Thursday, December 29, 2016

Bump In the Road

Image result for tree of life imagesI think about this blog often, this space that used to occupy so much of my time.  I can remember that it wouldn't take much to find something to write about.  It was as simple as walking down the street, seeing something that would set fire to my soul and my mind would start racing with ideas popping like corn kernels in my head of  words that would later form phrases, then sentences and finally the finished post.  I loved it and I miss not writing so today is the day.

I begin this post with a bit of trepidation.  I have an unwritten rule about writing.  I don't like negativity, nor do I want to use my space as a vehicle to spread it so the self imposed rule is no negative posts.  Having said that I need to keep things real and sometimes the world is not all sunshine and roses.  Sometimes life throws you a curve ball.  The upside of that bump in the road is that if all goes as planned a lesson is learned and you come out the other side a much stronger person.  I'm going with that and that's how we'll get past that self imposed negativity rule.  I'll allow it this one time and balance it all out by focusing on the lesson and the strength that will come in the end.

Image result for life is hard imagesLife is hard.  Life is and has been very hard but I'm a whole lot tougher than the stuff that has come my way so it's all good.  Life is difficult for everyone at times, you just have to keep on keepin' on as they say.  There's no cryin' in baseball folks so just take a deep breath and keep moving.  Not everyone thinks that way.  Some folks let the hard times consume them, weaken them. Don't do it, it's a choice isn't it?  It may not be a choice to fall on hard times but how you handle it is everything.   When I've got a tough situation and I feel devastation moving in on me I just breathe and break it down into bite sized pieces.  Whatever it takes to be able to focus on the issue at hand, deal with it and then move on to the next.  Eat that elephant one bite at a time. If you lose it then nothing gets resolved and you end up with a bigger mess.  Not everyone thinks that way but it works for me.



The world is chaos.  It seems that so many people around me are having difficulty in one way or another.  It's jaw dropping and scary to say the least.  There are painful divorces, life threatening illnesses, death, failing business woes--all within my circle of close friends and family.  In the community at large I see children being bullied, drug addictions, crime, homelessness and splintered family situations.  Our country's politics are a mess.  We have crazed people running around with guns shooting up clubs and schools and malls.  There's just so much violence and killing--some on purpose and some by accident.  The world has gone mad.  

Image result for railroad tracks imagesIf you've read any of my prior posts you'll see my views on happiness and remember that my mantra is that your own happiness is a daily choice and you are 100% responsible for it .  Some may wonder how I can "choose happiness" or be happy at all against this backdrop of unrest.  I have to.  Yes, that's right, I have to and so do you. To join the chaos or add to the negativity that surrounds me will only make matters worse.  I can't give in or give up.  This is life, this endless path of beautiful ugliness with it's soft hardness and smooth sharp edges that torments and delights is what the journey is all about.  Take it all or take none of it.  It's peaks and valleys, sunshine and rain, darkness and light--it's always been this way and it won't change so buckle up, suck it up, get strong and move forward.

xo
-Michelle

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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Diary of a Mid-Life Crisis


I wrote Diary of a Mid-Life Crisis many years ago and never published it.  It felt good, at the time, to write again, to get the thoughts out of my head and down on paper.  At the time, I really thought that I was the only one who had ever had these feelings, that somehow I had failed.  Now, years later, I realize that I wasn't alone.  I've walked thru the fire and I'm on the other side now.  I survived.  I share this now and dedicate it to the many women who have gone thru it, are going thru it or will go thru it.  You will all survive.  You will all grow as I have.  Stay positive thru the struggle, know that it doesn't last forever.  Keep moving forward, keep choosing positivity in the face of negativity.  Happiness is a choice and the choice is yours.

Buckle up ladies and enjoy the ride............


Diary of a Mid-Life Crisis




It was just a minute ago that I was 16 years old, walking down the halls of my high school gossiping and giggling with my girlfriends, wasn't it?  Wasn't it just last week that I fell in love for the first time?  Had my heart broken for the first time and thought -Oh my God, how will I ever get through this?  Wasn't it?

I should have been more thankful for that time in my life.  I should have appreciated that I had no responsibility, that my biggest problem was deciding which party to go to on Friday night.  I should have been thankful.  

My parents kissed me goodbye and left me in the dorm.  Its such a big place.  There are so many people!! Wasn't that yesterday?  It feels like I just pledged that sorority.  It feels like I just went out with...uh...that guy, what was his name?  No, I guess it wasn't yesterday, I'd remember his name if it was, right?  I guess 20 years have gone by... is it 20? 30?... and I just don't know how that could be?

I should have been more thankful, more appreciative of those carefree days.


I just got my first job!!! I just got my first REAL paycheck... didn't I?  Didn't I just go out with the gang after work for cocktails to celebrate?  I guess not, I guess that was a while ago now, but it sure feels like only yesterday.

I should have been more thankful, I should have appreciated having my own time to do what I wanted to do.

I just got an apartment with my best friend from college!!  We have no furniture but the bar is fully stocked, it's Friday night, the band is playing at our favorite spot and we're on a mission!!  I'm not driving... you drive...no you...no you...ok, let's take a cab.  Woooohoooooo!  Afterhours at our house!  I can still hear the music... I can still feel the hangover.  Didn't that just happen?  Where did everybody go?

I really should have been more thankful.

My best friend is getting married today.  I'm her maid of honor.  I'll stand up for her today and wish her well but I know things will change now.  I'm the last one standing.  Everyone is married.  Husbands will come first and I'll just have to understand.  That's ok though, my adventure is just beginning, right?  Right?



I've got my career now.  I've got my married friends with all their kids who love to hear about my single life... giggle.  Oh my God I'm sick of being set up!  Why does everyone try to marry me off??

I should have been more thankful for my freedom.  I should have appreciated not having to answer to anyone but me.  I should have been more protective of my hard earned independence.  

Wow!! I think I met him...you know, the ONE!  He treats me like a princess!  He tells me I'm beautiful!  There is nothing he wouldn't do for me and oh my God I think I love him!  

It's my wedding day!  The sun is shining and life couldn't be better!  The limo pulls up, Daddy gets out first and then holds out his hand for me.  I can still feel the wind off the ocean, it's blowing my veil everywhere.  Daddy takes a few steps toward the church and I'm overcome... with something... what is it?  I was so sure...wasn't I?  I'm scared now Daddy...wait, wait, wait Daddy!  Please... wait, not yet.  Tears...tears...tears... OMG! OMG! OMG!... He asks me if everything is ok?  Do I want to go in now?  Deep breath... ok Daddy, let's go.

It's Fathers Day 2001 and I'm in labor and I don't even know it...giggle.  She came fast and she was beautiful.  Life will never be the same.  You'll help me won't you?  She's your daughter too.

It's March 2003 and I've been in the hospital for 3 months now.  This pregnancy has been a tough one but I'm strong.  My husband is doing all he can, the very best that he can.  I miss my family, my little girl.  I mourn for her and our special time... will she forgive me when I bring.... gulp... two boys home????  My life will never be the same.

They all need a diaper change, they all need to be fed, I have to make dinner and then do the dishes... I'm  tired...won't somebody help me?  If I could only get some sleep...please, won't somebody help me?  I have to do the laundry, I have to cook dinner, I have to go to the grocery store...will you help me?  Why won't you help me?  Where is my husband?

Where is my husband?  Shouldn't you spend time with me?  Isn't that what we are supposed to do?  I guess I'm not a princess anymore.  The clock must have struck midnight.  I'm trying... I'm really trying.  I can't do it all by myself.  

You're Super Mom!  How do you do it?  You really should get out and do something for yourself...but there's no time, I can't, who will stay with my babies?  Where is my husband?  I'm tired... won't somebody help me?  They'll be grown before you know it...you're doing a great job but you really should take care of yourself.  How?  How?  Won't somebody help me?  I can't do it all by myself.

They're in school now.  I have wonderful children.  They are beautiful and smart and well behaved.  Maybe I can do something for me now?  I know I'll....uh...what do I like?  I don't remember.  I used to love to...uh..hmmm... I don't remember.  I know, I'll get a job.  Who will hire me?  What can I do?  Is this all there is?  

Don't take that job, that's not enough money.  Why would you do that?  You should just stay home.    What's for dinner?   You really need to take the car in and go to the dry cleaners.  I have to get them to practice...there's a meeting at the school... I'm trying, I'm really trying.  I need somebody to help me.  Where is my husband?  He was here a minute ago, wasn't he?  

Is this all there is?  It can't be, this can't be all there is.  I worked so hard for so long.  Where did I go?  Where did my husband go?  Why wouldn't you help me?  I should have been more thankful.  I should have been more careful.  I should have been more protective of my independence.

xo
Michelle

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Seeking Beauty From the Inside Out

It's my third time seeing Dr. Shanthala and it's just as special as the first time.  Things I can count on--a warm, welcoming hug, the offer of a cool drink and the comfort of the environment.  I feel beautiful just walking in the door. Soothing music and exotic decor are warm and inviting.  I feel hopeful and comfortable and I know I'm in good hands.  Dr. Shanthala sees the beauty inside of her patients and she lets them know, she let's me know.  She handles the skin delicately as she observes and considers her recommendations.  She compliments the canvas presented to her and her recommendations are to enhance, not recreate.  It truly is an experience to look forward to and I do.  

Our conversations are easy and move along as a conversation between old friends would after a long hiatus.  The topics are personal yet focused on what I need to feel better about me and my aging exterior. We decide on a microneedling treatment with PRP (platelet rich plasma).  I'd had two prior microneedling treatments and the condition of my skin is improving with each one.  Dr. Shanthala recommends the addition of  PRP and use of Bellafill (a filler injected underneath the deepest scar) due to the intense depth of  some acne scarring that troubles me.  Microneedling itself promotes collagen production in the skin.  When the PRP is re-injected with the microneedling treatment, collagen production is stimulated even more so by the growth factors that are contained in my own blood.  My results were excellent!  My skin was smoother and actually  glowed!  My pores were smaller and the scarring with each treatment is disappearing little by little.

I took pictures before and after and I even took a video with my phone during the procedure.  It's all so interesting to me.  I hope you will find it interesting as well.  

July 15, 2015 No Makeup


This first photo is on the day of treatment, I arrive with a clean face, no makeup whatsoever.
Numbing agent applied before treatment.
Dr. Shanthala applies a numbing cream to my entire face prior to the treatment.  It feels cool like menthol would and it definitely numbs your face!
While we wait for the numbing agent to take affect, Dr. Shanthala draws my blood.  The PRP is the yellow serum you will see below.  My blood is placed in the centrifuge and spun to separate the PRP from the rest of the blood product.  The yellow serum is rich is growth factors.  It will be re-injected into my face during the microneedling procedure.

Supplies used for my blood draw.



Centrifuge used to separate the serum from my blood.

My blood product post-centrifuge.  The serum is yellow.


Once my face is adequately numb, Dr. Shanthala marks my face for specific areas of concern.  In my case, I was troubled by some acne scarring.  You'll see that she has circled these areas in green.
My face is marked for areas of concern--scarring.





Here's the video I took during the treatment.
                                                                                  


The image below is how my skin looks post-procedure.  It's a bit red as a sunburn would be.  The skin is soft and shiny.


Post procedure, my skin is red.


The images below were taken one day post-treatment and then again several weeks later.  The deep acne scar is almost completely gone.
Top photo is one day post procedure.
Bottom photo is 19 days post procedure.


45 days post procedure

I'm still so very pleased with the result!  To think that I had been bothered by those scars for the majority of my life and now to be rid of them!!!  I'm very, very happy.


Thank you Dr. Shanthala, from the bottom of my heart.....

xo
Michelle