December 29, 2009

Simple Shaving Cream Recipe

Survived another blood test--I was up and out of there immediately, which is impressive for me. I guess practice makes perfect. Or at least makes you less of a ninny. I was only half an hour late for work, too, so there were no problems, once the clinics reopened after the holidays.

If there is anything about the results I should know, I'll get a phone call. Otherwise, my potassium levels are normal and the high testosterone is not being caused by my adrenals. If the results are towards the higher end, I have to go for a specific test at the hospital, injecting me with things to see how my adrenals react. This could be important to know for family planning purposes; the endo said that if both I and my husband (whomever he may turn out to be) carry this propensity for adrenal dysfunction, it could be much much worse in our children.

So we'll see.

Here's something cool!

From Planet Green:
Here's what you'll need:
1/2 teaspoon of sunflower oil
1/4 cup of unscented glycerin soap
Double boiler
A cup or mug for the cream
See the full article post here.

I originally discovered the link through LifeHacker. (Check out links to more shaving tips there. Extending the life of your blades with mineral oil, for instance, is something I'm trying right now.)

Something that saves money, is good for the environment, and lacking all the unpronounceable chemicals whose functions are totally unclear to me? Sounds great to me.

After all, I know oil gives a nice shave and glycerin is a gentle lubricant that helps the skin gain moisture. What more could you need for a shave? I'm going to give this a try sometime!

Some other recipes:
I love homemade stuff...

December 26, 2009

My Dastardly Body

I can't be the only one who thinks my body knows what it's doing, especially when it comes to my cycle. And that it has malicious intent.

I'm meant to take my next blood test early in the morning within the first one to seven days of my cycle. So, my body decides Day One should be the eve of the 25th, making sure to be just in time for the laboratory holiday hours to take effect. (This also schedules it to align, if all remains regular, with my next vacation in February.) How does it know to do this?

I can't even make an appointment for any of the labs, even the ones across town that might be open now, because the appointment line doesn't take calls on weekends. At this rate, I'm going to have to get permission from my boss on Monday to let me come in late on Tuesday so I can get this thing over with. I don't want to save it 'til day six or seven and risk the test results getting muddled. You all know how I hate blood tests. I do not want to do this over again.

Ah, listen to me whine. By the time you hear from me again, this will hopefully all be over. And on the up side, at least my cycle was normal this time!

I hope everyone is having a lovely holiday from work, school, and everything else, and enjoying their time with family, friends, pets, self, the tv... I sure am!

December 22, 2009

Previous Shaving Mediums

Another thing I've never really touched on before is the shaving media I used in the early days. There isn't much to say about that, though. In recollection, all products seemed to be the same.

When I first started shaving my face, I was on a trip, so I had afforded myself the luxury of a can of shaving gel simply for convenience. But, I couldn't always justify the expense when my glycerin soap foamed up so well. As a shaving medium, it's always been okay--better than other kinds of soaps, certainly. But I could tell from the stinging and drying that if I was going to stick with shaving my face, it would be better to splurge.

Body washes were the same, so it seemed at the time that my only choices were the fruity and flowery creams on the grocery store's shelf for women's shaving products. There was never much to choose from. Different flavors, same companies. At the time, I preferred Skintimate's scents, and often I had a coupon. Their "Signature Scents" were quite nice on the olfactory senses, and the results were no different than their sensitive formula.

When I didn't have a coupon, the store's brand worked just as well, and when Gillette had a sale on their Women's Satin Care line, I ended up with three cans to work through. In fact, I still have one I haven't completely used up yet. I've been busy straying to the men's shelves and other forms of shaving aids.

All I really have to say is that so far, most shaving gels seem to have the same results, regardless of intended gender, brand, scent, or special additives. Extended use just dries out my face, and one type doesn't protect against redness, irritation, or nicks better than another. That's why, while they are an improvement on plain ol' soap suds, I am still searching for something better.

You can see my thoughts on particular shaving mediums I've used since I started this blog:
More are waiting to be tested.

I do hear and see the recommendation to use hair conditioner often. I quite like it for my legs--it feels similar to using mineral oil both during and after, but leaves less residue in the shower. But I don't know if I'd use it on my face. It might cause other issues--I know acne authorities recommend making sure you wash any conditioner thoroughly off your back. I probably won't be experimenting with that one.

Any shavers out there have a favorite medium?

December 16, 2009

Where's the Potassium?

Refilled my prescription for spiro today. I honestly thought I'd have had my blood test by now to measure my adrenals (to eliminate them as a cause of the hair) and potassium levels (just in case). But thanks to the pills entering my body and going, "This'll be fun; let's invent an entirely new cycle for her!" I have to play the waiting game.

I got an odd cramp behind my right knee the other night. It felt different from any leg cramps I've had in the past. It could have been from an old injury I sustained when getting up awkwardly from a kneel with my college book bag--that knee has been weak ever since. Or it could have been from keeping my leg nervous and tense trying to drive in the piled up snow. But I remembered reading that muscle cramps were a sign of too much potassium in the body, and whether that is accurate or not, it was all I could think about. Such a drama queen.

But I had to put my mind at rest, so I applied myself to research. We all know bananas and potatoes are high in potassium. But what about other foods might we not even think about? All that yogurt I was having for breakfast, the skim milk I've been using to take my vitamin D, the bran I try to keep in my diet, the raw spinach salads I love... You might be surprised.

So here's a few links for the gals out there taking potassium-sparing diuretics. Many of the lists are a little conflicting, so when reading this information, temper it with smarts.

According to some sources, an adult needs to take in at least 2,000 - 4,000 mg of potassium a day. A person trying to keep their potassium intake lower should, apparently, be aiming at less than 2,000. That's still about four baked potatoes, so while it's good not to go overboard, there's no need to be obsessively avoiding it. After all, we still need some potassium for our hearts, muscles, and even our digestive systems.

As well, exercising and drinking lots of water can only help keep things moving so that the potassium the spiro is leaving behind finds its way out eventually.

So tired. Will look at comments soon...

December 10, 2009

Almost Forgot

Third week on spiro, and nothing much to report. My stomach is bothering me much less, which I think has more to do with emotionally adjusting to the idea of taking these pills than anything the pills might be doing to me. I'm still drinking a lot of water and taking many more potty breaks, but I'm fine with that. Anything that encourages me to drink more water can't be all bad.

The only time I don't appreciate the diuretic effects is in the morning, now that I'm taking the bus to work. No longer is it a twenty minute drive, but an hour-long journey in the cold with my nerves taut from the unfamiliar experience. Add diuretics on top of that and it is agony.

Another inconvenience to taking the bus is that my scarf chafes my chin, rubbing off all the carefully placed makeup and encouraging flaky skin. I have not the tools nor the lighting at work to fix this problem, and end up patting on more powder which hides the redness and shadow, but makes the flaking worse. And a scarf is not optional in weather that's thirty below in Celsius.

I've been so exhausted from both my new routine and the emotions revolving around it that I didn't even remember I had a blog until today, when my day off finally allowed my skin a rest. I was asked to come down to dinner with the family and couldn't. The difficult thing, besides missing out on "family time" such as it is in our house (not always much to be said for it, really, but it's still important) is that I'm trying to keep my hirsutism from becoming common knowledge in the house. It's vastly unappealing to sit directly under the light at the kitchen table in close proximity with people I either don't trust or simply feel uncomfortable telling.

Even if I warn my mother ahead of time that I haven't shaved and won't be going out anywhere or hanging around the family in well-lit parts of the house, she forgets. I guess once a person gets used to the idea of someone they know having a beard, the awareness fades from their mind. So she never expects me to refuse to come downstairs.

So she'll send someone else to tell me to come for dinner, and I have a hard time deciding how to say, "No thanks." So I acknowledge their announcement that dinner is ready, and then just... don't... go. And until I know they've figured out I'm not coming, I fidget in a puddle of anxiety and guilt. Are they all just sitting there waiting? How long before they get sick of the pattern? Do they think I just plain don't like them?

And then I remembered. There are people who know what it's like. Hello, people. It's just another one of those days.

December 5, 2009

Product: The Ghosts of Razors Past

Simple topic. Razors.

I was planning for something more profound and contemplative, but the only thing I can contemplate at present is the profound inconvenience of having to start busing to work when I already devote so much time to shaving and the application of make-up in the morning. Having to get up two hours earlier is only the newest addition to a list of unpleasant elements to an otherwise rewarding job. This is causing me to contemplate the profundity of resignation. And it's scaring me out of my pants.

But back to razors. Somehow in the past year and a bit, though I've talked a lot about shaving, I have never commented on the razors I've used. Picking the right razor has always been a concern for me, as a lady trying to decide what to use on her face. But after several years, I try to tell myself that if I can't find the kind I prefer at the store, trial and error really isn't so bad. At worst, I've spent a week or two living with a rough, irritated shave, and come out of it knowing I'd never try that blade again.

My first desperate swipes, taken in the cramped lavatory of a trailer on a summer trip, were with the Schick Personal Touch. Two blades and a moisturizing aloe strip. I had it because it was simply the one my mom bought for me when I began shaving my legs in junior high. And she had one because I believe it was one of the first refillable safety razors marketed to women. Because my face was new to shaving, the results were great. I used to keep one cartridge for my face and one for my legs, and just swap them back and forth because they used to last so long.

But then the refill cartridges gradually disappeared from all the stores, and I had no choice but to find something new. A little while ago my mother ran across some and gave me a packet, but I seem to have forgotten how to use a razor with an inflexible head on my face. Trying to get a close enough shave, I gave myself some of the worst nicks of my life before I gave up on this one. The blades are really hardy compared to disposables, but negotiating my chin is a nightmare.

I was still quite young, and Gillette's new three-blade razor was all the rage--all my friends seemed to have a Venus. But we were a single parent family. Spending so much on refill cartridges was out of the question. But we both agreed that skimping on razors was not a good idea, either, so my mom brought home a slightly less expensive three-bladed alternative, Schick's Xtreme 3 Comfort Plus disposables. Once I got used to the flexing, pivoting head, it gave me the closest, least irritating shave I've experienced. It dulls noticably after a week of daily shaves, and the shea moisturizing strip tends to disintegrate, but the results make it the razor I prefer. When I can't find the women's version, the men's works just as well.

And sometimes they were hard to find. Or we were looking for a cheaper alternative. That led to a few more experiments. Bic's Soleil disposables were attractive colors (yes, of course I take looks into consideration) but gave me such horrifying razor burn on my legs the first go-round that I didn't let them anywhere near my face.

Schick's Slim Twin was, as the name indicates, a two-bladed disposable, and had a cool little blade cleaning feature. You could push down on it and force debris out from between the blades. I found it too small and flimsy to use on my legs, but it was decent on my face. Not as easy to get a close shave with it was the Xtreme 3--but it came in a ten-pack, and I did not have trouble using them all.

Gillette Daisy, a two blade disposable, seemed to have very little lubrication (yes, even with a shaving medium, I still say I could tell) and was not great for the close shave I needed. I'd rank it between the Soleil and the Slim Twin. I shared these with everyone else in the house to get rid of them faster.

Right now I have a pack of Schick Slim Triples that I got on sale. It amuses me far too much that the brilliant pink color perfectly matches the bottle of shaving oil I'm also experimenting with. They also have a flexible rotating head, but the experience is still a little different from the Xtreme 3. I'm still trying to figure out why I don't like them as much. Perhaps it's because they, too, seem flimsier and dull quicker. Or perhaps it's all in my head. But I haven't stopped using them so they obviously aren't that bad.

You know, looking back, I've been shaving my face off and on since high school, and I haven't tried an awful lot of razors. Perhaps more experimentation is in order.

Do I think the number of blades makes a difference when it comes to shaving my face? No. I don't know how razors are made or how they differ in more subtle ways, so I can only talk about what I've experienced. The spin of it seems to be that the more blades you have, the closer the shave will be, but wouldn't two passes with a twin blade equal one pass with four blades and have the same risk for irritation and ingrowns? I'd rather have one hardy, quality blade than five crummy ones working simultaneously.

Would I try one of the more popular refillable brands? Yes. Unlike disposables, which are pretty interchangeable between men's and women's, a refillable man's razor is designed to shave a face. I'm very curious to know if they would make a difference in the irritation and dryness that never completely goes away. However it's simply not something I'm interested in spending a lot of money on right now.

Would I try a more traditional safety razor, or even a straight razor? Yes. It's certainly not a dead art, and if people are still picking it up, it must not only be better for the environment and your wallet, but the resulting shave must also be good. I'm just too darn frightened of something that sharp. I've seen Sweeney Todd.