Cancer VS Suicide: Team Angels Won by Christine Handy

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Christine & a few of her angels, today! 

It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with breast cancer and completed my chemotherapies and surgeries before I felt full inside. I felt loved in a way I didn’t even know existed. I found the Holy Spirit through the teachings by my team of friends that we called my “team of angels!”

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The first days of my diagnosis I was set on suicide. In my mind I felt unworthy of the time and devotion I knew it would take for my family and friends to care for me. I was coming off an already brutal health problem and I felt like I had used up my “reserves” of care from my husband, parents and friends. I was ashamed to ask for more and yet I knew I couldn’t care for my 2 sons while fighting breast cancer. I believed everyone would be better off without me and without the intensity of my health pressures. I rationalized that decision and it made sense at that moment in time.

Then came my angels.

My friends rallied around me and made me believe the truth, Gods Truth. I was worthy and God loved me so much that He knew every hair on my head. The hairs before chemotherapy and each one as it grew back. I became overwhelmed with love, devotion and care by not only my family but my friends. They became my “team of angels”! And they were.

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Christine’s hair began falling out in the shape of a cross! 

I asked many of my friends why they gave up so much to help me. They gave up their time with their own families to care for mine. They gave up their lives in so many ways for my secured health and well being. And through their faith and teachings, I came to realize why.

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They did it for God, the Glory of God. Those woman didn’t want thanks, they didn’t care about the thank you cards , they taught me that the thanks went to The Lord.

I don’t know about you, but being raised a Christian doesn’t guarantee learning the principles that these woman taught me.

They taught me that my life was important and that I was worthy.

They taught me to give all my worries to The Lord .

They showed me what to serve really looks like even in a society that wants to take all the praise and the credit.

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They not only saved my life they taught me how to live. I went from giving up when I was diagnosed to fighting for my life with their help. I believe God put those woman in my life to change me, refine me and save me.

I am cancer free and love my life. I am never alone, I have the Spirit inside me. The terrors of diagnosis and the fears that come with it are devastating. But my life and my story are bigger than that day I was diagnosed, October 1 st , 2012. God has a plan for me that’s so great. There are days and nights where I feel doubt or fear but I remember my faithful angels and how they modeled the Truth for me.

My fears go away and I pray and feel comforted.

John 15:12-17
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.  This is my command: Love each other.

BE FAB FRIDAY: 5 Ways To Layer Without Getting Lost by Guest Blogger, Tina Hamilton

How Women Can Avoid Getting Lost in Fall Layers

Photo courtesy of Cosmopolitan

Beautiful fall is finally here and everyone is getting excited about getting cozy with a cup of hot chocolate and their family in front of the fireplace. This year’s fall fashion is also something to look forward to, embracing a lot of new trends and some bolder colors that every woman can get excited about. However, a lot of women don’t get as excited about fall because the weather means they need to start layering their clothes. Layering can be a great way to create a beautiful & feminine shape and make a woman feel confident about her style, but many women still shy away from layers.

The most common reason why women try to avoid layering is because they think that it will make them look bigger than they actually are. Though it is true that layering does add more weight to the body, it can actually make a woman look a lot smaller and more perfectly proportioned when utilized correctly. Every woman should know the basics of layering to stay warm and look great this fall.

Here are some tips to help women avoid getting lost in fall layers:

1. Start with thin, fitted layers

When a woman starts layering, it is important that she start out with layers that are fitted to her body to create the best base. This even starts with appropriately fitting bras and the best fitting panties. Adding light tank tops and t-shirts will make warm layers effortless and comfortable. These kinds of layers can be topped with anything to create casual or work appropriate looks for fall.

2. Utilize color, texture and pattern to add dimension

Women tend to layer a lot of basic neutral colors for fall. This look can turn any woman into a lifeless blob, so instead, women should take some time to mix up their basic layering pieces with other pieces that utilize color, texture or pattern. An example of this would be layering a basic brown t-shirt with a tweed jacket and a chunky tan sweater-style scarf. This is a classic fall look that combines textures in the same color palette to create an interesting and elegant look. This can also easily be done with accessories, like a bright jeweled necklace over a basic sweater.

3. Don’t forget about hemlines

Hemlines are very important for women to keep in mind when layering clothes. Choosing the wrong hemline can take a layered look for put-together to frumpy. Women should choose hemlines based on their body type and the features they are trying to accentuate. For example, petite women should avoid long tunic shirts and instead opt for structured layers that sit above the hips. Hemlines can also be used to hide or accentuate certain body parts. For example, pear shaped women can layer a full skirt with tights to camouflage a wider lower half and balance out their body.

4. Balance loose layers with structured pieces

This season’s trends involve a lot of loose and flowy fabrics that are void of a lot of structure. To avoid getting lost in a lot of loose layering pieces, women should try to balance a loose trendy piece with a structured piece to balance out the look. For example, maxi skirts have become a great option for fall, and when paired with a structured boot and a tailored blazer, the look becomes sophisticated and trendy. For women who are more apple shaped, skinny jeans with a long loose sweater is the ultimate comfort look perfect for fall and winter.

5. Add accessories to create shape

Accessories are always the perfect way to take a boring or lifeless outfit to the next level. Women can use popular fall accessories to liven up their look and stay warmer in the fall. Scarves are a great way to add color, pattern, texture and an extra layer of warmth to any outfit. To make things simple, women can opt for infinity scarves that don’t involve as much fuss or know-how to tie in order to look fabulous. An additional fall favorite is a belt that can create a waistline in even the thickest outerwear. This helps women maintain their feminine figure while staying warm and cozy.

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Tina Hamilton is a journalist, blogger and social media guru. You can usually find her online or walking along one of Southern California’s beaches with her dog, Joey. Look for her on Twitter.

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4 Little Innocuous (but revolutionary) Phrases by Guest Blogger Natalie Bolton

 

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Scientists have done studies on “happiness” and why some people seem to grasp it and why it eludes others. MINDSETS are one of the possible factors that will determine the quality you are able to see reflected in your life. And let me say, I am no perfect master at this, however, it I can just set an intention or two for the day it does help.

Take the book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, if one decided to challenge their everyday life with just one of these agreements a day this could totally shift the baseline of the mind, just by focusing on one.

These four little innocuous phrases can be revolutionary!

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BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD. (I may just take this one on everyday for an entire month)

If I can make the promise to myself to be impeccable with my word that means that I believe that what I say means something and impacts my life and others. If I just say “YES” to everything and over schedule myself then I end up flaking out of something and letting someone down. So my “yes” should be solid, strong, and valuable. And if I’m putting my word behind it-I need to pay close attention to what I am signing off on in my life. People are affected by my loose over scheduling, over committing, and under delivering (one of my life challenges).

DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY.

I am uber sensitive. I have pinned it on being creative, artistic, a Capricorn, and moody. Blah blah blah…whatever. I have been sensitive in my life because I have taken things personally. What is so amazing in this life is that no one is ever really doing anything on account of anyone else. Honestly, we are so self-consumed that when someone hurts our feelings 9 times out of 10 the hurter of the feelings was completely unaware and in their own world. When someone “consciously” seemed to personally hit you where it hurts it is due to his or her own fear- his or her own perception, and his or her own battle that they are fighting. When I can remember this I am no longer at the affect of someone else. Yah, we all act out sometimes but if we can pause and think that maybe just maybe that person’s issue has zero to do with us it allows us to continue to buzz throughout our life. Then we are able to put our efforts into things that truly matter.

DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS.

There have been times more often than not, sadly, where I have written an Oscar-worthy drama of “Gone with the Wind” proportions that actually in reality never even happened. Now, don’t judge me and say ”Oh, hmmm, did she just admit that she hears voices in her head…hmmm? Did she just announce her crazy to the world?” NO. What I am saying is I think we all at some point have created storied to back up our colorful imaginations. For example, someone doesn’t pick up his beautiful Great Dane’s poop from your yard turns into “Why does so-and-so hate me?” Or a teenager cackles you from across the street turns into “Oh my god! My cool factor has expired and I am officially old.” Or your partner forgetting the dinner at 8 date turns into “He doesn’t love me and he never did love me!” I know I am NOT the only one so reader don’t squint your eyes and poke fun-we all have done it (hormonal fluctuations could be the culprit most times). Nevertheless, we all have had these ridiculous conversations with ourselves. If I can make the choice to NOT assume, I can show up in the world as an adult and ask real questions to get the real answers. Such as, “hey, poop perpetrator, I have a stash of bags here in case anyone walking their dog needs one in a pinch. Have I told you before that they were here?” Poop perpetrator replies, “Oh man, good to know, the other day we totally left a present in your yard because I forgot the bag and also locked myself out of my house resulting in being late for work and forgetting to come back and pick it up. That is what these flowers picked from my garden are for. My sincerest apologies.” The teenager scenario is simply a teenager scenario. And the forgetting of the date drama? Maybe a question such as “So, by you forgetting about our dinner plans is a simple glitch resulting from you being overworked and overscheduled?” And that gives your partner the opportunity to express his or her love for you and how they were actually getting so involved in planning a surprise weekend get-a-way that they simply forgot about the dinner at hand. Problems solved with simple real questions.

ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST.

What does “The Best” scale look like? Well, it is different everyday and moment by moment. One minute I can extend love to a complete stranger on a plane by listening to her heart for the entire 3-hour flight, and the very next moment I can get annoyed and react to the person kicking the back of my seat. Our best is continually changing but if we are striving to always keep our best forefront in our minds we can avoid the all too common abusive self-talk and regret we love to punish ourselves with. You may be able to run the LA marathon after training at your best, but when you are laid out sick from the flu just getting up from the couch to go to the bathroom is your absolute best. Be kind to yourself and always keep your “BEST” as the goal.

 

Fall can be our best season yet. It can be a time of restoration on many levels.  And our mindset can be the solution to problems we have been unable to fix until now.

Small tweaks powerful impact.

 Thrive on,

 Natalie.

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In Natalie’s own words she shares her personal philosophy, “The mandate for my life is not only bringing beauty to people by external means with new technologies, and cutting-edge technique, my goal is to also refresh the spirit. I pray every morning to bring beauty to the spirit of everyone I touch-so they leave feeling more beautiful and at peace after they leave me. I want to live my life like that as well. I want to leave the world more beautiful than when I found it.”

From CBS’s SURVIVOR to skincare, my sister Natalie Bolton has landed at VANITY LOUNGE in Houston, TX. (Yay, do you know how happy our mom is to have both her girls back in the Great State!!)  Having the opportunity to fulfill her desire to bring beauty, healing and a sense of well being to men and women alike, Natalie has found her calling. As a state-board licensed aesthetician and certified Epicuren specialist, Natalie enhances the appearance and condition of her clients’ skin and their sense of self. Her specialties include rejuvenation and anti-aging. Natalie is also an expert in the areas of acne and problematic skin.

To book your appointment with Nat, call 713-942-9177 or book online.   Vanity Lounge is located at 2800 Kirby Drive #B110
Houston, TX 77098 in the Tootsies shopping center across from Eddie V’s. 

 

“HOUSTON: We have a solution!” by Wellness Warrior & Aesthetician Natalie Bolton

“HOUSTON: We have a solution!”

In honor of being back in this great Space City, and also for all of you other superb individuals abroad I have created a solution plan for combating the winter skin blues.

The official first day of fall has come and here we are.

FALL.

For some the change in season(s) is welcomed with parties, fluffy robes, champagne in hand and the dusting off of the most exquisite boots to ever be over worn. Let’s not forget the not so amazing boots that we all love to hate; a.k.a. the “moon boot”-we just can’t help but to have a nasty love affair with them.

And for others (myself being the ringleader of this category) any season NOT SUMMER offers up a bit of an emotional backlash. I immediately turn into the “weird, she- takes- a- sweater-everywhere- lady”, and I cry as anxiety washes over me when the sun goes down at 4:45. As we reminisce of summer days gone by we now must call out over the loudspeaker for a “cleanup on aisle 5!” in regards to our approximate 93 days of perpetual sun worship. So not only are we dealing with

  • STRIPPED
  • DRY
  • SUN-DAMAGED
  • DEHYDRATED SKIN

We must now off set the chill, chapped, and crepey flake machine we call our skin.

And here are my go to strategies, products and mindsets (mindsets probably leading the pack in importance).

-Peels for sun damage

Now is the time to erase boo boos made with those long hours in summer celebration. The great fact about peels is the technology is constantly changing and you can choose how aggressive or slow and steady you want to go. I use skincare lines that are pretty aggressive with zero downtime. So companies have come along with their formulations and ingredients.

-MORE WATER THAN YOU THINK. DRINK MORE WATER THAN YOU THINK. Going from dry heated rooms to bitter outdoor cold does its best to strip our natural moisture and water reserves. This dangerous combo impairs our skin’s barrier layer. Once cracked or impaired it becomes more difficult to repair damage as winter goes on. So drink up.

-Eat oil rich foods*. Great whole food oils work wonders internally and can’t help but to show externally resulting in supple skin.

  • Avocado-Hoooooooooly moly, guacamole! YES, GUAC IS GOOD!
  • Salmon*-Not only does it bear a beautiful hue; salmon is packed with life and skin enriching oils.
  • Coconut oil*-‘nuff said
  • Some good ol’ nut butters are always a great add…in moderation, and Nutella doesn’t count, sorry.

-The Bible had it right when the words in Exodus were spoken, “Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey…” Honey* heals everything!!! Mix a little honey with coffee grounds’ or sugar to make a glorious bath and body scrub. The honey will heal and soothe damaged skin and being a humectant, honey will seal in your skin’s own water helping against winter chapping. Milk* is a naturally acidic agent formally called lactic acid. Milk has a magical way of removing the skin layer that wants to flake off and peel. If you find that you are consistently dry-I suggest buying powdered milk like the one below and pouring a cup or two in a warm (not scolding hot) bath. After swirling and mixing the powder into the tub drop a few drops of chamomile, lavender, and/or natural rose oil. Chamomile and Lavender soothe and are great oils to use at bedtime, and rose oil is a humectant (locks in water for moisture) and rose oil is also a mood enhancer.

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So now that we covered the strategies portions lets swiftly move on to products, you ready? Let’s go!

PRODUCTS! PRODUCTS! PRODUCTS!

I am not going to bombard you with a ton of products. I am just gonna give you a few of my staples that keep me thriving and jiving all winter long.

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-BIOELEMENTS lip buff

Chapped lips? Oh, no ma’am not a good look. This buffing treatment has sugar cane crystals (exfoliating), vitamin E (water-binding), Shea butter (oil sheathing), jojoba and olive oil (moisturizing) with several essential oils to comfort and cool. Scrub a dub while you’re in the tub.

-IMAGE balancing lip enhancement complex

And if you have fine lip lines this complex helps soften those lines. This balm has a messenger peptide that tells your own collagen to start working better. The lubrication helps protect the extremely fragile barrier layer of the lips with all organic and petrochemical free ingredients. Puh puh pucker up!

-EPICUREN soothing dermal repair balm

This nectar from the gods has single handedly saved my skin the past few winters. This repair balm is so rich yet is formulated to penetrate so you don’t have to deal with that greasy layer that just sits on your skin’s surface not doing the job. In extreme cases you can wear it in the day as your moisturizer or it can be used only at night as your night cream. Easy peezy.

-BIOELEMENTS multi task eye oil

WHAAAAT? An eye oil? YES! This little bullet of power is chocked full of antioxidants and precious GLA oils. Let me just whet your pallet with a few ingredients: Bulgarian rose oil (moisturizing), Evening primrose (smoothing), and GLA-Gamma Linolenic Acid (essential fatty acids for nourishing). You can carry this with you and if you have to brave less than desirable elements just roll and dab, just roll and dab and you will have a protective curtain for the windows to your soul.

-IMAGE tinted moisturizer

This everyday moisturizer happens to be tinted and also happens to be built with broad spectrum UVA/UVB high sun protection at an SPF 30. This moisturizer provides an even skin tone (clap) and healthy glow (clap clap) so you are covering more ground with less steps and effort applied. Next generation blend of anti-oxidants and the lightweight, sheer formula makes this product one of my absolute MUST HAVES. Oh, and did I mention paraben free? Duh.

And last but definitely not least-

-GLYCOLIC 5% or 10% lotion

Glycolic Acid is magic! It is an alpha hydroxy acid that exfoliates the skin by dissolving dead skin cells. It reduces dead, layering, and smothering skin build up that is responsible for a lot of different kinds of common skin problems. Hyaluronic Acid is activated resulting in the skin’s own ability to bind moisture and lock it in. Glycolic Acid enhances the skin overall appearance by feeling and looking smoother, healthier, and more youthful. 


A few pros:

  • Eats away at sun damage and discolorations
  • Pores look smaller and more refined
  • Helps even out and brighten skin tone
  • Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles

So this is it.

This is all I have.

With a few of these tips Fall can be our best season yet. 

Small tweaks –  powerful impact.

Thrive on,

 Natalie.

* I try to use products and ingredients that are as pure as possible and eat foods that are ethically handled. I believe in being kind to our planet and to the other glorious inhabitants we share her with. This is why I choose the specific products in this blog.

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 From CBS’s SURVIVOR to skincare, my sister Natalie Bolton has landed at the VANITY LOUNGE in Houston, TX. (Yay, do you know how happy our mom is to have both her girls back in the Great State!!)  Having the opportunity to fulfill her desire to bring beauty, healing and a sense of well being to men and women alike, Natalie has found her calling. As a state-board licensed aesthetician and certified Epicuren specialist, Natalie enhances the appearance and condition of her clients’ skin and their sense of self. Her specialties include rejuvenation and anti-aging. Natalie is also an expert in the areas of acne and problematic skin.

In Natalie’s own words she shares her personal philosophy, “The mandate for my life is not only bringing beauty to people by external means with new technologies, and cutting-edge technique, my goal is to also refresh the spirit. I pray every morning to bring beauty to the spirit of everyone I touch-so they leave feeling more beautiful and at peace after they leave me. I want to live my life like that as well. I want to leave the world more beautiful than when I found it.”

To book your appointment with Nat, call 713-942-9177 or book online.   Vanity Lounge is located at 2800 Kirby Drive #B110
Houston, TX 77098 in the Tootsies shopping center across from Eddie V’s. 

 

 

 

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Photos By Cody Bess

BE FAB FRIDAY: 4 Fashion Rules the Media Doesn’t Tell You By Guest Blogger Tina Hamilton

Fashion Rules the Media Doesn't Tell You

Image Courtesy of Cosmopolitan

It starts at a very young age for most of us with your mother telling you that you can’t go to school in your ballerina tutu. It continues when you hit middle school and your friends tell you that braces are dorky and weird. The issue furthers in high school when you are told that you need to look like all your favorite celebrities or you won’t be popular. Just when you think it would get better, it only gets worse as you reach your twenties and thirties when you are supposed to maintain a perfect look, the ideal corporate job and a stable relationship. We don’t even need to talk about the brutal scrutiny that women over the age of 40 are under!

Women are constantly given rules by our peers and the media telling us how to look. These standards seem impossible to maintain, and for many of us, they are simply unrealistic. We all have different bodies, different needs from our style and different tastes that do not always fit into the mold that the media creates.

Instead, we should create our own set of rules, rules that focus on the true meaning of style; to make every woman feel beautiful and confident every single day. Here are the fashion rules that the media doesn’t tell you, and why you should ditch everything else and follow them instead.

1. The garment should work for you, not the other way around

Every piece of clothing and every accessory should work only to enhance you and your beauty. You should never feel the need to squeeze into a tight pair of jeans in order to look skinnier if you are not comfortable doing so. Instead, take those jeans in the next size up. You will feel better and look better in clothes that fit you properly.

2. You should never cast out a style because of your size

Many girls are told they cannot wear certain styles and trends because of their body. For example, girls who are small on top are told they cannot wear sheath dresses. These ideas should be cast out for every woman, you need to try the look on yourself and find the right fit before you determine that the look works well for you or not.

3. Never buy anything before trying it on

Some big changes have been made in the world of online shopping, so the need to spend hours in a department store dressing room is no longer necessary. Most online stores offer free returns and exchanges and free shipping, so you can get the same items at lower prices without leaving the house. You can even buy bras online with new bra sizing apps that ensure that you will get the best fit possible.

4. You can wear trendy looks at any age

Celebrities today have proven that age does not need to determine your style anymore. You can still pull of trendy looks no matter what your age is. Look to celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and Stacy London for trendy looks that are still age appropriate so you can maintain your fashion forward style.

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Tina Hamilton Headshot

Tina Hamilton is a journalist, blogger and social media guru. You can usually find her online or walking along one of Southern California’s beaches with her dog, Joey. Look for her on Twitter.

 

NOT ME by Guest Blogger Christine Handy

Christine_couchChristine, today.

I remember some of the details of the days leading up to my breast cancer diagnosis and of the moment the doctor called me with the results. The initial memories I do have are memories of disbelief and fear, not anger. The memories are of deep sadness, but not pity. They are of confusion and guttural pain. It’s a day nobody wants to experience and a day I will never soon forget.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer October 1st 2013, I was 43 years young with no family history of the disease. I was one of those ladies that never took the self exam seriously. But on that one, very random evening in late September for no apparent reason at all, I gave myself a breast exam and found a lump. It was a hard mass below my left nipple and it seemed to appear out of nowhere. That night my husband and I convinced ourselves that it was a cyst, it couldn’t be cancer. Not only did I not have any family history, but I worked out 6 days a week. I’m allergic to sugar so don’t eat any and I’m a vegetarian. Other than the major debacle with my right arm I was otherwise very heathy. This could not happen to me.

I was out of town the night I felt the lump and as chance would have it, it was on a Saturday. During my initial frenzy I contemplated going to the emergency room, but I had to come to grips with the reality that I had to wait. The compulsion for an answer that gripped my every breath was intense and yet I could do nothing about it. By Tuesday, I was back home and called my obstetrician who referred me to a breast specialist. Oh boy , I thought, here we go. I called the specialist and begged my way into an appointment the following morning. More waiting. I look back to the waiting during those days and I still shake my head. It was agonizing.

The following morning my husband and I headed to the “specialist”. Something unexpected happened when I checked into the reception area that morning. I started to feel humiliation. I had a lump. I was a marked woman (I thought) and I actually felt shame. I can’t explain why I felt humiliation, but I can only surmise it was because of the stigma attached to the word cancer . I remember growing up and adults whispering to each other, ” oh she’s the one with cancer,” like it was shameful. I had already felt fear and now I felt the black mark.

The specialist’s office was typical and systematic. We got to speak to the doctor fairly quickly, a brief hello and off with the shirt and bra. He did a physical exam and said that he believed the mass on my left breast was a cyst just from the touch and from the way it “moved.” I felt a surge of relief. I may have even smiled. The doctor then asked my husband to head to the waiting room and I was shuffled over to the line for the mammogram. I sat next to another lady who was older than me, I recall. She was very pleasant and started to talk to me. She said that she was there for her 6 month check up. She also said she had been diagnosed with breast cancer the year before, but that it was stage one and therefore she didn’t have to undergo any chemotherapy treatment. I felt sorry for her. She, although older than me, was still way too young to have had cancer- I thought.

Shortly after my mammogram , I was back in an exam room feeling pretty confident and a bit more at ease. The doctor came back into the exam room, sat next to me while placing his hand on my knee and said in a quiet , genteel voice that possibly it wasn’t a cyst, but that I should not be concerned. He also said that they needed to do a needle biopsy the next day. This was some kind of roller coaster and my brief feelings of relief were washed away by total panic. I remember I started to cry. All the emotional courage I had mustered up collapsed right before me. I asked for the nurse to go get my husband and she did. My husband walked in a few minutes later with a swagger and a smile but when he looked at me he immediately stopped and asked ” what’s wrong”. I explained to him what the doctor had said to me and then he lowered his head and in a solemn manner spoke out an, “awwwwww” sound . I knew from his tone and expression the he knew at this point that this was serious. As much as he recovered quickly and tried to convince me that it was going to be fine, I knew he felt differently.

It was at this very moment when the anger began. We left the breast specialist’s office and as I walked to the car I started to sob. You see, in the 14 months prior to this very day, I had had surgery on my right arm that led to an infection which went misdiagnosed for 5 months. The infection- during those 5 months- literally ate away all of my cartilage in my right wrist and broke every single bone while decaying the bones that were left. The misdiagnosis led to 6 additional arm surgeries, somewhere around 14 different arm casts and months of ridiculously painful physical rehab. It also led to my having a PICC line that was inserted into my upper right tricep and threaded to my heart. This allowed my “new” infectious disease doctor (I didn’t even know this type of doctor existed) to pump me with what was described as ” World War 2 ” intensity antibiotics to stop the infection. Even after all this, I ended up with a permanently disabled right arm.

So, on this very sad solemn day in late September 2013 while walking to my car fearing the worst , I was still in a cast . You see the reason I was out of town when I found the lump was not because I was on some kind of vacation after the arm debacle. It was because I was in NYC seeing the surgeon that had just fused and bone grafted my wrist. It was my 6 week post surgery check up. I hadn’t even gotten a chance to realize the magnitude of my permanently fused arm and I was worrying about having breast cancer. By the time I got to the car that day in Dallas Texas, in the parking lot outside of the breast specialists office, I started to scream. Literally scream in broad daylight. I couldn’t wrap my brain around having any more pain, any more suffering and I especially couldn’t imagine having cancer. Was all that I had gone through with my arm not enough? Was I being punished? I screamed and screamed and screamed some more. Not me. Not me I cried. 

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photo-262The week before chemo starts.

photo-264Chopping hair off before losing it to chemo. 

Christine_PeterChristine & her husband, Peter. 

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Christine resides between Dallas and Miami. She is a wife and mom to two great teenage sons. She’s a former model and power athlete. Stay tuned for Christine’s next inspiring post! She is also writing a book about her dual journey with her battle with breast cancer and the fusion of her arm. 

 

SURGERY Vs. LIQUID FACELIFT: The Answer Is Written All Over Your Face By Guest Beauty Expert, Brooke Nichol R.N.

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Many times a week I have clients who come in, sit in my chair, and say to me, “all I see when I look in the mirror is my mother”, and when that happens, it might be time for an intervention. You eat right, stay out of the sun, and you’re even diligent about your nightly regimen of medical grade skin care and serums and yet you still see the same thing staring back at you in the mirror; your parents.  There is only so much that lotions and potions can do before its time for minimally invasive treatments or surgical procedures.  Please don’t hear me wrong, I am a HUGE advocate of prevention and taking good care of your skin, but I am also a realist. 

Whether we want to admit it or not, AGING HAPPENS.  So what can you do about it? 

Below you will see a 68-year young client of mine who has never had ANY injections prior to our visit.  What you will notice first is her over arched brows that she subconsciously holds up to maintain her vision, making her a perfect candidate for an upper blepharoplasty (eye-lid surgery).  She is also a perfect example of who NOT to treat with neuro-modulators in the frontalis (forehead) because it will drop her lids and impede her sight.

We further discussed her options and I explained to her the amount of volume loss observed and mentioned that at her age a facelift would be a great option.  She, however, is not in the market for surgery ($7,000-$50,000) and does not want the down time that comes with the possible recovery time (2 weeks-6 months).

We discussed different filler options and what she can expect.  It has been said, for every ONE SYRINGE you erase ONE YEAR.  I injected 10 syringes and wouldn’t you agree that she looks 10 years younger!

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I always start injecting at the top and work my way down for which, in most cases, allows me to use less filler.  In the end I used the following to give her the result of a “liquid facelift.”

  • VOLUMA x (4) syringes in the malar (cheek) region and mid face.
  • Juvederm Ultra Plus x (4) syringes to treat the vertical lips lines, marionette lines and pre jowl sulcus (indentions to each side of chin).  (See previous blog on the importance of foundation).   
  • Juvederm Ultra x (2) syringes in the fine lines that were etched in her skin from either expressions or loss of volume.

When it comes to Surgery Vs. Liquid facelifts, I don’t feel it is one or the other.  The answer is different for all of us and for most; a combination of both could offer the best results. 

There are so many options these days and the list is getting longer with each FDA approval of modern medicines. Along side of every laser, light, peel, potions, and lotion, there are real benefits with dermal fillers, neuro-modulators and plastic surgery. Everyone has his or her own self-critic within that will nudge you consistently when it’s your time to take action. You might even get to a point where you cannot stand to look in the mirror and THAT is your sign to act! 

Brooke Nichol R.N.

Owner/Operator of Saving Face in Austin, TX

Learn more about Brooke & her services at http://savingfaceaustin.com 

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