Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Boy, A Girl, And A Life With Cystic Fibrosis

This post was sponsored by Walgreens Cystic Fibrosis Services as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received compensation as a thank you for my post.

It was a beautiful summer night.  Two weeks before, I had just began to date a young police officer that I had been introduced to at a local restaurant where I was working for the summer.  We both worked night shifts and usually met up after work to play tennis, basketball or soccer as we were getting to know each other.  I'm sure you've heard about the nearly 24 hours of daylight in an Alaskan summer.  It helps young people to have no good sense about being loud outside in the middle of the night.  My belated apologies to the neighbors!!

This night felt different.  As my cousin was dropping me off to his house after work, I told her that I knew I was in love with him, and that I might tell him.  She said it wasn't possible, that it had only been two weeks and I should wait to say anything.  But this was different and I knew it.  I knew that I was in hook, line and sinker and there was no turning back.  I was young and I was in love!  Surely there's a song about that, right?

 As we were talking, he said I have something to tell you.  Imagine my butterflies when I said "I have something to tell you, too".  It was so exciting!!!!


Until he said "I have a terminal illness and I thought I should tell you"  Umm, excuse me???  What?  My stomach felt like a horse had kicked me in the gut.  It physically hurt as I tried to understand what he was telling me.  It was such a shock that I couldn't process it.  I asked what he meant.  And he said "I have Cystic Fibrosis."

It was the first time I'd heard those words and I didn't know what they meant.  Many times, the diagnosis of CF is the first time a person and their family have heard of it.  Cystic Fibrosis is a complex disease which mainly focuses on the lungs and digestive system.  It is caused by gene mutations and is something that the patient has their entire life.  It must be managed every day.  With CF, there is no such thing as a common cold.  Such a simple virus to others can cause a very serious pneumonia or worse.  My boyfriend was just 26 when I met him and a few years before, he was told that he wouldn't live to see 30.

I had to make a choice.  Would I choose to live with CF in my life or would I choose to live without it.  I already told you that I was head over heels for him, so I took the path of living with Cystic Fibrosis.  I knew immediately that I wanted to spend any time he had with him rather than miss it all together.

Thanks to research and progress in medicines, he has already doubled the life sentance he was given as a young adult.  He was told that CF was a terminal childhood illness and through the years of our marriage, we have seen incredible genetic discoveries and the great progression of medicines and therapies to treat the condition.

Here he is at 60.  How is he still not grey?


CF is still very serious and a strict adherence to the medications to treat various aspects of it is mandatory, and sometimes can be overwhelming.  We've had hospital stays, IV at home treatments, physical therapies...you name it, he's gone through it.  I help him to remember to take the medications and I nag encourage him to do the therapies.  If you are a care giver to a CF patient, remember that the end result is worth any arguing they might do about doing any of their therapies.  I have a hard headed husband but I want him to stay alive so I help to get his medicines and therapies arranged.

He has a medication that he takes for 28 days and then takes a 28 day break and starts again.  Sometimes it has been difficult to remember when to start.  I'm extremely thankful for the Walgreens CF Champions, Navigating the Journey together program.    20 years ago, we had a difficult time obtaining his medicine.  It's called Tobramiacine or Tobi and we've been through insurance denials and inability to physically be able to purchase anywhere when we were in Alaska.

The Walgreens program is fantastic.  Every month at just the right time, they call to ask if we're ready for the next delivery of the medicine.  They tell us what day and what time it will arrive.  They are never late, always on time.  We know when to make sure we're home to sign for the delivery.  The medicine comes in a styrefoam cooler with cold packs ensuring it stays cold and dark until use.  It's very important that he has it on time and Walgreens pharmacy CF program makes it happen.  It helps relieve some of the stress of counting out the 28 days and being afraid I might miscount.

Even though he lives with Cystic Fibrosis, my husband is a determined man.  He wanted to be a police officer when he was young and he determined to do so even though he had recently been told his life would be short.  He was determined to survive when he was shot as a young officer.  He was determined to be a SWAT cop and solve difficult homicide cases.

My husband was determined to experience all the other areas of the department.   He was determined to make our department a better place.   He was determined to improve his abilities and rose to the rank of Deputy Chief over a department of about 500 people.  He was always known as a hard working, determined officer.  Here he is as a Captain of Patrol.


Even with CF, he has been determined to survive and take care of our family.  He worked almost 40 years as a cop and is now taking on the next task of retirement.  If you have CF, I want you to know that you can still make your dreams come true.  You can accomplish the things you want to, you just have to be determined.  Be determined to adhere to the modalities your doctor has prescribed and then just go for it.  If you are the parent of a child with CF, just know that my husband is proof that your child can do anything.  If you are the spouse of a CF patient, then high five, cuz you know my journey.

Last picture.....this is a picture of him being honored for the shooting when he was young and his determination to survive along side of a picture from the summer we met and started dating.  *butterflies*


That's my superhero.  A superhero living with Cystic Fibrosis.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Miss Spa Bee Venom Plumping Mask Review


You may have heard a lot about sheet masks lately. having been introduced to western markets from eastern skincare cultures.  The sheets, which are soaking in an essence or treatment, are laid on the skin for about 20 minutes after opening the package.  Upon removal, the remaining treatment is patted into the skin.  I had been looking at the influx of sheet masks in Ulta a lot recently, but I was never sure which I wanted to try first.  I was sent the Miss Spa Bee Venom Plumping Mask, ($7.99), for consideration and my decision was made so much easier!  Why not start here?


It's important to note that there is bee venom and royal jelly used in this mask, so please, DO NOT USE IF ALLERGIC TO BEES.

According to Miss Spa, a woman owned compamy, the royal jelly and bee venom work together to help improve texture and firmness while aloe and honey sooth and mositurize the skin.   It's supposed to make your skin look smoother and firmer, and I found it accomplishes that.

You can find the ingredient list HERE.  The mask itself is made of nice silk proteins.

Now for my experience:  The mask is in a nice white foil packet inside the outer cover.  It makes a beautiful spa presentation.


Even tho it was sitting at room temperature, it was freaking cold when I opened the package!!  A friend told me to warm up the package in warm water the next time I used something like this.  It had an unusual tingle that I found really intriguing and not uncomfortable at all to my not-so-sensitive skin.   It has a faint aloe scent and I liked how my skin felt afterward.

But I had one problem.  I read the instructions so I knew to remove the sheet from the outer paper and carefully set it on my skin, pushing it so that it would follow my facial contours.

The first one that I used kept falling off my skin.  It wouldn't adhere like a second skin to my face at all, and I thought it should, according to what I'd read about sheet masks.  When I took pictures and posted on Snapchat, I figured out what the problem was.  I think.   Looking at the picture, I saw that there was a white paper sticking out at the sides under the green.


As I removed it, I realized that I had two sheets of thickness on my face.  I was slightly, ok really, confused.  It seems this has a backing paper that was easy to figure out, as well as the mask paper, and a top paper.  In the picture below, you can see the green pliable sheet and the harder, more obvious throw away sheet.


So I figured I messed up, headed to Ulta and bought another to try again, even though I liked the results of the serum, I wanted to do it correctly.

My second time, I used the white sheet as the mask and I figured since the green paper had a lot of serum on it, why not give my chest a little help, too.


I confess to confusion over why there are more than one sheet of paper in the package.  For a sheet mask newbie like me, it causes doubt about one's sheet mask abilities.  I still don't know if I did it right, but the serum was infused anyway.  I do like how the mask felt and I'd like to use this more often.  It's one of the more expensive sheet masks at Ulta, but you can feel it working.

I really liked it and I plan to buy it again.  There are all kinds of Miss Spa skincare products at Ulta, and you can research them on the Miss Spa website.  You can also follow them on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

Since I'm a sheet mask newbie, I'm wondering if you've experienced a sheet mask with multiple papers like this.  Did I do it right?  What are you're favorite sheet masks?

Friday, July 1, 2016

POPSUGAR #MustHaveBox for June 2016!



Today I want to show you the June edition of the POPSUGAR Must Have box.  This box has been curated based on a summer theme, backyard bbq's, weekends away, beach trips, togetherness and joy.  Each month, POPSUGAR creates a box of full sized fun with a theme for the month and includes great items of beauty, home, fashion, and food.  The box is $39.99 per month with a guaranteed value of no less than $100, and every item is full size!   There is also a Mini box containing full sized items at a price of $18.95 per month.  You can subscribe here.


The box for June 2016 is pretty danged awesome.   The first item I'm going to mention is the Hat Attack Printed Sarong, ($58),  It measures 6 ft x 3 ft and is wonderful to use as a beach wrap, a scarf, a throw for a picnic or over the shoulders...any number of things.  The background is off-white and the pattern colors are beige and black and it will go with anything.  It also made a nice photo backdrop!


Next up from the box, is the Sisters Of Los Angeles Cheers Bottle Opener, ($12).  This is a nice sized bottle opener that you can use anywhere without losing it.  It has a good weight and is cheery in it's salutation and bright shiny gold.  See how big it is?


This box is completely curated for fun.  Check out the Ridley's Game Room "Who Am I" Quiz Game.  ($13)  We love to play games like this in our house.  It's great for all age ranges.  Take it to the neighborhood bbq for tons of fun.  Just don't bet the house on who will win.  We're going to play this over the weekend...so much fun!  There is an instruction sheet in the box, too.



NCLA, ($16), has created the Born on the 4th Nail Lacquer in conjunction with POPSUGAR for this box.  I think it's my first NCLA and it's full of glittery red and blue goodness.  Use it alone or as a nail topper and you're ready for fireworks!!  NCLA is a cruelty-free, 5 free, nail polish.


Also in this box is a dual sided mirror, (manifying side and regular), by Knock Knock, ($10), that is the perfect size to throw in your purse, beach bag or pocket without adding any needless weight.  It's cute.    Check it out!



Isn't that cute?!?

Something that I've been dying to try came in the box.  Pacifica Underarm Wipes, ($9), are an aluminum free vegan underarm wipe said to neutralize odor for hours.   They come in several scents.  I've been dying to try these but just hadn't gotten around to ordering them yet, so I was really excited to see these in the box.  Heck, I'm pretty excited over all of it!!


And now we come to this month's snack option.  These will be devoured by my sriracha loving family.  The Pressels, ($1.29),  have less fat and sodium than usual chips so that you can enjoy them guilt-free!


The last item I want to show you is also the first picture I postes.  Each box comes with an insert that gives you information about the items, their value, and where to purchase them.  This is really handy!!


Have we been eyeballing that sarong in each picture?  It's PERFECT.  Really, just so many uses...I love it!

Isn't this the best subscription box ever?  I'm thrilled with it.  It's a great value with items that you'll actually use for just $39.99.  A heck of a value and a very nice variety of items.  You can subscribe to either the large or mini boxes, each containing full sized items, at this link.  I think it's really worth it.

*POPSUGAR sent me this #MustHaveBox to sample.  All opinions expressed are my own honest evaluation*

Do you have plans for the weekend of the 4th, if you're in the USA?  I plan to play Who Am I with the fam and...I'm not sure what else, but I know we'll be game playing.  How about you?

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