Mission Possible

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So I have been a little absent from my blog for awhile now. About 9 months. There are times in our lives when we have to take a step back, evaluate how we are spending our time, and make adjustments. As life got a little crazy, writing blog posts was one of the things that I had to let go of for awhile. While I love writing, it was making life a little  more hectic, and taking time away from my family. This post has been in the works since last fall, and I finally have the time to sit down and complete it. So, enjoy my thoughts on potty training my third child!

At the beginning of last summer I set out on a mission. A mission that I thought was going to be impossible, but I was determined to do my best to give it a go. Potty training my third child. The third child who up until that point would throw a fit and scream every time you would attempt to put him on or get him to sit on the potty, talk about potty training, or get out big boy underwear. Brett at the time was two-and-half. I knew that he might not be ready given his responses to the previous efforts I had made, but I also knew there was a chance that this extremely strong willed child might really be ready, that maybe he had just been expressing his strong will and independence. The ” do it on my time” attitude.

Let me just start out by saying that potty training a toddler when you are 40-years old is not what it was when you were 30-years old. Okay, I will be completely honest. Nothing I do with my toddler now that I am 40-years old is what it was when I was 30-years old with my second child. Less time, less patience, and of course, a strong willed child added to that. Sigh. Yes, here it is again. The discussion about the milestone birthday I recently had. But I digress…

Brett proud of himself on the potty!
Brett proud of himself on the potty!

My first child, Garrett, was relatively easy to potty train. In a matter of days he had the whole thing down. From the first day we started he woke up dry in the morning and at nap time, and immediately started using the potty chair. It was a piece of cake until we soon after hit a snafu with going number two on the potty, which he had mastered and then suddenly the tables turned. Getting through that was somewhat of a struggle, but the whole situation was not nearly as difficult as I had anticipated. All in all, I thought it was a breeze.

Bring on child number two, Lydia. From birth Lydia had a bit of a sassier attitude. Of the two, she was the climber, the one that got into everything, the one that pushed the limits. She wasn’t really strong willed, just determined and curious. She was not, however, determined to go on the potty. She didn’t really want to have much to do with it. She didn’t resist being put on the potty, she just wasn’t interested. I put off potty training knowing it was going to be a waste of time if I attempted it too early. We finally started potty training and… it took forever. She was certainly on her own schedule. Even once she had mastered going on the potty, she still wasn’t dry in the morning or after nap.

Enter child number three, 8 years later. And me 8 years older. Brett can certainly be considered in the class of strong willed child. I thought Lydia had determination. Oh, she had nothing on this one! If he doesn’t want to do something, it is nearly impossible to force him to. Over the past several months I had tried to slowly introduce him to the potty chair, big boy underwear, the big boy toilet. At first he would sit on the potty chair, read the book, push the buttons (oh yeah, 8 and 10 years ago the potty chair we had didn’t have buttons to push!). He seemed interested somewhat. Until I began to attempt potty training. You would have thought I was murdering the child! All of a sudden a switch flipped and he wanted absolutely nothing to do with the potty. Try to put him on the potty chair or toilet, he would scream bloody murder and fight you. Try to show him big boy underwear and he would scream “No!” and run away. I tried buying fun underwear with his favorite characters, Paw Patrol. I tried buying a fun toilet seat that you put on top of the toilet. I tried talking up the potty and being a big boy using it like Daddy, Bubby, Sissy, Papa, Nana and Mommy. Nope. None of it helped. In fact, I think it made him even more determined to not do it! I even tried bribing him with M&M’s, which is something we never allow him to eat. Nothing was working.

I finally decided that any “slow” method of potty training was not going to work with this one. Early in the summer we had a week that we didn’t have to be anywhere. So I decided this was the time. We stayed home for a week, he ran around the house nearly naked, and I put him on the potty every 30 minutes or so. We went through many accidents at first, but then it started to click. He was going pee on the potty! Hallelujah! The angels were singing! The trumpets were blaring! But… number two was still not happening. Can I tell you how tired I was of cleaning poop out of underwear or off the floor?! After the week was up, we had made great progress, but we still weren’t there. And he refused to go on a toilet outside of the house. In lieu of dealing with accidents when we weren’t home, I ended up putting him in pull ups when we had to go somewhere, which only confused him and he would just do the deed in the pull ups instead of attempt to go on the potty. While I was frustrated, I didn’t give up, and we kept plugging along. And during the process, I realized something that was even more important than potty training and getting my toddler out of diapers.

The kids at Silver Dollar City.
The kids at Silver Dollar City.
Garrett and Lydia riding kiddie rides with Brett at Silver Dollar City.
Garrett and Lydia riding kiddie rides with Brett at Silver Dollar City.

I mentioned earlier my two older children. They are now 14 and 11. So, there is quite an age gap between them and Brett. They have always been very helpful with him, love to play with him, and seem to really care about him. But the potty training was what really showed me just how much these two care about their little brother. They encouraged him, they helped to praise him, they would sit with him while he used the potty. They even helped to clean him up after we finally started going number two on the potty. They were completely involved in the effort, wanting him to succeed, wanting to help, wanting to show him love and praise. That was the moment that it occurred to me just how lucky we are. As a parent I am so lucky to have three amazing children. Lucky that the older two are good kids. Blessed that the older two have adjusted well to our blended family. But most importantly, I realized just how lucky my kids are. Brett gets to grow up with an older brother and sister who love him from the bottom of their hearts, who want to be supportive of him, who want to be there for him, who want to teach him. And the older two kids? Well they get to grow up knowing that they are doing all of these things for their little brother. That they are a part of him, and molding who he becomes. They get to carry the satisfaction of being a role model for their little brother.

G and B
Garrett playing in the snow with Brett.

There are many times that I feel guilty. I feel bad for both my toddler and my older two children. There are times that it isn’t fair. It’s difficult to have a toddler and teenagers, and keep them all involved and happy with activities. It’s difficult to find things that all three of them will enjoy. There are times that Brett has to sacrifice while he sits and watches Bubby and Sissy play sports or attend practices. There are times that Brett can’t go do the things they do because he is just too little. There are times he is upset because they are not home. And the big kids have to make sacrifices too. Now that Brett is getting older they have to sit through his activities. They get drug along to things he will enjoy like bounce houses and the zoo. There are times when they don’t get to do the things they would rather do, or go the places they would prefer to go. But you know what? They all understand and accept the fact that we are a family, and there are times when we have to make sacrifices so that our family members can enjoy life too. All in all, I think each of them will grow up a better person for it. More well rounded, more understanding, more accepting. And as as a parent, it is teaching us to remember that phrase that my parents engrained in my head. Life isn’t always fair. But guess what, in the end, it is. They all get their fair share of fun and age appropriate activities. They each get our affection and our time in different ways and at different moments. It evens out in the end. It can be challenging, but clearly we are doing something right when we see just how much the older children care about their little brother.

Lydia playing with Brett in a bounce house.
Lydia playing with Brett in a bounce house.

And as for the potty training, my mom reminded me in September, that it really didn’t take that long to have Brett fully potty trained in spite of how long it SEEMED. I really wasn’t cleaning up poop forever. Once again, mom is right!

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Memorial Day. Celebration or time of remembrance?

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Memorial Day Post Graphic

For many Memorial Day is just another  holiday. Another day off work. Another excuse to get together with friends and BBQ. Another chance to go to the lake and live it up. But for many it is not a time of celebration. It’s a time of sadness as they remember loved ones lost who gave their life as the ultimate sacrifice serving our country.

Memorial Day began as “Decoration Day” after the American Civil War. It began as a way to decorate the graves of the fallen Union soldiers with flowers, and remember the sacrifice they gave. Over time the holiday merged with a Confederate holiday tradition observed on a different day, and became known as Memorial Day.

Growing up I only knew the holiday as Memorial Day. My family had no specific traditions that had been carried on to honor fallen veterans. Like many, it was just a time we spent at the lake with friends and family. As I grew older I was exposed to a celebration that my now ex-husbands family referred to as Decoration. It seemed so strange to me. They gathered at a country cemetery, placed flowers on graves of lost family members, stood around the graves talking, and then had a pot luck lunch right outside the cemetery gates. At first I just chalked it up to being a “country” thing. I never knew anyone that celebrated it in that manner. After participating in this event several years, and becoming an adult, I began to realize the importance behind the real holiday. What I once thought seemed so odd became something I respected and now understood. (However I still think it’s strange to eat lunch right outside the cemetery gates!)

As time has gone on and I have gotten older, the holiday has come to mean more to me. While I personally have not lost a loved one that served in the military, I have close friends who have. I now understand the sacrifice made by our US military, as well as their families. I have seen the struggles families go through while their loved ones are deployed. I see the pain and heartache of close friends who lost a loved one while serving our country, giving the ultimate sacrifice. For those who lost loved ones, this holiday can be very bittersweet. It’s a nice time to remember their loved one, but it can be a time of sadness also, thinking about the great loss in their life. For many, the loss was of a life way too young. A life that really had just begun. A life that was dedicated to serving our country and protecting our freedoms.

As you celebrate Memorial Day this year, take time to think about what it’s really all about. Take time to think about the wives, husbands, parents, siblings, children who lost a loved one serving our country, protecting our freedoms. Think about the sacrifice those veterans made, and the sacrifice their survivors make every day of their lives.

Decoration Day, Memorial Day, whatever you choose to call it, remember that it’s not just a holiday. It’s a time to remember.

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Motherhood. The Toughest Job In The World.

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Motherhood. It’s not just a title. It’s a job. And a very important one at that. It is one of the most rewarding, yet toughest jobs all at the same time. And it’s a job that requires full time attention 24 hours a day. There are no breaks or sick days.

Motherhood is one of the most important things many women do in their lives. Not only do we have to care for every aspect of our children’s lives, we have to teach, shape, and mold them to become caring, giving, loving, productive adults. We have to guide them down a path for their future. And I learned from the very best. My mom taught me, and still teaches me, everything I could have asked for. She has been a wonderful guidance in my life, supporting me through every decision I have made in my life. She’s been a rock and a cheerleader.

Mom Kids SDC
My mom and I with my children at Silver Dollar City this Spring.

 

Because motherhood is so important, it can be very rewarding. From seeing your baby take their first steps and say their first words, to seeing your teenager excelling in sports and school. After a long difficult day, a hug from your child, tucking them in at night, checking in on them before you go to bed seeing them asleep. Those are the moments that make motherhood worth every sacrifice. Among all of the duties that we perform as a mother, being a cheerleader is one of the very most rewarding. Seeing your child grow into an adult, following their dreams and pursuing their passions, and cheering for them every step of the way. That is the best part of the job!

I’m not going to lie, just like anything else in life, with rewards also come difficulties, and challenges. Being everything to a child doesn’t come easy. As a mother we are a nurse, teacher, taxi service, chef, maid, counselor, coach, finance manager, bank, caregiver, listener. We get to hear about the good stuff as well as the bad stuff, and console our children when they hit bumps in the road, using them as teaching experiences. We also get to experience the good stuff and the bad stuff when they do as they are asked, and when they begin testing the waters and becoming defiant teenagers. As parents we typically see the best and the worst of our children. Who else would they be more comfortable with letting down their guard and vulnerability. Some children are easy to raise, others are much more difficult. Some children never get into trouble, others are constantly in trouble. Some children require more attention and emotional availability than others. Some children require more guidance and more hand holding than others. Being a mother can be more difficult than any other job in the world. Trying to figure out our children, their needs, their abilities, what drives them, how to deal with their personalities. Let’s be honest, every mother has had her share of days that she just wants to throw her hands in the air and be done, or sit down and have a good cry. It comes with the territory. We are EVERYTHING to our children. And it takes a lot of you to be EVERYTHING.

Mom Baking
My mom helping my children with our annual Christmas Cookie baking.

 

Being a mother is tough enough with a partner or spouse along your side to help guide, shape, mold, and care for your children. But doing it alone is even more challenging, and more exhausting. I’ve been there. Although for a brief period of time in comparison, I was a single mom. I get it. Whether you are a single mom with an ex spouse in the picture, or a single mom with no prior spouse in the picture, it’s tough. Several of my dearest friends are single parents, and I have seen their rewards as well as their challenges and struggles. They each are a single parent for different reasons, and each have different struggles due to their individual situations.  I have heard the praises and the laughs, and I have also heard the fear and the tears. Being a single mom takes on a completely different level of parenting, and fear. Fear that you aren’t able to be EVERYTHING to your child. That you aren’t able to be good enough, strong enough, make the right decisions. But I can tell you that each one of these women that I know is a fantastic parent. Their children are their world, and they would each sacrifice EVERYTHING for them. Whether they realize it or not, they are EVERYTHING and are doing EVERYTHING as best they can. So today, and on this Mother’s Day weekend, I want to honor my dear friends who are single moms. I want to tell them that they are doing a great job and raising wonderful children. I want to tell them that they are loved dearly. If you know a single mom out there, take time this weekend to tell her how important she is. To tell her “Happy Mother’s Day”.  Wishing my friends, and all the single mother’s out there, a wonderful weekend. Happy Mother’s Day!

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That’s What She Says

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In a few short months I will be having a milestone birthday. As much as I hate to admit it, I will be turning 40. This wonderful upcoming event sparked a conversation between my husband and I not too long ago.

We were sitting at the table eating breakfast and out of the blue he said “So what do you want to do for your birthday?” My first response was “I don’t know.” Then I quickly followed that up with “Put me on a tropical beach somewhere with a drink in my hand, no screaming kids, no chores, no cooking, no responsibilities.” I think he thought I was joking. But seriously. That would be my wish. I am in desperate need of a kid free vacation and time to refresh myself. That being said, it won’t happen since we have a toddler in the mix.

While Jeff seemed to move past my real answer to the question he posed, he quickly moved to pose a new question wanting to know why women say one thing, but really mean another. As in husband asking wife what she wants to do for her 40th birthday, wife saying nothing, wife secretly wanting husband to throw an elaborate surprise party, husband not being able to read wife’s mind. (I am not referring to myself here, just giving an example of his point!)

That question got me to thinking. He’s right you know, often times women do not say what they really want or are thinking, even when our husband’s ask us. Why is this? I began to ponder over the question. This is MY take on it, for what that’s worth!

Laura Jeff Fall 2012 Photo Cropped

First of all, we all know that there are proven communication differences and thought processes between men and women. But, I believe that deep down women don’t want to have to tell their husband, partner, significant other, what exactly it is that they want! I think that women want to feel that their partner has taken the time to think about them enough and come up with an idea all on their own, not be told what they should do for a special occasion, or any day. They want their partner to be romantic. Women want to feel appreciated and special. It isn’t the same if we say “Hey, I’d really like you to throw me a surprise party for my birthday.” compared to them coming up with the idea and planning it on their own.  What’s so romantic about that?! Women tend to be more emotional beings, and have different emotional needs than men do. Maybe that’s why we want things to be more romanticized than men?

But then I started thinking about my husband. Why would his thoughts be any differently when the tables are turned? Why wouldn’t he want to feel appreciated and special, and know that I took the effort to think about and plan something nice just for him? Wouldn’t that fulfill the same needs that it fulfills for women? Maybe it does. But maybe men just don’t voice their feelings like women do.

Our lives get so busy anymore. Work commitments, family commitments, too many activities for kids. We meet ourselves coming and going unlike the generations before us. Maybe both men and women need to take more time to think about their partner, and do something nice for them. Maybe we all need to slow down just a little and appreciate our loved ones. That being said, I know that it is easier said than done in the now crazy busy world that we live in. Maybe women just need to tell their partner what it is they really want instead of hoping that they can read our minds…

So, as my 40th birthday approaches, I don’t want anything special, I don’t want a big deal made out of my birthday. Okay, maybe deep down I really do… Maybe, just maybe, a little something special will make turning 40 a little easier!Signature Graphic

 

Teach Them Young

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Back in the day when I was kid, in the dark ages when you had to trek 10 miles to school uphill in the snow and rain… (My kids seem to think I’m that old!), kids worked almost as soon as they were able to. In my case, I had my first real job at the young age of 13 working for a family friend in their local pharmacy (and had work responsibilities that would be a complete no no by today’s laws and standards, but things weren’t what they are today back then!). It was an easy job, but nonetheless, I had a job, responsibility, and began earning money at a very young age. My parents taught me the value of hard work and earning an honest living. There was no laziness in the household that I grew up in with a father as Executive Vice President of the hometown bank, and a mother who was a teacher and a woman full of an enormous amount of energy! My parents both worked hard and earned every dime they made. And when they weren’t at work, they still worked hard. We owned a small apartment complex and there was no lack of chores to be done to keep it up. And my mom, well, the woman couldn’t, and still can’t, hardly sit still! I can tell you that she rarely ever sat down to watch television.

All this hard work certainly rubbed off on me. I have never been one that anyone could call lazy. I guess I’m sort of like my mom, but probably not quite as extreme. I do enjoy sitting down after the kids go to bed to watch some mindless television after a busy day! My parents instilled the values of hard work and responsibility, giving my brother and I both chores to do. And when we were kids, video games and technology were just on the horizon, nothing like they are today. We played outside, made up games, rode our bikes. My how times have changed.

I get so frustrated trying to figure out how to deal with all of the technology in our kids lives now. Part of it is a parenting fail on my part. With a busy life and three kids, sometimes I attempt to implement rules and then I’m not always good at following through with them. Sigh. I know, I have to be better, but now my oldest is 13, and ALL he wants to do is play video games. It’s hard for me to understand when I never was a video game player. It’s like pulling teeth to get him off the XBox and do anything else, especially go outside. Don’t get me wrong, he loves sports, and plays on club basketball and soccer teams. However, when he isn’t at practice or a game, he doesn’t seem to have any desire to put effort into practicing and working on ball handling and foot skills so he can continue to get better. There doesn’t seem to be much drive for anything else. And that really concerns me. While some people have successful jobs in the technology industry, they are few and far between.

While I have the kids do certain chores, this is also something I know that I have not succeeded in with parenting. I tend to want to just do things myself, get them done quicker and the way I want them done, rather than have the kids do them and take more time and effort. Yeah, I know. My husband has a favorite saying “To do too much is to do too little.” And I know it is so true. I’m working on having them do more chores, but it’s kind of hard to let go!

Don’t get me wrong. I really can’t complain. Garrett is by no means a problem child. He is not a trouble maker, he has never once been sent to the principal’s office, he is not defiant, he does very well in school. He just really loves to play video games.

All this being said, I am not a lazy person. I am busy busy constantly. I rarely sit down to enjoy myself and relax. But somehow along the way, I feel that I have failed as a parent in teaching my 13 and 10-year olds the value of work ethic and responsibility. While they see me involved in every aspect of our daily lives, and in every house project along side my husband, they see that I am a hard worker. I am not afraid to pick up a tool to help on a project, to cut down brush, to plant landscaping, to paint. But I feel that I have failed to instill that value in them. Clearly I have done too much for too many years.

Garrett Ref Graphic

 

But this year we have somewhat of a milestone. My 13-year old son decided on his own that he wanted to join the “work force”. At 12 years old children can work as a soccer referee if parents sign a work release. Heck yeah! I will absolutely support that request! Anything to get him involved and off the video games! He attended 16 hours of training in one weekend, passed the test, and voila. He’s now an official US Soccer Referee! But that was just the first step. He was very proud of himself for passing the test, as he should be.

Now came the hard part though. The night before he was schedule to referee his first set of games, he started getting a little nervous. He asked if he had to go. Of course I said yes, that this was something he wanted to do and had committed to the games for the weekend. (Not to mention the cost involved including $75 for a ref uniform and equipment and $65 for the training class.) We got there and he seemed a little nervous, to be expected. You see, Garrett is just like me. He’s always been more sensitive, emotional, and anxious. At times it can be very challenging, he doesn’t want to ever step out of his comfort zone. The first game he was pretty timid in his handling of calls and his flag. But after the main referee talked to him and helped him a little, he quickly came out of his shell, had quick call responses, and much better movements with his flag. This was a huge thing for him. I quickly realized that this “job” was going to do so much more for Garrett than just provide a paycheck or help instill a value of work ethic. This job is going to give him necessary skills for life. It is going to force him to step out of his comfort zone and talk to adults and people he doesn’t know. It is going to force him to be sure about decisions and voice those decisions promptly. It is going to put him in an uncomfortable spot sometimes when parents on the side lines don’t agree with calls and hassle the assistant referees. It is going to teach him that he CAN do things he doesn’t think he can. It is going to give him some much needed responsibility. And of course, it is going to keep him off of video games for a little while each weekend. I fully believe that this first “job” is going to be a huge stepping stone for Garrett. When he is on the field in his referee uniform, he is all business. He takes it very seriously, even when parents on the sidelines are hassling him.

Garrett First Day Ref Grahic

I have to say, I am very proud of him for deciding on his own this is something he wanted to do. He is typically pretty timid. I am proud of him for stepping out of his comfort zone, and for taking on this responsibility. And seriously. There aren’t many jobs where kids, especially this age, can do something they enjoy, and get paid really well for the time they put in! So, we are trying to teach him young about the value of hard work, and with that, the value of each dollar earned. Both of my older children are great about putting money in their savings accounts and not just spending it quickly. I hope that this experience is just the stepping stone for instilling these values.

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DIY Hand Sanitizer Spray

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I don’t know about you, but I am ready for summer to be here! Bring on the sunshine and warmer weather! Enough of the cold, rainy days that we have had of late. Thinking about sun, warm weather, and days spent outside, I am in the midst of preparing some of my favorite summer time must haves, all made with simple and natural ingredients and containing essential oils. This will be the first post in a series of some of my favorite summer time DIY recipes.

When preparing recipes with essential oils to use for my family, I always look at other available recipes that are abundant on the internet these days (thank you Pinterest), as well as the properties that various essential oils contain, to come up with just the right combination that works for me. These recipes are things I have personally used and like, but you may prefer a different combination or amount of essential oils to create a different effect.

I am not a doctor (and I don’t play one on TV either). I have no medical training whatsoever. I am just a person seeking more natural options, and an avid user of essential oils who has researched a lot of the properties that various oils have. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA should not take the place of diagnosis, treatment, and advice from a licensed medical practitioner.

I only recommend and use Young Living Essential Oils for my family and in all of my essential oil recipes for their 100% pure, therapeutic grade quality and Seed to Seal guarantee. To find out more about Young Living Essential Oils visit my Young Living website. For more information on essential oils basics and how to use them, visit the Essential Oils tab on this blog.

Now, on to the good stuff!

Hand Santizing Spray PLRL

Hand Sanitizer Spray

Hand sanitizer is something I carry in my purse with me at all times. You just never know when your little ones, or yourself, when get into something grimey. I also use this to clean tables and high chairs in restaurants before my little guy sits down just to make sure he doesn’t pick up any nasty stuff.

I particularly like this recipe because it doesn’t contain alcohol, and is therefore not overly drying to the hands. The aloe vera gel helps with this as well, and also provides a base for the essential oils to mix better with.

Witch Hazel is the main ingredient, as is in many of the DIY health and beauty recipes that I use. If you don’t have Witch Hazel on hand, it’s a must have for any first aid cabinet or beauty regimen. Witch Hazel is distilled from the leaves, bark, and twigs of the Witch Hazel (or Hamamelis Virginiana Linné) plant. Like essential oils, Witch Hazel has been around for a very long time. Witch Hazel has many uses, I like to use it in sanitizing spray because of it’s astringent properties and ability to sanitize and kill bacteria.

Why did I choose these particular essential oils? Thieves oil blend is a no-brainer when it comes to cleaning and sanitizing. A study performed by Weber State University in 1997 proved that Thieves is effective in killing 99% of airborne bacteria. Lemon essential oil (d-limonene) was studied for it’s antibacterial activity in 2000 with a number of other essential oils (many of which are in the Thieves oil blend). The study showed that all of the oils studied exhibited antibacterial activity. In addition to the fantastic properties that both of these oils contain, they smell great too! No chemical or alcohol smell when you use these little gems!

So there you have it!

To make Hand Sanitizer Spray combine the following ingredients in an 4 oz. glass bottle:

  • 2 tsp. aloe vera gel
  • 2 oz. Witch Hazel
  • 25 drops Thieves essential oil blend
  • 10 drops Lemon essential oil
  • Fill remainder of bottle with distilled water

Shake and spray hands and surfaces liberally.

I hope you enjoy this Hand Santizer Spray as much as my family and I do. Let me know what you think of it!

Closing

Lichen Sclerosus – There IS Hope

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I have struggled for awhile whether or not to write a post about my experience with an auto immune skin disease, Lichen Sclerosus. The disease is very personal, and not something people really want to talk about with friends, let alone strangers. But given that I have found some ways that helped me deal with the disease outside of the normal treatment that my doctor prescribed, I felt led to share my story in hopes that it might help someone else who has the same condition. So putting embarrassment and selfishness aside, I am putting this vulnerable part of me out there. If even just one person finds hope and help for the same disease, then it will be worth it. It made me realize that I have an opportunity to reach out to so many people who have had no hope from this embarrassing and painful disease.

Hand Heart

First of all, I am not a doctor (and I don’t play one on TV either). I have no medical training whatsoever. I am just a person seeking more natural options, and an avid user of essential oils and natural options, who has researched Lichen Sclerosus and a lot of the properties that various oils have. These statements should not take the place of diagnosis, treatment, and advice from a licensed medical practitioner. I do not advocate that you not listen to your doctor. I do however advocate that you listen to your body. Only YOU know when something isn’t right, and when something is not working for your body.

That being said, I didn’t initially listen to my body. I discounted the symptoms I was having until it got to the point that I knew something wasn’t right, and I was in severe pain and discomfort, with visible signs of the disease. Looking back on it now, I think I likely had the condition for a number of years, but I chalked the symptoms I was having up to other things, not realizing that they were all related. For years I suffered with chronic infections, severe itching, change in color of the skin, and bruising in the area. Finally one day the symptoms were so severe that I couldn’t take it anymore, and I knew that something wasn’t right. I made an emergency appointment with my gynecologist praying that she could tell me what was going on, and give me something that would to relieve the miserable symptoms that I was having.

At 39 I was diagnosed by my gynecologist with Lichen Sclerosus (LS). Haven’t heard of it? No surprise. It is not a commonly diagnosed condition, the medical community doesn’t know a whole lot about it, and if someone you know has it, they likely don’t talk about it. Lichen Sclerosus is thought to be an auto-immune disease (in my opinion because they can’t seem to figure out exactly WHAT causes it), it can affect the skin on any part of the body, however, the most common location is, well, “down there”. Say what?! Yes, you know, the location on our body that people don’t often talk openly about. Especially if there is a problem! The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases has some basic information regarding the disease on their website. At this time there is no known cause for the disease, and no known cure. The disease is not contagious. It has been thought to be irreversible. As Lichen Sclerosus progresses it causes severe itching, the affected skin to have white patches which continue to get larger as the disease progresses, the skin begins to either thin or become thickened, and at more progressive stages parts of the skin can begin to close in on itself and fuse together as well as become atrophied. Sounds great doesn’t it? Especially when “down there” is the affected area. The pictures you see online of the progressed disease are terrifying, especially when you are young. By the way, did I mention that once the symptoms appear, the damage it causes is thought to be irreversible? Yes. Irreversible. So when skin “down there” begins to fuse together, doctors do not believe it will ever unfuse. A great outlook for a 39-year old! You can only imagine all of the ways that this disease can affect a fairly young individual, especially when “down there” is rapidly becoming different, and painful, and fusing together.

Treatment for the condition generally consists of topical steroid creams, hormone creams, and other prescription creams depending on the severity and symptoms of the condition. As normal protocol, my doctor began a treatment of topical steroid and hormone creams. I was hesitant because of the side effects of prolonged use of both, however, I didn’t know what else to do. I tried looking it up online and found information about the disease, but at the time no other treatments that seemed to really be effective. I found some information that noted that some people find relief for some symptoms, such as the itching, by using emu oil and some essential oils. I continued to use the prescription topical creams prescribed by my doctor. After months of use, the condition and symptoms did nothing but worsen. I was very uncomfortable all the time. Aside from not helping, the months of use of the steroid cream was causing the side effects that I was concerned about. The skin was beginning to thin to the point that it would tear, split, and bleed easily.

I was at my wits end. No known cure, irreversible very uncomfortable symptoms, and no treatment my doctor could recommend that seemed to work. What should I do?! I decided to turn to natural options and essential oils and see if they would help. I mean, I had nothing to lose right?! Nothing else was working. So I wrapped my head around the knowledge I have gained about essential oils, and set out to do further research on essential and natural oils that might help the symptoms, thinking about what the prescribed treatments were supposed to do. I have to admit, although I had been using essential oils for many things on myself, my children, and my pets for nearly two years, using them “down there” still seemed a little out there.

One month prior to a scheduled follow up appointment with my doctor I quit using the prescribed topical creams altogether, and began my own regimen of natural and essential oils. Yeah I know, crazy. But again, what did I have to lose? I blended a small amount of the formulation that I thought would MAYBE help. If nothing else, MAYBE give me just a little relief. I selected oils based on the main symptoms I was having, my knowledge of what the medications that had been prescribed do, and information available on what oils would provide benefits for the symptoms and healthy skin. I applied the mixture several times a day the first two weeks when the affected area was itching badly, then began applying it less frequently.

LifeWorks Skin Essentials Restore Natural Oil Blend
LifeWorks Skin Essentials Restore Natural Oil Blend

 

It seemed to me that the affected area “down there” was looking better, and it certainly was feeling better. But the real test would be what my doctor would have to say. During my appointment I informed my doctor that I had stopped the use of the prescribed medications and began an essential oil regimen. I just knew she would think I was crazy. (I know the nurse did when I could hear her conversation outside the closed exam room door!) Much to my surprise my doctor didn’t . She personally uses essential oils herself for occasional headaches and respiratory issues for her family. But now for the real test. The examination of the affected area. My doctor was literally shocked. She told me that the area that had turned white was now almost no longer white and had begun to turn back to a normal pink color. The skin that had become very thick was beginning to thin back out. And most importantly, the skin that had begun to close in and fuse, yes “down there”, well it was beginning to reverse and “unfuse” itself. While that is what it had appeared to me, it was a completely different thing altogether to hear my doctor say it! She was amazed at the outcome in just one month of usage.

LS Visit Note

So where did this leave us? My doctor stated that she is actually going to begin recommending this treatment to her severe patients with the same condition. And, on my visit note she actually noted to “continue with current essential oil regimen”. Yes. Seriously. She actually put that in my medical file. If you know much about doctors, you know that typically they stick to proven medical based treatments and recommendations.

To me, this was huge! Not only had I found a natural way to help myself deal with a very uncomfortable disease, but it was actually reversing symptoms that are thought to be irreversible! And, by finding natural means of treating the disease, I am now able to avoid all of the dreaded side effects of the typically recommended protocol. I have to admit, I left the doctors office elated for many reasons. Most of all, I now had hope. Hope that a disease that I was told would only continue to worsen, was now getting better. Hope that there is validity (in my experience) to using essential oils and other natural and alternative options. Hope that I might be able to give someone else in the same shoes hope. And if you have been in these shoes, you know that hope is not something most people with this disease have about it.

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After such success personally with the formulation, I set out to share the recipe through this blog post and online support groups, only to find that the support groups would not allow anything that was not a proven medical treatment to be discussed. I was removed from several groups just for trying to share my experience, and what had worked for me. Many people began to contact me wanting to know what I had used. I soon began to realize that there was a great need for the formulation that I had created to help ease the symptoms of this condition. Initially I shared the recipe right here on this blog post. At the time I was a distributor for an Essential Oil company, and the company soon sent me a letter requesting that I remove the information from this post because I was making a recommendation that treated a medical condition, and I was not a medical practitioner. So I set out to go through the process of starting a business through which I could produce the formulation, and be able to get it in the hands of others that suffered from the same condition. And with that LifeWorks Skin Essentials was born. Now you can purchase the formulation that I personally developed and used with such success, our Restore Natural Oil Blend. This blend was specially formulated with pure and natural ingredients and 100% pure therapeutic grade essential oils that have been proven to help heal, restore, and regenerate the skin and support healthy skin and the symptoms associated with Lichen Sclerosus. Visit our website LifeWorks Skin Essentials for more information on the company and the product. We hope to hear from you soon!

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These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure disease. Please seek advice from a licensed medical practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions and inform your medical practitioner of any supplements or natural products that you are using.