Am I COVID-19 “Long Hauler”?

Am I COVID-19 “Long Hauler”?

I think so, yes.

Looking at what has been going on with me since March, I am pretty sure that I have had COVID-19 and am suffering some long-term issues from it.

I wanted to talk about it all in this post.

I was sick in March

Around the time that I first started hearing about this new virus, I ended up sick. It was after my husband and son had been sick for about six days. Their symptoms included coughs and high fevers.

My symptoms when I got sick were chills with no fever, slightly tickly throat with post-nasal drainage, loss of appetite, reduced ability to taste, fatigue, stuffy nose and a racing heart in the mornings on the last two days of my illness. I was sick for a total of five days.

My husband’s manager was a confirmed positive in February, so that means he was exposed to the virus. Since we were unable to get tests at that time, we are only presuming that we were positive for it.

What else could it have been?

Two good weeks and then hell

For two weeks after getting sick, I was happy that I beat the virus. At that time I did not know that I could still have lingering issues from it so I thought my life would go on as normal.

In April, all hell broke loose.

I became very angry, irritable and majorly depressed. This was scary to me because I felt completely out of control. I could not sleep anymore. All I did at night was pace around crying and screaming.

I had no idea what was going on with me. People were telling me it was all due to the pandemic news I was reading and that I was working myself up too much over it. That could have been part of it but it felt like something more was happening to me.

I felt like I was literally going crazy.

Then came the physical symptoms: April through June

About a week after the extreme mental issues happened, I started experiencing physical issues. Here is a list of them:

  1. Chest pressure/tightness
  2. Occasional shortness of breath
  3. Racing heart
  4. Heart palpitations
  5. Off balanced feeling
  6. Lightheadedness
  7. Lots of chills without fevers
  8. Headaches
  9. Two bouts of pink eye
  10. Dry and gritty feeling eyes (not Pink eye)
  11. Leg restlessness at night
  12. Occasional night sweats
  13. Tickly throat with drainage
  14. Neck/gland aches
  15. Rashes
  16. Burning feeling on the skin of my arms
  17. Two ear infections/earaches
  18. Tinnitus
  19. Runny nose

All of this was in addition to the mental issues I was having. Not fun at all! I was sure that I was still infected and it scared the crap out of me.

I talked to my doctor about all these things and whether I should get a COVID-19 test done. He said it was probably all related to anxiety and depression then proceeded to offer me a prescription for Celexa (an antidepressant).

I know my body and this was not all due to my mental health. Something bad was going on and I did not know how to make it stop.

It was around June that I read about COVID-19 “long haulers.” These are people that were positive for COVID-19 or presumably so and are still experiencing symptoms after they are supposed to be recovered. Their experiences sounded just like mine.

I still did not know what was going on with me but at least I was not alone in the struggle.

I began to read more about other people’s experiences and took some of their advice. This included me starting to add vitamin B12 into my daily supplement intake.

Mental and Physical symptoms: July to now

My mental health issues went away by early July for whatever reason. I do not know if it was the increase of vitamin D3 or what, but I am definitely not going to complain!

In mid-July, I also noticed that some of the physical symptoms from April-June were going away. Some remain though and they are as follows:

  1. Occasional chest aches- Heat packs help a lot with this.
  2. Occasional shortness of breath
  3. Occasional heart palpitations
  4. Occasional tickly throat with drainage
  5. Tinnitus

I also added more supplements to my daily intake in late July. These include NAC and COQ10. The NAC supplement is actually helping with the occasional chest aches and shortness of breath. I take 1200 mg of it as I type this, but I think I will bump it up to 1800 mg soon.

What I have learned and next steps

I have continued to read a lot about post-covid issues and have even joined the support group on Slack.

One of the things that I learned is that I should have given my body a chance to recover. I did the crazy thing of pushing myself to exercise throughout this whole time (even while I was in the active infection stage). If I had known to wait, maybe I would not have suffered for this long.

Another thing I have learned is that I am not crazy. My body is just confused by this new virus that invaded it and is going a little haywire right now.

Due to the organ damage that has been happening to people who have had COVID-19, I am thinking about talking to my doctor about all of this again. My hope is that he will get me a referral to see some specialists and also get blood work done. I plan on updating this blog with whatever I find out in regards to any damage that I have to my body.

You are not alone either

If anyone reading this is going through post-COVID issues, know that you are not alone. You are not crazy either. We are in this together! This is a great resource to check out: https://thislifeofmine575878161.files.wordpress.com/2020/08/492cf-2020survivorcorpscovid-1927longhauler27symptomssurveyreport28revisedjuly2529.pdf

I would recommend joining the long haulers Slack discussion group as well as the long haulers subreddit. Both have been very helpful for me.

There is so much we do not know about this virus yet, but we are going to get there eventually. Now that so many people are speaking up about the issues they are dealing with after “recovering,” there are medical scientists looking into things more. Hopefully, there will be treatment options for both the active infection phase and the post-infection phase soon.

Do you or someone you know have or have had COVID-19?

Thanks for reading!

#covid19  #postviral  #covid19longhaulers  #physicalhealth  #mentalhealth  #medicalresearch

What Is Up With That Cinnamon Chillin’ In Your Cabinet?!

What Is Up With That Cinnamon Chillin’ In Your Cabinet?!

I love spices and spice mixes. In our house, they are a must!

When I was searching through the spice cabinet the other day, I came across a container of cinnamon. I used to use cinnamon a lot back when I was eating oatmeal regularly. It has also been an ingredient in a couple skin care products I have bought and homemade face mask recipes I have made.

Since I love a good ole’ Google crawl, I decided to dig more into cinnamon and its uses for this post.

About cinnamon

Cinnamon comes from the inner bark of Cinnamomum trees. There are four different types of cinnamon. Following is a list of their names and information about them:

  1. Ceylon Cinnamon (Cinnamomum Verum)- This type of cinnamon is called, “true.” It is native to Sri Lanka and is more expensive than the other types. In ancient times it was considered to be very profitable and valuable. It is very fragrant with a mild spicy-sweet flavor.
  2. Chinese Cinnamon (Cinnamomum Cassia)- This type is native to China and is mainly used as medicine. It has a mildly bitter flavor.
  3. Saigon Cinnamon (Cinnamomum Loureiroi)- This type is native to Southeast Asia. It has a very intense bitter and peppery flavor.
  4. Indonesian Cinnamon (Cinnamomum Burmannii)- This type is native to Indonesia and it is the most commonly sold one in stores. It has a mildly sweet  flavor to it.

Each type of cinnamon contains a substance called, coumarin. This is used as a flavoring agent and it also has anticoagulant(blood thinning) properties. Because of the coumarin content, it can be very dangerous if too much cinnamon is ingested.

The types of cinnamon contain different amounts of coumarin. Here are rough estimates of the percentage of the substance found in each type:

  • Ceylon Cinnamon- .004% coumarin
  • Chinese Cinnamon- .03% coumarin
  • Saigon Cinnamon- .7-1% coumarin
  • Indonesian Cinnamon- .2% coumarin

As you can see by the estimates, Saigon cinnamon contains a good amount more coumarin than the other types. This means you have to be careful how much you use of it if you decide to buy it.

It is recommended to not go above an intake of 1.5 teaspoons a day. Even just one teaspoon may cause some harm to your body.

Cinnamon also contains some trace nutrients. These include carbs, fiber, potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium.

You can find cinnamon in the form of ground powder, sticks, capsules, essential oil and liquid extract.

The alleged benefits of cinnamon

There are some things that cinnamon is touted as being of use for when ingested on a daily basis. The following is a list of them:

  1. Inflammation- Could help with swelling and joint pain.
  2. Neurological issues- Could enhance cognition.
  3. Antioxidant
  4. Antidiabetic- Could help lower blood sugar.
  5. Anticancer
  6. Heart health
  7. Lower bad cholesterol levels.
  8. Boosting the immune system
  9. May help symptoms of colds and flu viruses
  10. PCOS management- Could help to decrease insulin resistance and regulate periods. The latter may be due to the possibility of it being able to stabilize estrogen.
  11. May ease IBS and GI issues. These include nausea, indigestion, gas, bloating and diarrhea.

Cinnamon is also said to be of benefit topically. The following is a list of what it may be able to do when used this way:

  1. Treat acne- It may have anti-fungal and antibacterial properties.
  2. Add a glow to skin- It may be able to stimulate blood vessels which can lead to a healthy looking complexion.
  3. Hair growth- It may stimulate circulation of the scalp which in turn may cause growth of the hair.
  4. Treat scalp conditions- It may help for issues of the scalp due to its antibacterial and antifungal properties.
  5. Lip plumping- It is said to help plump up lips due to the blood vessel stimulating properties it may have.

It is important to note that applying something with cinnamon in it topically, may cause irritation.

Another thing to remember is that the scientific research done on cinnamon is not showing definitive answers as to whether cinnamon has the benefits listed above. It does show some promise in these areas and there also is a lot of anecdotal evidence.  

Using cinnamon

  There are different ways that cinnamon can be used in your daily life. The following is a list of some of them:

  1. Taking it in capsule form: There are a supplement brands that sell capsules of cinnamon for an easy way to get benefits that cinnamon may have.
  2. In food: Of course! This is the way most people use cinnamon. It is put in lot of desserts, fruits, savory meals and ethnic cuisine (Chinese, Vietnamese, Mexican, Indian and Middle Eastern). Here is an example of a great looking recipe using cinnamon: https://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/cinnamon-laced-chili
  3. Tea and other hot drinks: Cinnamon can be added to tea and other hot drinks (ex. hot cocoa) for a soothing, complex taste. It may help soothe cold and flu symptoms, too.
  4. Breathed in: Cinnamon can be bought in the form of essential oil. It could be added to a bowl of boiling water to put your head over or you can just breath it in straight from the bottle. This could soothe symptoms from colds/flus and could provide the cognition enhancing benefit (remember, the jury is out on these benefits!). Here is one cinnamon essential oil product: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DVSYCB5/ref=sspa_dk_detail_5?psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEyUEtOQUJZMlBBMUs0JmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMDY5Mjg3MzRQS0dGQlpMNzY2OCZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwOTU1MDg5MVM0TTFXQlUwWFQ3MyZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2RldGFpbDImYWN0aW9uPWNsaWNrUmVkaXJlY3QmZG9Ob3RMb2dDbGljaz10cnVl
  5. Hair care: Cinnamon may help with hair growth and the reduction of scalp conditions. You could apply a hair mask weekly that combines cinnamon (oil or powder), honey and oil. Cinnamon oil combines well with rosemary essential oil which also may help with hair growth.  Here is an example of a hair mask recipe using cinnamon: https://alluringsoul.com/cinnamon-hair-mask-strong-gorgeous-hair/
  6. Skin care: Cinnamon may help with acne and/or add a glow to your skin. If you are interested in seeing if it works, you could mix it with honey and use as a face mask. Here is an example of a product that has cinnamon in it already: https://www.makeupartistschoice.com/products/acne-pore-minimizer-w-sepicontrol-a5?_pos=2&_sid=98449476b&_ss=r  Here is a face mask recipe: https://stylesatlife.com/articles/cinnamon-face-mask/  
  7. Lip plumping: Some people have found that cinnamon can plump up their lips. If you are interested in seeing if this works, mix some cinnamon with Vaseline and apply it to your lips. Here is a lip scrub recipe that may have some plumping effect: https://sofabfood.com/diy-honey-and-cinnamon-plumping-lip-scrub/

I will be using it again!

I am not going to have high hopes that cinnamon will help with my health, but I do love the flavor of it. My plan is to use it regularly in my anti-inflammatory “hot toddies” and I also want to try out some recipes that have it as an ingredient (like this Little House On The Prairie recipe: https://www.food.com/recipe/cinnamon-chicken-183262).

I also might consider using cinnamon in my hair masks too. Since I am a PCOS sufferer, I get worried about the possibility of losing my hair or having it thin out. If cinnamon could possibly help prevent that from happening, then I am all for it as a hair care ingredient.

Do you have cinnamon in your cabinet, too?

If you are interested in the flavors cinnamon can bring to food/drinks and the possible health benefits it has, you should consider using that container you have of it up! Remember to make sure and not use too much as a little goes a long way.

What do you like to use cinnamon on/in? What is your favorite spice?

Thanks for reading!

Sources:

https://www.britannica.com/plant/cinnamon

https://www.bonappetit.com/story/types-of-cinnamon

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4466762/

#cinnamon  #spices  #kitchen #cooking  #health  #supplements #skincare #haircare

Here Is How I Get Through My Tough Workouts!

Here Is How I Get Through My Tough Workouts!

I love to workout at home. It is more “relaxed” that way. There is no waiting for equipment, having to hurry up so someone else can use the equipment, possibly getting sick from some infectious person that decided they needed to workout, having to listen to annoying people chatter etc.

Another thing I love about working out from home is the ability to turn on whatever I want for entertainment! It really helps to make my workouts successful.

If you want to know what I have used and currently use as entertainment during my exercise sessions, then read on!

Before college- magazines and music

When I first started working out on a weekly basis, I would read magazines on the cardio machines. This meant that I was not getting the best cardio work in that I could. I mean, who can read when they are doing high intensity intervals?

At that point in time, I thought steady state cardio was great for my fitness. It was extremely boring though so that is why I read magazines while doing it.

I was so naive back then!

When it came to doing weightlifting at the gym, there was only one TV and quite a few other people there. This meant that I would most likely not get a choice on what to turn on. I was at the mercy of what others wanted which always seemed to be some awful program.

Because of not liking what other people picked on the TV, I decided to just wear my Ipod on my arm and listen to a mix of songs while lifting weights.

College days-Nothing!

During my time at college, I loved going to the gym.

I was somehow able to get through my workouts with absolutely no entertainment. There was no television, no music that would be playing, no magazines and I did not feel like bringing my Ipod with me.

I got in some awesome workouts despite not having the extra boost of motivation from TV and music.

After college

When I graduated and moved back home, I started going back to the same local gym I had gone to before.

This time I was armed with the knowledge that having a great workout meant that I would not be able to read on the cardio machine I was on. Because of this, I did tough cardio sessions-keeping them short but effective.

For the weightlifting at the gym, I was used to having no entertainment. That meant I just did whatever I was going to do and left. No music and no hoping I would get a turn with the TV.

Fast forward to now

Ended up working out to this zombie movie on Netflix before making this post!

I have been working out 100% at home since I got my first house in 2012. I ended my gym membership and bought Powerblock weights (they go up to 50 pounds per hand) that I still use.

For my very first workout in my first home, I put on a show that I liked at that time (I think it was Dog The Bounty Hunter, haha!). It was really fun and I have been putting on shows during my workouts ever since!

I do not care what any one has to say about having the TV on while working out. It motivates me and I still get quality exercise sessions in each week.

When I close the door to my bedroom each night I exercise, it is my special time. I get to do something that is healthy for my body while watching things that make me happy. It is my definition of self-care.

So here is what I have been turning on lately:

  1. Monk (Amazon Prime)- This was one of my favorite shows a few years ago and I decided to start watching it again.
  2. Paternity Court (Roku channel)- The trashiness keeps me going.
  3. Golden Girls (Hulu)- I love this feel-good show!
  4. Working Moms (Netflix)- Super fun show!
  5. X-Files- Has been my favorite show since I was seven!

I will have to look through the streaming services and compile a list of other shows to watch soon!

Exercising is fun to me

Saying that might sound really weird to some, but it is true. I have figured out what makes it tolerable for me.

It is important for everyone to find ways to make exercise something they can do each week! You do not have to necessarily be excited about your workouts but at least be able to get through them and be consistent.

What do you watch/listen to when you workout?

Thanks for reading!

#exercise #fitness #homegym #weightlifting #hiit #health #netflix #hulu #amazonprime #roku

Fairywill Teeth Whitening Kit + Review

Fairywill Teeth Whitening Kit + Review

Having nice teeth is considered important to many Americans. It makes us more attractive to each other which seemingly provides us with better opportunities in life (personal and professional).

One way to have nice looking teeth is to be seen by an orthodontist and get braces to straighten them out, fix gaps and fix under/over bite issues. This is usually done to children but there are increasing amounts of adults getting them.

Another way to have what is considered nice teeth is to get them whitened. Since I already have pretty straight teeth due to having braces (for the third time), I decided to work on whitening them.

This post will provide information on the whitening kit I bought and my review of it.

Whitening teeth

Our teeth can get stained and yellow for a variety of reasons. These can include age, drinking/eating certain things, smoking, age and medications.

Because of a bright white smile being cherished in our society, people with stained teeth may feel insecure about them. They then will try to find ways to improve the shade of their teeth so that they can smile confidently.

Searching for whitening kits and services, one will find that there are no shortages of options. They include the following:

  1. Whitening strips
  2. Whitening trays
  3. Whitening toothpaste
  4. Whitening mouthwash
  5. Professional whitening services from Dentist’s offices
  6. Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide paste

Paying attention to the instructions for the products or services is important. This is so that you can get the results that you want as well as avoid the irritation that can occur.

The price for teeth whitening can range from $0(if you already have the ingredients at home)-$1000+. It is good for people to weigh their options to see what the best method for them will be.

The Fairywill Teeth Whitening Kit

This is one of the many teeth whitening options on the market that involve the use of trays. Here is an overview of the kit:

  • What is in the kit: It comes with one mouth tray, one moldable mouth tray, three 3ml whitening gel syringes, one case for a tray, one LED whitening light, a small brush for the gel, an instruction manual and a teeth shade guide strip. The LED light comes with working batteries already in it.
  • The whitening ingredient: The gel contains something called carbamide peroxide (has hydrogen peroxide at a ratio of 1:3). This ingredient provides the same results as hydrogen peroxide. The shelf life of it is longer, however.
  • How it works: The instructions state that only ¼ of a gel syringe should be used at time. You are to apply this amount of gel to the upper and lower portions of the tray. The tray should then be attached securely to the LED Light which fits on the front of it. You then put the whole tray in your mouth and turn on the light by pressing the button that is on the top of it. After wearing it, you are to rinse and brush your teeth. You are supposed to wait an hour after whitening to eat or drink anything that may cause staining.
  • Wear time: The company states that you can wear it once a day, for 30 minutes. This can be done for up to 14 days.
  • Typical words of caution: Do not use too much of the gel, watch out for irritation, do not use if you are pregnant or nursing, do not get gel in your eyes, do not swallow gel and do not use on teeth that are decayed or loose.

This kit can be found on Amazon and it goes for $25. The Fairywill company also sells whitening strips, electric toothbrushes and water flossers.

My review of the kit

My teeth are not totally yellow or anything like that, but I have undergone a slight degree of staining in the last few years.

I used to use white strips which I found to be annoying so I stopped buying them. Since then, I have just been brushing with Arm & Hammer Advance White Extreme Whitening toothpaste. This has not really whitened my teeth any, but I think it may be preventing them from getting darker.

My ideal choice for a teeth whitening method is to get it done professionally at my dentist’s office. Because of the price, it is not feasible for me. So, recently I decided to look at getting a whitening kit which is way more affordable.

The Fairywill Teeth Whitening Kit came up in my Amazon search one day.  I liked the reviews, price and the fact that it was a tray instead of strips.

So, I bought it!

I was a little overwhelmed at first upon the opening of the kit. It seemed like it was going to be complicated. Fortunately, the instructions were great and it was all very simple.  From looking at the shade guide, I was starting at around shade four.

For the first time applying the gel to the tray, I think I used a little too much. Luckily, I did not have any irritation. The instructions suggest to only start off doing 20 minutes but I went with the maximum time of 30.

After a few times of applying the gel to the tray, I decided to brush the gel directly onto my teeth. This felt easier to me (not that the other way is hard or anything!) and I thought that maybe it would work even better this way. I still put the tray in my mouth so that I could use the LED light on them though.

The tray felt comfortable each time I wore it. I did not mind it at all.

I did these whitening sessions for nine days and have now ended up at shade one! This product exceeded my expectations. I did not think it was actually going to work that well.

It has been around three weeks since those nine days of whitening and my teeth are still that same shade. On the Amazon page for it, the description says that the whiter shade will last for 90 days or more. I plan on seeing if it does and then update this post.

Highly recommended

The Fairywill Teeth Whitening Kit has proven to be a wonderful product for me. Not everyone will like it as much as I did but I would still recommend it to anyone who is looking for an affordable way to whiten their teeth.

I will be using it again the next time I feel like my teeth are getting a little stained.

What teeth whitening products do any of you guys like to use?

Thanks for reading!

Find the kit here: https://www.amazon.com/Fairywill-Whitening-Sensitive-Carbamide-Accelerated/dp/B083QH9683/ref=sr_1_15?dchild=1&keywords=fairywell+trays&qid=1596580156&sr=8-15

#teethwhitening  #beauty  #dental #teeth  #fairywill  #amazon

Black Don’t Crack? Um, Did My Face Miss That Memo?

Black Don’t Crack? Um, Did My Face Miss That Memo?

I am not aging like fine wine!

The physical aging signs are things that many people (especially women) want to stop. There is this unfortunate idea that youth equals beauty. This idea permeates our media- causing the fear of the inevitable.

Ever since I was young, I have been hearing that black people age gracefully. The prospect of this used to excite me.

So, what the hell happened?!

We are all going to age!

Factors that go into how we show our age and when:

1. Race and face structure- People of different races have different face structures. This is how we can tell each other apart. It is also how forensic scientists are able to tell what race a person was based on their skull (that was really morbid wasn’t it?)

2. Skin- Our skin is different. This is true not just in tone but also thickness and elasticity.

3. Genetics- These have a role to play in how we age. Some of us are blessed to age slowly based on inherited genes and some of us age quicker. Some of us get gray hairs early and some of us do not get any until we are 60!

4. Lifestyle- The choices we make and the things we go through during our daily lives can affect the physical aging process. Some of these lifestyle factors include diet, hydration, stress and sleep.  

Combine all these things together and you have people that age differently!

Black women and the aging process

Melanin is what makes our skin dark. The darker the skin, the more melanin. Black people tend to have a lot of a melanin.

Having a high amount of melanin protects us from some of the skin aging that is seen in people who have lighter skin tones. Because of this, it is not unheard of for black women to not develop wrinkles until around the age of 50.

Another thing that sets us apart from other races is that we have denser bones in our faces. This provides us with more structural support which also helps us to look younger for longer.

Black people do physically age though. It just looks a little different for us. Here are some common signs of aging that show up on our faces:

  1. Mottled pigmentation and hyperpigmentation- Our skin tends to get splotchy and uneven.
  2. Rough texture- Our skin tends to get rough in appearance and feel.
  3. Prominent nasolabial folds.
  4. Small degree of eyelid drooping.

My damn face

I do not feel I have received any of the delayed-aging benefits that come from having a lot of melatonin as well as dense facial bones. This could be for several reasons though. Let me give you a run-down of what is going on with my face.

  1. Lines under my eyes when smiling- These lines showed up around the age of 23.  At that time, I had considerable eye allergies that made me rub them a lot. I am thinking that rubbing was the initial cause of them, but they have gotten a little worse over the years. I have not seen other  people my age (almost 32) with them.
  2. Nasolabial folds- These folds are annoying. They showed up after I lost some baby weight and have not gone away. They make me look tired. I had gotten fillers a couple times (I hate admitting that) a few years ago, but I am unable to afford them now. To be honest, I am not quite sure if they made much of a difference anyways.
  3. Texture issues- My facial skin feels smooth but in certain areas, it does not look smooth. I think the cause is the combination of the acne I used to suffer and early aging.
  4. Hyperpigmentation- These dark spots are due to years of acne and picking. Although they are not from aging, they still are undesirable.
  5. Marionet lines- I have these lines that show up when I smile (they are worse on the left side of my face). They showed up faintly around four years ago but have deepened since I lost some fat.

So basically, I have not aged very gracefully in the face area. Maybe I just have bad genes? Who knows.

All I can do is keep applying sunscreen every two hours, try to get enough sleep each night, eat relatively healthy, work on my mental health and hopefully find some treatments for my skin issues. I guess my face will just keep aging the way it is meant to age.

It is what it is

So, I guess my black cracked. Who really cares though except for me?

Even though I am not particularly happy about how I am aging, I will not be getting fillers ever again. Nor will I ever get botox, a face lift or anything else like that. My goal is to be at peace when it comes to the physical aging process.

Thanks for reading this!

#aging  #antiaging  #skincare  #medspa #wrinkles  #beauty  #women  #over30