week of being the potato in a game of Hot Potato played by my PCP, ortho, and neuro resulted in an ER visit which landed me an X-RAY, shoulder/arm sling, and a shot of steroids. Last weekend my PCP called me in for a shot of anti-inflammatory drugs – this time in my ass rather than arm, since they gave me triple the usual adult dose. (Not being able to take NSAIDs by mouth really bites, because I can tell that a LOT of this pain really is inflammation-induced!)

This week’s agenda: ortho today, PCP and ortho tomorrow, and probably an MRI or an X-RAY or all of the above later this week or next week. Here at home: heating pad, TENS unit (pro tip: when using a TENS unit on your shoulder, don’t lift your arm unless you want to experience the sensation of Tasering yourself), Lidocaine patches, and pain medication and muscle relaxants to deal with the relentless, never-ending pain. I also have a sling to rest my left shoulder/arm as needed. Erghhhhhh.

Filed under General

3 Fantastic Tips For Keeping Your Skin Looking Fabulous

As a busy mom to two children under 11, one of whom is autistic, I find that far too often, I push my own needs aside to put the needs of my family first. And while I agree that my children should always be put first by me (as all moms should), it can be frustrating having very little time for myself.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change a thing about my family or lifestyle, but I would really love some time to myself. Just five minutes a day would be ideal.

One of the things that irritates me most about having very little free time is the fact that the small things, like keeping up with my skincare routine, suffer. I don’t want long, all I want is a few minutes each day to give my (beginning-to-age) skin, the care it needs.

girl looking in mirror
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In case you are wondering why I have all of a sudden become so concerned about my skincare, I recently found out that skin can begin to show signs of aging at as young as age 30. And, all too soon I will be reaching 30, hence the skin care panic.

I have now decided that from now on, I will make a little bit of time each day for myself and my skin care routine. To help you do the same, I have put together some handy tips for slowing down the clock and keeping your skin looking gorgeous, below:

  1. Always take off your makeup

One thing you must never do, regardless of how hectic your house is in the evenings, is forget to take off your makeup before bed. You might be exhausted from the day, but whatever you do, do not sleep with your makeup on.

Not only can leaving your makeup on age your skin significantly, it can also cause your face to become red, sore, cracked, and dry.

Invest in a chemical-free makeup remover and make a habit of removing your makeup every night. Keep your makeup remover by your bed, so that you aren’t tempted to skip it at the end of a long day.

  1. Invest in a good moisturizer

Of all the things you can do to help prevent your skin from aging, nothing is more effective than regular moisturizing. That’s why it is so important to invest in a good moisturizer and commit to moisturizing at least twice a day – morning and night.

But which moisturizer should you pick? Ideally, you want to choose a moisturizer that is specifically tailored to your skin type – dry, oily, combination, normal, etc. However, one of the best moisturizers for all skin types is the alpha h moisturizer, you can find the alpha h moisturizer at Blow LTD online, as well as in some stores.

If you are wondering what it is about moisturizers that help to prevent aging, let me just explain. Skin ages at the plumpness of the skin cells decreases, leading to lines and wrinkles appearing. The best way to keep the skin cells plumped up is by keeping them well hydrated through regular moisturizing.

  1. Never leave the house without applying sunscreen

As a mom, you most probably never let your little ones leave the house without smothering them in high factor sunscreen. So why do you fail to apply it to your own skin?

Did you know that the number one reason for premature aging is sun damage? That’s right that tan might look good, but underneath it, your skin is suffering. Protect yourself from aging by wearing a foundation with an SPF factor or apply sunscreen before leaving the house.

Filed under Articles

Three Ways I Make Money Online

I am the sole provider for our family of four humans, seven cats, and one dog (+ one snake, one tortoise, one hamster, and several fish; but their costs are negligible – and the tortoise and hamster eat human food!). I won’t lie – seeing that in writing is pretty damn scary. But I just put my nose to the grindstone (or rather, fingers to keyboard) and work, and focus on day-to-day goals and weekly accomplishments and monthly achievements rather than long-term goals and big pictures and 5-year plans.

With that said, while I do take on many one-time projects, there are several things I do on a regular basis to generate income:

  1. article writing at websites like GhostBloggers and Textbroker
  2. utilize many of the resources listed here: The Penny Hoarder: The 12 Best Ways to Make Extra Money in 2015
  3. affiliate earnings (I promote via my blogs, social media channels, and in our local community – yay for grocery store bulletin boards!)

Psst…if you’re interested in using your blog and social media platforms to generate revenue and product review opportunities, check out this great list I put together: How I Make Money Online (with Blogging & Social Media).

Filed under Articles

Getting A Horse For Your Child: Everything You Need To Know

Recently, my daughter asked me whether she could start taking riding lessons, which I happily agreed to. However, I then got to thinking, what happens when the next thing she asks for is a horse?

What would I say? How would I explain to her the high level of responsibility that comes with owning a horse? Would we be able to afford to keep and care for a horse? I have always aimed to give my children every possible opportunity – my daughter currently want to work with horses but is investing in a horse a step too far?

little girl and horse
picture source

At some point, pretty much every child will ask their parents if they can have a pet of their own. And while many parents are happy to get their child a small pet – a rabbit, hamster or maybe a cat, make great pets for kids. But what about when your child asks for something a little larger, like a horse, for example – what then?

If your child is begging for a horse of their own, you might be unsure what to do. Of course, you want to make your child happy, but you may be concerned about all the responsibility and cost that comes with owning a horse.

Perhaps you are wondering if your child is ready for a horse of their own or whether your child’s yearning for a horse is just a phase – don’t worry, that’s where I come in.

To help you decide whether getting a horse is the best thing for you and your child, I have put together a simple guide to everything you need to know. My daughter may not have asked for a horse yet, but I can feel it on the horizon, so it’s best to be prepared.

Ensure it isn’t just a phase
The first thing you need to do, before even thinking about getting your child a horse is ensure it isn’t just a phase.

Kids are easily influenced; all it can take is an inspirational horse-related book or movie and your child may spend weeks whining for a horse of their own. For some kids, this sudden love of horses could turn into a lifelong passion, for others it could just be a passing phase.

Instead of rushing out to buy your child a horse straight away, wait a few months and see how their new found passion develops. You will soon see whether horses are a life-long love or just another phase.

Book your child riding lessons
If your child has developed a passion for horses, the first thing you should do is book them in for riding lessons at a local stable. As part of their riding lessons, you child will also be required to help out with caring for the horses and mucking out. This will give them an idea of what owning a horse is actually like.

After booking your child in for riding lessons, spend a couple of months watching how they interact with the horses and how much they enjoy their lessons. If you notice your child getting excited before a lesson and asking to spend all their free time helping out at the stables, chances are, it’s a life-long passion.

Ask yourself whether you can afford the cost
For many parents, myself included, one of the biggest concerns about investing in a horse is the financial side of it. Of course, I am also concerned about the responsibility a horse brings, but my main concern is the cost.

As well as the initial cost of buying the horse, there are also many additional care costs to think of.

Owning a horse is not cheap, and before investing in one, it is crucial that you consider all the costs you will need to cover. From stabling costs and feeding supplies to tacking equipment and the cost of equest wormer, among other things, keeping a horse can be expensive.

Before you even think about getting a horse, it is crucial that you work out the costs associated with horse ownership.

Is your child responsible enough for a horse?

woman and horse
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If you have worked out the cost of owning a horse and can afford to cover it, the next thing you need to think about, is whether you child is responsible enough for a horse.

So, how old should a child be before getting a horse? There is no exact answer to this; when you allow your child to get a horse is up to you. Some parents won’t allow their child to get a horse until they are over 10, others allow their child to have a horse at a much younger age. It’s simply about personal preference.

No one knows your child better than you, which is why you are the best person to judge whether they are ready for a horse. If your child spends most of their time at the local stables helping out with the horses and spends all week looking forward to their riding lesson, these are good signs.

If you child is always willing to help out with the other family pets – walking the dog, cleaning out the rabbit hutch, etc., this shows that your child is responsible. However, if your child has to be forced to help out with the family pets and is reluctant to help out at the stables, they may not be ready for a horse of their own yet.

Lease before you buy
Even if you are 99% sure your child is ready for a horse, always lease before you buy. This will give you and your child the opportunity to get used to the responsibility that comes with owning a horse. As well as giving you the chance to ensure you can afford to cover everything, a horse needs.

Plus, by leasing instead of buying, you will allow your child to try out a few different horses, allowing them to get a feel of what type of horse is most suitable.

Getting a horse for your child is a big deal and not a decision that should be made likely. Before buying a horse always make sure your child is really interested and is willing to help out and take on the responsibility. Otherwise, you could be left paying and caring for a horse your child has lost interest in.

Filed under Articles