Join Me In My Life-Changing Journey…

WARNING: This blog post contains graphic content and may be sensitive to some. If this is too much for you, you may unfollow me or simply leave the post alone. If this is somewhat awesome to you, please share my post with others (and let me know!).

So… no, it’s not a bookish post, but I’m hoping y’all will read anyways!

I haven’t been reading much – between school, all of my doctor’s visits, and this recovery in general, I’ve been a little neglectful of my books, but I promise I’ll get back to reading and reviewing soon!

As I have mentioned in my other blog posts, I am going through a medical journey. Last night, I decided to finally reveal what I am going through on my personal Facebook page and I received such an overwhelming outpouring of positivity and support that I decided to share with the whole world, including my fellow bloggers!

I will begin with the backstory…

In 1994, I was born with a rare skin condition that left me with pre-melanomic cells, with a high likelihood of becoming metastatic melanoma. Doctors decided to take all precautions necessary and remove the concerning marks, beginning with a giant congenital nevus that was splayed from the left side of my torso around to my back. This surgery was done by an amazing plastic surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston when I was 8 months old, just old enough to go through a procedure like this. The surgery was done over 8 days, including excision of skin and the addition of skin grafts. Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures of this time… Pictures weren’t as easily taken and kept back in the 90’s as they are now on all of our digital platforms.

Below are 3 photos that show you what the scar has looked like over the years – I have never been ashamed of my body, scared to display my scars to the world, or even sensitive to the subject. It is a part of who I am and a part of my story.

Screen Shot 2018-11-06 at 11.20.12 AM.pngScreen Shot 2018-11-06 at 11.21.41 AM.pngScreen Shot 2018-11-06 at 11.20.58 AM.png

If these are gross, repulsive, or even scary to you, please step away. They will only get more graphic as we go.

A couple months ago I met with a new plastic surgeon (since my wonderful surgeon from the 90s has retired) about something on my face. Little did I know that this would turn into having my scar REMOVED! Little did I know, if I want to have children, this procedure is necessary and I am not getting any younger so I said, “let’s do it!”

It has been an uncomfortable struggle, but I know every minute will be worth it in the end.

I have 4 tissue expanders located subdermally – two in my torso and two in my back. Tissue expansion is often seen done in the head, arms, or legs for burn victims and is not often done in trunk of the body. I am rare, tell me something I don’t know.

The expanders are filled up twice a week with saline solution – the main goal is for the expanders to stretch the healthy skin so that once they are big enough (about the size of a full grown eggplant), the scar can be excised and my trunk can be covered with the new grown skin.

Below are 4 photos I took yesterday (11/5/2018) after my 3rd week of fill-ups. These are graphic.

Screen Shot 2018-11-06 at 11.28.39 AM.pngScreen Shot 2018-11-06 at 11.28.46 AM.png

Screen Shot 2018-11-06 at 11.28.53 AM.pngScreen Shot 2018-11-06 at 11.29.00 AM.png

Some questions to answer:

  • Yes, it is painful, especially the days of fill-ups.
  • Yes, I can only sleep in one position.
  • Yes, they can pop! I have to be mindful of sharp edges, even pen tips.
  • Yes, I feel like the Pillsbury Dough Boy or the Michelin Man.

 

I wanted to post something since it’s been so long, but I didn’t have any material. This is my personal blog so I decided to get personal!

I hope you will all continue to follow and support me through this journey. I am so grateful for this experience and would be even more grateful if I had a team of supporters behind me!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Happy Tuesday!

Time Management… Any Planner Tips?

*This page contains affiliate links.

BOY am I HORRIBLE at time management.

Mostly attirbuting to my laziness or carelessness, but also greatly due to lack of motivation.

I’ve been obsessed with planners/agendas my entire life. My go-to planner for years has been the Day Designer for Blue Sky. I find it affordable for a planner (they can be upwards of, like, $70! I love planners, but I kinda love my bank account a little more). Not only affordable, but definitely has a lot to offer! There are sections for yearly goals, achievements, monthly plans and reviews, contacts, birthdays, and more. There are monthly calendar layouts and also weekly layouts. I’ve been using this planner since the beginning of college (circa, 2012) and love it!

If I weren’t a broke college student, I would definitely purchase the Erin Condren LifePlanner. They can be purchased on Amazon or you can personalize one online on her website ErinCondren.com.

Now… some people might be thinking, “what about bullet journals?”

LOVE the idea of bullet journals, but my artistic skill level is subpar to that of a preschooler’s. I’m constantly scrolling Pinterest and looking at/re-pinning bullet journal pins and I’ll sit there and drool over them. Then I will make up this idea in my head that I will start one! The minute I begin to come up with an idea and put the pen to the paper, it’s game over. I can’t draw. I’m not creative. I may be creative and eloquent with words, but not artistically with drawing, painting, crocheting, none of that.

Physically, I was an artist my entire life. I was a dancer – I attended college for dance. So yes, I’m creative, but not when it comes to creating images on paper.

How many of you out there make and follow bullet journals? I’d love to see your ideas and hear your inspiration!

When it comes to my planner, I’m always really excited to fill it out, but I’m really bad at actually following what I wrote down. Any tips?

I sometimes become lazy and recently, since my surgery, I’ve become very isolated and lonely and my depression has kicked in. My motivation and time-management are totally depleted. Any advice?

I’d love to hear from some of you and see your ideas!

Happy Sunday!

xo – liv

What Day is it? HUMP DAY!

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

We’re at that mid-week point (for those who don’t work the weekends) and getting ready to finish up the week!

I feel like hump day hasn’t existed for me for awhile.

Since I go to school online, assignments are due on Thursdays and Sundays. There’s no physically going to class, there are assignments due on the weekends… so hump day for me is… no where. I also used to work every other weekend since I work in the nursing field – so hump day, for me, changed by the week.

Now that I’m not working (due to my current medical status), every day blends together, I forget the date half the time, and I’m really not on any sort of schedule. I need to change that!

My post about my morning routine is one I revisit often for motivation and encouragement. Certain days, I wake up and feel like I have no purpose since I can’t work, can’t go out and exercise, so I’m basically a sitting duck. I’ll wake up and say “let’s try again tomorrow.” I’d say I’m getting depressed.

Something I’ve learned over the years is if you’re not happy, the only one with the power to change it is you.

So… I’m blogging, keeping up with my schoolwork and housekeeping, and trying to find new hobbies that will make me feel like I have purpose.

So, help a sista out! What hobbies do you all enjoy at home?

I love to read (as many of my readers already know), but even sometimes I say to myself, “I just can’t read another page.” You know, cause the words start to blend together on the page and you feel like you’re going blind…

I enjoy coloring, but I’m not too artistic so I can’t draw. My stick figures are questionable, so anything further than that would be kindergarten-grade work.

I own crochet needles, some yarn, and other crochet tools. I’m not crafty. I suck. Can’t follow anything, not even a YouTube tutorial. I’m a lefty (yup) and everything I learn, I have to learn backwards. When I was in dental hygiene school a few years ago, there were 4 girls out of the 36 in our class that were lefties. Those 4 of us had to learn separately in another clinic with another instructor. That’s how special us lefties are. Let me tell ya.

What other hobbies are out there?!

Talk to me!

Happy Hump Day!!!!

-Liv

 

Organize, shmorganize

*This page does contain affiliate links.

I’m really good at organizing, and I mean like, really good. I place all my schoolwork in a binder and organize them by course and date. I organize my pantry by category of food. I organize my refrigerator kind of like a game of Tetris because my fridge is small for my needs.

My problem? I can’t seem to stay organized.

I’ll go on a hardcore cleaning spree and my apartment will be spotless and smell like candles and cleaning products.

2 days later, my laundry is strewn across the floor or over the side of the hamper, rather than in it, my refrigerator looks like a bomb went off, my pantry will look like my dog went canoodling in there when in reality, it was me, and my house just won’t smell fresh anymore.

WHYYYYY?

How can I fix this?

Well, for one thing, I can stop being lazy. I’m pretty bad about putting things back where they belong.

Secondly, I recommend a trash barrel in every room. I often will leave a cup or a bottle on the table because I’m too laaaazy to throw it away in the kitchen. Keep a small receptacle for trash in each room and when it’s full, dump it.

Third, I mean, back to the lazy thing. Just put the damn laundry in the hamper.

Next, I love these bins that you can purchase on Amazon. They’re great for smaller refrigerators that need a little more help in the organization department. You can find the link here – Refrigerator Pull-Out Bin

I love all types of bins and boxes and baskets. I also love lamps! I love this lamp that has a power outlet built in for charging a device, and also has compartments to keep things organized such as pens, coins, or whatever you keep on your desk or nightstand! You an find the link to the lamp here – Desk Lamp with Power Outlet

Also, to keep my apartment smelling fresh, since we aren’t allowed to have burning candles, I have this awesome wax melter that I’ve had for years. You can buy any type of wax cubes you want, any brand. Since it’s the beginning of fall, I am loving these Farm Apple Pumpkin wax melts from Better Homes & Gardens. I’ve provided a link for Amazon, but they can also be purchased at Walmart!

Do you find yourself being lazy too? Share your home organization ideas with me!

Get Outta Bed and Outta Your Head!

Sometimes, we wake up in the morning and think, “nah, let’s try again tomorrow.”

Nope. No more. Life’s too short for that.

Plus this is me, like, almost every day of the week recently.

 

So, I’m listing 7 things that can help sit yourself up, turn, put your feet on the ground, and kickstart your day.

*This page does contain affiliate links.

  1. Hit the bathroom first.

I’ve recently discovered that the most refreshing thing to do when I wake up is to go in the bathroom and have a few minutes of me time. Wash my face to awaken the senses, brush my teeth to feel fresh and clean, and whatever other morning duties you may have, but those are my two. I’m not one to wash my face in my sink because our town’s water is VERY chlorinated and it dries out my skin. I am ADDICTED to these face wipes. I’ll admit, I’ll even randomly use them to wash my face mid-day because I love the feeling and the smell. They get rid of ALL the oils and dirt from my face, they’re great at removing makeup, and they’re cheap! Who doesn’t love cheap?!

2. Drink water.

Your body has been resting for 8 hours (maybe more, maybe less depending on who you are). It is ready for some hydration and probably some fuel. I’m really bad, and I mean really bad at drinking water and staying hydrated. One of my favorite things to do is first thing in the morning fill up my Nalgene water bottle with ice cold water. The bottle has track marks on it that can show you how much you’ve consumed throughout the day. For me, it’s a nice little push that feels like an accomplishment at the end. AND it’s healthy so… let’s continue.

3. Breakfast.

Make a hearty breakfast. I don’t mean a big bowl of sugary cereal or a stack of pancakes. Cook some basic eggs for protein and some toast for carbohydrate energy and some fresh fruit. When I don’t eat breakfast, I get grumpy and ordinarily will be nauseous by the time lunch comes. If you’re in a rush, this Hamilton Beach Sandwich Maker for your quick-and-easy breakfast needs! I’ve had mine for 6 years (yes 6 years) and I STILL use it all the time when I need something quick on-the-go!

4. Make some coffee (or tea, or whatever you prefer… no cocktails).

I’m not a Keurig fan. I can’t just have one cup of coffee. Like, sorry, don’t bother me ’til I’ve had my 2, maybe 3 cups. Not healthy, I know, but when you’re an online student full-time and ALSO a full-time employee outside the home, well, caffeine becomes not only your best friend, but a part of you. I love my cheap little Mr. Coffee. I’ve had it for a year now and it’s still kickin’! If you prefer quality in a coffee maker and also some people prefer not to use a glass carafe, this Mr. Coffee Stainless Steel is a little more pricey, but a great buy!

5. Do something productive. 

I find myself saying, “I have nothing to do right now” a lot. FALSE! I HAVE PLENTY TO DO! I just don’t do it. Fill up those empty minutes of your morning folding that laundry you left hanging, or perhaps actually doing the laundry that’s been in the hamper for a week. Do your dishes, sweep the floor, clean your refrigerator (because really, who keeps their fridge perfect). If it sounds super un-fun, listen to some music or throw on an audiobook. I’m obsessed with Audible and if you sign up with that link, you get 2 audiobooks free!

6. Read something, anything! (Ok, not your social media feeds.)

I often find myself scrolling my Facebook and Twitter feeds like it’s the morning paper. Then I find myself really pissed off when I don’t know what’s going on in the world. I grew up watching the news and reading. Read a book, a newspaper, a magazine. Something to stimulate the mind! A great self-motivating book to jumpstart your day is You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero. She writes directly to her readers and uses raw, real-life stories integrated with humor. I read it twice. and I hate reading things twice.

7. Write!

Ok, I know some of you are thinking “really?” Really! When I was first told to start writing my feelings first thing in the morning, my response was “I have no feelings first thing in the morning.” Like I exclaimed earlier, FALSE! Everyone has feelings all the time. I free write. I love to doodle. So I’ll write about a dream so I don’t forget it, or I’ll write about what I feel like doing today, or I may write about why I feel like not doing anything today. My favorite notebook to keep my writing in is this one! It has thick paper, which is perfect for me because I love inky pens. It’s small so you can fit it in your purse and take it with you and it’s even got a pen loop so you’re always prepared. My favorite pens to write with are these finepoint pens. I love to doodle with them and make funky letters. I’m not quite at the bullet journaling level yet since my stick figures are even questionable, but maybe someday!

 

This is my morning ritual. It has helped me gain a sense of purpose other than school and work all the time. I feel like I have time for me and to discover who I am as a person. I have time away from the obligations and requirements of life and have that time to choose what I want to do.