Appreciating Our Differences

Something I like doing on occasion is reading books of people I am not a huge fan of, but I’ve seen glimpses of things I really like about them. The reason I like doing this is because I think writing can humanize people and gives you a little peek into their soul if they choose to be open with their audience. You can learn a lot from people who are different than you are, and I do believe that the large majority of people have good intentions; they just have different ideas of what will make the world a better place. Getting to know someone’s heart, rather than judging them on their political opinions or differing beliefs can open your mind to a whole new beautiful world.

One of my favorite quotes of all time is,

“There isn’t anyone you couldn’t love once you’ve heard their story.”

There is so much truth in this. So much.

My most recent example is Amy Schumer. She has a pretty raunchy sense of humor that I just don’t really find funny. I’ve heard some jokes from her that make me cry I’m laughing so hard, but I can totally do without all the crudeness and language. So, you would think that when Audible suggested I listen to her book I would immediately be turned off and go to the next suggestion, but I was open to giving it a try. After all, this is not the first time I’ve changed my mind about a celebrity after knowing more about them.

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Photo Credit: Instagram, @AmySchumer

I’m more than halfway through her book and my idea of her is forever changed. Amy has been through a lot in her life, and her sense of humor is what saw her through a lot of her challenges. She uses it as a defense mechanism, and a way to cope with hardship. Don’t get me wrong, there were pretty decent chunks of the book I wasn’t really into and wanted to fast-forward through. I felt myself cringe and wasn’t interested in hearing some of the details that were divulged, but I know plenty of people laughed out loud at the pictures that she painted for us.

Reading this, though, made me really like Amy Schumer as a person; now I would say that I just don’t like every single one of her jokes. She’s strong, independent, and doesn’t take crap from other people, and she also doesn’t let things get to her as much as I would. She knows her worth and that she can’t please everyone, but is herself anyway. I respect the heck out of that! It also indirectly introduced me to one of her newest movies, I Feel Pretty, which was possibly one of the funniest movies I’ve seen all year. I was rolling at some of the jokes towards the beginning of the film, and I think Schumer captured what it’s like being a woman so, so well. I love how open she is about her insecurities and how she says what every girl thinks at one time or another. She is just so darn relatable, despite being a wealthy celebrity (Side note: I guess I’ve been living under a rock because I was shocked to hear she’s worth over 37 million dollars. What?!).

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Photo Credit: Universal Pictures, “I Feel Pretty”

I still don’t think I’ll be Amy’s number one fan, but I definitely won’t shy away from her completely. Maybe every once in awhile I’ll check out her Instagram to see if she has any fun content, or even listen to her podcast on Spotify. Amy and I will never be the same — in fact I think we’re polar opposites in almost every regard — but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy her for who she is and learn some important life lessons along the way. I want to have her fearlessness and strength! I want to care less about what other people think about me, and I want to do more of what I love and prioritize myself without feeling guilty about it. I think those were valuable enough lessons in themselves to make The Girl with The Lower Back Tattoo worth the read for me, and I was glad I chose it as my “book of the month” for February.


 …Thoughts? What are some books that you’ve read that have shaped you? Who has changed your mind about them by just sitting down and getting to know them more? I am making it a goal of mine to keep learning more about people who think differently than I do because I think this is an amazing opportunity for me to grow as a person. I’d love more suggestions on books to read and podcasts to follow this month!

Blur Between Life And The Internet

Hello friends!

I just looked at my blog and the last time I posted was almost a month ago on November 13. The last time I posted something I really kind of cared about was in October. I used to write all the time and have a hard time figuring out which things were and weren’t share-worthy. I often decided to not really filter myself, and posted everything, which meant you had a few things to read every week.

Lately I’ve had a hard time feeling motivated to post. I have a bunch of things I’d like to write about, but I’m having a few issues. First, I have a problem with women not supporting other women. I will likely write a post about this one day, but I struggle with the fact that not everyone wants the best for others, and that there are people out there who would be absolutely fine hurting me in one way or another. Second, I always want to be 100% authentic and real with y’all. I have a difficult time doing this and also maintaining an amount of anonymity for those in my life who didn’t ask to be written about. I want you all to know that with the beautiful things in life there are still struggles, but I also don’t think the Internet is a productive place for each hurdle life throws at me. Lastly, I have realized that oversharing can help so many people, but it can also cause a lot of pain. I am trying to find a balance of sharing important life lessons and details with you all, but still protecting myself and my loved ones.

Luckily I have some old drafts I am going to work on until I want to start writing again. I really want more than anything to be the open book I love, but I’ve also grown wiser and more jaded with releasing my most inner thoughts to anyone in the world to read. I hope. I can get out of this funk and start writing from my heart again! In the meantime, if you’re still following this little blog, thank you. I hope to start offering more to you again soon.

Love,
Krista

To The Creatives Of The World

Your work matters too.

Having a chronic illness makes me so, so thankful for people who are different than I am. I appreciate the people who can handle blood and unhinged joints, and those who have brains that work for chemistry and biology. I’m not wired like that; I enjoy using my hands to write and create stories. I like painting metaphorical pictures for people, and I love resurfacing feelings from my heart and putting them on paper for others to read and relate to.

Something that really kept my spirits up when I first got sick with POTS was watching The Food Network and reruns of The Office. Laughter is often some of the best medicine, and despite not being able to do very much physically, I was able to laugh and dream. I learned as much as I could about food and health, and I lived each moment in the present as the room spun in circles around me.

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Every chapter of my life has included a soundtrack. I hear an old favorite song and it takes me back to a memory. I often do my best writing while I am listening to music, and will play a song on repeat until I have spilled old feelings on the pages in front of me. Despite not having the same ones anymore, I have a perfect memory for feelings. I know them all so well and even though I can’t remember dates, numbers, or physical details, I always remember how my heart felt about something. The best part about my writing is that it strikes a chord with people. With each blog post I get messages about how someone could relate to my own thoughts and feelings, and I take a lot of joy in knowing I can make others feel less alone by sharing my life with them.

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There are a lot of people in the world who get credit for their practical work, but I think creative people sometimes get left out of the thankfulness. I’ve written posts about how great I think people like doctors, physical therapists, nurses, and researchers are — without them I would be a complete wreck — but I’ve conveniently left out the people I understand most. The artists, the writers, the actors, and the comedians who all make life just that much brighter and more beautiful. The world is a really cool place because we have such a vast mix of humans who care about all of the other kinds of people. Without the left brains we wouldn’t be able to fix painful everyday problems, and without the right brains we wouldn’t have all the entertainment options we do. Both types of people bring more joy to the world, and we are all are a piece of the puzzle that makes for a happier society as a whole. No matter what your talent is, use it to make the world a better place.

Today’s lesson: Just because you can’t cure sicknesses or fix things doesn’t mean you aren’t important to the world. Laughter and bringing joy through the form of creativity and entertainment is a very important job. Keep practicing what you do best and giving back to the world with your own unique talents.

More Than Just A Super Bowl Win

If you’ve been following along this blog for a little while now, you’ll know that I’ve become quite the Patriots fan since I met Robert. He did a great job converting me to root for all things Boston, and I think I have some good tips on how to bring a significant other to whatever your dark side is.

Despite being disappointed about not winning the Super Bowl this year, I was quickly intrigued by the Eagles’ quarterback, Nick Foles. I saw stories about his wife plastered all across my newsfeed, talking about how she was diagnosed with POTS in 2013 — the same year as me. Something I think is fascinating about POTS is that so many of us were athletes before we got sick — most of which were actually even more active than the typical person. I ran distances longer than the majority of the US population, ate really well, and jumped on any opportunity of athleticism that was offered. Along with running, I was almost always involved in some sort of club or intramural sport and had friends who would play pickup games with me. Tori Foles was a setter for the volleyball team at University of Arizona, shortly after graduating, she had to spend a month in the Mayo Clinic trying to figure out what made her suddenly get sick.

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My first year with POTS I had to go through the airport in a wheelchair.

It gives me chills how similar our stories are, and how many other young people have the exact same details in theirs. Athletic, young woman with career ambition gets sick right after graduating college — when she’s supposed to just be starting life. It also looks like we both reached for God in our time of hardship. God is still Someone I sometimes struggle with understanding, however having POTS has made me realize how much I need Him. There are things in life that we sometimes have no control over, and our only options are to face the obstacles alone or choose to lean on God for help. Although I sometimes complain about not having a normal life, I also realize what an amazing blessing it is to have healed as much as I have. Instead of fainting every time I stand, I just get dizzy or my vision blacks out for an instant. I don’t go through the entire week with a migraine anymore, and I am able to be in upright positions without having a million different symptoms to control. I still deal with the pain from my Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, but having a brain that actually gets enough blood to it is an enormous blessing.

Something that makes the Foles’ story so beautiful is the fact that Nick and Tori decided to get married just a month after she got diagnosed. This makes my heart so, so happy because POTS is such a life-changing and frightening illness, particularly in the beginning when you’re still learning about it and how to manage your symptoms. There is a reason wedding vows have the line, “In sickness and in health,” because falling ill is one of the most difficult things life can toss at you, and you want to be sure the person you commit to spending your life with will stick around even during hardships. Perfect weddings, fun vacations, and nice things are all fun, but what is really beautiful is seeing how two very imperfect people come together and choose to love each other every single day.

I am not an expert on marriage by any means, but I think when you decide to take someone to be your forever, you are committing to choosing them each and every time. You won’t always have a picture perfect life — you may fight, be annoyed at your forever roommate for making the kitchen a mess, or in my case, or just have a downright bad day — but you will absolutely always love each other. At the end of the day you’ll have someone next to you who has your back no matter what, and that is what I think is the most beautiful thing life has to offer. True selfless love. 

Still An Innocent

Sometimes I forget the way the world is. I trust most people I meet, I don’t think that almost anyone would ever mean to hurt me, and even if someone does something not so nice, I often still think their heart is probably good — they just don’t have the empathy for a situation simply because they cannot understand it.

One of my friends and I were talking about relationships and dating  — as many of my real-life conversations totally revolve around that too — and we got on the topic of cheating. We both agreed that’s one way a guy could never get a second chance with us, as it’s one unforgivable sin in a relationship. I know some people feel differently; I just personally couldn’t be with someone who treated another girl the way he should always only treat me.

“I wonder how many people in the population cheat at some point,” I questioned aloud. I thought about my friends and family and don’t think there’s been a lot of that kind of thing, but I suppose there are people who kept their affairs quiet that I don’t know anything about. “What do you think the number is?” I asked as I went for my phone to Google it.

“Hmmm,” she thought.

“I’d say 5% of people have cheated on a partner,” I said confidently happy with my number.

“What?!” she exclaimed. “There’s no way that’s right!”

My eyes got wide with embarrassment. I had overshot my number. Of course it couldn’t be 5%. That’s 5 out of 100 people; there’s no way that many people have cheated on their partner. What a foolish guess!

“Uhh, OK, you’re right,” I backtracked. “I’ll go with 1% for my guess.” I felt good about that number. 1 in 100; that seems about right!

She looked at me like I was insane. “Krista,” she started, “It’s at least like, 30%. Are you kidding me?! Think about it for a second!”

I did. I couldn’t imagine that 30…. 30! people in 100 would cheat on their partner. Like, that’s a huge offense! It’s not something that is a little mistake you could ever accidentally make. Cheating takes some calculated measures and steps toward that action. It’s not like it “just happens.” You have to form a bond to someone — at least in some capacity. You have to let yourself think about them in a way that isn’t appropriate when you’re in a relationship with someone else. You have to actively pursue some sort of relationship with a person who isn’t your partner. That’s a pretty long string of mistakes. All of that in my opinion is already just as bad as the physical act of cheating, but it still seems like a lot of these things could be prevented.

When we looked it up, we found that my friend was right. In fact, it seems like 30 is a low estimate in most of the articles we found. The next time I’m in a room of 100 people I don’t think I’ll be able to look at it the same way. I always assume most people who are married or dating are generally faithful because in my mind it is impossible to ever even consider straying from someone you’re supposed to be loyal to. You’ve promised your heart to them, so how could you give a part of it to someone else?

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These statistics definitely shook me. I don’t like to think that anyone I know would hurt their partner in a way like this, much less such a large percentage of people.

You can’t control what other people do or how you’re treated, but you can choose how to react to things that happen in your life. People can absolutely learn to control their thoughts as adult human beings, and if they aren’t making an effort to treat you in the way you deserve, please remember your worth. I can’t speak on anyone else’s behalf, but I can say with absolute certainty that I will never stray from a committed relationship. I make a million-and-one other mistakes in my life, but this is something I take so incredibly seriously and would never even picture any part of my life with another individual when I am invested in someone. I have always been careful about what I think, what kind of media I consume, and who I look up to; all of this has played a part in making it really easy to keep my thoughts and actions all in check. I like to think most people feel the same way I do. I still somehow believe those numbers listed are high and that whoever conducted the surveys just chose people who aren’t the norm.

What do you think? Do you believe the guesstimates that were made in articles like the one above or do you think they’re incorrect, too?

Shifted Dreams

It’s funny how dreams in life change with the circumstances.

Ever since I was teeny tiny I’ve wanted to be a journalist. As a kid I made my own little newspapers, magazines, and short stories. I was homeschooled for a few years, and I always begged my mom to let me get ahead on my English homework. We had these little editor workbooks where I got to find and correct grammatical errors, and I would take them to my room to play with when I was done with my schoolwork.

When I finally went to college it was really easy picking my major. My school didn’t have a journalism program, but we did have communication with a concentration in journalism, so I declared my major the very first semester of school. In my free time I still enjoyed writing, and kept several different blogs throughout my college career. I took writing classes as my electives, and I worked for the school newspaper — both as a reporter and as an editor. I went back and forth from wanting to do television or print journalism, and held internships in both fields. My first was with FOX News’ national network, and my second was with Seventeen magazine. I was never very interested in politics, but these internships made me realize how in love with writing I was. I had a fire in my heart to help teenage girls feel less lost and alone in the world, and I worked extra shifts at Seventeen just so I could make a greater impact during my time there.

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Living in NYC was such a dream to me. I am someone who absolutely loves the energy it gives off, and every day felt like an adventure.

Little did I know, the internship that segued into a job would be very short-lived, because I got sick just a few weeks before moving back to the city.

After the initial shock of getting sick quieted down a little bit I realized my life had just changed forever. Four years later I know my dream of moving to New York isn’t going to come true, but I’m really grateful for the months I did have there. New York will always have a tiny piece of my heart, but the rest of it goes to my loved ones… Which brings me to today.

My dreams today are so much more simple than they’ve been in the past. I don’t want to be on television or be famous, and I don’t care deeply about whether or not I get to live in New York again how often I get to travel. My heart is with my family and loved ones, and I have accepted that my career path has drastically changed. I don’t have the strength or stamina to be a journalist — or even work a “normal” job — so I’ve improvised. I’ve actually been really happy working as a consultant for Rodan + Fields. it still fulfills my dream of building other women up and helping build their confidence, and I love that I’m making new friends in the process. I joke to my friends and family that my dream now is to be a stay at home dog mom, and it’s kind of incredible that this dream is quickly becoming a reality.

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What I’m doing with my life isn’t as wild and crazy, but it’s actually turning into a bigger blessing than I could have ever created for myself. If I hadn’t gotten sick I wouldn’t have met Robert. I wouldn’t have found an opportunity to be my own boss and have time to spend with him during the week. If I hadn’t gotten sick I wouldn’t have thought outside the box and found a job working from home with the two sweetest puppies on earth. None of what makes my heart so joyful today would have materialized, so in a very strange way I feel blessed that my own dreams didn’t end up working out. God truly does have a greater plan for me than I ever did for myself, and I can’t wait to see what He has in store for me next.

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My Journal Entries

I’m going to be honest with you guys. I’ve had bad writer’s block lately. Partly because I can’t think of what to write about, but the other part is that I’m scared to write about what my heart is calling me to. Writing in 2017 is different than twenty years ago because of how many people you can reach on a little platform like this. I don’t have over 1,000 friends in real life, so where are all of my readers coming from? Not everyone who follows this little corner of the Internet knows my heart, so I feel like I need to be careful to not collect labels from strangers. On the other hand, though, I shouldn’t care what people think if they’re wrong. I know my heart, and more importantly the Creator of the universe does. He knows my heart’s greatest desire is to love and be loved, and that I care deeply about every human I meet — even if we don’t become friends.

From today on, I’m going to try to open my heart more to you all. This space shouldn’t have room for pride, and I think more people can relate to my own life than I would imagine. Be patient with me and I’ll slowly continue to open up more; that is, as much as I can while still giving the people who have been a part of my story the privacy they deserve.


To start, I can offer a little peek into what I’ve been up to lately. Drum roll, please…

SUMMER CLEANING!

I’m trying to get rid of all the clutter in my life, and it’s proven to be a pretty big task. The other day was my biggest purge so far. I found flare jeans in the back of my closet, my homecoming dress, and a million and one letters from pen pals. I also found all of the journals I’ve kept since I was in elementary school. It was hilarious reading the older ones, and really fascinating reading the journals I kept in college.

On our fourth or fifth date Robert gave me a really beautiful leather journal. He told me that he was just thinking about me while he was at drill in Staunton, Virginia, and went shopping during his time off to get me a little gift. Robert never forgot to remind me that I was special, even in the very beginning of our relationship, and I liked that he spoke my love language of gift giving.

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I just finished the last page of that journal last week, and it was incredible seeing the difference between entries I wrote about guys in my past, versus the way I write about Robert. Robert is someone I’ve never wondered about or questioned if we’re supposed to be dating or not. We’ve definitely been through our fair share of hardships — much of my journal’s pages were filled during the deployment — but I’ve never once wanted to leave this relationship or face my trials with anyone else. Life isn’t always easy, but it certainly brings you peace knowing you’re fighting through hardships with the right person.


Some of the next things I will be writing about are when to — and not to — listen to your friends about your dating life, a few things you should definitely feel about your significant other, and how to make a relationship flow as smoothly as possible. Thank you for being patient while I dig myself out of this little writing rut!

“I Can’t Wait Until Tomorrow”

How many times have you heard someone utter the words, “I can’t wait until tomorrow,” “I can’t wait until Friday,” or “I hate Mondays?” I find myself saying this on days I feel sick, lonely, or even just bored.

Somehow the future is always more bright, beautiful, and easier than today. Nobody warned us that there would still be trials, loss, and unplanned twists and turns where you least expect them. That being said, why do we still always hope for tomorrow to come, even when we have so many blessings today? I think a big part of it has to do with boredom. It’s hard to sit still and have a mundane schedule and so much easier to “live for today” when today is exciting and great.

Getting sick with POTS really opened my eyes to the harder parts of life. One of the most difficult lessons I’ve learned is that the future isn’t promised, and some dreams may never come true. You know what else I learned from these lessons, though? That this is all okay! I learned that you have the opportunity to grow and learn from trials, and that you can always handle so much more than you realize. I learned that sometimes the hardest thing you have to go through can turn into the biggest blessing you’ve ever had, and that God’s plan for you is even better than what you have planned for yourself. Finally, I learned that sometimes all you can do is take life one day at a time, and focusing too much on the future can actually be harmful when you are dealing with a particularly difficult trial.

Instead, on the harder days I try my best to list my blessings. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve surely seen my “Five Blessings” posts. This was the most recent one:

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Instead of having the mindset that life is going to be better tomorrow, count the blessings you have today. Don’t get me wrong; it can be really hard sometimes, but if you can find even just one thing to be grateful for, life quickly feels a little bit easier. Sometimes you need to just take baby steps, even if it’s just counting your blessings — one day at a time.


Update: Still trying to change my domain to KristaLauren.com, but it’s taking forever because I need technical help and it hasn’t been the biggest priority on my list. Keep in mind this site will be changing, though!

Feature Friday: Play Now, Pay Later

Here is something written by my lovely mother about getting diagnosed with skin cancer. I wanted to share her post because I think it’s really important for people to know more about the dangers of the sun. I hear so many of my friends say they are going to the pool to “tan,” and I understand wanting to have nice color, but it can come at a very high price. I’ll do another post soon about a few of my favorite products (self tanner, bronzer, vitamin D tablets, clothing items, and a few other things) that keep you healthy and make you feel like you have a nice, summery glow. Without further ado, though, here is my mom’s message about skin cancer.


One of the biggest fears most people have when getting a diagnosis from the doctor is hearing the “C” word, and in March that’s exactly what my dermatologist told me I had.

As a child I spent most of my summer days in our backyard pool or at the beach.  My mother always insisted I wear a t-shirt over my swimsuit since I was fair-skinned, and thankfully she always kept me in a sun hat.  As I got older I admired my sister and friends who could get a deep, golden tan, which is when I started using concoctions like baby oil mixed with iodine to attract as much sun as possible.  My best friend and I would sit out in the midday sun when the rays were their brightest in hopes of looking like the model on the Coppertone ad.

As a young adult, I discovered that nearly anyone could get a “healthy” looking tan by going to the tanning booths that were popular in the early 80’s.  It seemed like they were everywhere, and everyone was doing it.  Looking back I am so happy that I only purchased one package, as I hated the strange smell and the claustrophobic feeling they gave.  The beach was still my favorite place, so whenever I had an opportunity to travel I chose somewhere with lots of sun and sand.

I have always been interested in health and wellness, which is why I decided to become an esthetician many years ago.  By then I knew that any kind of tan is considered sun damage. I did whatever I could to avoid having sun on my face and always used a good amount of sunscreen.  My kids who were avid swimmers never left the house without being slathered with sunscreen and an SPF shirt.  I lovingly nagged all of my clients about the danger of too much sun exposure and my “platform” was reinforced when a sweet young man treated his mom to a relaxing facial with me. He had driven her straight from the hospital.  To my horror, when she removed her hat she had a giant scar from one side of her scalp to the other and had received the diagnosis of terminal melanoma.  Her sweet son was treating her to something he hoped would make her feel better.  That poor lady and her son will be forever ingrained in my mind, so you can see why this has always been one of my most important platforms when educating my clients.

This leads me to my doctor’s appointment this past March. I have always been diligent at getting my annual skin cancer screenings.  It’s never fun sitting in the paper gown knowing that someone will be scanning every part of you from head to toe, but the alternative of not being checked could always be worse than the embarrassment, so I bit the bullet and went into the office.  “No changes, you look fine,” the doctor said. I showed him a very tiny dry patch of skin just below my throat that I had been concerned about.  “Oh that’s nothing,” he assured me, so I left feeling confident and proud of myself for being able to cross the annual appointment off my “to-do” list.  A couple months later I accompanied my daughter to the same dermatologist for one of her appointments.  Before the doctor left the room I asked him if he would mind taking a look at that tiny patch of dry skin again that he had dismissed as normal before, and told him I had tried exfoliating it but that it kept coming back.  Again, he took a look with his doppler glasses and said casually, “Nothing!”  I felt relief, because in the back of my mind I kept thinking of that poor lady and her sweet son who had visited my esthetics office some years back.

About three months passed and I went to my family doctor for my annual checkup.  During the exam, I showed her the tiny patch below my throat and she said she wanted me to see the dermatologist she refers to, so I went to see him that Thursday.  I showed him the dry patch and he biopsied it right then and there in the office.  He told me if it was positive, someone would call me within 3 business days.  Tuesday rolled around and no call.  Great, I thought!  I’m in the clear.  Another week passed, then another. Several weeks later the phone rang.  “I’m calling to tell you that your biopsy was positive for cancer,” I heard on the other end of my phone.  Wait, didn’t they say they would call within three days?  Now my mind was racing back to months before when I had first asked my dermatologist about the cancer I now realized had taken residence in my body!  When I asked the bearer of my news why she didn’t call me sooner she simply said, “Ma’am, we have a stack of calls to make every day.”  I asked her what my next step was and she said the doctor would do the surgery to remove an inch around the area.  My first concern was getting these rogue cells the heck out of my body, but realizing this scar was going to be significant and unable to hide above any neckline outside of a turtleneck I said I would get back to her to make the appointment — I wanted to check with a skin surgeon I knew of who was also a plastic surgeon. Then she informed me that by law I needed to let her know within a few weeks that this procedure had been completed.  Why then did it take the dermatologists’ staff three weeks to let me know I had cancer in the first place?!

Due to the busy demands of the doctor, yet another three weeks passed before I was able to reluctantly go in for the surgery.  The surgeon performed what they call MOHS surgery, which is a procedure in which they take as little tissue as possible and test it for cancer cells right away.  They continue to take more if necessary until it is all gone.  I was so thankful that it only took one “pass” until I was told they had gotten it all.  They stitched me up, put dressing on the wound, and told me they expected to see me again as most people who have these types of carcinoma become “repeat customers.”  That was the last thing I wanted to hear.

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Shortly after the procedure I was talking with my friend and described my cancer patch to her.  She grew quiet and said she had the same kind of thing just above her eyebrow.  “I’m sure you are just overly-concerned because of what I just went through,” I reassured her, but knew there was always a chance, so suggested to get it checked — just in case.  She phoned me a couple of weeks later to let me know that her doctor had found bad cells!

My platform for maintaining healthy skin now feels even more important and I am asking you to thoroughly check yourself. Get on the phone and make that yearly dermatological appointment to get yourself checked head to toe.  A good exam includes the doctor checking your scalp, behind your ears, between your toes and even inside your mouth.  If you have a strange feeling about a mole or a freckle or a dry patch of skin that just won’t go away, get to the doctor as soon as possible.  If you feel that someone might not be right about your diagnoses, it never hurts to get a second opinion.  Early detection is your best friend.

My scar is healing well.  A couple of weeks ago I knew that my incision was healed enough to use my needling roller to smooth out the scar.  I honestly can’t believe how much that has helped!  I’m guessing there will always be a small scar but I will wear it proudly as a reminder for myself and others to take precautions when outdoors, and to always get your annual dermatological skin screening.

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After using the roller for a few weeks.

Girl’s Weekend

Getting away with some of your best girl friends is always so great for your heart. This past weekend I went to the beach with Audrey and Melissa, and even though I didn’t feel my best the entire time it was such a wonderful getaway.

We left on Friday after I was all hydrated and salted up (Does anyone else with POTS feel like you are a car that needs to be oiled when you’re taking care of your body? It’s such a funny routine to me, but needs to be done to feel even halfway decent). Our drive to Virginia Beach actually wasn’t bad at all. We didn’t really hit the anticipated beach traffic, and I only had to stop to pee twice! This is amazing with all the water I drink every day… My trip to New York City is the perfect example of how inconvenient (And sometimes embarrassing) this can be.

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Anyway, we ended up getting there a little early, so hit up our favorite smoothie and sandwich joint before heading to the beach. If you ever get the chance to check out Zeke’s Beans & Bowls you totally should. They have the best smoothies, juice, and Greek chicken rice bowls!

After that we checked in to our motel and headed to the beach. It was really hilarious driving up and realizing that we had booked a motel instead of a hotel. It was actually pretty nice despite having a little bit of a rowdy crowd around our room. They even had a pool directly next to the busy highway! We didn’t utilize it at all, but if we had I think we would just avoid peak traffic hours on the off-chance a car veered two feet to the left of the road and into the pool.

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“Low Rates Come And Stay. N ow H rng” I think they might have run out of letters or something…
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Really the only inconvenient thing about our motel was that the shower didn’t really drain well.
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I figured this out my first time in the shower after the beach and from there on out had to take breaks between shampooing and conditioning to let the tub drain a little.

Audrey and Melissa were kind enough to split the amount of work and each added a half of a person to their beach load so I wouldn’t hurt my arms carrying my things. I always feel really bad making people hold my things for me, but they make it really easy to ask for help — by taking my things without me even having to ask! I felt really blessed that every time we left the room one of them would stretch out their arm to take my purse and water bottle from my hand. From now on I think I need to purchase purses that would suit my friends better than myself — after all, they’re the ones who usually carry them anyway!

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Acts of service is becoming a love language that I’m noticing more and more as I need help with so much.

We had a really nice day at the beach lying on our towels, dipping our toes into the water, and talking about dating. It was too cold to really swim, but Friday was the nicest beach day we had while we were gone.

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The best beach snack combination… Chocolate and La Croix! The chocolates had a nice crunch to them from the sand.

We went to Kohr Brothers every single day we were there, as it’s probably my favorite dessert place in the world (Maybe even above Pinkberry!). I’m a pretty happy camper when you give me anything chocolate peanut butter related, but this is the closest you get to a taste of heaven on earth.

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I couldn’t wait to eat the ice cream before the picture, so this is how I smile with a mouth full of chocolate sprinkles.

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The Kohrs people knew me by the end of our trip.

Our last evening there we decided to go to a nicer restaurant since it was a bit rainy out. We chose a place that got great a Yelp rating for American cuisine and seafood. When glancing over the reviews I noticed that a lot of people mentioned the broccoli in their posts; I realized it was a bit odd, but didn’t really give it another thought… Until I ordered the steamed veggies and they presented me with three heads of broccoli. Like, what the heck?! Who in their right mind could ever consume an entire mini-tree, much less three?!

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The funniest part was that they added a couple of pieces of squash and carrots to the mix, almost to tease you that you did, in fact, get “steamed vegetables,” even though it was essentially steamed broccoli with hollandaise sauce. I ate as much as I possibly could and still had two and a half stocks of broccoli left.

Our last day at the beach was a bit chilly, but any day at the beach is always a good one! We sported long sleeves and blankets, but it was nice being able to sit and listen to the waves sing before making the long trip home.

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Overall the trip was really great and worth all the time spent not feeling well. I posted on Instagram a lot, mainly because I did spend quite some time in the hotel room resting from being out in the heat. I felt like this is ironic because it really was painting a picture for people that I was only having an amazing time my entire trip. Anyone with a chronic illness knows what it’s like to pretend to be well for a weekend. POTS is a little “B,” and I felt frustrated that I couldn’t run, play games on the beach, or walk by myself (Since I can’t carry my own water bottle to stay hydrated), but I sometimes forget that almost 4 years ago I got sick at the beach and couldn’t even walk a block without feeling like I was having a heart attack and/or passing out. I am so blessed that I can sit on the beach, enjoy the warm salty air, and eat a giant scoop of ice cream on the boardwalk. There are people who can’t even do that, so instead of feeling upset about the things I can’t do I try hard to focus on the wonderful things I do get to have.

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