Beauty Out the Rear Window

It’s been a rough couple of days…weeks, a year really, and I wasn’t necessarily looking forward to a wet, overcast Monday today. Seeing my mom on two separate occasions last week just really broke my heart. 💔 It is so hard for me to see the suffering she is going through and feeling my hands are tied. The 26th will be a year since the doctor caused her stroke. And if I were to be honest, it’s hard for me to enjoy much of anything in my own life because of it. She is always, always on my mind and in my prayers! I tried hard today to let God in, to take my heavy load, it’s a continual load, but He reminds me He is STILL here and to look for beauty where I can. It is an attitude adjustment I surely struggle with but today, right now, I choose to focus on the beauty He has given me out my rear window.

Great Purse and Backpack Organizer

I purchased this felt insert for my purse and it has been a lifesaver. I got tired of digging around in my open totes unable to find things quickly and I love this purse organization. I’ve even used it in other purses, bags and backpacks even for organizing my camera lenses when traveling as well. It even comes in all different sizes and colors

So, I thought I would share it.

I recently became an Amazon affiliate and since I have to stay home now due to health issues I’m trying new things and ways to be creative. But, I sure would appreciate it if you use my link to purchase.

And just so you know, I will ONLY share those things me and my family like or use ourselves. 😊

Link: https://amzn.to/2MMnB5h.

I get a really small commission, just a few dollars really, but every little bit helps!👍🏼 Thanks!

Here’s my video review showing how it works.

They make great gifts too. 🎁

The Best Products I’ve Found the Last 10 Years with this Eczema Battle

First, let me say I have struggled over 50 years with eczema\atopic dermatitis and asthma. But in the last 10 years when my skin got really bad, I finally had to stop working. 😞 And I had to search high and low for products that would help me. This is not a sponsored post, but I am hoping to share so that you can get your eczema under some kind of control.

I also have a video on YouTube discussing the CeraVe products I feel have worked best for me in the last 10 years.

What I’ve Tried

Through the years, I have literally tried every single product, every diet, had my home and life literally revamped by eliminating all chemicals and fragrances, used “natural” things, worked off a national database for my chemical allergies and even finally resigned to an immune suppressing drug that I used for seven years as I was itching so badly, all day and night, that I was losing sleep and close to losing my ever loving mind! I have now been off that drug since 2016.

Since the 1960s, I’ve also had every kind of testing imaginable as well as allergy shots and strong meds as well as followed special diets.

Basically, I’ve had eczema, asthma, and allergies for the last 52 of my 56 years of life. And I’ve tried it all! But, every so many years I learn something new or find better help with this ongoing disease. I’ve spent countless hours of research and will continue to do it. I’ll never stop searching for help till we find a cure!

Why Did I Wait?

I finally decided to write a little about my health issues. But for so long, I felt it brought on anxiety/PTSD every time I tried to write…quite literally. I just couldn’t bring myself to write just thinking about all the horrendous years of suffering. (I did have a doctor tell me that this is a REAL thing…PTSD related to long time health suffering and disease.)

However, my intent was always to learn how to create a website in order to help others find relief with their ongoing battles. Initially, I wanted to start this blog to help others with similar health battles. (This is just one of the battles I face along with Lyme Disease, eye disease and Fibromyalgia.) I hope to write about them as well.

My Allergy Journey

I have suffered for so so long and have spent thousands, literally thousands, of dollars, as I’m sure many of you have. 😔 I also didn’t want to “waste my suffering” and LOVE helping others, so I have attempted to finally share some things on this site.

My Recent Battle

I had to quit teaching 10 years ago, so I feel this is just another way I can “teach” others in order to help them through this eczema/dermatitis hell. I also hate that SO many people suffer without finding any real solutions, and I’ve been looking for answers long before there was an internet, so I hope I can help you in some way! I know you are as desperate as I have been all these years and that’s why you are probably here now. Searching. Searching for anything, just as I have all these years!

*Warning*

I’m sharing some scary pictures here, but I’m trying to be real and vulnerable in hopes I can identify with you. Honestly, it’s hard for me to show these!

I continue to battle this disease; although my skin has done a lot better since educating myself about chemicals and fragrance in particular. It’s in everything! I feel my skin has gotten better, but I almost hate to say that because as you know, you can have flareups at any moment.

I struggled horribly for eight years as a kid then again right before I got married, in my 20s, and then since 2009 when I entered menopause. I truly believe there’s a hormonal link as well. 🤔

As part of my ongoing research, I found some products that helped me tremendously; especially in the last 10 years.

Here is the video discussing some of the help I’ve found through CeraVe products.

Link to video:

https://youtu.be/kdQrox1dVhg

I wasn’t able to get all my pics loaded in that video, so I added those today. These are just a few pics over the last 10 years, but as a child I was pretty miserable and made fun of a lot. (I had rashes that got infected in the bends of my arms, legs, neck, and ears as well. They were pretty gross looking.)

And as you know, this itch is like none other and never ever lets up. So you itch in your sleep (If you finally get any.) and you keep itching that raw, broken skin and that can in turn set up infection. Then you have to deal with raw, stinging skin that burns just from the air or bath water hitting it. I know it can be so very painful. So, I say all this to say I can identify. I sure can! It just breaks my heart to see the little babies suffering. I feel their pain and yours too, mama.

I pray you have wisdom. That you find strength to go on and also maybe find some help with this post today! 🙏 Hang in there! We are in a tremendous battle! 💪🏼 I’ve made it 56 years now and was diagnosed at four years old. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m still here. 💗🤗

I also know depression is very common for eczema suffers and research shows many feel suicidal. Please get help if you feel you are sinking! Sometimes our family and friends just can’t understand how horrible it feels and that constant itch can wear on your mind especially when you’re losing sleep for decades. I tell people mosquito bites, chiggers, poison ivy, chicken pox (all I’ve experienced too. ) doesn’t even come close to this kind of itch, does it?!!! So don’t be afraid to ask for help! I haven’t been very good at that either.

I always try to do things myself. Miss Independent 🤗…. I’m a pretty good faker and have used clown makeup to cover sores even when painful. So I know we fake it! But I want you to know that you’re not alone! I’ve read some pretty heart wrenching stories about those suffering with this disease and I want to encourage you! This disease is exhausting!

I also have included links to the CeraVe items I use and will share more products later.

Let me say, that it took me years and years to even understand how to bathe, hydrate, and moisturize effectively, by using the CeraVe products in a way they would most benefit and promote healing. You have to get ahead of it all. That’s key! I have had hundreds of doctors, from around the country, and through the decades, and none have ever really explained to me how to properly use the CeraVe products for their full benefit. Crazy right?! It’s just been trial and error and a lot of research on my part! So keep trying! Keep seeking out different doctors if need be. Research, research, research. Now you have the internet and YouTube…I didn’t have that as a young person and It has helped me so much in this long journey and the last ten years especially!

Another word about these CeraVe products. I am highly allergic and sensitive, so these products are the only “free and clear” type products that HAVE NOT caused me any sensitivity. Where other products, stating the same, have given me some issues. (Again, this is not a sponsored post and I get nothing from it. In fact I don’t even have an Amazon seller’s link anymore.) So find what’s best for you, but I would be surprised if the CeraVe products didn’t help you. I’ve tried it all… medicated products and non-medicated products.

Below I’ve suggested the best way to bathe then moisturize dry skin. It’s taken me several years to finally get this down and understand the importance of moisturizing correctly. It has then led to better healing of my skin.

So here’s a short list of what to do:

BATHING and MOISTURIZING

• After bathing, you have just minutes (really) to seal the skin or the evaporating moisture will make your skin drier.

• Pat dry, don’t rub, leaving behind some moisture so that the product will adhere to the water. CeraVe Moisturizing Cream has ceramides and hyaluronic acid, (both our own body produces) but we obviously have a skin barrier problem, so these ingredients are so important! Also, as we age, these become depleted.

• Next, immediately, apply  CeraVe Moisturizing lotion or cream, so that it will adhere to water already left on your skin.

Then, seal the skin with a more occlusive product like CeraVe Healing Ointment

• You should then dress in *loose-fitting, cotton clothing that doesn’t irritate such as cotton. Although, sometimes I have found tighter clothing to feel better in that it doesn’t move around and rub the sore areas on my body. So try different clothing.

Extra Tips:

• Sweating can aggravate eczema so avoid at all costs or quickly battle afterward.

• Itching can be so maddening that sleep is impossible, so by taking a Benadryl or Atarax (preferably at night) might help some. Although, it rarely did for me but it’s still worth a try! And/or using ice packs to aid in itching can also be helpful. It’s miserable in the winter but can provide help especially with hives.

• An H2 blocker like cimetidine, famotidine, nizatidine and ranitidine, could be tried as well. They go by various brand names in the acid reflux aisle of your store. I learned that in some cases your eczema or itching could be caused from food and this blocks histamine in the stomach.

Please let me know if any of this helps you in any way. I sure hope it does!

Also, let me know in the comments below of other things you would like me to address.

Feel free to e-mail me at: tamara42463@gmail.com.

———————-

Amazon Links to buy CeraVe products:

CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion: https://amzn.to/2HKVR1l

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream in tub: https://amzn.to/2HKVR1l
” ” in tube: https://amzn.to/2HJKHdi

CeraVe AM: https://amzn.to/2CIoZ59

CeraVe PM: https://amzn.to/2HKCdSU

CeraVe Healing Ointment: https://amzn.to/2UgpIVg &
”                                        ” 2 pack/.35 tubes (good for your purse or pocket)                        https://amzn.to/2U6R2WQ

CeraVe Hydrating Face Wash:  https://amzn.to/2U0SmdM

Sunscreens:
CeraVe Sunscreen Face Lotion with zinc: https://amzn.to/2HJZ0hR

You can also directly order of the CeraVe website: cerave.com

For more help with eczema:

https://nationaleczema.org/

What’s UP?

Hey friends!

Some of you have asked where I’ve been as I really haven’t posted much of anything on my website/blog since Thanksgiving, other than an occasional picture to let you know I’m still out here in blog land.👋🏼

But, I had promised to share pictures from our trip out west to the Grand Canyon, Zion and surrounding sites. (I feel bad as some of you said you “couldn’t wait to see them”…so sorry. 😦 )

The deal is, I’ve been battling a lot of worsening health issues for the last 10 years with the last 2 just being unbearable pain. I’ve been trying to find answers for my lack of mobility and constant, daily pain for 2 yrs. now, mainly concentrated in my lower back, legs and arms.

[Basically, walking, sitting, and also doing anything that involved my arms has been excruciating…even at rest; just “being” really.]

Hence, I haven’t felt like typing much…nor can I do much of anything.

AND…to add to that, I have an eye disease that gives me further issues and blogging isn’t always feasible. I’m really not to be on any media/device at length.

Yeah, I’m soon to be 55 and feel 80 sometimes. UGGH!

(Well, some 80 year olds 👳‍♀️ are actually in better shape than me, sadly.)

**Interestingly, this blog was intended to cover health issues initially, because I have researched and tried sooo many things over the last 40 years and have learned so much ranging from hormonal imbalances, to urticaria, edema, resistant asthma, Lyme Disease, insomnia, blepharitis, to skin diseases, to…you name it… my husband and I have even talked about doing YouTube videos to share our experiences.

I’m a little camera shy though. 🎬👀 so, we shall see.🤔

But I really really feel the need to help people and have done a ton of research on multiple issues.

I just really want to share any findings/tips and hope for those suffering so horribly.

I’ve read a lot of the same type of stories as mine, people desperate for answers, and my heart goes out to them! So, I still want to get to helping others by providing what knowledge I have acquired.

In fact, if you’re interested with that type of information, being a part of my site here, or if I should add it to a site I already own, typically for health help, please leave me feedback!

I feel I haven’t gone through all of this for nothing and want to help others so badly!♥️ #dontwanttowastemysufferings

I’m kind of a health detective 🧐 of sorts, ha ha. No, but for real!

Sooo, I say all that to let you know where I’ve been and what exactly is up. 😁

I hope to get better as I just had some steroid shots in my neck and am able to type without pain at the present, a first, YAHOO!

I’m trying to stay positive but past procedures have really let me down. I have had some good days for now…a first…so I’ll sure take it!👍🏻

I just HATE using steroids (that’s another topic), and had a lot of them these past 2 yrs, but sometimes you just get so desperate!

Anyhow, I hope to be back to doing something on this blog soon!

Fingers crossed!🤞🏼

Hope you’re all doing well!

PS And so sorry I haven’t been visiting your blogs much these past few months, either. 😩

Greencastle, Indiana-Home of DePauw University

This past weekend I met my mom, at a halfway point for both of us, in the small town of Greencastle for lunch.

Greencastle is located about 49 miles slightly SW of Indianapolis, 23 min (19.5 mivia I-70 W and US-231 N, and is home to DePauw University.

Growing up nearby, Greencastle seemed to be more of a farming town and less “chic”, but my the times have changed.

Ancient buildings have been remodeled and now cater to the college population and their visitors. Greencastle now offers boutiques and multiple restaurants both on the square and across town. (It seems all Indiana towns have a “town square” with the courthouse located directly in the middle.)

We decided to eat at the quaint, little restaurant Almost Home,  also located on the town square. It had quite the old charm with its exposed old brick, stained glass and painted tin ceilings (shown below).

This is the perfect restaurant for all you HGTV fans.;)

Once inside, the atmosphere was relaxing, with low lighting and white linen covered tables. It seems more upscale; however, I found the wooden seats to be a little uncomfortable.

Prices were reasonable, and we decided on the lunch special, a black and blue hamburger because I love me some bleu cheese and was tired of eating one more salad. (Though, they had some good choices, as well.)

And the side of rosemary french fries…to die for!

Mom and I hadn’t seen each other in a long while, so we were steeped in conversation and somehow I missed getting a picture of our food. So Sorry. 😦

In the end, we were pretty full, so we didn’t partake in any of the truffles this time, but they are just as delightful if you want to stop in to purchase a chocolatey treat or flavored coffee.

____________________________________________________

I hope to later share some pictures of the university as well as some of the beautiful trails leading through DePauw’s Nature Park. If you like to hike or cycle, it’s a fun place to go. And the old quarry area looks like something out of a movie. You won’t expect these views!

Here’s a little tidbit: It’s also the college town of Bret Baier and Stephen Hayes (from Fox News) where they were roommates. 😉

Entering the town square.

 

 

The Great Wall


The Great Wall of China. 🈸

One of my first pictures with my new Pentax (my first “fancy” camera 🙂). I really didn’t even know how to use it yet. 

But I had just traveled to China to teach English for a year at Zhengzhou University at the ripe ol’ age of 23. It was 1986, and I had to say goodbye to my new fiancé for an entire year!😭

Great Wall
Great Wall
#adventuretime #casettetapecommunication

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HOPE and the Beach

Only home a second day from Panama City Beach, and I’m already thinking about how to move to the south, sooner!

Panama City Beach, Florida Holiday Inn Resort

I have a countdown going on in my head.

See, Hubby can retire in three years, and my grandkids are sure to arrive in the next few years. There might be a slight problem in that my son just got married and lives here, in Indiana, but my daughter is in Georgia and was married in 2015.

I guess it’s a race to see who has their kids first. 😉



If you’re at all interested in my fam…here’s my daughter’s wedding video. And a post about the wedding day: HERE

 

derek-and-heidi-wedding

And, we just got my son’s video!:  HERE



Regardless, I just can’t handle winters, anywhere, anymore! Even if my kids didn’t live in the south, I would eventually have to move there, for sure.

Or Hawaii.

I LOVED Hawaii. It was like the Garden of Eden.

I’m still trying to talk my husband into retiring there, as well. 😉

Okay, so a loaf of bread costs $5.oo.

Hanalei Bay Resort in Kauai Hawaii with beautiful flowers and trees overlooking the ocean.

INDIANA WEATHER

Don’t get me wrong, I love the change of seasons and the area where we live is known for its vivid, fall colors.

As for winter, I actually love the snow and don’t mind the cold here.

It IS pretty and it does make it feel more like the holiday season has arrived.

Some of my favorite times are going out to take pictures at night when the snow has fallen. It’s SO peaceful.

⌈The neighbor’s house.⌋

My neighbor's house in the snow in Indiana

Heck, I’ve even been known to run errands without a coat during 37º days…menopause or no menopause.

The cold, winter woods after a big snow.

And when this little, Cali girl visited grandparents one midwestern winter, she was totally obsessed with seeing snow, playing in the snow, laying in the snow…not coming in from the snow, period.

I even have fond memories, while living in southern California, of my dad driving us up to the mountains of Big Bear. We’d drive around for hours listening to Christmas carols hoping to see even one flake of falling snow.

We were thrilled to find on one particular visit there was enough snow for snowball fights and sledding. Sledding down steep mountainsides ladened with huge, snow drifts jumping a foot or two in the air and then careening down onto curvy mountain roadways. (My brother actually hit a parked, car’s wheel that trip. That wheel kept him from going under the car and over the mountain cliff. TRUE STORY.)

So the past winters have been fun, but not anymore… they are really taking a toll on me now!



PRAYING/FIGHTING for HOPE

Sadly, my body has developed worsening health “issues” where the winter just really does a number on my eyes and skin, (diseases) and it’s getting worse each year. Truly, these last eight years have been a literal HELL for me, with the last three almost unbearable. The pain has been torturous. Pure. Torture.

Yep, my hope has waned, many times.

I have continually prayed for God to restore my hope especially when the pain didn’t let up for months on end. And prayed he would protect my sanity. (Those with chronic illness/disease or chronic pain will get this.)

And I have to continually fight my mind about looking too far into the future because my 40s & 50s have been the toughest years of my life. I have to tell myself to refocus and just live out today. Many times it’s been a refocusing minute by minute, quite literally.

I have to determine to lean into God hard, TODAY, and praise Him for what I can find that’s good, TODAY.

It’s not easy, I assure you.



HEALING in the SUN

So, hubby suggested a break from winter.

My eyes and skin started feeling better within a couple of days and thankfully, I didn’t have any major reactions like my last trip- uh, YAY!

Just not having that forced heat hit me all day, brought much relief and healing. And leaving the bleak, cold, overcast days just felt GOOD for the soul.

It wasn’t an easy drive for me, with this continual back pain, (It’s been a year now.) but I was sick of so many gloomy days I finally said, “I’ll chance the drive; let’s get outta here!”

I was glad in the end that we made that L O N G, 11.5 hr., drive. (I would’ve rather flown but it allowed me to use all my heating pads, medical devices, etc.. Boy, I sound OLD! (I’m a walking medical lab, now. ha.)

And luckily, my daughter and her husband were able to drive over from GA, joining us for two days. So, it was great to see them, too.

morgan-and-logan

Playing with the sand, feeling the warmth of the sun soaking in, and just having face-to-face conversations with my daughter, just the two of us, as we waded in the water was just what the doctor ordered.

I also realized this was the FIRST time, in YEARS, I could go on a vacation and not fear the sun due to getting off my immune suppressing drug. YAY!!!!!  (*Sun exposure is not allowed due to skin cancer risks.)

That alone makes a vaca a VACA! 🙂

beach-pic

Seashell and hope bracelet found on Panama City Beach, Florida

Digression: I bought this bracelet one night at a restaurant and earlier that morning found this cute, little shell… had to dig down into the water to grab it before I got knocked over by a wave. My daughter was right by my side when I spotted it. 🙂

Didn’t find any more shells quite this perfect. 😉



REALITY

Now we’re back.

And the heat is blowing.

And my sweats and socks are back on. 😦

(going from shorts to sweats=just not cool)

I’m physically suffering again. UGGH.

Yeah, I might have (or might not have) told my husband I may be moving ahead of him.

I leave you with the sights and sounds of the beach. ENJOY!

 

 

 

Biking & My Back

Eight months ago, I developed yet another physical problem.

It seems to be every time I turn around…geez.

Severe back pain with pain in both hips, a knee, and sometimes down my thighs.

It felt like I had been run over.

EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

Even my lower ribs would hurt to touch.

Biking, cycling, walking in Farmland in Bloomington, Indiana

Bloomington Indiana bike trail

 

Oh, I’ve had back issues throughout my life, and saw the chiropractor every month,

But this was…

can’t walk, can’t sit, can’t sleep, can’t even focus..because the pain was so bad.

PAIN all day; all night.

I did everything and went everywhere trying to  find an answer.

To. Everyone.

X-ray, MRI, CT scan, back therapy.

Nothing had helped. 😦

[I thought maybe Magnesium, Potassium, upping my Vit. D, multiple Epsom salt baths…oh, I don’t know, ANYTHING???]

I hate opioids for pain. So, I just tried my best to cope.

But, I wasn’t coping very well.

I’ve been grasping at straws.

I’ve carried hot water bottles, tucked into the waist of my pants, used hot and cold compresses, wore a back support brace, smelled like Ben Gay, bought up heat activated capsaicin pads at the $store, tried foam rollers, a Thera Cane massager, tennis ball…

You get the idea.

Nothing was helping!

I’ve come to learn these last few years that chronic pain is a whole other ballgame.

I pray a lot for those people. It is plain torture.

I get it.

It takes a lot to want to do anything, and I sure feel for people who deal with it.

Bless their hearts!

They’re heroes in my book, that’s for sure.


So, for me to go on a long, long, L    O    N    G  car trip, (over 2,000 miles) was a real act of faith!

(I was tagging along on a business trip with my hubby Story Here)

But, to not only get home in decent shape but to then go on a bike ride today?

NO FREAKIN WAY! 
But I did just that…

On my beachcomber. It felt so freeing after not being able to ride since last year at this time.

img_6211

The trip east, the bike ride…

It was no short of a miracle. LITERALLY!

(Let me also say, I HAVE had a lot of prayer going up for me!)

I had a little pain in my knee today, when I woke, but hey, what a victory it’s been for me these last couple of weeks!

img_6200

Can we say, HALLELUJAH?!

I sure hope I’m on the upswing.


In honor of getting back on my bike today, and answered prayer…here are a few pics of a trail near our home.

Rails to Trails.  Link HERE

The colors are a changin’!

Bike hike or cycle bloomington Indiana trails.

We thought about upgrading to gears, but these beachcombers really make us work harder. 🙂

You should see the way these young kids look at us as they speed past us on their geared bikes. I want to yell, “Yeah, I’m huffin’ and puffin’ but I’m 53 and doin’ this without cheating like you, ha! ;)”

Do any of you ride? Where are your favorite places to ride?

Rails to Trails Bloomington, Indiana

img_6191

img_6198img_6190Taken with my iPhone 5, all pics property of ©thentherestwo.com. Follow me on Instagram! NOTE: I will be posting more info on particular trails in the area, come on back!