Under my skin.

Sun. Exercise. Wind. Stress. Heat. Cold. Alcohol. Make-up. Spicy foods. Life.

These are my triggers. Life is my trigger, great….

Trigger for what you might ask. Here’s a little background on my journey to clear skin and my new diagnosis.

I had pretty clear skin in high school. I would get the occasional breakout, usually after a basketball or volleyball tournament. I would deal, pop all the pimples and deal with the aftermath of scabs and scarring. After high school, the breakouts ceased and it was glorious. I was happy in my skin. I loved not having to wear a ton of make-up to feel pretty and enjoyed the compliments I received about my freckles and not covering them up with foundation.

Now comes adulthood.

Everything changed when I was about 22. I started getting bumps that I thought was acne that lived under my skin. My face started looking flush even when I wasn’t working out, and my chest would breakout after a sip of alcohol, especially red wine. I started having pimples constantly, and I, of course, would pop them, mess with them & try every OTC remedy on the shelf. None of which helped. I would cake on the foundation that would look flakey on my dry skin, and I now know only made my skin disorder worse.

The acne and redness moved to my back and especially flares up when I’m stressed. I had shingles (OUCH) as a kid and my doc told me I was going to have flare-ups for the rest of my life. I had thought for all this time that my flare-ups were shingles, but I have now learned I have Rosacea.

Time to do what any hypochondriac would do, hop on Google and learn everything there is to know. Not even kidding, I was online for about 3 hours googling causes, remedies (home & prescription) side effects and so on…

According to http://www.rosacea.org, Rosacea is a chronic and potentially life-disruptive disorder primarily of the facial skin, often characterized by flare-ups and remissions. Although the exact cause of rosacea is unknown, various theories about the disorder’s origin have evolved over the years. Facial blood vessels may dilate too easily, and the increased blood near the skin surface makes the skin appear red and flushed. This may also cause bumps and pimples under the skin, appearing as typical acne. Those with fair skin, red hair, and freckling are at higher risk for developing rosacea aka I am at higher risk for developing rosacea. 

Well now what.. I have this skin disorder that is not going to be cured, but rather manageable. What options do I have to manage this? My dermatologist prescribed Soolantra which is a topical ointment that I can apply once a day and over time it should relieve my redness and prevent flare-ups.  Remember when I said it is not a curable disorder? This $800 tube of ointment is only to “manage” my flare-ups and only lasts 2 months. Thankfully, I was able to find a coupon to save me some money on my first prescription fill, but it’s a 1 per customer coupon, so in a couple of months I will have to decide if its worth $800 or if I have to find another remedy to “manage” my redness & flare-ups.

This disorder might drain my bank account, quickly.

There are also pills that I can take that will also help prevent flare-ups, but that is the last resort option since they have some pretty nasty side effects and I have been on a mission to cut out all manufactured drugs out of my life.

I know I shouldn’t be that upset, it’s not a terminal disease, I’ll live to see another day. My self-love will suffer, my perception of how I look will now always be on how red my face is, if I’m having a flare-up, and what people think of me. I will learn to cope, to manage and to live with rosacea.

This is my journey and now rosacea is part of it.

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The best is yet to come

-Tay

 

Sak Yant Experience

I wanted to share an experience that changed every part of my being down to the core. I wrote about this experience prior to actually getting my Sak Yant and I can confirm I feel the magic it holds every single day. When I see my Sak Yant in the mirror each morning I am reminded of who I am, who I want to be, and where I am going. It is a constant reminder to be the person I was set out to be and I hope it inspires you to find something that gives you the same feelings and sense of belonging because we all belong in this world and we all have a purpose.

Enjoy.

December 10th, 2016:

I write this post as I sit in a coffee shop, sipping my caramel macchiato wondering how I am going to pass the time until my appointment at 2. This is my first time ever going to an unfamiliar city alone, and for it to be Vegas makes me quite a bit anxious.This city is nuts! Part of me wants to hide in my hotel room until my appointment, the other part of me wants to go walk around and take it all in. I’ve only been here once before, and it was not my cup of tea. Perhaps this time it will be.
I woke up at 4am to get here and sat next to the smelliest fella the whole way. He was super nice though! I got lost in the airport trying to find where to grab an Uber and just found out I can’t check into my hotel until 3pm. Looks like I can’t hide out in my hotel after all..
Why am I here?
I came to Vegas to get a Sak Yant. By definition: “Sak- meaning “to tap” or, “to tattoo” and Yant- meaning “yantra” Sak Yants is the Thai name for the tattooing of sacred geometrical designs on the skin. Why travel all the way to Las Vegas to get a tattoo you might ask. Well, while in Thailand this past September, I fell in love with Buddhism, Thai history & the history behind Sak Yants. As much as I wished I could have gone to a Wat (temple) and get this done, we didn’t have enough time. With that said, I NEEDED to figure out how I could get one without having to travel all the way back to Thailand, though I WILL be going back one day.
After returning to the states, I did some major research and found out that Ajarn Ohr was traveling to Vegas from Bangkok to do Sak Yants! I jumped right on the opportunity and sent numerous emails to get an appointment. I was luckily successful and now I am here! I booked this appointment a couple weeks after getting back from Thailand and I cannot believe how slow time has gone. I thought this day was never going to arrive.
Why isn’t Ryan here with me, why would you choose to go to Vegas alone? I’ve heard this a few times now and to set the record straight; I do not need my husband to keep me safe. This trip isn’t for me to come here to party, heck, I’m literally here for 24 hours, I will be doing 0 partying. This trip is for me to connect myself to Thailand indefinitely and to be “blessed” with a Sak Yant, that will be a constant reminder of the person I want to be.

The Sak Yant I am getting is named Hah Taew. Hah Taew is magical tattoo with 5 lines, or the 5 row yantra. Each line represents a Yant or magical spell. These spells are chanted 108 times to invoke a state of the mind where the mind can create these magical spells before entering a high level of meditation. Each line will be tattooed individually and each represents a different spell:
1.The first row prevents unjust punishment and leans in your favor when the area is grey, cleans out unwanted spirits and protects the place you live in.
2.The second row reverses and protects against bad horoscope constellations and bad fortune.
3.The third row protests you from the use black magic and anyone who tries to put a curse on you.
4.The fourth row energizes your good luck, success, and fortune in your future ambitions and life style.
5.The fifth row is to gain charisma and attraction to the opposite sex. It also is a boost to the fourth row.
Each one of these rows means something very special to me, with the exception of row 5 (I don’t need to be attractive to the opposite sex, I’ve found my life partner already!)but I’ll take it!. I would go more into detail about the meaning of each of these rows, but I find it very internal and personal. Maybe a story for another time…

At the end of each Yant there is an Unallome (ever decreasing spiral) to complete it. The spiral indicates the distractions we encounter in our daily lives and as I grow older and wiser the spiral gradually decreases until it becomes a straight line pointing upwards. This signifies the path to Nirvana or true enlightenment. I’ve read quite a bit about obtaining Nirvana and this has become my most important goal in life. If you have not read about Nirvana (not the band) please do. From my findings, to obtain Nirvana you follow the Noble Eightfold Path. This path is a list or guide of 8 ideals that will lead you towards a greater understanding of the universe and the goal is to follow this path right through to Nirvana.
The 8 ideals:
Right Views
Right Intention
Right Speech
Right Action
Right Livelihood
Right Effort
Right Mindedness
Right Contemplation
Vague right? You can interpret these ideals in SO many ways, but generally speaking, you can follow the path by approaching the world with compassion, patience and joy, and contemplating the universe through meditation. The fundamental goals are to cultivate morality (shila,) meditation (dhyana) and wisdom (prajna.)
It is very hard for me to meditate. I live a life where I am busy. VERY busy. I have been practicing almost daily and hope that with this Sak Yant, I will have more patience and find the time to let everything else go and focus on myself and meditate.

Well, there you have it. This is why I’m in Vegas, alone, for 24 hours. By the time I will be posting this, I will have already gotten my Sak Yant and will have some magic in me that will last a lifetime and help me towards my goal of reaching (or closely reaching) Nirvana.

Wish me luck as I get started on this endeavor and continue to become the best I can be! Maybe I’ll start a blog to keep you all in the loop. We shall see!

 

Cannabis. It’s for me.

Growing up, I was taught that smoking weed was the same as smoking meth or heroine. People were called stoners, bums & burnouts. Cannabis is a life ruining drug. If you smoked you might as well throw your life away, you’re going to live out the rest of your days stuck to your couch eating potato chips and then one day, the high from cannabis won’t be enough so you’ll move onto more powerful drugs.

Weed is a gateway drug

I believe that cannabis is a gateway drug, but not to hard drugs like a lot of people I know believe. I believe cannabis to be a gateway to seeing, feeling & healing in a way that some don’t have the ability to do without using cannabis.

I have rotator cuff tendinitis. Basically, the joints that move my shoulder are inflamed causing severe pain, stiffness, and swelling. I was diagnosed in high school and was offered 2 options, both of which did not work for me or my high school sports career. Option 1.  Corotozone shots. Option 2. Surgery.  Both of these options would take me out of the game permanently and that wasn’t going to work for me. I decided to “suck it up” and play through the pain and do the few physical therapy exercises my doctor showed me.

Fast forward a few years. The pain has increased, I am only able to sleep in 1 position that relieves the pain of my rotator cuff but irritates other parts of my shoulder. I can no longer throw a softball like I used to, and I’ve lost strength from fear of over using my shoulder.  I am frustrated, broke from numerous doctor visits, and sick of taking pills that relieve the pain momentarily but don’t fix the problem. Not only did these pills not fix the problem, but I felt I was becoming dependant on them. They made me fuzzy, cranky and unhappy.

Time to explore other options.

I made an appointment to see a doctor that specializes in medical marijuana. I didn’t know what to expect. Was it going to be like any other doctor visit? Was my doctor going to be a hippie? Maybe an undercover cop waiting to bust me since marijuana is still federally illegal? What was going to happen?

It was like any other private physicians office. There was a couple of nurses, a receptionist, and plaques on the wall showing my doctor is legit. I was greeted by 2 ex-Iraq war dogs that were both super intimidating but the sweetest pups. If you know me, you know that I almost always prefer dogs over people. These two eased my anxiety and made the whole experience ten times more enjoyable! After filling out the required paperwork for both the doctor’s office and the State of Colorado, the doctor brought me back to the exam room. He took a look at my paperwork and asked about my shoulder and how much pain I’ve been in. He performed a brief exam, rotating my shoulder and feeling the grinding that happens every time everytime I raise it over my head.  He asked if I had a history with substance abuse and my preferred method of taking cannabis. He then wrote me a prescription and explained what I needed to do with this pile of paperwork to finalize the prescription and to receive my medical marijuana card in the mail. That was it. I was now a medical marijuana patient.

I was now a medical marijuana patient. 

I received my card in the mail a few weeks later and couldn’t wait to go into a dispensary. I’ve heard stories about candies, drinks, lotions, everything you could think of they make with cannabis in it. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning walking into that store! There were walls lined with different products, I wanted to try them all. Then I started noticing all the different strains and types of cannabis to choose from. Thank goodness the lady helping me knew what she was doing. I explained my pain, my inability to sleep and my anxiety. She grabbed a few different things for me to look at. I ended up choosing to purchase some CBD candies and an eighth of indica flower.

I immediately wanted to try the candies! I opened up the package and popped 1 in my mouth. I had never experienced edibles before and wasn’t sure what was going to happen. Is it an immediate high? How intense is the high? What did I get myself into? Well, I didn’t get high. See, I had purchased CBD candies. CBD or Cannabidiol is a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. Unlike, THC (the stuff that gets you high) it is completely nonpsychoactive. After about 45 minutes the pain in my shoulder started to cease. It was still there, but it was not as severe. The first night I tried those candies I remember having the best sleep in years. It was glorious! After 3 years of no relief, I had finally found something that seems to help.

Flash forward another couple of years and I have learned a lot about cannabis. You CAN be successful and partake in marijuana. You can smoke and be productive. You can heal from a combination of physical therapy and the right types of pain relievers and relaxants. In my case, that was cannabis. Since starting yoga and my continued use of marijuana, I have gained my strength back in my shoulder. I can sleep at night. Handstands are NOT out of my reach like they were just a few years back. When I vape before yoga class I find it easier to focus on my breathing and hold my poses longer.

Now, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. I have also smoked too much before practicing and fell flat on my face. I’ve ingested too much and could only lay in savasana. It’s all about moderation, micro-dosing and figuring out what your body needs to be pain-free and free minded to obtain all the physical and mental benefits yoga has to offer!

Marijuana is not for everyone. I know some people that shut down completely when they use, they get anxious, nervous and hate every second of it. There are certain strains that I do not use due to how they make me feel. Everyone has their preferences and if you are interested in exploring/using cannabis, I recommend talking to an expert before trying anything new.  I prefer to vape vs smoking because of how the smoke makes me cough and hurts my lungs. I enjoy indica/cbd heavy strains because of their pain relieving compounds and how I am still physically and mentally able to go about my day without being stoned out of my mind. Everyone is different and luckily, we live in a world where there are hundreds of strains and ways to gain the benefits this beautiful plant has to offer!

Namaste

-Tay