Thursday, November 10, 2011


Actually, we're not. But I find this very funny and thought I'd put it here while I'm on vacation. I plan on a big internet withrawal for more than two weeks, so I will not be reading blogs nor making comments for a bit. I'll still be thinking of everyone going through the pain of miscarriage/infertility, and wishing everyone happiness in spite of their burdens.

See you soon!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The very long post on Eczema and Acne

I talked briefly about my skin problems in my last post, and felt like elaborating a bit.

When I was a little girl, my mother had a drawer full of make up. I always thought I'd have a drawer like hers when I grew up. Instead, my drawer is filled up to the brim with ointments and creams.

My skin problems have been described as psoriasis, dermatitis or simply a rash, but most doctors I've seen think it is eczema or dermatitis. One doctor performed a patch test, which consists of going without a shower for five days while your back is covered with 70 itchy patches of many different substances. The conclusion from that test was that I should avoid perfumes. But other factors trigger rashes on different parts of my body.
  • Sweat accumulation: This is the main cause of rashes on my armpits, my underarms, my eyelids, behind my knees, under my rings (including my wedding ring) and under my breasts. On hot, humid days, it might appear wherever an elastic band was in contact with my skin.
  • Friction. This comes from exercise and certain sports clothes. A  few bras have also caused it, and I also get it and around my eyes if I've been rubbing them. Wearing bracelets and necklaces is also an issue. 
  • Dryness: This is the main cause of eczema on my hands, which get washed many times per day, as it should be. Sometimes in Winter, when the air gets very dry, I get it also on my face.
  • Perfumes and perfumed lotions. These give me a rash that is very itchy and swells a lot, making me look like a puff fish.
I respond very well to corticoid ointments and creams. I have also had some success with coal tar ointments. As for over the counter stuff, I use Gold Bond to prevent itch, and witch hazel extract to treat swollen or broken skin.

About the acne, well, it is one of the symptoms of  PCOS. It started in my teens and it has not stopped to this date. I get it on my face, back and neck. Keeping my skin clean and staying on a low carb diet helps me keep it under control, but the best remedy is birth control pills. Witch hazel reduces the inflammation.  I apply an antibiotic cream directly on the breakouts. Regular over the counter stuff, especially benzoyl peroxide, gives me eczema.

This post makes it sound like this all sucks, but it doesn't. I am very used to it all: showering everyday and also after exercising (like everyone else, I guess), blotting instead of rubbing myself dry with a towel, applying ointments when needed, wearing jewelry and make-up only on special occasions, throwing away brand new bras that turned out to be itchy, washing my face before going to bed, and only using hypoallergenic AND non-comedogenic products, especially on  my face. When I want to use perfume, I apply it to my hairbrush, not to my skin. It all sounds harder than it actually is.

The only thing that sucks right now is that I have not had a manicure in two years, and it is looking like I will not get one until Winter is over. Oh well.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Know your own limits

Those are very wise words, but I did not take heed for many years. It is never too late. I am being very conscious of my limits as I pack my suitcase for a trip that includes a wedding. Here's a list:
  • Don't wear make-up for more than three hours. I often struggle with eczema. And when I am not controlling my PCOS, like now, I also get acne. The last thing you want on your face is acne AND eczema. That alone is material enough for a very long post.
  • Don't wear high heels. I have scoliosis and had a back injury at age 23. I wore a back brace for 9 months.
  • Don't lift more than 25 pounds. See above.

I guess the bride does not need to worry that I might outshine her.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Poop post II

It turns out that poop girl was an expensive hire, who boasts several letters after her name. She also hails from a faraway land where, I understand, toilets look like this:

Regardless, she has been in the US for quite some time, and she should know how to use a sitting toilet by now.

Someone must have spoken to her. Or maybe she took pity on the cleaning lady, because she is now using toilet seat covers and more or less wiping the dirty surfaces. She still does a lousy job, especially given her poor aim. I hesitated about posting this, but I felt the need to share this horrible picture. You should not click on it if you're queasy.

I decided not to raise the issue with human resources because a) I am shy and lazy, and b) we are moving and, and since she is not in my team, I will not have to worry about her anymore.

I remember how stressed out  I was in July about having to move to a different cubicle. I guess I was very depressed back then and every stupid thing made me freak out.

Now we are moving everything in the lab to an entirely different building, and I could not be happier.