Monday, August 17, 2015

How to do Winged Eyeliner Tutorial {Video}

Well, I finally got around to making a YouTube video. Did you know that it takes a LOT of time?! Holy cow. I suppose I might get better at the process as time goes on though!

Anyway, for my first video, I filmed a tutorial on How to do Winged Eyeliner. I get a lot of compliments on my eyeliner day-to-day, and I find that this is probably one of the more difficult makeup tricks for people to figure out. However, it doesn't need to be that way! It's actually super easy once you get the hang of it. (I have confidence in you!)

So please, pardon my poor lighting and nervousness, and check it out! I really hope that this is something I can get the hang of and start doing more often. Feel free to drop me some constructive criticism, subscribe to my channel, share my tutorial, or comment on the video and tell me what you'd like to see next!

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Here We Go...

So last week I completed my fourth and LAST round of ICE chemo. I am so glad to be done with that part! Even though I'm done I am still feeling so tired and beat down, more than normal. But my doctor said I have had more chemo than the average person so that is to be expected. Yesterday, I found out that I will be admitted to the Huntsman Cancer Hospital on August 28th to begin my stem cell transplant. Everything (testing doctors visits etc) will start on the 24th of that week. At first I cried because I only have two weeks left with my boys before everything goes down. They're my world and I'm going to miss seeing them every day. But then after talking with my Mom I was relieved because its finally going to happen; the first day of the rest of my Cancer free life is coming soon. 

Now don't get me wrong I'm still terrified for the whole "transplant" and what I'm going to endure during my hospital stay. In fact, writing this is bringing up a whole slew of emotions that I don't want to deal with. I want to just pinch myself and wake up from this nightmare, but unfortunately that's not possible so I just need to deal with it. I've been enjoying being with my two little monsters and trying just to be as normal as possible. When I feel myself getting upset or impatient with them I hold myself back because I know soon I will be missing them so badly.

So here in 11 days I will be headed back down to Salt Lake for just a bunch of annoying testing and physicals to double check that my body can handle a transplant. We will be back and forth from home that week and then the 28th will be my first official day in the hospital. On that day they will start the chemo called "BEAM" that takes 6 days to administer and will literally kill all of my bone marrow/stem cells and any remaining cancer cells left in me. Since it kills all of my bone marrow/Stem Cells they have to go in and rescue my system by "putting back" the stem cells that I had collected a few weeks ago. When they do that the stem cells find their way back into my bone marrow and then my body will start making new cells again but I will have literally NO immune system for a little while so I will have to stay in the hospital until my immune system starts building back up. I'm not looking forward to being in a hospital for 3 weeks, but I'm hoping it will go by fast. Afterwards, we have to stay in the area around the hospital for 2 weeks so Ian and I will be at a hotel nearby the hospital. I won't really be able to go anywhere so that should be fun...not. After all of this, I've decided I will stay with my Mom and family for a couple months so I have family around to help with the boys since Ian will definitely need to get back to work. I will come home on the weekends or Ian will come to us in Pocatello so we can still be together as much as possible as a family. I have no idea when I'll start radiation after but I'm just going to take this one step at a time by getting through the transplant first and then going from there.

Well thats pretty much all the updates I have for now, I'm hoping to be able to write posts while in the hospital but who knows how I'll be feeling! Again, I want to thank all my family and friends for all of the support I get every day. I couldn't do this without you.

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Sunday, August 2, 2015

In the Beginning...

I had a relatively normal 2nd pregnancy. We had a couple extra ultrasounds, and everything looked ok. Baby Scarlett was growing at the rate she should, and was born full-term.
And that's where the normalcy ended.

From the moment she was born - the doctor held her up to show her to me - I knew something was wrong. Sure, the baby doesn't usually breathe right away - but she REALLY wasn't breathing. She was the deepest shade of purple/black I've ever seen on a person. I yelled to the doctor, "She isn't breathing!" He insisted she was ok, to just wait a second. But I knew - I could feel something wasn't right. I persisted, again. And before I even knew what happened, they whisked her away to a corner of the room, called in multiple people, and had to resuscitate her. I only caught a glimpse of her for a minute before she was wheeled away into another room. I hadn't even touched my new baby, and here I was, being informed that she was fully on oxygen.
Two hours passed, and just as they were about to life flight her away, she started breathing on her own a little. They cut down her oxygen a bit, and decided to let her stay. When I first met Scarlett, she had two IVs, an oxygen monitor, and bruising all down her back (we never were sure why - I pushed her out in less than 5 minutes, with no help,) but she was beautiful. And I was so happy to be with my little redhead.

Scarlett with her IVs

We ended up having to stay in the hospital about a week. She had low blood sugar constantly, and high jaundice levels.  After being discharged, we were readmitted two other times that month for jaundice.

Under the billi lights - you can see the bruises on her back

A rash from the lights

For the next three months, Scarlett was still extremely orange. She was an incredibly poor nurser, and at three months old, weighed as much as she did at birth. There was also the vomiting. It NEVER stopped. This poor baby would projectile vomit, even when she wasn't eating. Not only that, but my husband and I were worried - she never seemed to look us in the eye. We would take her outside into the sun, and she wouldn't wince. We would flip on a light at night time, and she didn't seem to notice. He and I brought it up a few times, wondering. We even brought it up with our doctor, but were reassured that as a newborn, sometimes they have a hard time focusing on things.

My tiny, orange baby

Regardless, he referred us to a pediatrician for the vomitting (because we had previously tried everything we could think of.) The pediatrician took some blood tests, and as soon as we got home, he called us, sounding panicked, saying she needed to be admitted into the E.R. as soon as possible. She had rocket-high sodium levels - which was deadly. While trying to get an IV in Scarlett, a nurse had flicked on a flashlight and accidentally had the beam go on Scarlett's face - and the nurse noticed that Scarlett did not react. She shined the light back and forth over Scarlett's eyes, and said to the doctor, "I don't think she can see." My heart dropped. I had suspected something like that as well...

IV in head, feeding tube in nose

Getting ready to be lifeflighted

Her heel from all of the blood draws - they
both looked like this

They ordered more blood tests and an MRI, and many more things I'm sure (but can no longer remember.) She eventually had to be lifeflighted 2 1/2 hours away, and assigned 8 different doctors. This is where I was told that Scarlett is completely blind, and that she had a laundry list of diagnoses:

-Septo Optic Dysplasia/Optic Nerve Hypoplasia: the reason she is blind - she is missing a part of her brain, has extremely small optic nerves, and pituitary problems.

-Hypoplasia of the Corpus Callosum: the part of her brain that connects the left and right hemispheres in almost non-existent.

-Diabetes Insipidus: the reason for her high sodium levels. Her body cannot regulate water, and it goes straight through her, leaving her constantly dehydrated.

-Schizencephaly: her brain is malformed (it kind of looks like Pac-Man, if you will.)

     *Adrenal Insufficiency: her body does not produce enough cortisol
     *Sex Hormone Deficiency: she will need to be placed on steriods and medicines later in life that will allow her to grow curves, have a period, have children (if possible,) etc.
     *Growth Hormone Deficiency: her body does not produce enough growth hormone; this is a "curable" type of Dwarfism, with help from medication.
     *Hypothyroidism: Scarlett's body doesn't produce enough thyroid hormone.

-Cerebral Palsy: because of the Schizencephaly, Scarlett has right-sided Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy, meaning that the right side of her body has stiffness and weakness.

Because of Scarlett's multiple brain conditions, it makes it hard for Scarlett to understand that she needs to eat to live; she does not seem to have that instinct or interest. After much fighting and a lot of weight loss, a G-Tube (feeding tube) was placed in Scarlett's stomach. She now only eats through there, although we are trying to teach her to eat orally now.

Her first G-Tube

She has had 6 surgeries in 2 years - this was
for a Nissen Fundoplication (to stop her vomiting.)

And there you have it. If you're still reading, you're quite the trooper to put up with my medical jargon! I just wanted to give a summarized (believe it or not) version of how we came to find out about Scarlett's conditions, and what she was diagnosed with, as I am asked often.

I hope this may answer any questions you may have, or, if you are a mother to a Special Needs child, maybe you will see some similarities to yours in this story. Let me know!

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