Tag: methotrexate

Time to love my nails

I always think that it’s important to have pretty nails, especially when your hands are on display. As I teach art and craft – this is quite often.

Over the past few years I have really struggled.  My fingers have lots of lumps and bumps because of arthritis, and are often swollen.  My nails have simply been a disaster area.

Years on methotrexate (a chemotherapy based drug used for arthritis) saw them in a dreadful state.  They were so ridged they were like corduroy.  That isn’t the worst.  They split – vertically, and flaked and some of them simply stopped growing.

For someone who has always had a nail polish library this was quite distressing.  I must admit that I neglected my nails too.  It just became depressing.

There is nothing I can do about the lumps and bumps, and nothing I can do about the fact that my hands are in their fifties just like my body.  There is however quite a lot I can do about my nails.

Since I have been off methotrexate my nails have slowly started healing, but are far from fine.

Making a Nail Commitment

A couple of months ago I made a commitment to myself.  I was going to take care of my hands.  They may be arthritic but they are the only hands I have.

I set myself up with hand cream – my choice was a nourishing hand and nail treatment from Roger+Gallet – aptly called sublime.  This brand has been going for years (my granny used it) – truly standing the test of time. I placed this along with some cuticle oil next to my sofa spot and promised to nurture my hands and nails every day.  What a difference this has made.   Things have improved significantly but unfortunately the ridges are still quite prominent.

Treating myself to Mavala

I went off to the pharmacy to treat myself to a new colour.  I love Mavala – the little bottles of delicious colour remind me of paint.  They never go hard and you can build up a whole library of little pots of deliciousness.  I chose a gorgeous pearly shade called Rose.

The real find for me was the Mavala ridge filer from the Nail camouflage range.  At nearly nine euros I had to have a little think about it.  I then reminded myself that I was taking care of my body which does so much for me.

What a brilliant little pot of goodness.  I used it as an undercoat and it was brilliant.  My nail polish went on smoothly and lasted for days!

I really think it is important to give our body and in this case our hands a bit of tender loving care.  Now all I need to decide is which colour to add to my library next.

Mavala is available from most pharmacies. 

(This isn’t a sponsored post – I bought the products myself and absolutely love them)

Thanks for reading.  I hope this inspires you to love your hands too.

Kerry xx

 

Bellissimo – Everyone has a right to feel lovely

Bellissimo translated into English means lovely.  I strongly believe that no matter where we are in our lives we all should feel lovely.  Sometimes that comes about due to some kind words but sometimes it rests on us to make ourselves feel lovely no matter what is going on in our lives.

Bellisimo pretty mermaid nailsI know for me having my nails done is a big treat.  Due to some of the auto-immune diseases I have and some of the drugs I need to take, my nails are brittle, ridged and dented.  One has a fault and it cannot grow.  Every little millimetre it grows just causes a vertical split.

One of the few things that helps is having a manicure and if I go all out and have a Shellac (two-week manicure) it kind of holds my nails together.  And of course makes me feel lovely.

I was treated to a beautiful ‘mermaid’ themed shellac manicure at a blogger pamper evening held at the very aptly named Bellissimo salon in Galway.  My comment – these nails look so good I might have to scratch someone just to show them off.  Of course there might be other ways of showing them off too.

It was such a fun evening, hanging out with ITWBN bloggers having manicures and pedicures while eating delicious food supplied by the g Counter.  Honestly it was a bit like a grown-up slumber party with lots of giggling and laughing as we had the run of the salon for the night.

Trying on a long glamours dark wig!The biggest laughs of the evening came about when we started trying on wigs.  There were shrieks of laughter as we transformed ourselves into different characters by simply changing our hair.  Loads of giggles.  Wigs however are a medical necessity for many women.

A couple of years ago when I started on Methotrexate to treat arthritis a lot of my hair fell out!  I have always been quite proud of my hair and I can tell you I panicked.  Hair wash day became worry day as the plug hole filled and each stroke of the brush meant less hair on my head.

Thankfully I didn’t loose all my hair, and by using vitamins and other tricks and techniques (which you can read about here), I was able to get back on track.  I regularly trimmed my hair and waited hoping it would grow back.

Many many woman are not as lucky.  Various conditions and drug programmes result in thinning hair leaving woman feeling less lovely than they should be.

As we clowned around in the wig room at Bellissimo I couldn’t help thinking how important wigs are to so many people.  Many of the wigs available look so good, you wouldn’t realise that they were exactly that.  These wigs are well made and although synthetic would make anyone look fabulous – even if they were simply having a bad hair day.

I spoke to  Mike and Dympna our Bellissimo hosts who explained that because the salon was registered with the HSE (Ireland’s health service), there was a contribution that could be claimed against the purchase of a wig if hair loss was medically related.  The staff is fully informed and are happy to help anyone in a confidential way.   You can also have a look at the info on the website. I can promise you that anyone leaving the salon would feel fabulous!

Bellissimo in Galway is a simply gorgeous venue.  I really couldn’t think of a better name for a salon that makes woman feel lovely!

Thanks to the staff and the lovely ITWBN bloggers for having a pretend slumber party with me.  I felt Bellissimo going home.

Thanks for reading.

Kerry x

 

Believe in yourself – we all deserve to feel beautiful

Model for a Day(Including before and after pics)

Believe in yourself.  Rather easier said than done.  I have struggled with self-esteem especially related to body image and my looks for as long as I can remember.

I know it will be hard for many people to believe as I appear bubbly and outgoing but for much of my life I have avoided mirrors and weighing scales.  I reached rock bottom in terms of self-esteem about five years ago.  My marriage was crumbling, my weight was ballooning  and I got to a point where make-up was something that gathered dust in the cupboard.

I remember going to a family function and making a real effort with lots of eye make-up including liquid liner.  My eyes were just not used to it.  One eye started watering and then I managed to poke myself in the eye with the mascara wand on the other and had to start again.

Before and afterWhen I was putting this post together I decided to be brave and include a photo from this time of my life.  I couldn’t find one.  I had such a negative belief in how I looked that I had gone through Facebook and untagged any image of me – just to make sure that nothing ‘ugly’ popped up.

I am extremely grateful for the wonderful people around me who have supported me over the last while.  I have worked hard to reach where I am now.  I have fallen in love with make-up again and I honestly believe that we all deserve to look good.  And, more importantly we all deserve to feel fabulous.

I met Natalie Greer at an ITWBN blogger event a year ago.  Natalie is a photographer and we got talking about boudoir shoots (you now the sexy ones).  It got me thinking about how confident you would need to be to do something like that.

The more I thought about it the more I felt that every woman deserves to feel truly special and in my head being a model for a day would be something special.  True beauty and fabulousness comes from within, I know.  However in the society we live it so much pressure is placed on body image and looks that it is important to feel good about yourself.

For some people this might be creating something, or doing something for a good cause, but for me it included looking good, and more importantly feeling good about myself.

Something new and exciting is happening …

I am also embarking on something new in the career line where I will be combining my experience with some new training to offer personal branding services – something that I really believe in.  The more I researched this, I realised that we are a brand ourselves and our image – photo – is part of this brand.

I felt both brave and excited the morning of the shoot.  I had a little suitcase packed with a couple of outfits and accessories and of course my bulging make-up bag.  As I was driving I looked down at my hands and panicked.  My nails are in a dreadful state.  Due to conditions like pernicious anaemia and arthritis and the drugs I need to take, my nails are brittle, ridged and in some cases very short.

I quickly pulled into a pharmacy and bought myself a packet of stick on nails.  Now I was ready for my photo shoot.

Natalie Greer - Always wear your invisible crownThank you to Natalie, for making it so special, and to everyone who has already liked the profile pic on Facebook.  I love the image with me wearing my crown – it reminds me of where all this started.  My first really well read blog post was all about wearing your invisible crown.

Thanks so much for reading this and for looking at my photos.  I really do appreciate the feedback.

I am working on a blog post about personal branding which will include a free downloadable personal branding questionnaire.  So please check back in or subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss it!

Thank you again for your support on my journey.

Kerry x

 

Pain is my Frenemy

 

Pain

Pain is my constant companion.  It is always with me and after all this time we have become quite well acquainted with each other.

I cannot think of a 24-hour period in the last few years where I have not been in pain.  Some days it is merely a twinge and a twitch, but most days it is a nagging constant.  It gnaws at me grinding me down until I am weary.

I sometimes wonder if there are tiny teeny creatures inside of my bones eating away and snagging my nerve endings until I have to stop and simply sit waiting for medication to kick in.

Each of us feel pain in a different way, and nobody can really know how you feel.

A frenemy (it is a real word), is a person with whom one is friendly despite a fundamental dislike or rivalry.  A combination of a friend and enemy.

Pain has become my frenemy because I cannot avoid it – it is closer to me than my partner, family and friends and although I don’t like it I have to learn to live with it.

The primary source of my pain is Arthritis in my hands.  In addition I was recently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia which is also sometimes called the chronic pain disease.  Add Pernicious Anaemia a blood disorder that leads to neuropathic pain and you have a good cocktail.

This post is not about my pain, but rather my relationship with it.  It is part of my life now, and so I need to make a friend of it (or frenemy).

I am determined that my life will continue to be full despite my friendly enemy.

These are a few of the techniques I am using to deal with it.

 

  1. Distraction

I find that this is probably one of the best sources of pain relief.  The pain doesn’t go away, but as I absorb myself in other activities my mind begins to wander and I am able to deal with it better.

  1. Discipline

I am not always very disciplined but I have found that when I stick to a routine as far as using my splints, taking medication and rest, pain is easier to get along with

  1. Pain medication

Unless I am in a very bad way, I tend to take pain meds when I need them.  I am conscious of my overall health and try to limit what I do take.  Once again however, keeping pain at bay is all about being regular with medications and other pain management aids such as topical pain relief in the form of sprays, gels, Versatis plasters and more.

  1. Sleep

I used to be one of those people who boasted about getting on well with only 6 hours sleep a night.  A wise physiotherapist reminded me that the body heals while it sleeps.  I can honestly say that despite waking in the night in pain, the longer I sleep the better it is.

  1. Pacing

My pain is primarily in my hands and arms which makes things a little awkward.  What I have figured out is that I can do about 40 minutes with my hands without too much pain.  Then I rest – and return to my task a little later.  This has not only taught me patience but it also means that I get things done despite the pain.

My journey with my frenemy pain is exactly that – a journey of getting to know pain and to understand it.  To work with it and not against it.

Each person’s pain is specific to them.  If you have any tips of techniques on pain management I would love to hear about them.

A while ago I was interviewed on CRCFM a local radio station – some of what we discussed is very relevant to this post.  You can have a listen here.

Thanks for reading.

 

Kerry x

 

 

Treating my hands to a bit of Revive

icarevive

 

I love magazines, I guess I have a bit of an addiction to them.  As you can imagine I was delighted to receive a copy of the first ICA magazine, and after setting myself up with a cup of tea I sat down for a good read.

Tucked in the back was an advert for Revive, a Galway based company who are developing some fabulous health supplements.  I knew about the ‘green’ Revive (Revive Active) as my sister had been raving about it.  I had also had a little sample in my ITWBN goody bag!  But here was a blue one – and one especially for joints.

My hands are a constant struggle for me since being diagnosed with arthritis.  They simply hurt all the time, and I am struggling with flexibility.  Because I am me, I am doing everything I can to keep going, including injecting with methotrexate which is a bit hectic to say the least.

I am delighted to say that I have added the Revive joint formula to my anti- arthritis arsenal.  The supplement that comes in a sachet and is mixed with water doesn’t taste like chocolate, but it isn’t bad at all.  It has all the building block ingredients that are supposed to reduce pain and increase mobility.  With any luck it is also going to repair cartilage, and reduce inflammation ( a biggie for me).

My new breakfast addition from ReviveI have been taking it for over two weeks now.  Last night a friend was over and asked me how my hands were.  I had to stop for a minute to think.  They hadn’t been hurting all day!    Could be a coincidence, but I will take whatever pain-free days are available.

This is a long-term solution and I will be updating everyone on the blog regularly.  Revive uses the slogan the science of nature.  I can do that!  I am delighted that I am not adding any more baddies into my blood stream, and feeling better to boot!

Thanks for reading and please feel free to share your feedback.

Kerry xx

 

If we didn’t have bad days we wouldn’t appreciate good ones

If we didn't  have bad days we wouldn't (2)We all have those kind of days . The days that put everything into perspective.

I have promised myself that this will be  a positive blog, but this post is about turning a negative into a positive.  Let me explain.

I have rheumatoid arthritis in my hands.  I am self injecting Methotrexate (which is one of the drugs from the chemotherapy cocktail).  It has been helping and his given me some relief from pain.  There are days however when things are not good.  Pain is severe and quite frankly it must makes me crabby.

I am definitely a glass half full kind of person, but when the pain gets really bad it is hard to concentrate, never mind think of the glass and whether it is full or empty.

Today was one of those days.  I felt myself becoming snappy, and if someone gave me a tiny bit of sympathy, I could feel tears welling up.  Not a good way to be, especially if you are trying to keep up your ‘fabulous’ and professional persona, and of course keep your invisible crown on your head!

At 4pm I gave in and reached for a painkiller.  I try very hard to steer away from them, but there comes a time, and this is my first piece of advice for dealing with those kind of days.

If you are in pain – take a painkiller.

The next piece of advice is to distract yourself.  After work I went silly shopping.  I wandered around the supermarket and bought easter eggs, and crazy dessert pizza.

The final piece of advice is not to wallow.  I was invited out by a friend and although my head was telling me to stay home and rest, my spirit said get out and live.  I had a lovely evening with good company and yummy food, and to an extent forgot about the pain.  (The pills I had taken helped a bit too).

My lovely sister called to find out how I was, and I think was a bit surprised to find me out and about.  I guess this post goes towards explaining why.

My philosophy is to embrace life, no matter what.   I embrace life, and try to be fabulous, regardless of the circumstances.

When I wake up tomorrow, the RA will still be there, and the pain might wake me up in the night.  No matter what in the morning, I will put my make-up on, position my invisible crown and find my fabuliciousness.

And when I have a good day, I will appreciate it even more!

Fighting the good fight against thinning hair

My hair has been something that I have always been proud of.  It has been blond, pink, brown, fire engine red and is now a coppery colour lightening by the month to cover the emerging greys.

Unfortunately life throws us curve balls.  I live with a number of auto-immune diseases, and a few of these have hair loss and thinning as a side effect.  I am being honest here when I say that hair loss is one of my biggest fears.

A year ago I was prescribed Methotrexate for treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis.  And yes, you guessed it hair loss is a side effect.  Methotrexate is one of the drugs used in chemotherapy and although people with RA take it in a much smaller dose the risk is still there.  I have an underactive thyroid and Pernicious Anaemia too, both of which can effect the condition and thickness of hair.

As this is a positive blog, and a positive post I am not going to dwell on the negatives, but will simply say that my hairdresser confessed that 2 months into the treatment, she didn’t tell me how bad my hair was (I did realise it on some level).  She said she didn’t want to upset me.

Right onto the positives.  Despite having a smaller ponytail, my hair is back to looking shiny and bouncy – so how did I do it.

Starting from the inside …

  1. I take Biotin – I treat myself to a tablet every day – and I know that this has made a huge difference,  My hairdresser noticed after 6 weeks, and then she did comment and told me about the improvement.
  2. I also try to eat as healthy – lots of fruit and vegetables.  I am also a great believer in the health properties of yogurt.
  3. I don’t wash my hair too often.  Around once very 4 or 5 days.  I have heard that this is a good idea as it protects the hair.
  4. I use a thickening shampoo.  I have fallen in love with Elvive Fibrology Thickening shampoo. It has mixed reviews online, but I really think it makes a difference.  I tend to swop my shampoo every couple of months, but I am on my third bottle of this now.  I was away a few weeks ago, and used another shampoo.  I could really see a difference – my hair was flatter and not as shiny.
  5. Linked to the fact that I wash my hair every 4 or 5 days, I love dry shampoo.  It is my secret weapon.  I have tried a few and keep returning to Batiste Dry Shampoo.  I am convinced my hair sometimes looks better on day 3 because of this.  A quick spray – massage the roots and a blast with the hair dryer and I am good to go out of the door in less than 2 minutes.
  6. I also trim my hair regularly and of course colour to hide those greys.
  7. For styling I dry my hair with a blast from the hair dryer and then use my trusty heated curlers.  If I wear my hair up I protect it by using very soft rubber bands and hair pins.

A woman’s hair is her crowning glory and we all deserve to feel pretty.  I hope that these few tips will help those struggling with thinning hair.  I strongly believe that the Biotin is key to this routine.  Much of my other advice is cosmetic, but it is all about feeling fabulous.

Thanks for reading

Kerry x

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