Archive for Life

My Daughter Is Pulling Her Hair Out

I’ve been sitting on this post for months. Going between wanting to write it and share it and wanting to keep it secret. I can’t keep it a secret anymore, and I feel like I have to share, in case other moms are going through the same thing. This post was hard for me to write.

My daughter is pulling out her hair.

Not just a strand here, and a strand there. No. She’s pulling it out by the handful. Clumps of hair. Every morning I find what can only be described as hairballs in her crib, stuck to her jammies, wrapped around her bottle. Sometimes she hands them to me and says “ewww, gwoss hair”  Other times I find them and sigh, and she makes a sad face as if to say “I’m sorry momma, I’ll try harder.”

My daughter is pulling out her hair.

We’ve taken her to the doctor for this (twice) but there isn’t really anything they can do to stop it, since it seems to be her way of coping with any stress in her life, and once she starts, she doesn’t know how to stop.

 

She used to have so much hair...
She used to have so much hair…
So. Much
So. Much
And then….
My daughter started pulling her hair out. 
It was so thin...
It was so thin…Hair clips wouldn’t stay in anymore
It became impossible to "hide" it....
It became impossible to “hide” it….

My daughter is pulling her hair out.

It started back in September. I found a few little balls of hair stuck to her blanket and thought they had come from the dryer or something. Then I noticed one in her carseat, and it was soggy. She’d had it in her mouth. Then, while shopping in Target, I witnessed the pulling. She pulled out handfuls of hair (4 to be exact) right in the front of the store. I was so upset, and so embarrassed as people walked by, watching. I begged her to stop. I held her hands to her lap and she just laughed, and then i called her pediatrician. We went right over to see him.

His diagnosis? Cradle Cap. Eczema. He believed that her head was itchy and that she was pulling because she didn’t know to scratch. I knew in my heart he was wrong, but wanted so badly to believe him, to believe that there was an easy fix to this. I went home and treated her scalp. The (tiny amount) of cradle cap cleared up quickly and I prayed that was the end of it.

It wasn’t. She continued to pull for a week or two more.

Oily cradle cap treatments became our "thing"
Oily cradle cap treatments became our “thing”
And then it did stop. I forgot about it. Her hair started to grow back in. I could feel the stubble when I kissed her little head. I was relieved and thought that chapter in our book of life was over. A short, but dramatic chapter.
It started growing back!
It started growing back!

I was wrong.

My daughter is pulling her hair out.

It started again after Christmas. Our Christmas in New York was a bit….traumatic…for Avery. She had multiple (what I call) panic attacks (and our pedi calls tantrums) they aren’t tantrums. These “attacks” start with something really terrifying Avery, and result in hyperventilating, screams, digging her fingers in to my flesh, and not being able to soothe. At Christmas a few things happened that sent her into this spin. (Note: These attacks are extremely rare. She’s only had them 3 other times in her life, and that day she had no less than 4. Her tantrums are a daily occurrence, and are a completely different beast) Anyway…the hair pulling started up again when we got home, and has continued.

thinning hair toddler pulling out hair bald

My daughter is still pulling out her hair.

I’m constantly asked “Is her hair getting lighter?  Did you cut it?  It looks different”

“No….she’s…uhm…pulling her hair out….”

What do I do?

We started putting mittens on her hands at bedtime. She would get excited and say “Yay! Mittens!!” but they are always off when she wakes in the morning, and the tell-tale hairball is not far from her tiny hands. How do you teach a toddler not to pull their hair to soothe?  This isn’t like taking away a pacifier….you can’t take away their hair (well, you CAN shave their heads, but we have no desire to go that route at this juncture) We say “No pulling” and on the extremely rare occasions that we find her crib hairball free in the morning I jump up and down and shout “Hooray!! No Hair!!! YAY! Good job!” she gets excited and claps, “No hair!”

My daughter is pulling her hair out.

And I don’t know how to stop it.

Neither do her doctors.

I’m told that she “should” grow out of it by 3…or 5… I’d like it to stop. Now. Tonight.

Let me be clear, I know there are so many worse things that could be wrong. I am not stupid. I know this is mainly a cosmetic issue (though I worry about the emotional and psychological side of this as well)  However, I am upset about it. She’s a girl, she was born with a ton of pretty hair. She had such wonderful hair. And now? She’s pulling it out.

The nurse practitioner that we saw suggested a hat at night, a light one that wont bother her. She also suggested cutting her hair so it’s too short to pull. And to continue trying with the mittens.

So what are we doing?  Well, we started with mittens, but then I discovered these: Scratch Me Not Mittens & these: Scratch Sleeves Two items that I am planning to order. However I wanted something for tonight. Right now. Immediately. And after showing a friend she said “I bet you could make some in the meantime with a pair of tights”  BRILLIANT! So that’s exactly what we did! I cut a pair of tights down the middle, leaving them connected on one side so the formed a little “jacket” We put them over her arms, and put her pjs on top (to avoid the risk of them getting tangled) and this is the result:

tights sleeves no pull mittens toddler pulling out hair “Yay Mintins!” and laughing because “This funny!”

I’m really hoping this works.

Is having a bald two year old the worst thing that could happen? Absolutely not. That said, I do not want this to continue and I think most moms of girls would agree with me on this.

I found this blog helpful to me when I started researching this problem: My Toddler Pulls Out Her Hair-Lovely Scribbles

I hope my post is helpful to any other parents out there who are dealing with this.

2014…This is MY Year!! New Year, New You Contest FINALIST!! #TPCTop6Finalist

It’s almost the New Year…that time of year that we all set our New Years Resolutions. Those things we swear we’re going to follow through with. Things like “I’m going to use my brand new gazelle trainer every single day for 3 hours a day while drinking kale and hemp seed smoothies I made in my new Magic Bullet!! This year!!  This year I WILL follow through!!” and then we quit on them by January 3rd, saying “Maybe next year!”

Well, this could really be MY YEAR!!!  The year that I finally get healthy, shed the extra pounds that have crept up on me, get my act together, and get my life back!!

This IS my year!!
 #TPCTop6Finalist Petteruti center I entered and was selected as a finalist for the New Year, New You contest with The Petteruti Center for Life Extension. Dr. Petteruti is awesome, and has helped so many men and women get to the root causes of their weight issues. Dr. Petteruti knows that each person is different and therefore each person needs personalized care. I love that he looks deeper than most other doctors do.

In my three decades of struggling with weight, and talking to doctors about it, not one of them ever told me that it could be a medical issue. I always thought I just needed to eat more salads, and run more. So I ate salads, without dressing (I even tried a raw vegan diet–I lost weight, but that was because I was STARRRRVING!!! and gave up after a week.) I tried (I really, really tried) to be a runner. I did the whole “shake” thing, but that just made me miserable and I felt like I was drinking liquid chalk. I worked out like crazy, going to the gym every night after work…it was only slightly effective, and I became so bored with the routine. I need to do something, but I have not been successful on my own.  I need Dr. Petteruti’s help!

And I need YOUR help!!  I need your votes!!

 #TPCTop6Finalist VOTE! Please, if you would like, vote for me here: http://thepetteruticenter.com/blog/contest-finalist-new-year-new-you I am #5. You can vote as many times as you’d like!

Also, any shares, likes, tweets, etc on social media would be oh, so greatly appreciated!!  The hashtag is:  #TPCTop6Finalist  and you can find The Petteruti Center on FACEBOOK and TWITTER and let them know that Sarah sent you!! (This is a BIG part of the final winner’s “score” Our social media presence is very important!)

I’ll even make it incredibly easy here is a sample tweet that you could copy/paste if you’d like!

I voted for Sarah #5 in the New Year New You Contest with @DrPetteruti! You can vote too! http://bit.ly/1ioO4m2 #TPCTop6Finalist

 

If I win this contest I will get a 6 month weight loss program, and other fabulous prizes, but the real PRIZE is becoming a healthier and better mom, wife and woman.  That is why I really want to win!

Thank you so much, in advance, for any votes and shares!!! And Thank you to Dr. Petteruti’s office for choosing me as a finalist!

AND, not to be forgotten…THANK YOU to the other generous sponsors of this contest:

Style Week North East Head Stylist Stefanie Emond

 

Raw Bob’s Organic Juicery in East Greenwich

 

Providence Diamond

 

Teresa Sweet Photography

 

and Salon KG

It’s Not a Tumor. Or Maybe It is.

So, Ive never written about this in any sort of detail before, and honestly, I haven’t really discussed it with many people. But I’m trying to be healthier, more active, and a better role model for my daughter, so this part of my life kind of needs to get out in the open, since it has an impact on all of that.

There are many things that a 27 year old doesn’t want to hear from their doctor. “It’s gangrenous.” “That’s a whole lot of blood” “You have a tumor” “You have MS”

Those last two? The tumor thing and the MS thing? I was told both in March 2010. Happy freakin’ birthday!!

So, let me start from the beginning…

In February I started having trouble breathing. It happened mostly at night, but occurred throughout the day where I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath or that I wasn’t taking in enough oxygen when I would inhale. I saw a doctor twice, who gave me breathing treatments and steroids that did nothing. He decided that I was just an overly emotional female, and clearly it was “just anxiety” gave me Ativan (which I never took because I knew the guy was wrong, and who the hell wants to take Ativan?? I need to BREATH not be unconscious for hours) I cried, every night. I felt like doctors had failed me and nobody would listen. Then things got worse.

I woke up one morning with pins and needles in my feet. I thought I must have slept wrong and that it would go away after walking around for a bit. It didn’t. In fact, it got progressively worse as the day went on. Within 3 days my feet, my legs, my torso, my arms and my hands were numb and tingling. The only parts of my body that weren’t numb, were my neck and my face. I couldn’t type on the computer at work anymore because I couldn’t feel the keyboard. I thought it HAD to be a pinched nerve in my neck or something. So I went to have a massage. I kept telling the therapist to work deeper, and use more pressure. I ended up with bruises all over my back (my fault, not his) because he was working incredibly deep, but I couldn’t feel it. There was no change. I saw two massage therapists and a cranial-sacral therapist in 3 days. No change. So I went to my doctor.

Again, I wasn’t listened to, and my symptoms were blown off and I was told that it was Raynaud’s. A syndrome which I DO have, but the symptoms I presented with were very, VERY different. Raynaud’s causes my feet to turn purple/blue when they are COLD. My feet (and ya know, the rest of my body) was numb ALL THE TIME and it was worse when I was hot.

I made another appointment with a different doctor in the practice.

I told him my symptoms and his immediate response was “When a woman of your age presents with these symptoms, we automatically think MS.” He said ti was a pretty clear diagnosis, and never should have been missed. He arranged for me to meet with a Neurologist that he knew, a few days later.

I went and saw the neurologist, who spent over an hour asking me questions, poking and prodding, and taking notes. In the end she sent me away, and said she’d call me in a few days.

I got the phone call the moment I arrives back in our driveway. She wanted to call to tell me that she wasn’t sure if it was MS, she wasn’t sure what it was but she was referring me to a Neuro-Oncologist. She needed me to have more tests done to rule out cancer (or rule it in) and that she really couldn’t give me a diagnosis of MS until I had a second “flare” One isn’t enough.

And then I lost it. I told Dave he didn’t have to stay with me. I didn’t want him to be “stuck” with a girl who could be sick or disabled or dead. We had just run our first 5k together (A great idea when your have minimal feeling in your feet and can’t breathe) We were planning our wedding, we were planning our future, and I was being told that I needed to see an oncologist because I might have cancer? Or that maybe I still had MS. And that my future might not be as long as I had expected.

Obviously he didn’t leave. He was amazing and supportive and….perfect. He stayed.  Met with a future the held uncertainty for him, he stayed. Because he’s amazing.

So we went to the neuro-oncologsit. I had over ten hours of MRIs. From the base of my spine to my brain. It was scanned, rescanned, scanned with dye, scanned without. I think I was in every MRI machine that Rhode Island Hospital has. I had CT scans and PET scans. I had my vision tested and met with so many different types of neuro specialists. They found a Lesion or a tumor in my spine between my 2nd and 3rd cervical vertebrae. It definitely accounted for the numbness and also for my difficulty breathing, since being that high in the spine would affect my diaphragm. The doctor needed to run more tests, at this point it could still be MS or it could be a tumor.

I had a spinal tap that took over an our, and over 20 “sticks” he hit my vertebrae more times than I could count(apparently I have “Unique anatomy” and he couldn’t get in to the proper space) He wanted to stop, I told him to just try one more time, and finally, he got it. Spinal fluid was all clear. No signs of MS or signs of cancerous cells *phew* right? No. Because the only other thing left to do was biopsy the Mass-lesion-tumor-alien implant and due to the location…INSIDE my spinal cord, that wasn’t an option. Neither was removal.

SO what do you do when nothing can be done?

You wait.

My doctor took my case to the tumor board at Rhode Island Hospital, where they decided since my symptoms were improving (my numbness was dissipating) and the “mass” looked to be stable (not growing) and my spinal fluid was clear, that we could watch and wait.

(When I find my scans, I’ll post a picture of my little spinal invader, here)

So the plan was to check it in 6 months, and then a year. But my 6 month appointment got canceled, and then rescheduled to the week before our wedding. I wasn’t going to have the MRI and then worry through our wedding about the results so we put it off. And then I went and got pregnant. and I wasn’t about to have a 4 hour MRI during pregnancy. And then I had Avery, and now it’s been way too long. There were other issues involved, like insurance, but I have that now.

So here I am, I don’t have any excuses, I need to go back and make sure everything is still “ok” in there. While I have been relatively symptom free for this whole time, I still have pretty significant numbness in my finger tips. I’ve gotten used to it. The symptoms are worse when I am hot, or my blood is pumping. For example, when I work out, my hands get very numb. My feet and legs also get the “pins and needles” feeling, and I still have a hard time pulling in enough oxygen. I still have LLhermitte’s sign which still catches me off guard every time it happens.

I didn’t write this because I want anyone to worry or feel sorry for me. Is it scary?  Yeah, it is. I think about it daily, and every cough, every ache, every-everything that happens with my body makes me think “Oh God, it’s cancer…I know it”  I’m not a “victim” of anything. There are people who are much, much worse.  But I’m writing this so that I am accountable.

I need to take care of myself. I need to do this for Dave and for Avery. I need to be here and I can’t sit around waiting for something to happen that forces me to get it checked.

So, I will be making an appointment THIS WEEK, and I will get back on track with my health.

 

#PrayersForOklahoma

There are no words that can express the devastation.  There is nothing we can say to take the hurt away from those families who lost everything. Everything.

It can be so hard to see the footage.  Homes, businesses, elementary schools, completely gone, reduced to rubble. But then I see the headlines that inspire hope.

“Father and son survive Moore tornado arm in arm,” “Crews endanger own lives to save tiniest victims,” “Volunteers clean Moore cemetery damaged in tornado,” “Woman returns pictures to tornado victims,” “Florist Donates Flowers For Funerals Of Tornado Victims” 

This is what I know of Oklahomans. They are strong and they are good.

While I may not have lived in the Sooner State for long, I learned quickly how incredible the residents are. I’ll save you the details of why I was left Oklahoma, most of you already know that story, and it isn’t relevant anyway, but I want to share a part of that adventure.

On my way out of the state, I was an emotional mess, my life was “falling apart” and I didn’t know what I was going to do. And then to make matters worse, my car died, not even an hour from the MO border. In a small town called Miami (pronounced: My-am-uh) I called my Roadside assistance and a tow truck was sent. When he arrived, he was extremely kind but a bit surprised to see my New York plates. He helped me load my cats (yes, I had my two crazy cats in the car with me!) and we were on our way to the mechanic’s shop (Rawlin’s Automotive) It was a Sunday, so of course they weren’t open.  The tow truck driver didn’t want me to be alone, so he brought me over to a local store (Love’s) where I could sit, have something to eat and figure out what my next step would be. An hour later he sent his brother to come check on me, to make sure I was ok.  He cared about my wellbeing, even though he had just met me. I was finally able to get settled in to a hotel (Microtel) where, after hearing my situation, they gave me a better rate and didn’t charge me a pet fee. The next day I needed to have some money wired to me from my parents (Since I didn’t have enough to pay for the new alternator that my car needed) The man at the Western Union office was also kind.  After hearing my story he told me to call his wife if I needed anything, that I was welcome to join them for lunch and supper for as long as I was there in Miami. While I did not take him up on his offer, I felt so much safer and less alone in this small town, far from home. The people of Oklahoma took me in and wrapped their arms around me in my time of need and I will be forever grateful for that.

I may have only spent a short time in Oklahoma, and I may not have left on the best terms, but I met so many wonderful people there. People who I call friends, people who I love and care about, and people who’s names I may not remember, but who will always hold a place in my heart.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this natural disaster.

We must come together as a nation to help the people of Oklahoma. Here are different ways that you can help:

(compiled from multiple sources)

The Red Cross says the best way to assist families is to make a donation to www.redcross.org/okc or www.redcross.org or texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

United Way of Central Oklahoma’s Disaster Relief Fund is open. Donations may be made online at www.unitedwayokc.org or by mail to United Way of Central Oklahoma, P.O. Box 837, Oklahoma City, OK  73101 with notation for May Tornado Relief.

Contributions to the Moore & Shawnee Tornado Relief Fund can be made securely online at www.TulsaCF.org. Donations can also be mailed to TCF offices at 7030 S. Yale, Suite 600, Tulsa, OK, 74136.

Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief This organization says donations will “go straight to help those in need providing tree removal services, laundry services and meals to victims of disasters.”

It is requesting monetary donations (It says clothing is NOT needed). For more information, and to donate, visit Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief’s website.

You can send checks to: BGCO, Attn: Disaster Relief, 3800 N. May Ave., Oklahoma City, OK., 73112.

Regional Food Bank Call 405-604-7111 to make a donation over the phone, or text TORNADO to 32333 to have a $10 donation applied to your wireless bill.

Animal aid: The Pet Food Pantry of OKC is offering dog food, cat food, leashes, collars, food bowls, etc to those in need. (405) 664-2858 www.petfoodpantryokc.org

 

You can also check out this list from MSNBC:  Oklahoma Tornado Relief

God Help You if You’re Pretty

I guess I’m just the wrong kind of feminist.

To be honest, I hate the term “Feminist” I especially hate the connotation it has that you’re a man hating liberal. I also hate that it pits the women who identify as feminist against those who do not.

I AM a feminist in that I absolutely LOVE being a woman.  However I am so torn.  On one hand I love, and embrace, traditional gender roles. I like being a stay at home mom. I like cooking dinner, and I like that my husband is the bread winner and supports our family. I like “masculine” men. I think it is incredibly sexy that my husband works in a profession that is tough, rugged. I love that he comes home with calloused hands and smelling like pine or maple or whatever he worked with that day.

I also love that I earn my own money and that I know how to throw a football (better than my husband) that I’m not afraid to get dirty, know how to change a tire and change my oil. I watch sports. I fix things around the house if they break and Dave isn’t home. I’m independent.

But, I’m getting off course here…. I’ll discuss gender in another post.

Here is what I really want to discuss:

Lately I’ve seen this attack on “pretty.” Women jumping on photos of pretty/skinny girls.  Bashing them for being “slutty” or “skanky” accusing them of being stupid or just out to get a man. Things that nobody can tell from a photo on the internet.  This isn’t really anything new, but the internet brings it front and center.  It’s no longer just something you talk about with your girlfriends at a sleepover or over a glass of wine at the bar “Hey, look over there…the blonde…eww, could her dress BE any shorter?  I mean seriously, she’s clearly just looking for some guy to buy her drinks and take her home….”  or, maybe she just has incredible self esteem, and loves her long legs and feels good about herself in the short skirt. Maybe she’s a lawyer, or a doctor or a marketing exec. Maybe she’s incredibly nice.  But we as women don’t give her the chance to show us that.

She’s too pretty so we hate her.

We’re all guilty.

I have never been “that pretty girl” I’ve never been smaller than a size 8 and that was at my absolute smallest, and also my most depressed. I dropped down to 125 after a horrible break up. My doctor referred to me as a “really, really skinny girl”  I was completely unhealthy.  My frame was not built to be 125.  My frame was made to be 140.   I’m not small and I’m not exceptionally sexy.  I’m a normal woman with an average body and I’m happy with it (for the most part…I’d love to get back to 140, and I’m working on it)  So this isn’t coming from a 6’1″ size 2,  Supermodel who is mad that other girls “hate me because I’m beautiful”  This is coming from “average Sarah”

I don’t get it.  We’re supposed to be teaching our girls that it’s what’s on the inside that matters. It isn’t what you look like. It isn’t what color skin you have or what shape your eyes are. It’s not if you have a big nose or crooked teeth. It’s not your long eye lashes or your perfect cheek bones.

It’s your heart.

It’s your mind.

It’s your spirit.

So why are we so nasty to the “pretty” girls?  Why do we put so much stock in their appearance over their personality? And why is there such an incredible double standard??

Why do we see this girl…..

miranda kerr white bikini beach

And think “She must have low self esteem, trying to get the wrong kind of attention! She’s too skinny, she looks cheap, she looks stupid, who is she trying to impress?”

 

But see this girl…..

chloe marshall white bikini pool

And say “She has great self esteem, how beautiful!,  she’s so strong!”

Why is it wrong for the girl in the first photo to be proud of her body?  Yet it is so wonderful for the girl in the second picture to be so proud of hers?

They are both wearing itty bitty white bikinis. They are both models. They are BOTH beautiful and you can’t tell anything about them, personally, from a photo.

Today I saw a post on facebook today regarding the “New Look” of Disney’s Princess Merida, from the movie “Brave”  Women went on the attack. “Disney is evil. It’s oversexualization. Why can’t we teach girls to be strong? Why can’t we give them better role models?” All because they changed small things about a movie character.  What did they change?  Oh, her dress was a bit different and featured “bling” Her hair was a bit less unruly. Her face a bit smoother, and her waist a bit smaller.  Oh and she went from being a super realistic CGI character to a 2D cartoon.

But, here is where I get really confused. These women claim that the way she LOOKS changes who she IS.  Somehow being “prettified” as one called it, made her LESS of a role model.  It somehow took away from the fact that Merida was a super independent, wild, carefree and BRAVE young woman. They no longer liked the character based on her new look. I think that is an absolutely TERRIBLE lesson to teach your daughters.

Then I hear a lot of women saying they wont allow Disney princesses in their homes and want their daughters to emulate strong female characters, you know, like super heroes.  Wonder Woman for example…..

wonder woman

 

Will someone PLEASE explain to me how she is some how a better role model than…..

 

Merida?

new look merida brave

Is it the sparkles??

They are BOTH strong, independent and brave, and Wonder woman is wearing a whole hellofa lot LESS than Merida, so how is Merida the one who is dripping with “over sexualization?”

I know the new “cool” thing is to be a Geek girl.  To love all things nerdy and totally embrace it.  Awesome!  I’m all for it!  I have been accused of being a geek/nerd on many occasions. I love science and enjoy some sci-fi, but why do we embrace the geeks and bash the princesses? (This is totally a topic for another blog post…) But the point is, a scantily clad super hero is not a better role model than a fully clothed princess. A fully clothed superhero is not a better role model than a scantily clad princess. Neither is better than the other. They are just different.  Like us. We’re all different.

We need to start embracing that. From the mommy wars to the woman wars it is getting out of hand. I am tired of it. I want to raise my daughter in a way that teaches that all women, regardless of appearance, are beautiful. Your dress size does not determine your IQ. There are plenty of brilliant size 2′s and size 22′s and every size in between, out there. Cindy Crawford was a “Geek Girl” who studied Chemical Engineering.  Iman speaks 5 languages. Supermodel Lily Cole attended Cambridge…..

So let’s stop hating on each other, and love each other. Let’s teach our daughters that it truly is what is on the inside that matters, instead of confusing them by having a glaring double standard when it comes to what is on the outside.