"Where there is creativity, there is hope." ~ Donna Karan

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Nail Files Thursday: Zebra Stripes Konadicure

Surprisingly my second attempt at konad stamping turned out pretty well. If I keep practising, I'll become a pro one day! So here is my second attempt in all its glory:

Zebra stripes!

For my base colour I used OPI nail lacquer in Alpine Snow. I think I did about four coats to get it looking perfect. Then I used Maybelline New York express finish in black to stamp on my konad image.

I used konad image plate m57 for this manicure.

I wasn't really happy with the black polish. The consistency of it didn't work with the image plate so I guess I'll have to have a play around and find a polish brand that works as some of the print didn't turn out as well as what I was hoping for.

But there you have it, my second attempt!


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Surviving Surgery- Part 3

Two weeks post-op, am I feeling fabulous? Absolutely not. Fatigue has flared and that uneasy feeling that something is wrong still troubles me daily. I'm still having to put up with the abnormal pain which provoked me to pay to have my surgery done privately.

While surgery has halved the pain and reduced the symptoms associated with endometriosis, it hasn't helped the pain in my upper back and stomach. The pain that doctors thought was just referred endometriosis pain is originating from some other source, but what?

This pain doesn't make sense and now I know that something really is amiss because the surgery findings definitely don't account for the amount of pain I'm in. I'm disappointed and frustrated yet again. Pain in between my shoulder blades and pain just below my ribs cannot possibly be endometriosis pain.

I just knew that the pain didn't add up. It's onset was too sudden and it's a new pain I've never had before and unfortunately it's onset just so happened to coincide with the flare in endometriosis pain.

I needed surgery regardless but the fact that I now know that something else is going on overwhelms me. All of my symptoms and "syndromes" overlap each other and with an added ailment to the list- doctors have difficulty.

All that I know is that I know my own body well enough to know something strange is going on but I've just been ignoring the signals that my body is trying to send.

I'm over this crap. I want to get as well as I possibly can and move on but this stupid pain is dragging me down. I hold onto the hope that wishful thinking will magically make the pain disappear but it never leaves.

I just want it to stop. It's disrupting so much of my life. I just want to be able to go back to work, I'm going stir crazy. I just want for things to go back to normal, whatever normal is.

(image via weheartit.com)

I've just been dealing with the pain in an attempt to avoid another frustrating appointment with my doctor because I don't want more tests. I'm just too tired. I want to curl up in a ball and just give up. I'm scared more scans and tests won't show anything and that doctors won't be able to work out what's going on.

I've been poked and prodded far too many times and I'm just done with seeing doctors and getting nowhere. I've been complaining about this pain for three months now and where has that got me?


Ignoring this pain hasn't got me anywhere either. Perfect timing to be reading Coping With Chronic Illness by H. Norman Wright and Lynn Ellis. This particular paragraph jumped off the page:

"Don't quit or become resigned because you just don't have the energy. Continue to search for answers and solutions. Don't take a closed door as defeat, but see it as, ' well, I've looked into that and it wasn't the answer so I can cross it off the list and look elsewhere'."

So I'm continuing the search for answers and I've made an appointment with my doctor. Again. Although this is becoming a difficult time for me and I'm stressed because I just want the pain to go away and I want a solution right now, it really helps to put things into perspective.

Whenever I catch myself about to complain I have to slap myself- at least I have a wonderful doctor and the finances to seek treatment. There are people in third world countries who don't have what I do.

The good thing is that I can rule out endometriosis pain as a cause and at least I can feel calm about one thing being under control for now when everything just seems so out of my control.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Blab About Beauty Tuesday: Herbal Essences Long Term Relationship Shampoo Review

Product name: Herbal essences long term relationship shampoo for long hair

Product description: Long story short, I'll help strengthen your hair against split ends and breakage. Get lost in your length with my velvety fusion with extracts of red raspberry and satin. It lavishes every inch of your hair, helping to protect against damage and leaving it so luscious, you'll love it up and down, all around town.

Product directions: Massage into hair. Rinse and repeat if desired.

My thoughts: I really love this shampoo. I enjoyed the to-die-for scent which left me with hair smelling so delicious I could almost eat it. It did leave it looking luscious and it lathered up really well. I have really long hair and although I didn't notice a reduction in breakage it is one of the best shampoos I have tried. It's great value for money too. This stuff lasted me nearly 2 months! Love it!

Product ingredients:  water, ammonium laureth sulfate, dimethicone, sodium chloride, glycol distearate, citric acid, sodium citrate, ammonium xylenesulfonate, fragrance, cocamide, guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride, sodium benzoate, disodium edta, hydrolyzed silk, rubus idaeus (raspberry) fruit extract, methylisothiazolinone, red no. 33 (CI 17200).

The pros:
  • it has a lovely scent
  • it's well packaged
  • great value for money
  • great product for long hair
  • lathers well
  • great size
 The cons:
  • contains sulfates

Would I purchase this again?: Most definitely.

Size: 300mL  RRP: $5.99  My rating: 4.5/5

Stockists: available at supermarkets, pharmacies and a variety of department stores


Monday, June 27, 2011

Surviving Surgery- Part 2

After being assured that all measures would be taken to ensure that I wouldn't go into urinary retention and be sent home in that state like I was last time, I calmly walked into the operating room with the peace of mind that my pain would be treated properly.

The last thing I remember was a nurse holding my hand as I watched the anesthetist dig a cannula into my other thinking, oh man that's gonna bruise. A needle followed suit and seconds later I was feeling that blissful familiar fuzzy feeling once again.

The next thing I knew I was in recovery with a stinging sensation coupled with a throbbing left ovary- the after effect of a laparoscopy and cystoscopy. The pain was nothing I hadn't handled before. The surgeon spoke with me before I was discharged the same afternoon.

They removed a cyst from my left ovary and lasered all the endometriosis found on both ovaries. The adhesion that was discovered during my last surgery was nowhere to be seen. Thank the Lord. I left hospital relieved, thrilled and hopeful that things were going to get better.

I was prescribed four hourly doses of panadiene forte for the pain. The first few days, of course, were the worst. I spent most of my recovery counting down the time until I could down my next dosage. The first night I thought I'd surely sleep well but then the shoulder tip pain caused by the gas that was used during the procedure finally kicked in.

Holy sugar and fudge.

I'd forgotten how much it hurt like hell. It was hard enough to breathe let alone move, but I just kept repeating I can do this, I can so do this over and over again to myself and I got through the night without any dreaded complications.

When the third night came the pain suddenly got worse. The pain killers barley touched the sides. I thought I was headed to emergency for sure.

But I survived.

I survived another surgery without any of the various complications I'd experienced in the past, and I couldn't be more content... (to be continued)


(image via weheartit.com)


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Surviving Surgery- Part 1

I am surprisingly and strangely excited about having my fourth laparoscopy tomorrow to treat the endometriosis and find the source of my worsening pain and symptoms. I've had constant non-stop pain for three months now and I'm really looking forward to some relief and hopefully some answers to calm my anxiety. This last week has just been awful and I've had enough. I just can't continue on like this and while I'm trying not to get my hopes up that this surgery will fix all my problems, I can't help but hope that things are going to get better. They have to, right?

At the same time, I've been trying to convince myself that I'm not scared, but I am. I'm terrified. There. I said it. I still clearly remember how terrified I was about my first diagnostic laparoscopy back in 2007 and once again I find myself shockingly scared of the unknown. I'm scared they'll find more endometriosis and more adhesions. I'm terrified of being at risk of developing more adhesions from surgery as that's how I got the horrid adhesion that adheres my bladder to my ovary in the first place. I find myself concerned about long term treatment options and I'm also worried about a flare in joint pain and fatigue. Surgery can cause setbacks with fibromyalgia, arthritis and CFS. I am stupidly freaking out. I'm trying not to freak out but thinking about not freaking out is making me freak out. I know, that didn't make sense in the slightest, but nothing does when you're freaking out.

Over the last three months I've been feeling really unsure and uncertain. I can't put my finger on what it is, but something just feels wrong. Really wrong. It's like my body is warning me. I don't know if it's about the surgery but I think it may have something to do with the shocking amount of pain that I have in my back and stomach. I'm scared that this pain isn't related to the endometriosis at all and that doctors won't be able to find the cause. I'm scared the doctors have got it wrong. I just don't feel right about any of this. I have that deep gut nauseating feeling that something is astray. But what? Try telling that to a doctor and they'll think you're a hypochondriac. I don't particularly like the idea of another surgery but I have no choice. Something is going on and the source needs to be found.

I think the main reason why I'm so anxious is because my last laparoscopy was an experience that I never want to endure again. Waking up to the worst and most unbearable pain of my whole entire life after having my bladder ripped off my ovary is not something I want to re-live, but if my bladder is stuck again like my body is telling me then there is an awful possibility that I could go into retention again and I am ridiculously anxious about this happening again. Hell, when you've been in the back of an ambulance in agony after neglectful nurses sent you home when you were still in pain and still in retention- I guess anxiety attacks are fairly normal.

Although, I've had to slap myself for being so silly several times. It's my fourth laparoscopy and seventh surgery in total. Who am I kidding? I'm a pro! The only part of the whole process that phases me is the waking up part. The part when you aren't numb to the fact that it feels as though a wombat has stomped all over your ovaries and sunk it's sharp claws in. I think it's worse knowing what kind of pain to expect. Although, with all of my surgeries I've experienced a different degree of pain. So I guess it's just fear of the unknown really.

I have to be positive though. Worrying about things I can't control is wasting precious energy. Whatever happens, happens. I'm in a hell of a lot of pain already so surely it can't get much worse than this. Besides, I spent my first recovery in hospital vomiting all day, my second recovery was a breeze, my third was sheer torture... do the math and my fourth one is bound to be brilliant. I survived then and I will survive now. After all, I've got Jesus right by my side and I know that He's got me in his hand. And because He is with me, I will not fear.



Saturday, June 11, 2011

Shabby Chic Saturday: Lilac Affair

I've been in my new bedroom for a couple of months now. Although it's a tight squeeze,  I'm really happy with how it is turning out. I've had to make a few colour scheme adjustments as the quilt cover that I decided on totally threw my previous planned colour scheme out the window. My mission to create the ultimate shabby chic style bedroom is halfway complete! I wish I could say the same for my craft studio but unexpected costs have unfortunately derailed all plans for the time being.

I decided on having light lilac walls for my bedroom. The paint that I selected was Taubmans 'Lilac Affair'. It's a really pretty colour! I wish I could say that this is my bedroom but it's just a photo from the Taubmans website to show you how gorgeous the colour is as it fails to look half decent in my own. This is the kind of style I am going for though, just minus the black furniture. I love the feature mirror above the bed, it's exactly what I'm trying to get my hands on. You can betcha bottom dollar I will find a cheap one some where on the planet! Watch me. I do however have a cheap but gorgeous chandelier decorating my ceiling! It's similar to the one pictured but it's pink... and that's for another post. I would really love to get a picture rail on my walls too so I can hang my mirror (when I find it) and other pictures... just to convince my Dad to whack one up for me. Hmm.

This is a sneak peek of my room. I told you the photo doesn't do the paint justice. I'm wanting to eventually wall paper this wall that my bed is against and have it as a feature wall. I'm thinking purple roses or something along those lines.

You'll have to excuse my hand as I try and show you these prints pressed up against one side of a wall that I have to decorate. Originally I was planning on using these in my craft studio but I'm thinking these prints on canvas will match perfectly with the lilac wall. I picked them up at a discount shop last year for $5 each. Ideally I would like another one as it looks odd with just the two. I'm praying that they'll still have them in stock *I am blessed and highly favoured*. So that's my progress so far. And the mission continues...


Friday, June 10, 2011

Crafty Fridays: Country Style Toilet Door Sign

My Mum wanted a pretty country style sign for the upstairs and downstairs toilet doors. Here's what I created:

Both our toilets and bathrooms are decked out in light blue so we stuck with the light blue theme to match. These signs were so simple to make- you just need a plaque of your choice, lettering, some paint, embellishments and you're all set! It was just a lot of painting and gluing which did take me a couple of days (taking into account I made two of them) but the end result was totally worth being patient for. Mum loves them!

The edges probably could have used a bit of sanding before hand but I just couldn't be bothered. I didn't even use a primer or varnish either, I just whacked the paint right on and started painting. I'm currently working on another project at the moment and I decided to use varnish but I think it really takes away from the country look of it.

I still have the materials to make a few more so I'm hoping to be able to sell some. The plaques are fairly large in size too so guests won't be able to miss it!

Materials used:

Kaisercraft home sweet home plaque
4 large light blue craft flowers, glued together
4 small light blue ribbon roses
Kaisercolour in white
Kasiercolour in coastal blue
Wooden letters
Super glue


Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Nail Files Thursday: Sally Hansen 'Platinum' Glitter Manicure

 Here is another one of my manicures from last year:

For my base colour I used Sally Hansen Hard As Nails in 'Platinum' which is a metallic white shade. I used 2 coats and then I applied a complementing glitter polish...

I used 3 coats of this glitter nail polish by Mode, but I can't tell you the shade because some goose has stuck the wrong shade name on the bottle. This shade definitely ain't a hint of blue! It's a sliver and white glitter coloured polish and you can find it at any Hairhouse Warehouse store.

I decided that this manicure looked a little too pale for my liking, so to give it more of an edge I used some awesome purple flower stencil decals to finish it off.

How cool are they!


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Weekly Word Wednesday: Amazing Abundance

When you live with chronic pain and illness you may feel as though you are far from living an abundant life. There's medical bills, financial hardship, loss, emotional pain and often relationships are strained. Chronic illness impacts on every area of your life in unimaginable ways and most days you probably feel as though you're lacking in every area... health, finance, energy, self esteem... and the list goes on. After all, your quality of life has drastically decreased.

I know there are days where all I focus on is my lack; be it lack of support, lack of compassion, a lack of friends, or a lack of understanding doctors... the only thing abounding in my life seems to be pain and pills, and that sure isn't what I consider to be a life of abundance.

Over the last few weeks in my devotional time, I've been reflecting on abundance... what does it mean to live abundantly? Is it even possible to live a life of abundance despite chronic illness? Of course! As Christians and children of God we are entitled to an amazing abundance, it's our inheritance! According to Ephesians 3:20- {We serve a big God} who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think. Isn't that amazing? So, how do we live abundantly in the midst of chronic illness, suffering and trials?

Ask for it. It's so easy to complain about our lack that we forget to simply stop and ask God for what we need. I'm learning to ask for the strength, grace and peace that I need to get through each day instead of focusing on how exhausted I feel or dwelling on how much the pain prevents me from doing what I want to do.

Sow into the Kingdom. Invest your finances in His Kingdom's cause and watch Him bless you abundantly. Malachi 3:10 says, "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse. Test me in this," says the Lord Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the flood gates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have enough room for it." If you honestly can't afford to give in church offerings, there are plenty of other ways to sow into the kingdom. You can reach out and encourage someone else. You can invest your time to bless someone, for example, bake someone some cupcakes or write a helpful article that will benefit someone else and post it on your blog. Have a think about ways that you can sow into the Kingdom while respecting your health.

Be generous. God has given to you so that you can bless someone else. Earlier this year, I had to pay my car registration. I had more than enough money to cover it but when I went to pay it, I found out that it was $200 cheaper than what I was expecting because of my disability claim! I thought, great, extra money to go buy some clothes... but that's when God stopped me in my tracks. He didn't give me that extra money for clothes, he gave it to me so that I can bless someone else through the Random Acts Of Blogging Kindness project that we started this year. 2 Corinthians 8:2 acknowledges "For in the midst of an ordeal of severe tribulation, their abundance of joy and their depth of poverty have overflowed in wealth of generosity on their part."

Give thanks. So often I think we as Christians are so busy looking for the big blessings and miracles in life that we completely miss the small ones. Blessings come in all shapes and sizes and this is important to acknowledge. For me, I see God's abundant provision in the small things like getting items on sale or being bulk-billed at the doctors. It's not just in the material things either, God bestows His grace and favour to help me get through the tough days. In order to live abundantly, you must have an attitude of gratitude, no matter what your circumstance.

Believe for it. Our God is the God who provides. Believe for God's favour, prosperity and provision in your life. I've been believing for finance to fund my craft and cupcake business and boy do I really feel tested on this right now. The majority of my savings that I had to help get my craft studio set up now have to be spent on my surgery next week. I'm not looking forward to seeing my savings blown but this is where I really have to trust and believe that God will make away and provide for me.

Trust God for it. Trust that God knows exactly what you need and know that He will meet it. Before I was blessed with disability pension, I had little and sometimes no income. I really had to trust that somehow God would meet my financial needs. I had to learn to be patient and content and it took a few years but God came through with the goods. My disability claim has been accepted, and I now have a beautiful car, a licence and I have money in the bank to pay for my own medical bills and enjoy life to the best that I can in this difficult circumstance. We serve an awesome God and it's important to acknowledge His goodness and grace despite our difficulties.

Seek it out. Sometimes God's abundance and blessing comes in disguise. Sometimes you have to do a little searching to find it. I'm learning to search for God in the face of pain. Yes, chronic illness, pain and loss sucks big time, but I'm learning to see it as a blessing in disguise. I have the opportunity to learn things that most people will probably never get to learn in their lifetime. I'm blessed with time to be still and seek God... most people get distracted by the busyness of life that they forget the importance of getting to know their creator or they are blind to their blessings.

Don't get in the way. It's so easy to get caught up in making plans for our lives and be consumed by what we want that we can forget to let God be God and let His will be done in our lives. Before I became ill, I had my whole life planned out and I was so naive to believe that it would pan out exactly the way I planned. In hindsight, I now clearly see that God has other plans for my life- plans that are much bigger and better than my own. Don't block out God's plans for your life and stop getting in the way of your inheritance. He knows what is best for you. Psalm 84:11 declares that "The Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows grace and favour and glory. No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly".

(image via weheartit.com)

Know that God is the God of overflow. His blessings are like a continuous waterfall, my cup overflows continually. John 1:16 states "For out of His fullness (abundance) we have all received one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing and even favour upon favour and gift upon gift." So grab your cup, jump in the waterfall and watch your cup fill to overflowing. You are blessed beyond belief!

Claim it. Stand on God's word and actively claim your blessing. Constantly speak it out. Every morning when I wake up I like to say Today I am covered in God's protection and I am blessed and highly favoured. Psalm 16:5-6 says "Lord, you have assigned to me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance." Claim you inheritance. As a child of God, it's rightfully yours.

You are blessed and highly favoured. Ask for it. Believe for it. Trust God for it. Seek it. Go get your inheritance and CLAIM YOUR POWER!!

Article written by Emily Ruth
© Chronically Creative, 2011


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Thankful Tuesdays

 Today I am thankful for...

Warm fluffy socks

Being able to listen to music- it helps cheer me up when I'm feeling down. Sometimes you've just gotta dance!

My gorgeous long hair that I've been blessed with

Electric blankets! The best for soothing sore joints after a long day

Sunny winter days- they make me smile :)

(all images via weheartit.com)

What are you thankful for?

PS- link up coming soon!


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Seeking A Second Opinion

After all these years and three surgeries later, I have finally sought a second opinion after being dealt the final straw. Constant back and bladder pain isn't normal, neither is having difficulty dealing with these issues on a daily basis. I am so glad that I have at last found a doctor who completely agrees and is actually concerned about the pain I'm in. I was beginning to lose hope of ever finding a compassionate gynaecologist who could respect that my body doesn't respond well to treatments. Every gynaecologist that I've seen (and I've seen a fair few) have failed to take my pain seriously in the slightest.

After all of my surgeries I still haven't found relief or answers and the communication between the public health system and doctors is pretty much non existent as I've just discovered. My last surgery was done through the public system. I didn't even get to see the surgeon and all they do is write scribble and send it back to your referring doctor. Well, one very important thing about my surgery failed to be noted down. I was informed by some doctor the next morning after my surgery that my bladder was stuck to my ovary by an adhesion and that they separated it during surgery. I asked if that was why the endometriosis pain was worse and if it had anything to do with why I was in so much pain and went into retention when I woke up and he clearly stated yes. Was that scribbled in the surgery notes? No. So I'm babbling on about my bladder issues and my gynecologist doesn't even know a thing about my surgery and cannot connect my current symptoms.

I'm so tired of being placed on a lengthy waiting list for the same shit to happen. I decided that I wasn't happy with how I was being treated. I felt as though my pain was just palmed off as non-important pop some pills and you'll be fine. I want this dealt with. This pain is now affecting me daily. It's interfering with work- it's crippling my life. I shouldn't have to take panadiene forte daily to get by and after stressing this to my specialist I still couldn't get through to her thick head. She couldn't even fathom that  treatments have done nothing for my bladder symptoms. Had it been noted down what was seen during surgery I may not be in the state that I'm in right now. I have never felt like throttling someone until now. Living life feeling like your bladder hasn't emptied properly and feeling as though you're on the verge of an infection with constant back and stomach pain isn't a way to live. I'm exhausted.

To add to my stress, the pain has progressed to my shoulder blades, upper stomach and chest. This has been going on for months now. I know my own body well enough to know that something isn't right. This isn't normally what I experience with endometriosis. Being placed on another waiting list and left in pain isn't good enough so I made an empowered decision to switch doctors and get a second opinion. I was a little hesitant about seeing another male gynaecologist as I didn't like the first one that I saw before I was diagnosed but the other two women I've seen over the years are hopeless, and being in persistent pain I thought it was worth a shot.

It was well worth it. He took my concerns seriously and acknowledged that the amount of pain I'm in isn't acceptable. I expressed my frustrations of failed treatments that did nothing for my bladder pain and symptoms to be informed that hormonal treatments won't and never will help with the associated bladder problems. Bingo. That explains why I'm constantly having trouble. Why I'm being told this now after all the pointless treatments I've tried makes me feel furious and yet less frustrated at the same time.

(image via weheartit.com)

After he quizzed me on all my previous surgeries he stated that he wasn't happy with me heading for surgery again on the public system because he thinks that they probably didn't even remove the adhesion that attached my bladder to my ovary correctly the first time round. So to get this sorted, I have no other option than to go private and have him do the surgery himself. I walked out of that appointment with a date for surgery and a sigh of relief in knowing that this pain is finally going to be investigated properly.

Surgery is scheduled for the following Monday, which I'm pretty happy about. I'm not so happy about the cost though. It's going to eat through most of my savings that I had to get my craft studio set up so I'm very disappointed but thankful that I have the money to get treatment, so I guess I shouldn't complain. The last few weeks have been very tough but I guess I'm coping okay... I've realised if I don't move around too much the pain is much more manageable but I am needing to take extra pain killers to get me though the night, so I'm really looking forward to surgery and at the same time I'm stupidly freaking out so much so that I had an anxiety attack the other night when I realised how close it's getting. Considering the pain I went through after my last surgery with going into retention twice after having my bladder ripped from my ovary I think it's fair that I'm freaking out about it happening again. It also doesn't help knowing that first period post surgery (after experiencing it three times already) is horrendous either, but at least I can rest assured that I have an experienced surgeon who I will be hearing from directly, who has given me his word that he will try and fix this.


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