Thursday, August 30, 2012

A reflective birthday post, completely non-makeup related

Today's my 27th birthday.  Because of the cancer I am so so thankful that I've made it here.  I know some people don't believe in God but I do and here's some of why.  Colon cancer isn't a disease they start looking for in people until they're about 50 years old so when I finally decided I needed to go to the GI doctor to get looked at, they made my appointment about 2 months away from the day I called.  I knew I needed to be seen sooner than that.

I really wanted a female doctor because I just feel more comfortable with women.  So I called the practice back and asked if they had a cancellation list or something so I could get in sooner.  They didn't.  So I started looking around for another female GI doctor who accepted my insurance.  God sent me to Dr. Jyothi Mann.  I was SOOOOO nervous and anxious going there, the preliminary questions they asked me made me cry because I was so mortified about being there and being asked such personal questions.

Dr. Mann was so incredible, she didn't do a physical exam on me at all because she must have known if she had, I would have been so scarred, I wouldn't have come back.  I feel like most doctors would have said something like, "well, let's change your diet and see how that goes.  We'll see you back in a couple of months."  I didn't have a couple of months.  She saw me back 2 weeks later for a colonoscopy, the one that saved my life.

I never cancelled the inital GI doctor appointment and when they called to confirm that appointment, I was on my second round of chemotherapy.  I had already had surgery to remove the mass from my colon and was on the road for treating the rest of the cancer in my system.

Another thing that has proven to me that God is real is that I am in one of the best locations in the country for cancer treatment.  People fly in from other countries to have treatments done where I live.  I couldn't understand for the longest time why I got moved from my life in New York (Upstate, not the city) and my family and friends but after finding out about the cancer, I know why I'm here.

I just am so grateful every single day for God putting me where he has.  It's not been easy by any means but since this has happened, I'm so glad that it's happened the way it is.  The only thing I would have changed is me being stupid and not going to the doctor sooner.  I was just too embarrassed.  Lesson learned.  I may not have made it to my 27th birthday if I hadn't been sent to Dr. Mann, if I had waited and gone to the other doctor, I honestly feel like my issues would have been brushed off because of my age.  Luckily Dr. Mann was sensitive enough to my feelings that she must have known if I was there, it was for a reason.  She has followed me every step of my treatment and has been such a huge encouragement for me.  I can't rave about her enough.

I really just typed this out for myself but thank you for reading it if you have.  Things may happen and we may not know the reason for them but there is a reason, rest assured.

BFTE Giveaway Winner!

The winner has been chosen for the "Get the Look" mini set from Beauty From the Earth!  And the winner is Claudia Amaya!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations!  E-mail me at within the next 48 hours with your information so I can get your prize out to you or I will move on to the next person!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Come to chemo with me!

A while ago I had asked you guys is you may be interested in a "come to chemo" post where you can see a little bit of what goes on during a chemo treatment.  Well after I asked that, my doctors took me off of chemo so I could have my liver surgery.  But I'm back on it now so I figured I could show you how it goes.

So the first thing to really prepare for chemo is to numb my port (also known as a portacath).  Now you may not be familiar with what a port is.  I know even after they put mine in I was still confused as to how it worked.  It's basically a small ball that they place under your skin in your chest that has a catheter tube that they connect to a vein where they can directly put the chemo medicine.  They access it by needle, it doesn't remain open or anything.  They placed mine quite low or I'd show it to you, I think they placed it so low because I'm young and they figured I'd want to hide it.  They give you a prescription for lidocaine numbing cream and you use that and some press-n-seal plastic wrap about an hour before your treatment to numb it so you don't feel them poke you.

Entrance at my cancer center
When you get to the cancer center (or wherever you're being treated) they'll register you and give you what I call "the beeper of doom."  Which is the beeper that goes off when it's your turn.  Just a little thought on cancer centers: I think it's awesome that people are so focused on curing cancer that that's all they do however, sometimes it makes me feel, when I walk into the cancer center, that I am not supposed to be with the other "healthy" people.  I know that's not the case but it has made me feel that way.

The first time the beeper goes off, you go back for "labs" where they'll probably poke your finger for blood and make you pee in a cup (they don't make everyone pee in a cup.  I'n on Avastin and sometimes that can make protein spill into my urine and they want to make sure that's not happening).  They want to make sure that your blood counts are where they should be and that you're healthy enough to continue with treatment.  They'll give you another tube for them to draw blood from your port.  And then they'll send you back out to wait for the beeper to go off again and then it's treatment time.

My beeper with another tube for blood attached to it, I have to bring this back to my nurse.
And here's the treatment area:

The first thing that hits you here is the smell.  It definitely smells medicine-y.  And this smell seems to get worse every time you go back, I think because of the negative connotation that goes along with it.  Now they sit you down in your little treatment area and access your port.  Then they'll draw that tube of blood (which they check for liver, kidney functions, and all sorts of different things with), and start your pre-meds (which are steroids and anti-nausea medicine).

Once that stuff all gets in, which takes a bit, they'll bring your chemotherapy medicine over from pharmacy (they mix it fresh for every person).  The nurse gets to wear an awesome suit that makes you feel like you're contaminated when she gives it to you but it's just to protect her, so she doesn't get any medicine on her skin.

And then they hook up the chemo and let it infuse for however long your treatment is.  My scheduled treatment time is 5 hours, which is one of the longer treatments, but here's what I look like all hooked up (I kinda look miserable haha)!
You can see the patch on my left shoulder, my port is under there in like the top of my boob
There's a tv and stuff, there's a seat for a guest so you don't have to be there all alone. And I personally like having a window seat, it lets me look out and see if there are squirrels or anything haha.  They'll bring you heated blankets if you're cold and food or drink if you're hungry or thirsty.  

So you sit there and entertain yourself until your treatment is over.  Then for me, I have to take a pump with medicine home and let it infuse over the next 46 hours so they gave me a fanny pack but I couldn't deal with that so I got this bag instead.  And this is how I walk around for the next two days (I sleep with the pump and everything, no showers because it can't get wet).

Two days later I go back and get unhooked from my port and hopefully my side effects from the medicine aren't too bad.  Usually I get sick at least once, I get VERY tired (I sleep about 16-20 hours a day, I'm basically useless), my skin breaks out like crazy, and by a certain day the steroids makes me incredibly antsy, I can't sit still, I can't get up and do something, I can't do anything without feeling anxious.  I'm not allowed to eat or drink anything cold for like a week so that stinks (it's because of the Oxaliplatin, by the end of treatment my own saliva is too cold for me to swallow and it hurts going down) but I don't usually feel much like eating anyways because when they tell you not to eat foods you like when you're on chemo, they mean it.  I ate pizza my first treatment, I didn't get sick or anything.  I cannot touch pizza now.  It makes me want to vomit.

That's a little peek into what it's like to go to chemo.  I hope it was helpful for some of you who were wondering.  If you wear pretty makeup, you'll get lots of compliments!  I wore a dark purple smokey eye and got so many compliments, I think they're so used to seeing people who feel sick so they don't feel like getting ready, which is totally understandable because most of the time I feel that way too but I rocked a smokey purple eye and everyone loved it!  Yes, I wear makeup to chemo!
I used BFTE "Big Ego" for this with some other colors I can't remember for blending and highlighting.

Again, I hope this helped shed some light on what goes on at a chemo treatment and that some of you found it helpful

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

BFTE Giveaway!

When the owner of BFTE cosmetics sent me some stuff, she also sent something for me to give away and brighten some else's day, which was completely generous and awesome!  She sent one of their "Get the Look" sets called "Two Faced" which is a collection of 3 of their duochrome colors and a little sample baggie of the color "Walking on Water".  Duochrome shadows are so much fun!

They're all new and unopened (hence the lack of swatches haha).
What the website says about this set:
"Don't let these colors fool you, they each have two sides.  Each one of these duo tones shifts to reveal another color."

Beautiful- "Gold that shifts to pink" (see swatch here!)

Riddle- "Golden bronze that shifts to green with hints of red"
In the jar this reminds me of Glamour Doll Eyes "Dino Spotz," a gorgeous duochrome color, which you can see here.

Dew Drop- "Pinkish purple that shifts to greenish gold."

I'm only having the giveaway open for a week, starting at midnight, so be sure to enter!  I am having it open internationally!  Good luck to all!  And thank you Beauty From the Earth for sending this for me to give away!!

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

BFTE swatches and a look!

I checked my email one day and found one from the owner of Beauty From the Earth Cosmetics (also known as BFTE).  She had found a post I did a long time ago using some colors from them and she found out that I have cancer and she asked if she could send me some makeup to help brighten my day, which was completely amazing.  I mean, makeup is the just about the best thing to help lift my spirits.  So she let me pick a few colors and she sent me a 16 piece sample set.  She did not ask me to swatch them or even use them on my blog, but I figured since I have them, I might as well.
So a 16 piece sampler is $29 and they come in a variety of either pre-selected colors or you can choose your own.  They also come with an adorable little tin to store them in, which I think is awesome.  So here are the colors I was sent in the tin:

And now onto the colors.
Dry swatches with no base are on the left and wet swatches are on the right.

"Glittery light gold brown (or Golden tan)."
I LOVE this color!  It's the perfect mid-toned tan and it's super glittery!

Double Chocolate
(there's no description for this one)
This is a beautiful chocolate color with blue and brown sparkles in it. 

Spank Me
"Deep shimmery wine"
This is indeed a deep wine color with purple and wine colored sparkles.  Not my favorite applied dry, it really comes to life when applied wet.

Atomic Teal
"Beyond gorgeous silky smooth shimmery blackened teal.  Wowza!"
Again, a color that really comes to life when applied wet.  It's super gorgeous though and would look beautiful over a black base (like NYX black bean JEP).

"Warm red base with cool red shimmer, making this the perfectly balanced ruby red.  Looks metallic applied wet, and this is fabulous for the lips."
I would say this is a warmer red, it looks almost orangey in these pictures.  Definitely a pretty color, super metallic when you do it wet!

(no description on website, I actually had to search for the name to find it)
The photo on the website for this color does not do it justice at all.  It's so pretty!  One of my favorites!  It looks pink in the container but as you blend, it turns gold.  Especially wet, the gold comes out.

"Don't be fooled with how this butter yellow color looks in the pot.  Applied wet an interesting and unique pink duo pops out, and yes, it's beautiful."
This is a gorgeous golden highlight color.  Honestly this one was the worst one to apply wet, it got milky and streaky.  I love it dry but I wouldn't use it wet.

Dragon Slayer
(no description on website)
This is such a unique color!  It's like a burnt mustard copper color.  SUPER metallic!  Pretty both dry and wet but when applied wet, it really really brings out the metallic-ness of it haha.

(the label says Kraz but it's on the website as "Kras" and there's no description)
A medium cool-toned green.  Pretty, but not one of my favorite colors.  Kinda disappointing when applied dry.

Walking on Water
"Teal blue with multi-colored sparkles"
Such a pretty color!  And holy sparkles!  But they're not the obnoxious sparkles, they're the pretty sparkles. I love this one!

Blue Bayou
"A bright, rich turquoise blue with a satin finish."
Maybe the satin finish is why this one is SOO finely milled.  Not a problem, just an observation.  However, this one was the most disappointing one of the bunch when applied dry.  I'll definitely still use it because I just love the color, I'll just make sure to use it either over a good base or wet.

Blue Bird
"Bright blue with very good coverage."
One of my favorite colors of the bunch.  A nice cool toned bright blue.  Beautiful applied wet or dry.  Love it!  I can't wait to see this color over a black base!

Midnight Kisses
"Deep blue-toned purple with subtle pink shimmer."
Pretty color!  I'm a sucker for cool-toned purples though.  Not the best applied dry but again, I'll definitely use it!

(no description on website)
A grey-ish purple.  It looks periwinkle when applied wet.  I tend to go for either dark or really bright purples so I don't see myself using this too much but it's still a soft, pretty color.

(no description on website)
I wish this photographed as beautiful as it is in person!  You cannot tell but the perfect mauvey pink color.  I can see myself using this a lot, especially on neutral days!  So so so pretty!!!

Sweet n Spicy
"Frosty light pink-peach."
It looks much peachier than it applies.  It definitely applies more frosty pink.  Another beautiful color though!

And now the full-sized containers.  Here's how they compare in size to the samples.  The samples have .5g of product and sell for $2.00 a jar and the full-sized have 1-3g of product and those sell for $6.50 a jar.

And swatches of the colors I got in full-sized:

Big Ego
"Rich, deep dark royal purple with subtle shimmer"
I would definitely label this as a black based color because when you start to blend out, the black base really comes out.  GORGEOUS COLOR!!!  I love it!  When I saw it, the color definitely made me think of Ronnie from Bows and Curtseys, I feel like it's a color she'd really love.

Secret Garden
"Olive green with bronze undertones and golden glimmers."
It's a neutral, but it's an interesting neutral.  I think it's gorgeous.  I think you could use this on a day when you don't feel like playing with color but it would still make a statement.

Lava Momma
"Bright hot fuchsia with pink iridescence.  Not for the faint of heart!"
Holy hot pink!  It's brighter than it looks in the pictures.  This one was my daughter's favorite.  She said especially wet.  I like this color but I don't see myself wearing it a lot just because I don't really wear bright pink very often.

And finally, I have a simple neutral look I did using a few of these colors.  I can't wait to play around with them some more!

Colors I used (all applied dry):
Lid- Sweet N Spicy
Crease- Double Chocolate
Above Crease- Honey
Highlight- Bubbly (I LOVED how gold this looked in person!)

So thanks, as always, for checking this out!  I hope these swatches are helpful!  I definitely am in love with some of the colors and would totally recommend them!  Do you own any BFTE shadows?  Which ones are your favorites?  If I had to pick a top 5 from these it would be:
Big Ego
Blue Bird
and either Bubbly or Walking on Water.
I know, technically that's 6 but I couldn't choose between the last two haha.

I hope you all have an incredible week!!  Thank you so much for your support!!!