Category:

Personal

grief,loss, parenting, miscarriage

Five years ago this morning, I broke the news of my miscarriage to you in a blog post, as I was undergoing my D & E. It was the only way that I could process any of it. It was the only way that I could carry on and your support meant everything to me but every day since, I’ve had to live alone with that loss like we all do. Try to make sense of something so senseless.

Recently, I did something that surprised even me. I shouldn’t have looked. Until, I saw it, in person, in the flesh, it wasn’t “real”. It was just this terrible thing that happened to me five years ago. It was the bill I paid for what is referred to by the medical billing department as a “missed abortion”. It was a child I will never hold. It is the faint whisper of sadness that lingers forever and leaves me melancholy just around the edges. It wasn’t real in the way that you could see it with your own eyes.

But I’ve seen it now and I can’t unsee it.

Last month, we took the girls to Chicago for Spring break. It’s my hometown and the girls have been many times but they’ve never done the touristy things so we took them to some museums and the zoo. It was a fantastic trip.

Then, I saw something that I’ve seen before but with fresh eyes and a heart that’s survived a miscarriage.

As we entered the exhibit, one I’d seen before, I suddenly felt anxious. Like I needed to know. I was borderline obsessive and I couldn’t control myself. No one noticed what I was doing but I think the Big Guy caught a glimpse of the desperation in my eyes as I walked up to the dial upon entering the Your Beginning exhibit and turned it to the first trimester; I wanted to pinpoint specifically the 4th day of the 11th week. What could he do?

grief, loss, anniversary, parenting, miscarriage

 

The exhibit was different than before. It was completely in black, darkness was everywhere and only the fetuses were lit up as if my very soul had put this exhibit together. It is somber. I tried not to do it. You’re not supposed to do it. You’re supposed to carry on. Push it down and pretend it never happened. You’re supposed to move on. Go on living as if your entire life is not tinged by the hole in your heart. 

I didn’t want to make a spectacle with my mom, my sister, my daughters and my husband there. I didn’t want to go down that rabbit hole of grief facing anger and sadness head on but I had to know, so I turned the dial.

Such a little thing and to anyone who didn’t know or even just wasn’t paying attention, this was naturally inquisitive behavior. Only I never twisted the dial to progress to the second trimester. Instead, I left it frozen in time, suspended in disbelief, as is my daily existence since that day 5 years ago.

I try not to overthink it or linger too long in my loss. The emotional time bombs are less and less frequent but I remember every single day. I have two children but I am the mother of three but most people don’t know that.

It’s not like I wear a t-shirt that says so. It’s not like I’m marked in any way but on the inside, I am scarred. I don’t howl like an injured animal as I did on that day or fall apart anymore; so silently I continue on, remembering but not making too big of a deal about it.

Pregnancy loss is so common that some people believe it’s almost normal. I could never subscribe to that way of thinking because for me it was profound. For me, losing my pregnancy changed me forever. But still, after a while, it feels like it happened to someone else and you learn to live with it. It feels like a wound that’s healed and the scar has faded and you hide it beneath your clothes so no one has to look at it or think about it or feel sorry for you ever again.

grief, loss, parenting, miscarriage, anniversary

But you want to feel it. The pain makes it real. It reminds you that it happened. The pain is the only thing that proves your baby was here at all. So, I looked and now, I can never forget.

The scarred wound of my miscarriage has been ripped wide open.

On the morning of my D & E, I frantically demanded that they perform another ultrasound. In complete desperation, I refused surgery without one more ultrasound. I was desperate for rescue. I needed this to all be a mistake. I needed my baby to be alive.

But when they did the ultrasound, there in black and white, the perfect baby with absolutely no heartbeat. He looked like he was sleeping. Like a little astronaut exploring the space of my uterus and that was the last thing I saw before my heart shattered into a million tiny pieces. I broke, just before they wheeled me into the operating room and I’ve detached myself as much as I can since.

My heart still aches but it’s in survival mode. But on that day in April at the Museum of Science and Industry, I purposefully opened my wound. The pain makes me feel closer to my baby. I walked into the exhibit and I slowly made my way to the 11 wks. Fetus. Yes, the exhibit has fetuses from conception until 40 weeks in formaldehyde. Then, I saw it, the closest thing to my reality; 11-weks and 4 days and 11-weeks and 6-days.

grief, loss, parenting, miscarriage, anniversary

I felt the wind get knocked out of me as it has been almost every time I think of what will never be. My eyes began to go blurry and the room began to spin. It was hard to breathe. There it was; bigger than I’d thought; a fully formed person; with 10- fingers and 10-toes and ears and a tiny little mouth and eyes. It wasn’t a “pregnancy” that I lost, it was a person.

grief, loss, parenting, miscarriage, anniversary

 

I wanted to run away and howl, like I did in my car on that day 5 years ago. But I was frozen and trying to digest the truth. I couldn’t speak. I only lingered. Truthfully, part of me never wanted to leave because it was like seeing my baby for the first time. I know it wasn’t my baby but it was what my baby would have looked like could I have seen him; touched him; held him in my arms.

My miscarriage robbed me of all of that.

No one said a word. I was like thin glass in an earthquake and it was taking everything inside me to not collapse and sob like a baby on the floor. My legs were shaky. I could feel myself getting wobbly. It hurt reopening that wound but it was something I needed to do. In some small way, it gave me closure just knowing/seeing what was. It made him real and less than a memory cloaked in sadness and emptiness.

On this day, I forgive myself and give myself over to the grief. I get no birthdays to celebrate with my third baby but I will never forget he existed, if only briefly. Every year on the 1st of May, for the rest of my life, I will be alone with my grief and allow myself to remember the worst day of my life because it’s the only tangible memory I have of my third child.

Today, I am frail and vulnerable and my heart is heavy because my arms are empty and my house is filled with the laughter of one less than it is supposed to be and I can never forget any of that.

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cancer, cervical biopsy, when cancer's on the table, waiting for biopsy results, FemiLift, vaginal lift, pap smear, cervix, xanax, miscarriage

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written in collaboration with FemiLift. However, all opinions are my own.

A couple weeks ago, I told you all about the FemiLift procedure and shared with you an interview I had with Dr. Ghozland who performs the FemiLift procedure. It was very informative but you know me, the proof is in the pudding and I wanted to speak with someone who actually experienced the procedure. Because who is going to give it to you more real than another mama?

I had a million, some very personal, questions and Jackie Jorge was a great sport and answered every single one of them.

All the questions about FemiLift you were too embarrassed to ask.

On a scale of 1-10, how painful was it?

I would say it’s a 2, if 10 was the worst pain ever. (Wow! Less painful than I expected.)

How invasive did it feel? I hated the early pregnancy ultrasound wands so how does it compare to that?

It’s way smaller than the ultrasound pregnancy wand, but there is definitely something going “in” you, so you can feel it. I think a pap is more invasive (and painful) than FemiLift treatment. (Good to know because my paps are pretty painful thanks to my extra deep cervix.)

How many treatments did you need?

Doctor recommended 3 FemiLift treatments.

What was your personal recovery time?

There is no recovery time. I was able to go about my day just as usual. The nurse said I shouldn’t have intercourse on the night of the treatment. (Definitely shorter than I expected.)

Can you tell a difference? How? Is it visible or strictly internal and a change in sensation? 

Yes! I can absolutely feel the difference. I had two major issues that I was trying to address. The first was stress incontinence and the other was dryness during intercourse. By the 3rd week of the first treatment, I noticed I wasn’t peeing when I laughed or sneezed.

By the second treatment, I had actually caught a cold and it was the first time I didn’t need a mini pad during my cold! Another great difference is when I take my daughters to the bathroom. I used to have to use the toilet first or I would pee myself! Now, I’m able to let them go first!

As far as intercourse… after the first treatment I noticed right away that I was able to “last longer” and I didn’t need to stop my husband to get the lube out!

What does your husband say? Has he noticed a difference?

I actually wasn’t expecting this… but he said last week that he thinks I’m tighter. He never complained before, but it was nice to know that he is enjoying the benefits too.

Has it improved your sex life? How?

OMG… 100% yes!!! After the second treatment, sex feels incredible!! It is a gift to be able to really enjoy and want sex at 40 (Something)… You have no inhibitions so you’re able to reach climaxes that you never knew existed (and in record time).

Has it made you more confident in bed?

Yes. See above statement 🙂 I’ve never really had confidence issues in bed, but I can say that after FemiLift, I am so much more excited to have sex!

Has it made it easier to achieve orgasm through penetration?

Yes. I am like totally blown away how much more sensation I have. It’s like FemiLift has re-awakened my vagina. It’s pretty amazing!

Would you recommend it to your friends? Sisters?

YES. I DO RECOMMEND FEMILIFT EVERYTIME IT’S BROUGHT UP IN CONVERSATION! I’M ACTUALLY NOT SURPRISED THAT IT COMES UP AS OFTEN AS IT DOES… MORE OFTEN THAN NOT, I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE WITH THE SAME ISSUES. I HAVE FOUND THAT WOMEN ARE LOOKING FOR RE-ASSURANCE THAT WHAT THEY’RE DEALING WITH IS “NORMAL”…  I WOULD SAY TO ANY WOMAN WHO COMPLAINS OF DRYNESS/PAIN DURING SEX, STRESS INCONTINENCE OR THE CONSTANT URGE TO PEE… THAT YOU CAN FIX YOUR LEAKS AND URGES TO PEE AND THAT SEX CAN BE AMAZING AGAIN! MY FRIENDS AND SISTERS HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING MY PROGRESS AND I HAVE GIVEN MY DOCTOR’S NUMBER A FEW TIMES! :))

Just a side note the entire interview was in All Caps, I corrected it. I thought it was a caps lock issue however, now I realize Jackie just thinks that FemiLift is ALL CAPS AWESOME!

Hope this has been helpful to anyone who might be interested in taking action to reverse time and babies effect on your lady bits.

For more information about Femilift please check out my previous FemiLift article that goes in depth about the procedure itself.

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fat, weight loss, change, women's health, on being fat, obesity

Being fat is not what I wanted to be. Admitting that I am fat is even harder. I hate saying those words. For me, it’s admitting defeat. As if somehow writing it down and posting it makes it real.

I have eyes. I can plainly see that I’m overweight. I have been for years and all the pulling and tugging at my clothes will not change that. Most days I feel like I’m wearing a suit of shame like my weight is some sort of punishment.

Being fat is hard.

It’s even harder being out of shape. I’ve decided to start working out again. These days working on my abs feels like working out while being 9-months pregnant because I am so out of shape and my stomach is so massive. When I sit down, my stomach literally touches my lap. It disgusts me. When did this happen?

I wish I were one of those women who didn’t care what size her clothes were, what her body looked like in clothes or what people thought of her looks. It’s weird because while I couldn’t care less what people think of my opinions or beliefs or me as a person, I have always been consumed by what people might think of what I look like, more specifically my body. Believe me, I’ve tried to change my way of thinking but still, I feel like being fat is my biggest and most embarrassing failure in life.

I’ve been binge watching TLC shows about being overweight; My 600 lb. life and My Big Fat Fabulous Life. I find myself baffled that people have let themselves get that overweight. Then afraid it could happen to me. Unfortunately, I cannot relate to finding fabulousness in being overweight at all but I am glad others can love their bodies at all sizes.

I used to restrict calories and work out to the extreme. I used to be good at it; too good at it. I was masterful at the art of willpower and self-control, where eating was concerned. The rest of the world could be spinning out of control but I held tight the reins on my food intake. My entire world could be off the hook but my stomach was always tight. When people told me that I looked “sick”, it made me happy because I felt like I was doing something right.

Food is an addiction, worse than any other because while if you are an alcoholic or a drug addict you can choose not to partake. You can quit drugs and you can quit alcohol. It’s f*cking hard but you can do it. You can’t quit food. Well, you can, but you will die. I know, I’ve tried and was pretty successful and unfortunately, being too thin because you are obsessed with your weight and food intake is just as terrible as being too fat because you are eating too much. Being too skinny is just as unhealthy as being too fat. I know because I’ve been both.

My food issues started around the time I turned 7, at least that’s when the photos show that I gained weight. I wasn’t overweight at all but I wasn’t rail thin anymore. I’d love to be able to tell you what triggered it but I can’t because, honestly, I can’t remember most of what happened the years of my life between the summer I turned 7 and sophomore year in high school. It’s all a blur. I just remember wanting to fade into the background.

My dad was an abusive alcoholic who was always angry and my mom shut down to survive. I felt abandoned and the only attention I got was unwanted so I wanted to be invisible and somewhere along the way, I did that because everyone knows the quickest way to not be seen is to become overweight so I hid there, unnoticed. People stare at beautiful things but no one wants to make eye contact with the ugly of the world.

Being fat was my way to disappear.

fat, weight loss, change, women's health, being fat, obesity

I’m realizing that somewhere in that haze is the answer to the question of why I have always battled my own self-image and why I have such a problem accepting the skin I live in. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been at war with my body, my health. Always beating it into submission or ignoring it all together. When I write it down, it looks like a metaphor for my childhood. Maybe that’s the entire issue.

But how do I stop? How do I learn to love my body, myself, unconditionally when I never felt that as a child? It always felt conditional. I feel like by having my own daughters and loving them so fiercely and unconditionally, I’m slowly learning that everyone deserves that kind of love and acceptance…even me.

Even if you haven’t experienced being fat, how do you learn to love something that you’ve spent your entire life wishing you could change?

02172015

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finances, tips for conquering your credit, financial stability

Disclosure: This is a compensated campaign in collaboration with Chase and #WeAllGrow Latina Network but all opinions about conquering your credit are my own.

I suffer from a raging case of imposter syndrome. I think most people do. I used to be constantly terrified of failure but then I embraced the failure is not an option mantra. Rather, I realized that failure is always a possibility but letting it get the best of you is not. Life knocks you down, you get right back up again. You might not succeed the very first time you try something but you keep trying that’s what makes you a true success.

My dad raised us to never let fear keep me from trying because everything you ever want is on the other side of fear. Think about it, everything you ever wanted was right there, right past the fear. You just have to make the choice to push through. If you don’t try, you will never succeed. That’s a fact. Not trying equals, a 100% failure ratio. Sometimes trying is painful but it’s almost always worth it.

I never imagined that one day one of my biggest fears would be facing my own financial reality and conquering my credit.

It’s scary. Believe me, I know. I’ve taken some chances in my life. Done things that made no sense and risked it all but in the end, they were what was right for me and really, that’s the best you can hope for, a life well-lived.

I’m the girl who said yes to a marriage proposal after only 4-months of dating. If that’s not crazy, I don’t know what is. Was I scared? Yes, I was absolutely terrified. Marrying someone is one of the biggest decisions of your life. It took me a few days to answer because I was so afraid of making the wrong decision because getting engaged after 4 months defies logic.

It came down to one simple question, “Do you want to live your life without this man in it?” All the confusion fell away and I said yes because for me it was scarier to think of my life without him than making the decision to marry someone after only knowing them for 4 months. In my heart, I knew that he was my person. Since then, we’ve grown up together. There were mistakes and missteps along the way but together we figure it out.

I spent my childhood poor so taking financial risks has never been my jam. I’m a saver, sometimes I’m even a little stingy now. But when I met my husband, he wanted me to have everything I wanted. He encouraged me to treat myself and I was pretty easily convinced.

At about the same time we started planning our wedding, every credit card company on earth was in our quad at the university handing out “preapproved” credit cards to anyone who wanted one. I took them because I had a wedding to plan and my parents couldn’t afford to pay for it. That was my first of many financial mistakes that have led me to this road of conquering my credit.

I spent on the credit cards like it was Monopoly money. It didn’t feel real because it wasn’t immediately coming out of my bank account. But the bills, the interest and the late payments, they were all very real and still are. I am still paying for my wedding. Did I mention that we’ve been married forever? Interest rates are serious business and paying minimums are for suckers. Consider that some free advice from me to you.

I’ve grown up a lot since I was that girl who got engaged in college after 4 months of dating and taking all the “preapproved” credit cards in the quad. Once I had children, I really began to see the error of my ways but it felt like I was in a credit hole that I’d never be able to crawl out of. I knew I had to for my children. Kids cost money and it was time to get control of our finances. But how do you take control of a runaway train?

Here are a few tips for conquering your credit and regaining your financial stability:

Tackling your credit score can be intimidating, especially if you don’t know exactly where you stand so the first step to optimal financial health is being brave and finding out what your credit score is and what your credit report looks like. It’s not something you can look at once and forget about it. Just like your body’s health, you need to do the right things to maintain a healthy financial health and believe it or not, stressing over finances can have a negative effect on your actual health.

Learn the various methods to manage your credit and then utilize those that work best for you. For instance, I learned that some cards have no interest rate at all. Also, some cards offer great points programs or discounts on merchandise if you use their card. Consider all of that when you make your purchases.

I also learned that it is bad to close cards when you still have a balance on them. It’s better to keep them open and not spend on them. Also, transferring high balance cards to 0% interest or lower interest rate cards can definitely help you get a better bang for your buck.

Inform yourself and gather all of the financial knowledge you can. It’s not just about credit. You need to be aware of spending habits, saving opportunities and how these choices will affect you and your family not only today but in the long run. I know it feels like we were all just in the quad, wearing flip flops and taking credit cards but before you know it kids are off to college and retirement is right around the corner. By the way, talk to your kids about financial responsibility now not after they’ve gotten all the preapproved credit cards at university.

I started tracking everything we spend and where it goes. I found out really quickly that we were wasting money on conveniences like eating out often (bad for both your actual health and your financial health), coffee and only paying the minimums on credit cards. If you look at your credit card statements, below where it shows your interest rate it shows how long it will take paying only the minimum and it’s usually something like 12 years. Then it shows you that if you pay a slightly higher amount (seriously it’s like $15-25) per month you can pay off the balance in 3 years and save yourself, in some cases, thousands of dollars. Do that. And always pay on time!

Use tools that empower you to make savvy financial decisions and manage your credit with confidence. Tackling your finances can be terrifying because you are afraid of what you might find, but this is the time to face your fears and conquer your credit and give yourself the freedom to feel confident in your finances.

Also, one last thing I learned, the lower your balance and the better your credit, the easier it is to negotiate lower interest rates. Something to consider.

If you’d like to learn how to #ConquerYourCredit visit the Chase Slate Credit Card webpage for additional information and stop letting fear hold you back from living the big, beautiful life that you are meant to live.

How are you conquering your credit?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Chase and #WeAllGrow Latina Network. The opinions and text are all mine.

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FemiLift, vaginal rejuvenation, the changing female body, laser vaginal tightening

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written in collaboration with FemiLift. However, all opinions are my own.

As I get older, I’ve been considering things I never considered before like what I would look like as a blonde or what if my boobs were back to where they were before I breastfeed. Time is a fickle broad and she takes us all down eventually. It’s not even really about how old I am so much as the use I’ve gotten out of my body.

I’ve had a life full of living, loving and laughing and I’m hoping for at least another 50 years or so of more. I laugh loud and smile really big. I use my parts, people. What am I going to save them for? I don’t put much stock in being a good looking corpse. I want to enjoy life to its fullest.

I liken it to your favorite dress. Some people save those dresses for special occasions that never come. Me, I say wear that sucker every day. Why not? You’ve got it and it makes you feel special; do it. And boy, have I done it all.

The only thing is, even though you are enjoying every moment of living that life, the inevitable happens and you are putting wear and tear on your body. There are things we can do to counteract the “wear and tear” like working out, eating healthy and just enjoying life. Life is too short for stressing out and worrying about everything. Sometimes you’ve just got to let stuff go but not everything.

For example, as I get older, my body is changing. Things don’t bounce back like they used to. When I broke my arm when I was 13, it healed in 6 weeks. When I broke my leg in 2015, well, it’s still healing. On rainy days, I still walk a little bit like a pirate, but I’m okay with that. What I’m not okay with is never being able to wear heels again, so I will be having another surgery to remove the plates in my leg. Priorities, people.

But there are a host of things, like that, that need some upkeep. I’ve always moisturized but I smile A.LOT. so I can’t fight the crows toes that are starting to form in the crease of my eyes but there are options; botox and fillers, if I ever decide I can’t take the creases. I’m one of those people that needs to know there are options even if I’ll probably never use it.

One of the things that I thought I could never get back to its original state was my vagina after giving birth. Come on, stop blushing, we’ve all thought it. Hell, I even asked the Big Guy once, “Does it feel different (*ahem) down there?”

Obviously, he said no because he’s not stupid. Of course, he swears that I did not poop on the birthing table either. I’m not sure if either of those statements is true and (lalalalala) I chose to believe his version of the story.

My point being, I think most men would agree that a slightly stretched out vagina to play with is better than no vagina at all. Am I right, ladies?

Men, can I get an AMEN?

Then I received an email from FemiLift. I had never heard of it before. Have you?

Here’s the skinny, FemiLift is a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure that provides optimal results for a variety of feminine health concerns. The FemiLift procedure is performed in a doctor’s office in an outpatient setting, without surgery, anesthesia or downtime. It’s a ‘hit it and quit it’ sort of sitch.

This is the part that interested me, the procedure is performed by gently inserting a probe into the vagina with a 360-degree rotation capability allowing for select targeted treatment areas for specific feminine health conditions. Each procedure takes less than 15 minutes and three treatments are recommended at 4-6 week intervals.

But how does FemiLift work?

The FemiLift procedure uses breakthrough fractional CO2 laser technology to improve the function of the vaginal area by gently heating the vaginal tissue and stimulating the formation of new collagen.

FemiLift was the first to market among feminine health lasers in the United States and Canada and is the only procedure that provides a single use, a disposable vaginal sheath that ensures patient hygiene. I’m imagining the probe wearing a condom. Safety first.



Women who have had the FemiLift procedure report a near-immediate return to activity, including sexual intercourse, with thousands of patients around the world reporting an improved quality of life and deeply enhanced self-esteem.

You know me, I don’t believe everything I read and to be honest, it sounded a like intimidating to me. So, I got some answers from Dr. David Ghozland, a board-certified OB/GYN with over 15 years experience, M.D. Board Certified OB/GYN who performs the procedure and a patient who has had the procedure performed. You can see my interview with Dr. David Ghozland below.

Femilift Interview questions

Are you awake during the FemiLift procedure?  

Yes, the procedure is performed completely awake with zero to minimal discomfort. I have performed hundreds of these procedures and have never given out a single pain medication for the procedure itself or the aftercare.

Is there any downtime in which you cannot be sexually active? 

We typically recommend waiting till the next day to resume sexual activity.

What is the average recuperation time?  

One of the many great attributes of this procedure is the no down time aspect.  Patients return to work or to their normal activity immediately post procedure.

How many treatments does one need in order to achieve a noticeable effect?  

Most patients need a total of 3 treatments to achieve their goals.  We will offer a 4th in more complex cases in order to achieve our desired goal.

Are there any issues with urination afterward?  

There is no change in urination afterward.   Although people do feel a quick improvement in urinary stress incontinence.

Does this help with urinary stress incontinence?  

This has been a huge benefit to my patients who suffer from mild to moderate urinary stress incontinence.   I used to perform on an average 15 slings a month prior to owning the FemiLift machine.   I have taken that number down to approx. 1 -2 slings a month due to using the laser in our patients with incontinence.

How do you measure whether or not it worked? 

This is a very subjective test and therefore no grading criteria is used.  However, patients themselves feel a tremendous difference and improvement in vaginal tightening, vaginal lubrication and improvement of urinary incontinence.

Is there a visible difference? How do you quantify change?  

Again, the visible difference lies in how happy and satisfied our patients are after receiving a treatment course with the FemiLift machine.

Is the change permanent?  

Unfortunately, this is not permanent but we have seen results lasting for over a year.   Patients return for a maintenance therapy session once they feel the symptoms returning to what they were prior to commencing the therapy.   

If not, how long before you need to get the procedure done again?  

On average one to two years before someone returns for a maintenance therapy session.

Can it help make achieving an orgasm from penetration easier? (you know I had to ask this)

People do claim improved orgasms for many reasons.  Improved friction from the vaginal tightening aspect leads to improved orgasms. The improved integrity of the vaginal tissue with better lubrication leads to improved orgasms and less discomfort.  Due to all the positive effects of the machine on vaginal health we notice improved self-empowerment and therefore more comfort during intercourse leading to improved orgasms.  

How many FemiLift procedures have you performed? 

We have now performed over 300 procedures successfully with zero complications.

Does it help with vaginal dryness?  

Yes, I use this therapy in many of my menopause patients for improved lubrications and improved vaginal tissue integrity (vaginal atrophy).

What side effects can a patient expect?

NONE

What are the risks? 

NONE

Is there a risk of permanent damage? Or deadening of sensation?  

We have not experienced any complications or changes in sensation with over 300 of our patients.

Has anything ever gone wrong during a procedure? What? (As you can see, I truly believe in safety first.) 

We have never had a complication in any of our cases and truly believe that this is a safe and effective procedure.

This is my interview with Dr. David Ghozland. I hope I answered any questions you might have about the FemiLift procedure. If not, leave them in the comments section below and I will see if I can get you the answer.

Also, I did interview a patient and I know you want to hear her answers but this post is getting a bit long so I will post a separate post tomorrow with her interview.

What’s the one procedure you’ve been curious about but were afraid to pursue? Ladies, have you ever considered FemiLift or a similar procedure?

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healthy kids, physical education, American Heart Association

This post reflects a compensated editorial partnership with Voices for Healthy Kids, a joint initiative of the American Heart Association and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

When I was growing up, kids were encouraged to play outside. It was the most natural thing to see children outside playing; climbing trees, riding bikes, playing tag, kickball, or just running. Neighborhood parks were our favorite place to be.

Of course, when I was growing up there wasn’t the Internet. There were no laptops, iPads, kindles or Google. There were computers but they were big and bulky and not everyone had access to them. If you wanted to know what the name of that guy was who did the voice of that character in your favorite movie, you couldn’t Google it, you had to get up off your butt, go to the library and check the encyclopedias, the papers and the magazines. It was a whole big thing so why not just go swimming with your friends?

healthy kids, things to do that that make your child happy, childhood, memories, play, fun, best mom ever, happiness is free, the love of a parent

These days, kids are becoming tech savvy at a lot younger age. The Internet is commonplace and as we evolve technologically, we seem to be doing a lot more sitting and a lot less moving. Kids are not playing outside like they used to. Physical education is being phased out. Recess is becoming viewed as an obsolete dinosaur because who needs fresh air and playing on jungle gyms when you can play a video game about being outside and playing on jungle gyms?

things to do that that make your child happy, childhood, memories, play, fun, best mom ever, happiness is free, the love of a parent, healthy kids

We’re supposed to be moving forward but in a way, I feel we are moving backwards. Just because we have the Internet to answer every question we can ever dream of that doesn’t mean that we should stop moving, just because we can.

I believe our children’s physical health and well-being is just as important as their intellect, maybe more so because we only have one body and once that body is damaged, it’s hard to repair that. Research shows kids need 60 minutes of physical activity per day and PE programs can help get them there so why not teach our kids at a very young age to cherish their bodies and physical well-being.

healthy kids, physical education, American Heart Association

It’s our job as parents to ensure that our little ones are healthy, and for me that includes advocating for physical education and more recess. In a world where it is getting easier and easier to do everything from the touch of a button, it’s important that we instill in our children not only the importance of physical activity, but the habit of moving. We need to model that behavior from a very early age. Heaven knows it’s easier to hand our kids the phone to play than to stop what we are doing and engage them physically, but we have to make the time and find the energy to just do it.

Childhood obesity is not only “a thing” in our society but it is commonplace. We live in a world where super-sized everything is the norm, and it is cheaper to buy junk food than it is to buy healthy food. Did you realize only 4% of elementary schools, 8% of middle schools, and 2% of high schools provide daily PE or its equivalent for the entire school year?

Kids don’t get time to just play anymore. Everything is scheduled and those schedules are packed. In my family, 6 days a week, my girls have extracurricular activities. It just so happens that their activities are physical, but there is very little time for free play and not all kids have these kinds of rigorous physical schedules. This is one of the reasons they don’t spend a lot of time on their devices. A healthy body fosters a healthy mind and increases academic performance. That’s a good thing, in my opinion.

healthy kids

I try to fill our summers with activities like hiking, bike riding, swimming and playing outside. The girls like to spend a lot of time on the trampoline, slack line and zip line and luckily for us, they are not that into being on the computer unless it’s for homework. They’ve not discovered Minecraft or video games yet.

I’m always advocating for more recess and additional days of physical education because those days are important, not only for our children’s physical well-being but their mental well-being too. PE addresses the needs of the whole child, positively impacting their physical, mental, and emotional health. Physical education also seems to have a positive impact on children’s self-confidence because when you feel more physically fit, you feel stronger and more confident.

things to do that that make your child happy, childhood, memories, play, fun, best mom ever, happiness is free, the love of a parent

We encourage our girls to embrace physical activity and to strive to be their healthiest. The Voices for Healthy Kids initiative aims to foster a national conversation about the need to ensure quality physical education as a part of every child’s education.

Throughout 2017, they’re aiming to deliberately and consistently insert the need for expanded PE into the national dialogue to push for changes in the states and communities where change is most needed and where clear opportunities exist.

healthy kids, physical education, American Heart Association

Under ESSA (the federal education law), all states must develop a comprehensive plan to ensure all students receive a fair, equitable, and high-quality education. Unlike previous federal education law, ESSA includes physical education (PE) and health as part of a “well-rounded curriculum” this means that for the first time ever, health and PE have access to significant federal funding!

But here’s the caveat: inclusion of health and PE in ESSA is not a mandate. We need to advocate for daily PE to be included as a core component in ESSA plans so that money can be accessed for PE. If PE is not included in the plan, it won’t have access to funding. 95% of parents with children under the age of 18 think PE should be part of the school curriculum for all students K-12. I agree. Children need PE, as often as possible.

Do you know if your kids are getting enough PE? Protect PE by joining the PE Action Team at www.voicesforhealthykids.org/PE

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Leukemia, Pediatric cancer, leukemia & lymphoma society, how to survive leukemia

My nephew was diagnosed with Leukemia at 2-years-old. I don’t normally share this story because it’s not my story to share but today, it’s time to speak the words.

“My nephew had leukemia.”

To be honest, I’ve been too afraid to say the words out loud like somehow the words themselves might give the leukemia power and bring the blood cancer fates down on us again.

As a mother, one of my biggest fears is losing one of my children. I often say that I don’t know how I would survive it but the truth is, I know exactly how one survives it. I just don’t ever want to have to.

In 1996, a decade before I was a mother, myself, I was an aunt. Yes, I was that crazy, (probably) over doting, obnoxious aunt to my first nephew, Alex. I’m serious, I had his baby pictures on my nightstand. It scared many of a date when I was single.

I come from a large Latino family and, in our family, family is everything. Mi casa es su casa. What’s mine is yours and we love each other’s children as much as we love our own so baby Alex was fair game as far as all of us were concerned. Alex was the pride and joy of my brother, Carlos and his wife, Jodie. Alex was the first of the next generation of the Cruz kids and we loved that kid more than a fat kid loves cake. If only love could make you immune to the cruelties of the world.

Leukemia, Pediatric cancer, leukemia & lymphoma society, how to survive leukemia

When Alex was only 2-years-old the unthinkable happened, Alex was diagnosed with T-Cell A.L.L (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia).

With that diagnosis of leukemia, as a family, our world crashed down all around us. The world as we knew it ceased to make sense. I questioned everything I’d ever believed or knew because how could this be happening to a child.

I wasn’t a mother myself at the time so I couldn’t fully understand what that diagnosis felt like as a parent. Hearing my brother’s voice on the phone, hundreds of miles away, with no family around; the pain and anguish in his voice was palpable when he delivered the news. I knew he was broken but he was stoic for his son.

I hung up the phone and sobbed, cursed and prayed. I couldn’t wrap my mind around what was happening. I just knew that this couldn’t be happening. That moment changed all of us. In many ways, it has defined the person I am today.

Experiencing that kind of vulnerability and helplessness makes you realize that every single day is important. Every moment counts. Every word, deed and action of your life means something because your moment may be someone else’s lifetime so embrace life.

Life is fickle and just as quickly as you are crying tears of joy as they are laying your precious newborn baby onto your chest, you can be holding back tears of sadness as you fight for their life. Cancer doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care if you are someone’s everything.

My brother and his wife are two of the strongest people I know. When you are a parent of a seriously ill child, you lose the luxury of choosing to collapse in a pool of snot and tears when the world beats you down, you just have to suck it up and be strong for your children no matter how broken and vulnerable you are feeling yourself. Once you get behind closed doors, you can collapse, cry, scream and rage against the world.

You have to be brave for the both of you. You stay strong for your child until you make it out the other side; healthy and happy. My brother and his wife are still two of the strongest people that I’ve ever known.

Back in those days, I was terrified every time the phone rang when I saw North Carolina on the caller I.D. On one particular night, I saw my brother’s number. I held my breath and answered the phone, as I always did in those days. My brother recounted the day’s events, heavily uttering the words that he had to lay across his toddler to hold him down so the doctors could do a spinal tap as my confused 2-year-old nephew screamed,

“I hate you, Papi!”

I could hear my brother’s voice cracking as his heart was breaking.

That’s cancer. Doing the hard things to save your loved one even when it breaks your heart. Watching as the person you love is in pain, wanting desperately to take their place and being helpless to take it away.

This all happened when Carlos was only 22-years-old. My brother and his wife survived Alex’s leukemia with grace, love and hope. Thanks to so many amazing people (doctors, nurses, family and friends) including Wake Forest Baptist Medical Hospital and Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. They went on to have 3 more beautiful children.

Leukemia, Pediatric cancer, leukemia & lymphoma society, how to survive leukemia

Alex went into remission and has not had any relapses. Today, my beautiful nephew, the firstborn Cruz grandchild is a 21-year-old sweet, caring young man. He is our miracle. He is a survivor and we are blessed every single day that we have him here with us. Other families are not so fortunate.

Since then, my brother and his family have hosted countless events to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society. It’s the one charity that I never say no to when asked it donate. How can we ever repay the debt of a child’s life?

This year my brother was nominated for the honor of being The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) 2017 Man & Woman of the Year campaign. He deserves it. He is a devoted husband and father who is a pillar of the community and does his best to give back to a world that gave him his son back.

Leukemia, Pediatric cancer, leukemia & lymphoma society, how to survive leukemia

As a family, we have set a goal to raise $100,000 for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society between today and June 1, 2017. I know it’s ambitious but that’s how we Cruz kids roll. We go big, especially when it’s such an important cause.

I am humbly asking for your support in our efforts to help the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in its mission to find a cure for blood cancers and to assist patients and families as they battle this disease. No donation is too small or too large. Every single dollar counts towards finding a cure. Your donation could help save another parent from having to live through this excruciating experience.

There are two easy ways to help the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society find a cure:

 

  1. Make a personal gift. (Your donation is a tax-deductible contribution.). Go to my Leukemia and Lymphoma Society campaign Web site and make your contribution at https://www.mwoy.org/pages/in/neindiana17/dbeckp

 

  1. Invite your business or organization to be a corporate sponsor.

$25,000 – Presenting Sponsor

$ 15,000 – Platinum

$ 10,000 – Gold

$ 5,000 – Silver

$ 2,500 – Bronze

$ 1,000 – Bronze

$1,000, $500 or $250 – Grand Finale Program Ad

I want to personally say thank you from all of us; it truly means everything to us.If you want to learn more about what the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is doing please go here for latest updates.

Leukemia, Pediatric cancer, leukemia & lymphoma society, how to survive leukemia

If you can donate to help us meet our goal of raising $100,000 by June 1, 2017 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society please go here and donate whatever you can.

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Google Chromecast audio, 12th birthday

Disclosure: I have been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

Do you love music? I think most people do. I feel like there should be a soundtrack to life and for each milestone, there should be a designated song playing in the background always. I think the world would be a better place if music was just always running in the background.

It probably has something to do with the way I grew up. My parents are both very big music lovers and there was always some kind of music playing in the house when I was growing up. Whether it was Mexican music playing softly in the background during dinner while my dad told us stories of growing up in Mexico, nursery rhymes playing when one of the children was small of soft jazz playing as my dad held my mom and swayed through the house on any given Sunday, music was always playing. It’s one of my favorite childhood memories.

We do the same at our house. But instead of playing music on huge speakers we use portable speakers and instead of blasting a boom box in one room of the house, we now have Google Chromecast which makes it easy and affordable to play our music from our devices in any room, or multiple rooms in the house.

 

Google Chromecast audio, 12th birthday

 

Google Chromecast Audio is available at Best Buy. Google Chromecast Audio enables you to play music on your speakers, new or old, wirelessly from your phone, laptop or tablet.  Because Chromecast Audio uses WiFi instead of Bluetooth, you can stream crystal clear hi res sound. It is the best of all worlds and makes the transition from the boom box to your tech devices effortless. Because Chromecast Audio uses WiFi instead of Bluetooth, you can stream crystal clear hi res sound on your new or old speakers.

Listen to your favorite tunes on your speaker/

By using your phone, it’s easy to play, pause, or change the volume from anywhere in the home. And while streaming, you can still text or call without interrupting what’s playing or draining your battery.

1)      Crystal clear sound, powered by the cloud     Use Chromecast Audio to stream over Wi-Fi which has many advantages over Bluetooth including higher sound quality.

2)      Enjoy hundreds of your favorite audio apps

Stream millions of songs, radio stations, and podcasts through apps like Pandora, Spotify, YouTube Music, and Google Play Music. Find more at chromecast.com/apps

3) Play music everywhere with Multi-room

Now you can easily fill every room in your home with synchronous music. Simply group Chromecast Audio devices together so you can listen to the same song on multiple speakers making curating the best life soundtrack that much easier.

Google Chromecast audio, 12th birthday

What would be the top three songs on the soundtrack for your life and why?

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how to explain where babies come from, where babies come from, having the talk with children, explaining sex, how to feel sexy after having a baby, new mom, marriage, pregnancy. feeling sexy after baby, vaginal dryness

Disclosure: This is a compensated post written in collaboration with Lubrigyn but all opinions about how to feel sexy after having a baby are my own.

I’ve had pregnancy and babies on the brain lately because, any day now, we are expecting a brand spanking new baby nephew. The business of making and growing babies is a miracle. It also happens to be a lot of hard work but, as all of you know, totally worth it. The thing is when you are 40 weeks pregnant, you are usually too exhausted and feeling way too much like your body is a foreign territory to feel sexy.

Sure, we all do that last round of “get this baby outta me” sex but there is nothing sexy about it for us. It is 100% functional. There is a goal, get that baby out. It’s the same reason why we walk miles and eat pineapple by the buckets in that last week. It’s us, trying to deliver an eviction notice to our beloved little miracles. Sure, we want to meet them but also, we want to see our feet. It’s all hands on deck desperate times, desperate measures. I won’t lie, by week 39 of baby girl number 2, I was ready to go full on succubus on the Big Guy.

But I had no idea of how to feel sexy after having a baby.

You promise yourself that after that baby comes, 6 weeks, and boom! It’s on like Donkey Kong. You just know that you’ll be feeling extra sexy once that giant belly is out of the way and you are still rocking those “I just had a baby” breasts but that’s not how it works. That’s not how any of that works.

Aside from the fact that it is impossible to feel sexy when you are sleeping in 2 hour increments and are hearing phantom crying, even when that newborn is asleep, you’ll find that being covered in your baby’s spit up, no matter how much you love them, does not help you get your groove back. Plus, your mind is just not that into it: when you have an adorable munchkin suckling your breasts non-stop, it’s hard to see them as sexual.

The reality is that your body went through profound changes during pregnancy. That doesn’t all just go back to normal as soon as the baby comes out. Sex is one of those things that changes. In fact, 83 percent of female participants in a recent study said they experienced sexual problems in the first 12 weeks after their first delivery.

One of the most common issues is postpartum vaginal dryness. It is very common and a natural condition. We’ve all been there. Many new moms find that vaginal dryness makes sex uncomfortable or even painful. Who wants to deal with that, right? Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ease the vaginal dryness situation and get your sex life back on track.

Vaginal dryness is opposite of how to feel sexy after having a baby.

Let me explain, I know you probably know this from 9th grade sex ed, but bear with me… The hormones estrogen and progesterone are produced in your ovaries and are what trigger puberty, breast development and menstruation. These hormones are also responsible for the buildup of lining in your uterus during your menstrual cycle. If you do not become pregnant during your cycle, estrogen and progesterone levels drop and the uterine lining is shed during your period. Life goes on as normal.

Estrogen and progesterone levels increase while you’re pregnant because instead of shedding your uterine lining, it develops into a placenta. The placenta also produces estrogen and progesterone, which is crucial to the health and development of your baby during pregnancy, so you are living in the world of estrogen and progesterone abundance.

However, estrogen and progesterone levels drop drastically almost immediately after you give birth because you just shed the mother of all linings. Hormone levels return to their pre-pregnancy levels within 24 hours of giving birth. Your body’s estrogen level can drop even further while breastfeeding because estrogen can interfere with milk production. These are all your body’s way of keeping your baby healthy, but all that missing estrogen can cause vaginal dryness.

Estrogen is absolutely vital to sexual arousal because it boosts the flow of blood to the genitals and increases vaginal lubrication. And every woman knows, that sex without arousal and lack of vaginal lubrication is pretty terrible. I like to see it similar to trying to swallow a mouth full of crackers with no water. No one wants that, right?

This lack of estrogen is also what’s responsible for many of the symptoms women have during menopause, including hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness so that’s something to look forward to, right? But seriously, it doesn’t have to be like this. You don’t have to and shouldn’t be suffering. Women deserve great sex too.

“Be mindful of your intimate health as you get older. As estrogen levels decline, so does your intimate skin become more delicate.  Lubrigyn Cleansing Lotion provides rich hydration and is free from harsh, potentially irritating ingredients contained in other soaps and body washes.”  – Dr. Alyssa Dweck

There are a couple things you can do. You can power through, if you are the rub some dirt on it kind of gal, which I am not. I am not a fan of pain, in any way, shape or form. Not even in the name of sex. A little hair pulling and lip biting I can do… but sandpaper vagina? I’ll pass.

So what does all this vaginal dryness mean for you? Well, the tissue of your vagina may become thinner, less elastic and more prone to injury. Your vagina can become inflamed, which may cause burning and itching. Intercourse can be painful and can even cause vaginal bleeding. Now, I don’t know about you but when I gave birth, I felt like I had a nuclear bomb go off in my vagina, so no, I didn’t really relish the idea of further damage.

The good news is these symptoms are not permanent and should disappear when you stop breastfeeding, when your estrogen levels return to normal. But no woman should be physically punished for breastfeeding, and stopping breastfeeding should not be the answer to the problem. We shouldn’t have to choose one or the other. We deserve to feed our babies and be able to have good sex.

What can you do to figure out how to feel sexy after having a baby?

I’m here to tell you that you can have a stellar sex life, despite postpartum vaginal dryness. The following are tips to help:

  • Avoid harsh soaps and body washes in favor of a hydrating formula like Lubrigyn Cleansing Lotion. Today, more women than ever are taking charge of their vaginal hygiene and comfort with Italy’s #1 choice in feminine care. pH-balanced and made with botanical ingredients, this rich, silky formula soothes, protects and moisturizes the delicate skin of the vaginal area. It’s an all-in-one intimate wash that will keep you clean, confident and comfortable all day. It contains hyaluronic acid and elastin which is an effective synergy to alleviate vaginal dryness. Lubrigyn cleanses gently with natural oils without irritating lather or harmful ingredients, it has non-lathering with deodorizing properties. Lubrigyn can also be used in the shower or simply applied with a tissue, making it convenient for use at home, while traveling or on the go.

“There are easy ways to alleviate postnatal vulvar dryness and irritation. My patients love Lubrigyn Cleansing Lotion because it cleanses, moisturizes and lubricates so you feel refreshed and hydrated throughout the day.” – Dr. Michael Krychman

  • Talk to your doctor about prescription options
  • Use a lubricant when you’re having sex.
  • Drink water. Keep your body well hydrated.
  • Avoid douches and personal hygiene sprays.
  • Last, but certainly not least, increase foreplay and try different techniques and positions. Seriously, talk to your partner. He doesn’t want it to be painful for you. He wants you to enjoy it too.

If you’d like to give Lubrigyn Cleansing Lotion a try for yourself. There is a $5 off coupon on lubrigynusa.com site.

How to feel sexy after having a baby is a tricky situation, what did you do to get your groove back?

 

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Netflix, cheater, cheating, binge-worthy shows

Are you a cheater? Have you ever told the person that you love the most a lie to satisfy your own id? I think most of us have, right? At first you think, who’s it going to hurt. Don’t ask; don’t tell. More like take the junk to the grave. If you’re going to cheat, the least you can do is keep it to yourself. Telling your partner that you’ve cheated is not going to help them at all. You did the crime, now do the time. Live with your guilt.

You see, this is why the Big Guy and I can’t ever do the Netflix and chill thing. He is all about the chill part but not about the Netflix binge part. I’m a closer. I like to pick my show and then binge it to the end. I am nothing if not committed to finishing my shows. So sometimes, I have to cheat.

He knows I do it. We don’t discuss it. It’s not a big deal. We are open about it. I am just not built to be a once-in-awhile show watcher. We’ve actually just given up trying because it’s just too frustrating and someone always gets hurt so we’ve decided it’s just easier if he does him and I do me.

Netflix, cheater, cheating, binge-worthy shows

For example, we started watching One Day at a Time Together but he likes to savor the moments and draw out the season. I am more of a wham! Bam! Thank you ma’am! Kind of a gal so he falls asleep and I watch until I can’t keep my eyes open anymore. Needless to say, I finished the series in a weekend and he still hasn’t caught up. It really was THAT good.

Then there was A Series of Unfortunate Events that we just couldn’t agree on a time to watch it so I watched it with the girls and he watched it while we were at ballet. We all agreed that the show was definitely cheat worthy because we all loved it.

Netflix, cheater, cheating, binge-worthy shows

But then there are shows like the Santa Clarita Diet that we all must watch together. It’s the kind of show that brings us back together and reminds us of why we fell in love in the first place, because we just get each other completely.

I’d definitely hide a body for him and I’m pretty sure he’d do just about anything in his power to keep me from turning into a zombie. I mean, I’m pretty difficult just when I’m hangry. I’d never cheat on him by watching the Santa Clarita Diet alone.

Netflix, cheater, cheating, binge-worthy shows

 

But then again, I won’t lie, when House of Cards returns this May, I won’t even pretend that I’m not doing it. The simple fact is that I will be cheating my way through it within a weekend. But don’t feel too bad for the Big Guy, I’ll be doing the Netflixing but we’ll be doing the chillin’ together. He’s the only one I ever want to Netflix and Chill with. I mean come on, I’m a show cheater not a real one.

What Netflix show can you not help but cheating and watching ahead on? Come on you can tell me, I won’t tell anyone.

Disclosure: This post was not compensated though I am a member of the Stream Team. All opinions and binge watching habits are my own.

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