New Year: New Changes, New Discoveries, New Plans

Hello lovelies, and happy belated New Year!

It’s been so long since I’ve posted anything at all (about 7-8 months to be exact). During this time, I’ve moved, gotten myself a little job, started GETTING HEALTHY & just been exploring everything I can with my family when we have the chance. Since I’ve moved, things have changed a little. I’m still obsessed with beauty, I think I just grew tired of updating and taking photos of everything that I buy or try. Plus, the room that I have my vanity in doesn’t have the greatest light (the one window that’s in there peers directly across into my neighbor’s window.. so much for privacy), so that doesn’t help either. I may still do some beauty reviews, but probably not as many as before.

The most important change that has happened in my life since I last blogged, happened in June of last year. I made some big changes in my life and started getting healthy. In a previous post, I wrote about how discouraged I was with getting healthy and losing weight, how I had absolutely no motivation whatsoever to work out even though I absolutely hated my body.. And no matter how much I tried, I could not get up and move. I just couldn’t. But I think maybe the big move we made had some sort of effect on how I felt. I think maybe I just needed a change of atmosphere. I hated the state we were in before which may have done something to my psyche that I wasn’t aware of at the time, but about a month after we moved here something FINALLY clicked. It just came out of nowhere, and I was ready to make that change! I’ve lost almost 30 lbs. since then and I’m still going because I have quite a bit more to lose, but I haven’t stopped since. I owe a lot of it to myfitnesspal – I’m one of the laziest people you’ll ever meet, so tracking information all day was one of the last things I wanted to do.. Who wants to track eeevery single meal or snack that you eat every single day? But it’s really just too easy to do and it’s become such a habit for me, I couldn’t stop if I wanted to. It’s like an addiction. I love seeing where I’m at during the day. In fact, I need to or else I’d never know when to stop. Of course since I’ve been doing it for months now, I’ve become a lot more conscious of the calorie content within many foods that I eat, which is nice to know when you’re trying to track these things. I’m not “dieting”, I’ve changed my life style. I watch what I eat and I work out 4-6x a week for at least an hour each sesh. I’m not perfect, though, you can check my MFP diary to see that! Some advice I did take from Youtube videos and blogs and things was that it can be very hard to completely remove certain things from your diet for good and it’s wise to not put those kind of restrictions on yourself because it can really make your journey a lot more difficult. I would never make it if I said I was cutting out all unhealthy food for good. I still eat pizza. I love sweets and desserts, I can’t help it. It’s in my blood! But I limit my intake now, whereas before I could (and would) eat a whole package of Chips Ahoy in a day! Things are definitely looking up for me and I’m so happy I’m on this journey now. It truly is a lifestyle change. If any of you have myfitnesspal, please add me! My name on there is koofers.

I also discovered within the past year that I have a condition called Lipedema, sometimes referred to as Lipoedema (you can learn more about it here if you’re interested). I’m not good at explaining what it is because I’m still learning about it myself, but basically it’s an adipose tissue disorder that literally makes my legs (and those who are effected) look like tree trunks. The arms can be effected as well. It can cause a lot of pain within the legs, certain foods can cause them to swell up more, and it can take a toll on overall mobility, depending on the severity or stage of the case. I may post a photo here one day just so people can see what I’m talking about, but it’s not something I’m completely comfortable with yet. However, I do think it’s extremely important to get the word out about it. There are so many women who are just starting to figure out that they have this disorder since it’s not something that many doctors are aware of. Most women weren’t even aware it was a known disorder, so finding out that it actually has a name and an existence is very comforting to know. Insurance companies in the US are not currently covering treatment, whether it be compression stockings or WAL liposuction, because it isn’t a current disorder that’s recognized in the medical/coding system here in the US. Lipedema is more known about in Europe and has been  treated in Europe (especially in Germany) for some time now, but the word in the Western world is getting out. Many of the women who have had treatment have been fighting hard with their insurance companies for reimbursement, and from what I’ve seen, it’s no walk in the park. For me, the condition started when I was probably around 12 years old. That was when I realized that my legs were “fat” and definitely abnormal. I haven’t worn shorts, skirts or dresses since then. It’s unfortunately something those of us who have it can’t control. I could become as skinny as a twig, but my legs are never ever going to be proportionate to the rest of my body. No matter how hard you work out or how much you change your eating habits, that extra fatty tissue is not going to budge. There is lots of research on the internet, information that you can find on Lipedema if you’re interested in finding out more. There’s also a great Facebook page that I’ve recently discovered for Lipedema-havin’ ladies like myself. It’s been so amazing to finally have an answer to my problem after years of not knowing or understanding why my legs don’t look like everybody else’s. I plan on flying out to see a specialist in October, but until then, I’ll be getting labs ready and will be doing productive things in the meantime while I wait.

On another note, something that I am very passionate about right now (nothing new) is my desire to travel. I’ve never been outside of the US unless you count Canada, when my siblings and I went with my mother years ago for like a day. I recently discovered that I have access to some very discounted flight tickets and plan on making a trip out to Europe this year if all goes as planned! My heart races every time I think about it! I’ve been doing loads and loads of research, checked out lots of library books, just trying to figure out where I want to go and how I’m going to do it in X amount of days. I’ll be traveling alone which is scary to me. Of course I’d much rather travel with a friend, but I don’t have any that are able or willing to go, so I’m forced to go it alone! I’m a very shy person so I’m not sure how this is going to work out , but I will find a way. I’m also not sure what to choose, between creating my own itinerary or possibly doing some sort of tour. I want to be able to do everything that I dream of doing, but A – I don’t have the money, nor time for that in one trip and B – I’m not willing to drive in Europe (not yet anyway) so I think that limits things greatly for me. I don’t have a huge budget to work with, otherwise there would be no question, I would definitely create my own itinerary. I really want to visit London, Scotland, Germany, Austria and France, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to find a way to afford all of that if I decide to go the tour route. I may have to settle on just the UK for now and hope that I have another chance to visit the other countries I’m wanting to see another time.

If any of my Euro buddies out there have any tips or advice, please let me know!

Getting healthy: The struggle is real.

Bonjour, beauties! I hope all of you are doing well and wonderful, and I want to wish a very happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there! It’s not an easy job, but somebody has to do it! I hope your little ones (or grown ones) have managed to put a smile on your face today. 🙂

It’s been a while since my last *real* post and I’ve been sort of struggling with what to write about since the majority of my makeup still has yet to be unpacked and I still don’t have my vanity set up for photos (yeah, pure laziness). But today, I’m going to talk about a topic that’s been bothering me for some time now, something I’ve been struggling with for a couple of years – my weight gain and the struggle to get healthy.

I’ve been wanting to write about this for a while, but I guess I just wasn’t ready yet. It’s still not something I’m completely comfortable talking about, but the fact is it’s a problem in my life and I can’t ignore it. I figured I could share this with all of you.

I’m not going to go in-depth about obesity rates and unhealthy living because I’m not an expert. All I know (as I think we all do) is that it’s a widespread problem that people everywhere are struggling with. I’ve struggled with my weight before, this isn’t the first time. I’ve never been a super *skinny* girl, except during my early childhood years. Never had a high metabolism. I need to keep a very close eye on what I eat if I want to maintain my weight. During the ages of 17-19 I gained quite a lot of weight and then ended up losing it all and then some – 40 pounds, to be exact. That was the thinnest I had every been in my adult-life. I would give anything to be back to that weight again. I was healthy, at least weight-wise. Since then, my weight has fluctuated up and down, mostly up, but not to an unhealthy level – and not enough to where I was super bothered by it. I was comfortable with myself.

Fast forward to a couple of years ago, where soon after getting married, I started to balloon. I became quite comfortable with marriage quite quickly and had no motivation to work out. Well, every little (or large in my case) bit of food adds up and I’m now 70 pounds overweight, the largest I’ve ever been in my entire life. I feel so many feelings; ashamed, embarrassed, disgusted… I can’t stand looking at myself in the mirror because it’s a constant reminder of what I’ve let myself become. When I say this, I mean it. I am not comfortable in any way with my weight, I don’t feel like I could live the rest of my life like this, it’s just not worth it to me to feel this way. And it’s not good for my health. Yet after every attempt to start working out and eating healthy, I’ve failed. Every. Single. Attempt. There have been several failed attempts to lose weight over the past couple of years. I would think that with being so disappointed and disgusted with my looks and my health, thinking about it constantly, I’d finally make a change once and for all, but I don’t. When someone is unhappy with something in their life, they fix it. I feel like I can’t. I cannot push myself, I cannot get motivated enough, I ALWAYS give up. No matter how much I hate my body, I couldn’t be more unmotivated. I fail every single time. Why? It doesn’t make any sense.

I know I’ve mainly been talking about my weight, but what concerns me even more this time around is my health. I had a serious health issue last year (completely unrelated to my weight struggle, but somehow I feel like it contributed to it) and even though it’s resolved now, because of it, I really need to stay as healthy as possible. I’ve been doing the complete opposite. I can’t tell you why. No matter how concerned I am that the issue could come back, no matter how many days I’ve said to myself, “I really need to exercise today” I just don’t do it. And then I get upset that I wasted time NOT doing it, so I eat… and eat… and eat. I tell myself, “I’ll start tomorrow, so this will be my last “binge”. But then I do it all over again the next day. I don’t feel sorry for myself, because I know I got myself here. I am, however, extremely disappointed in myself. I wish there were a simple answer, a simple solution, a simple way to MAKE me do what I need to do.

I’m once again attempting to start a workout routine and start some healthy eating habits. I actually just started yesterday! A couple of months ago, one of my girlfriends told me about the Bikini Body Mommy Challenge (if you’re interested in checking that out, you can learn more about it here). It’s a 90 day challenge created by a gal who wanted to get back into shape after having her last child. The entire series of videos can be found on YouTube, so it’s completely free, which is pretty amazing. I believe she also has a book and meal plans of some sort, but I haven’t really checked all of that out. My friend is a bit past day 30 and has already lost 13 inches and around 8-9 pounds, so I know if I keep at this that I will see results. Actually, I always know I’ll see results, but I never continue working out long enough to see them. They never come fast enough, do they? I’m really hoping and praying that I will be able to hop on the bandwagon and actually stay on it this time. My health is really at stake here. I thought about posting photos on my blog to track my progress, but I just don’t have the guts to do it. Although I think if I actually did, I would feel extreme pressure to keep going because there’s no escaping that once it’s up there. I would have to keep at it because if not, not only would I see my failure, but everyone else would see it as well. Still, with all that said, I don’t think I’m ready to do that. Maybe once I get further along if I actually stick to it and make visible progress, I’ll post pictures from the beginning and then continue to post pictures of my on-going progress, but right now I’m honestly just way too self conscious about it.

Well guys, that’s my story for today. Like I said, this is something that weighs very heavy on my mind so I’d really like to talk about it with any of you who may be struggling as well. Maybe you were struggling with it before, maybe you have a success story to share. What works for you? What didn’t work for you? I would really love to hear your input and feedback.

I’m going to leave off with a quote I saw the other day, on Instagram I believe… These words are truly inspiring and couldn’t be more true.

A year from now you will wish you had started today Karen Lamb

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned… by her dentist.

Just a warning: This is a very long story. But one that I need to get off my chest.

Yesterday was a very crappy day, because yesterday was supposed to be the day that I got an impression for my soon-to-be (or so I thought) dental crown.

I’m going to give you the back story that leads up to this because this whole thing was a living hell (and that’s an understatement).

When I was younger, I had a tooth (#10 I believe) that was congenitally missing. That means there was no tooth in that space whatsoever, so once that baby tooth fell out, that was it. The two teeth next to it sort of grew close to each other and filled in the space a bit, which I guess was a positive? At least I didn’t have a humungous gap in that space. But it’s been something that I’ve been extremely self conscious about for years. I don’t know when I first realized it or became embarrassed about it, but I probably haven’t smiled with my mouth open in photos for 15-20 years.

In September of 2011 I finally had braces put on at my dentist’s office. This is an office that specializes in everything from general dentistry to implants, extractions and orthodontics. I was so excited to finally be getting the whole process started, I didn’t care about the fact that I was in my late 20’s, nothing of that mattered. I was going to be able to SMILE again! My treatment length estimate was 18 months.

Things seemed to be going well with treatment, nothing seemed out of the norm, my progress was moving along as it should have been, apparently. In summer of 2012, after it was deemed that the space where my tooth was missing was finally opened up and the teeth around it were where they should be, I had an implant placed. I didn’t question this because I’m not an oral surgeon or an orthodontist, so I assumed everybody knew what they were doing since it was all coordinated amongst one another.

Around September of 2012, I was told that I was going to be ready to debond. I was surprised to hear this because the initial recommendation/estimate was 18 months. At this point, it had only been a year. I know things can change, but I just felt uneasy about that news. I went home, thoroughly scoped out my teeth and felt like they weren’t ready for this. I’m not an orthodontist, I don’t know how perfect my teeth are able to get, but I knew I wasn’t 100% happy about this and I knew that if I wasn’t excited about getting my braces off, it just wasn’t the right time. I told my orthodontist there were a couple spaces that needed to be closed up (not noticeable unless you were all up in my mouth, but I found them and I wanted them PERFECT), so he made a few adjustments and we pushed my debond date to a later date. Before that date, I came in again (at least one more time) to have him make another adjustment because I felt like my teeth weren’t perfectly straight. I felt like I was rushing to fix all these things that weren’t fixed because I had to get them done by the debond date. Like, that was the deadline. Because it was the date that was set and I’m just a patient who doesn’t know anything about orthodontics, I felt, well if they feel I’m ready I guess I have to be ready, what can I do? What do I know? I don’t know if the issues I’m seeing are me being nitpicky or if they’re legitimate issues that should be corrected.

The debond date arrived. I wasn’t happy about it at all. Not a wink of excitement. I may have been the only orthodontic patient in history that wasn’t excited about getting their braces off. The girls there asked me if I was excited and I told them no because I honestly felt like my teeth weren’t ready, but again, what do I know? So I went through with it. I didn’t really look at my teeth much after because I was kind of afraid – afraid that I wouldn’t be happy with what I saw. I went home and checked them out in the mirror, and what do you know, I wasn’t happy. I felt like they were jutting out more than they should have been and that could’ve been corrected a bit more, I felt my two front teeth weren’t EXACTLY straight, but the way that they’re shaped, it’s really hard to tell and nobody else could have/would have noticed that but me. I went to get a second opinion.

I actually researched orthodontists this time to find the best one and I went to him for a consultation. I told him everything that I saw that I felt could have been corrected or made better and he agreed with everything that I said – he was surprised at the things that I pointed out (because I researched a LOT after getting my braces removed) and said everything was spot on. He also mentioned that my bite wasn’t exactly where it should be. After seeing him, I decided I was going to get my money back. I felt they rushed me through all these procedures, the implant, the braces being removed, and I don’t know why. When I first talked to the office manager, I told her my story and told her that I felt they were removed too soon. She said she would speak to the orthodontist and get back to me. When she got back to me, she said that the orthodontist told her I requested they be taken off at the time that they were. I couldn’t believe it! He straight up LIED. I told her that wasn’t true and that they told me I WAS READY to have them removed. I’m a freaking patient for crap’s sake, how would I KNOW if it was the right time or not? I also said that if that WERE the case, wouldn’t they have had me sign some kind of consent or release form stating that I was requesting them to be taken off earlier than they should be? To cover their own asses? Needless to say, I got my money back, but not without signing a settlement. I looked over it and didn’t feel comfortable doing it, the wording just seemed so strong and final but money was tight, I no longer had the insurance I had before so my braces wouldn’t be covered under insurance whatsoever, it was all going to be out of pocket. I needed the money back for a down payment with my new orthodontist. I signed it and eventually received my check. I never went or looked back again.

A month or so later (December 2012/January 2013), I had braces put BACK ON again with the orthodontist who I saw during the consultation. Now, he made me feel comfortable from the start. He was a specialist in his own office – this wasn’t a one stop shop for everything. He had been in practice for ages, I read about his background and I believed that he KNEW what he was doing. The whole office staff was sympathetic to my situation, one of the girls there even used to work with the office I was at before and gave me some advice on what to do about the whole situation while I was in the process of trying to get refunded. They worked with me financially, and were very patient and understanding about everything. Later on down the road, they even sent me flowers at the hospital when I was going through a serious medical issue – that’s not something your regular orthodontist does! They are, hands down, the most generous group of individuals that I’ve ever dealt with. My treatment with him was great, I saw changes in my teeth and the fact that he’s just as anal as I am about everything being perfect made me realize he was a perfect fit.  Just this past December/January, I had my braces removed and I admit, I was a bit wary but that’s only because of the incident that happened before. I didn’t feel like it wasn’t the right time, I just wanted to be SURE that it was. The braces came off and my stomach didn’t churn or cringe. I knew I was nearing the end of my journey, FINALLY! I was happy!

A few weeks ago, I had to have my crown lengthened since it had been a year and a half since it was actually placed. Yesterday, I FINALLY had an appointment with my dentist to take the impressions for my crown. I’ve been daydreaming about this day – in a week, I would have had my tooth and a smile that I’ve never seen before. Yesterday, my dentist informed me that the implant that was placed – was placed in the wrong spot. She told me that she didn’t understand why the office that placed it did it during my orthodontic treatment, when my teeth weren’t exactly in place yet. The crown would stick out much further than the rest of my front teeth, which tells me A – they were COMPLETELY off in their estimate of where the implant should have been placed, and/or B – my teeth were COMPLETELY F’D up and my ortho did an AMAZING job of bettering my overjet/bite/alignment. Either way, it SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN PLACED BEFORE I was out of my braces. I immediately started crying. How could this be? After all I’ve already been through. Having to get fight to get my money back from the first office, braces TWICE in a row, this was supposed to be IT for me. This is a patient’s worst nightmare. She said in all honesty, probably the only thing that can be done to fix the issue is to have the implant removed and have one placed again in the correct spot. Questions immediately start flying around in my head. How much risk is involved with something like that? What if the second implant fails? What is the COST? Insurance only covers one implant every 5 years, so there goes ANY coverage that I could have received. And I still don’t have my Hawley retainer because I was waiting to receive my crown to do so, AND I’m moving out of state in a month. Things couldn’t get any worse.

I don’t know what’s going to happen next. I have an appointment with an oral surgeon soon, but I’m expecting the worst because, let’s face it, that’s pretty much what it is. I left the incident with the previous office in the dust because what’s done was done and over with, but now I’m angry – infuriated. I could go on and on, but I won’t. There’s no point. No one could feel the anger and frankly, hatred that I feel for this place right now. And I’m furious with myself for signing that settlement. I never thought anything like this would happen. I never thought another issue with them would arise. I immediately contacted an attorney when I got home yesterday and sent him the settlement I signed so he could look over it and tell me if there was anything I could do, since I don’t fully understand all the legal jargon. He said that due to the wording, he’s afraid I may be out of luck. It’s not fair for a company to get away with something like this. Ethically, it’s not FAIR. I should have had someone look over it before I signed it. That’s completely my fault and I take full responsibility for that, but when it comes to people’s health, money, well-being and LIFE, there should be a loophole, there just should be. Are they doing this to other people too? The worst part of all this is the fact that I can’t speak about them. They get to go on happily living their lives and innocent people may walk through their doors and end up having botched dental procedures and treatments just like me and I can’t warn a single person about them.

The moral of this story is – please, please ALWAYS do research on your medical providers. No matter how big or small your treatment or procedure may be.