About Me

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I'm a mom, a wife, a best friend. Sick with CFIDS/ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia since 1975 as a result of a nasty flu while still in grad school, it wasn't until the late '80's that I received a diagnosis. Until that flu I'd never really been ill before. With each year I get progressively worse and add to the bucket load of symptoms I'm living with. I've been blessed with an incredible family and best friend who've stayed with me through my struggles as we continue to find a way out of this monstrous illness and its complications. We've tried seemingly every approach to find my way back to health. Often I think our best weapon in this undesirable and unasked-for adventure has been laughter.

Monday, April 16, 2012

My bite-sized morsels of helpful beauty hints...

Now listen to Irene's advice!  (In  London, late '80's, "centuries" ago.)

When I first started imagining the possibility of a blog I always thought that one of the first things I’d do was to set aside a day of the week, or distinguish in some way (of course, inevitably with a very cheesy title), the "survivor" tricks and/or tips I've come across that have helped me over these past centuries.  OK.  I exaggerate.  It only feels like centuries.
Some of these may seem ridiculous to readers out there but I’m taking the garage sale approach: one person’s junk may be another person’s treasure.   If they work for me, perhaps they'll work for you too.  It would be wonderful to be able have a few exchanges about them in the comments section.  These tips are not exclusive to those with CFIDS, ME/CFS, fibromyalgia, insomnia, migraines, pain, cognitive disorders, etc.  They are and will be, I hope, helpful to anyone who is chronically ill, or to the care-giver of a chronically ill person. 

So with no more further ado, here we go for the first three of what I hope will be a series!

  • 1. "Water-in-a-can": This is not an altogether new concept to me but this winter it was a life-saver.  Ages ago, I was gifted a small can of Dior, I believe, and it was wonderful when I needed to fly halfway around the world to Australia, with four plane changes in each direction.  It was wonderful in that dry nasty cabin air.  I bought a couple of the Evian cans of spray much later but proceeded to forget them - of course!  After my surgery and the whole near-death nonsense, plus the flu that wouldn't go away, I wasn't running just my normal two or three fevers a day.  Suddenly my body temperature was jumping around like someone practicing some sort of Joplin-type scales on the piano.  Somehow I happened to remember that I had a couple of cans of aerosol waters and actually found them, a minor miracle.

Oh, I know it's not a good idea for the environment but given how little I do or use, I actually have very little carbon foot-printing, so I thought I was due a few points.

I know people and beauty pro's often scoff at these cans, even laughing at the gullibility of some people.  But let me tell you: a plastic mist bottle filled with water does not have the same effect the water-in-a-can does - I've tried!  The aerosol hits you mildly in the face, like a fine drizzle on a warm spring English morning or a crisp fall day.  The Brits have gorgeous skin.  Do they stand out in the rain (the equivalent of the plastic mist bottle) or do they prefer their "constitutional" when there is a mist in the air?

Furthermore, because the water is in a metal can, it stays rather cool, even when spending weeks and months on your nightstand.

And finally, I think that there really is something to the water from the Alps. When my mom and I were in Germany and Austria I remember saying to her that I could easily move there permanently.  I'd not felt so healthy in...well, I'm not sure that I'd ever felt that great.  And the water was just so delicious that I couldn't stop drinking it.  Evian is the most famous of these "waters-in-a-can," but I really love the Avene.  Btw: I have not tried Vichy's as of yet.  Anyway, this is a huge success in my book, for fevers, wacky body temperature changes and dry eye, mouth, etc.

  • 2. Micellar water: specifically, Bioderma Crealine H2o Ultra-mild Non-rinse Face and Eyes Cleanser:

This was a huge find for me thanks to one of my favorite blogs, A Model Recommends, subsequently seen in other places too.  Apparently it's a huge trade secret in the beauty industry and makeup artists use this a LOT, from what I understand, since it seems that almost no one has an adverse reaction to it.  And BTW, you might want to get rid of those wipes for anything but emergencies.  They scratch your skin badly.

The Bioderma is micellar water, supposedly pretty much high tech and various types of this micellar water seem to be popping up everywhere, if the internet is anything to go by. I understand the principle but not well enough to explain what actually occurs.  But I bought a small bottle of it from Amazon and plan to order two large bottles soon, afraid to run out.  According to Sephora, which carries the Caudalie version (also wonderful but a bit more expensive) micellar water "gently, yet thoroughly cleanses and removes makeup. Micellar water captures dirt like tiny "dirt magnets" and sweeps it away without rubbing, while the soothing and hydrating active ingredients work to add radiance."  I've run this by my favorite science go-to person and HE thinks it makes sense and I love it...it's worth a try.

When I don't have the energy to wash my face, which is most days, I now pour a small amount on a cotton pad and my face feels fresh, clean, healthy and soft.  If I've been wearing makeup - wow.  This stuff works!  Even without makeup, my cotton pad comes away surprisingly dirty.  In France, Bioderma is sold in pharmacies and is incredibly inexpensive, as well as popular.  In the end, for us here the States, the Bioderma is a bit less expensive than those wipes.

  • 3. Keep a thermometer next to your bed:

With many, our body temps go up and down so frequently that we're never sure if it's the room or us.  I am always putting on and taking off the PJ tops or knit tank-top-like cardigans I use as "bed jackets" because of screwy limbic system problems.  However, if it's the room at fault, then you can fix it!

I'd also suggest that you may try to figure out what temperature your body does best with. My traitor-body seems to want 70 degrees exactly.  Any higher and I'm sweating, short and about as mad and annoyed as a wet hen...not a pretty picture.  If the temperature is below 70, I start to freeze, tremble, shake, my legs get more mottled. Also not a pretty picture. 

This temperature thing sounds as if we are spoiled little prima donnas, but please, don't let that bother you. Keep in mind that other illnesses are affected by temperature, MS being a great example, especially since CFIDS and MS are often interchangeably misdiagnosed.  This, BTW, was a very important point, so you may want to underline it somewhere in your foggy brain for future references. (Smile! Someone understands!)

Remember, you are not crazy.  The ones around you who do not realize how sick you are are the ones who need some sort of help, some training in sensitivity or the implant of a chip which would give them the ability to feel compassion, this later "chip" insight given to me just this past week by a friend. And this, unfortunately, is no laughing matter.

I certainly hope this helps. Good luck and remember, there are those who understand what you're going through...those who suffer the same illnesses you do.  They ARE out there.


  1. Thanks for the tips!! I am the exact same with temperature. My biggest problem is coldness. I just can't get rid of it in the earlier part of the day. Then in the evenings I get way too hot, to then be actually woken up from the cold and shivering at around 4/5am...

  2. So happy that you enjoyed this, Treya. Those body temp changes are killers, aren't they!!!?

  3. I would love it if us brits did have lovely drizzle but no always seems to be a down poor. Some great ideas here. I've become reliant on wipes lately so maybe the cleanser is worth a try and also the thermometer. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Sad that you know it though

    1. Sian, it's so funny. I've been to England about 10 times, average stay 2 weeks. Do you know how many times it rained while I was there: twice! Only two days out of how many? I swear, the British government should pay me to come. Everywhere and every time, people would say, "it was awful before you got here, no sun, rain..." Sometimes I think that the whole rain thing has been made up (joking). ��
      Thanks for leaving what is for me a cute comment, Sian. Great tweeting w/ you this past weekend! xx