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Thursday, March 19, 2015

My Experience with HPV

I'm 20 years old.

After my annual smear test last year, I tested positive for high-risk HPV, and had no idea what that meant, or why my mum was so scared for me. 

I had no symptoms, and yet I had to urgently get a biopsy done on my cervix, that also came back abnormal. That was then sent off for analysis, and we were yet again left worrying. Weeks later the results came back negative for traces of cancerous cells. Sigh of relief.

This picture was taken before getting my procedure done on 17th April 2014

I then had to get my cervix lasered for lumps and bumps, and now I have to get a smear test every 6 months for the rest of my life to ensure that I don't develop it again and get cervical cancer, or worse.

All I want in the world is to be a mum, and besides dying, not being able to conceive and carry my own children is my biggest fear. 

Not getting your smear tests done isn't worth the risk and the grief. It's not worth the higher risk of miscarriage after extensive cervical conizations (that's the laser procedure I had done, and may have to do again in the future).

It's not worth the fear and the heartache of knowing that you're going to carry this disease with you forever and know that your health is compromised forever. I am perpetually concerned that I have or am developing cancerous cells. 

I never knew anything about HPV until I had it. I got all 3 of the vaccinations, and I still got it. There are hundreds of HPV strains and the vaccines only cover four of them. 

I went from having nothing to have a threat of cervical cancer within one year. Smears are over in minutes and it can save your life.

You're supposed to get them yearly from the moment you become sexually active, and I've been getting them since I was 15. It's common procedure in Portugal, but I know in the UK and Ireland it's not like that.

Even in my case where I need to get smears done because I have HPV, I can't get one here and always have to fly home to see my doctor and get it done.

The view from my gynecologist's office... "Hi world, my vagina says hello!"

Common procedure in the UK is getting them done every 3 years after you're 25. If I had been left to wait that long, I would have developed cancer and would now either be undergoing treatment, I'd be unable to have kids, or I'd be dead.

How in the world does that make sense?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Best Lip Balm

Alright, let's keep it simple today. Carmex.

I have a really hard time with my lips. Whether it's because I don't drink enough water or because I'm just genetically doomed to have sandpaper for smackers, the bottom line is that my lips just suck.

Spring is coming, and that to me means one thing. Wind. Wind and chapped lips.

I moved to the UK in 2010 and for the past 5 years since I discovered Carmex, it's honestly the only lip balm that helps my lips stay healthy.

The only thing I have to say about this is "what the heck is with this packaging?". Bright yellow tin pot with white on red block writing? Lame.

One brilliant thing about Carmex is that it feels minty, but not in that painful stingy kind of way. Not only does the mint make you feel like it's doing something, but it also helps unclog your stuffy nose when you have a cold. I just sound like I'm lying now, right?

It heals, it moisturises my lips and it helps with stuffy noses? I'm not surprised that I've gone through about 30 of these in 5 years.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Tidy House, Tidy Mind

One of my New Years resolutions was to do better at keeping my house clean and organised. Life gets busy, I get lazy and things can get a little bit chaotic.

Monday mornings are our trash days, so I take advantage of my "lazy Sundays" to skip the laziness and just tidy up the house. 

Mondays are crazy for me with University, and nothing makes a crappy Monday morning even crappier than waking up to a messy house that I know will be messy when I get home at 8pm after a 8 hour day of non-stop lectures.. and then I'll still have to make dinner.

Sundays are perfect to clean up, since I like to stay home and get things done anyway.

I wake up and get cleaning right away. Eating right after I wake up often makes me feel nauseous and lazy for the rest of the day, so I use those 30 minutes to get my living room looking tidy for the day, which will make me feel better overall.

1. Open all windows and air out the house
2. Collect any and all trash that's lying around, and get Ollie to take them downstairs
3. Wipe down kitchen counters, stove and tables
4. Hoover the lounge, corridor and bedroom carpet

Then I can sit down to eat, as I'm doing right now as I'm eating my Lucky Charms (an obscene £5 at Tesco, but I couldn't help myself yesterday).

Once Ollie and I are done with breakfast, I'll grab our plates and cutlery and throw them into the dishwasher with last night's crap... Turn on, and walk away.

At this point there's usually a huge pile of clothes on our bed (because I picked them up from the floor when hoovering)... so I'll sort them into colour piles, and start laundry.

Our washing machine takes a long time, so I get a good hour break in between each load to do whatever it is I feel like (after making the bed, wiping down mirrors, the toilet, bath and/or mopping the bathroom floor, washing my face, cleaning my make-up brushes and getting dressed... yikes). 

Today I'd like to be playing Sims 4, but I actually have an important presentation at Uni tomorrow.. so I have to get that done first.


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate Review

For a few years now, there has been a lot of hype around the Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate. However, retailing at £36, it's not exactly something you want to spend your money on unless it works.

I purchased this product exactly one week ago and decided to give it a test run for the first week. I didn't change anything about my skincare routine, besides adding 3 drops of the concentrate to my face before bed every night.

All pictures were taken in the morning, after showering and/or cleansing. They are completely unedited, besides the watermark, of course.

* Everybody's skin is different. Even if we have the same skin type, the same products may result differently.

I hate to say that my first week of experience with the product was rather underwhelming. Although the product smells and feels great, I went from having slightly blemished skin, to having a pretty bad breakout.

Throughout the week I have had five painful under-the-skin spots on my forehead and bottom of my chin. There are both areas where I tend to break out anyway, but considering I am not expecting any hormonal spots, I haven't changed my diet, nor have I changed up any other products in my routine that were previously keeping my skin bearable, I can't help but say that I am not impressed with the concentrate.

My initial impression of it isn't the most positive, but I will continue to use it every night and I will be taking weekly pictures for the rest of the month and make up my mind about this product.

I will catch up with you later and update you on whether I will be keeping this product, or passing it onto a friend or family member who will love and use it more than myself.
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