Saturday, October 30, 2010

Handy Tip

I’ve been searching for a solution to a certain problem of mine for the better part of a decade. Researching soap making websites, I finally ran across something that made a lot of sense to me, knowing what I know about how soap is made. What’s my problem?

I’ve had issues with my face breaking out. It’s worse than it ever was when I was a teenager. It first started when the Mister deployed to Japan in 2002. Everyone told me that it was stress. Well, maybe that’s what triggered it, I don’t know, but it never went away. In the years since, I’ve tried everything from face washes, astringents, and scrubs that you buy at Target to the more expensive varieties you can buy at high end department stores. I’ve had prescriptions from doctors. I even tried Proactive and NONE of it made much of a difference. The only thing I didn’t try was a prescription for antibiotics because the side effects I get from them are worse than acne, believe me.

Then, a few months ago, before we moved to California, I ran across a website that had an alternative-type solution. At first I was skeptical until I stopped to think of the soap making process and then it made perfect sense to me and I decided to try it out. I waited a bit to make sure it wasn’t a fluke before posting about my results. I still get the occasional spot here and there especially when my hormone levels are up and down (if you know what I mean) but for the most part, I’m extremely happy. So, what the heck did I try??? Oil. I’ll be more specific.

I went out and bought an empty travel bottle at Target. It cost me $2.99 I think. Then, I made a solution that was 50/50 Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Castor Oil. You can try out different oils and different amounts BUT, the castor oil is a must. The other oil can vary. For instance, you could try sunflower oil. If you have oily skin, try a 30% castor, 70% EVOO mix. If you have dry skin, try a 10% castor, 90% EVOO mix. I’ve been using a 50/50 mix with great results. This is the method:

  1. Put a quarter-sized amount of oil in your palm. Using the fingertips of your other hand, spread a thin layer of oil over your entire face.
  2. Next, put some more oil in your palm (enough to thoroughly cover your hands but not enough that it’s dripping) and rub your hands together. Use your hands to massage the oil into your face. Relax your facial muscles and use upward, circular motions.
  3. Take a washcloth and using the warmest water you can stand, get the washcloth wet, and wring out the excess water. Place the washcloth over your face. Relax and breathe in the steam. When the washcloth has cooled, use it to wipe the oil off, again, in an upward circular motion.
  4. Rinse the washcloth and repeat step #3.

That’s it. You don’t need to wash the oil off with soap. The thin film of oil you leave behind acts as a moisturizer. This is my nighttime routine. In the morning, I cleanse my face with a cotton ball and an astringent. This is basically because some habits die hard and it also makes me feel like my face is totally clean to start the day. I also use the nighttime oil to remove eye makeup. It works just as good as store bought eye makeup remover unless you use waterproof mascara. That’s a little tougher to remove. If you find your skin drying out, use less castor oil or try this method every other day. I can’t say how it works using it more than once a day because I’ve never done that.

Not only is this a great way to relax at the end of the day, it’s all natural, and it’s very inexpensive. I don’t know about you, but I always have EVOO in the house. I think a large bottle of castor oil is 3 or 4 dollars. Use a good extra virgin olive oil. The more yellow and less green that it is, the better the quality. Another tip that I do but isn’t necessary, I wash my washcloth with my favorite scented soap prior to placing it over my face. That way, when I’m relaxing and breathing,  I am inhaling a scent that I also find relaxing and pleasing to me.

If you decide to try it out, I’d love to hear your results, good or bad. As someone who has suffered with adult onset acne, I was thrilled to my toes to finally find something that works and I can feel good about using it because it’s all natural.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bailey's Saga or The Murphy's Law of Deployments

The original surgery

If you’re familiar at all with deployments, you know, if something will go wrong, it’ll go wrong during a deployment. The Mister’s other deployment, I temporarily lost my eyesight in my right eye. That’s real fun when you’re alone with two kids. This deployment, my dog Bailey has been keeping me stressed out.

On September 24th, I took Bailey to the vet for a pre-spay checkup and to have one lump and two bumps checked out. One common health issue of Boxers is that they get skin bumps and lumps, some of which turn out to be cancer. One bump was nothing and the rather large lump under her front armpit was just a fatty cyst. However, the other bump had the vet worried that it was cancer. She recommended that it be removed and biopsied. Not wanting to take chances, I agreed to have this procedure done the same day Bailey got her spay.

September 28th, I dropped Bailey off at the vet bright and early and scheduled to pick her up at 4:30 the same afternoon. Everything went off without a hitch. I was pretty shocked at the size of the incision where the bump was removed. It was the size of a pencil eraser yet the incision was about three inches long. When I picked her up, she was still recovering from the anesthesia and pain meds. She cracked the girls and I up running into things and leaving her tongue poking out of her mouth for several hours. She looked like she had partied hard the night before, lol.

It's hard to tell, but this was right after her 1st surgery. She's loopy here, lol.

On October 2nd, I noticed that Bailey’s bump incision was looking kinda red and it was oozing more than it had been so I took her to the Pet ER to have her checked out. They said the incision actually looked pretty good but that I should make sure and keep her follow up appointment I had scheduled on October 8th. By the time I got her into the vet on the 8th, the incision was infected. Instead of getting her stitches removed, they sent me home with antibiotics and instructions to wash the area with a warm washcloth 2-4 times a day and to bring her back in on the 11th for a recheck. However, I noticed on the 9th that her incision had a gap in it about the size of a penny and whenever I applied pressure to wipe it with a washcloth, fluid flowed out of it to the point it was dripping on the floor (sorry, TMI, I know.) I don’t really consider myself to have a squeamish stomach, but this was pushing my limits. It was all I could do not to puke on the floor. So, I called the Pet ER and described what was going on. They told me to stop washing it and instead apply a warm washcloth inside of a ziplock bag as a warm compress. So I did this and by Sunday afternoon, her incision was almost completely open from end to end. By this point, I’d had enough and I trooped her to the Pet ER. After sitting in the waiting room for almost 2 hours, the vet finally looked at her and said that she needed another procedure. The infection wasn’t allowing her incision to heal and had caused it to gape open instead. So, he had to clean out the infection, create new edges on each side of her incision, and then apply dual-layered sutures to close it back up. Oh. And he put in a drain, which was just lovely. I spent almost the entire day on Sunday at the Pet ER. I am totally thankful that I even have one nearby.

Now, it’s three days after the second procedure.

The incision now, 10/13

I took Bailey into her regular vet for another wound check today. She’s doing so well that they were able to take the drain out. The vet apologized profusely for everything that I’ve had to go through with this ordeal. It’s been over 2 weeks (13 days to be exact) and Bailey still isn’t healed. I have to take her back again on the 18th to hopefully have the stitches removed provided nothing else goes wrong.

This was almost more than I could take. I’ve had Bailey at the vet’s 5 times in the last 20 days, two of which were weekend runs to the Pet ER for a total cost (thus far) of $1500.00 give or take a couple dollars. I guess for three surgeries and three different medications, that’s not so bad. I’m hoping and keeping my fingers crossed, that this is my deployment “thing”. I’ve paid my dues to the angry deployment gods and will now be left alone in peace to wait for my husband to come home. Sounds fair, right?