Holiday Hustle

Hello all! How’s everyone holiday season turning out?

I’ve actually completed all my Christmas shopping and wrapping and basically marked-off most of my to-do’s regarding the holiday. There were some gifts that I had to mail to extended family out of town, and those have already been packed-up and shipped and delivered so no worries there at all. I’m really happy that I don’t have to step foot in any type of retail store for the rest of the year! 🙂

However, there is one gift that hasn’t arrived yet that I’m starting to worry about. My daughter asked for it specifically so she’s expecting it and will be disappointed if it doesn’t show up in time. I ordered it during the Thanksgiving holiday because I especially wanted to make sure that it arrives in time for Christmas. You can imagine that I’m quite perturbed that it isn’t here yet.

I’ve checked the delivery confirmation tracker on it, and there’s been 0 activity on it since Dec 5th, so I’m starting to lose hope. It’s weird, the package originated in China (ok, that was probably my first red flag). At first everything seemed ok as there was constant activity on the tracker multiple times a day UNTIL it arrived in the United States. And THAT’s when all the action stopped.

I’ve been checking everyday and nothing. I’m kinda sour. There was a customer service email that I already tried, and they only give me the same information as the tracker, so that’s not helpful. I got a survey from that company asking me how I enjoyed the product, and I did respond back that I haven’t received it yet and gave it 1 star, hoping to catch someone’s attention. I haven’t heard anything back yet.

So that’s my only stress left regarding gifts and Christmas shopping. Wish me luck!

But how are you all doing? Done yet? Waiting until the last minute? Stressed-out? Chill?

I Got Scammed!

So, I’m usually very careful online and I rarely click on any unsolicited links or emails. But I got scammed last week and I’m still mad about it!

My daughter plays soccer for her middle school, and already has several friends on the high school soccer team as well. We’ve watched several high school soccer games in-person to support her school and her friends. And the high school soccer team has been doing fantastic and made their way to a State Championship game.

When it was time for the State Championship game, it was in another city several hours away so we couldn’t attend in-person. But an hour before the game, my daughter sent me a link and said there was a live-stream of it so we could watch.

My mistake is that I didn’t question where that link came from! My daughter has been in a soccer group chat and she’s frequently sent me links of game schedules, game scores, game photos, etc so I was already accustomed to her sending me links that worked out regarding soccer.

So I clicked this one and it went to a school sports live-stream site and it said I had to subscribe to view the live-streams. The subscription was like $9/month, but they said that the first month would be $1 only and I could cancel at any time. I already didn’t like that, because I do try to avoid subscriptions whenever possible. But I figured that $1 was a fair price for a live stream so I entered my debit card information.

And as soon as I did that, I realized my mistake. Because my email notifications started going off with all these multiple confirmations. And then I started getting text messages from my bank about these new charges that I did not agree to.

So I replied to my bank text messages that I didn’t do those charges and they shut off my card and the notifications stopped. But those charges could’ve gone on forever if I didn’t get my card turned-off. That’s crazy.

I started investigating that link my daughter sent me and it’s everywhere! If you search for your local school sporting events (especially high school), there are dozens of websites offering live-streams of the games – and they are all scams! They look legitimate because they know the team schedules and they tag all the schools.

And even the BBB Better Business Bureau is aware of this scam and have published this article warning people about it: High School Sports Live-Streaming Scam. Too bad I didn’t find this article until AFTER I got tricked.

Anyhow, I feel so stupid for falling for this, and I am so disappointed in all the bad people trying to scam others and steal money from them. I wish you all luck in avoiding scams like this, but even I got fooled! 🙁

Customer Support is Non-Existent

I’ve literally been on hold for almost hour.

Why is this normalized?

So I called my bank’s 800 number because I disputed a charge I didn’t recognize online. They sent me an email saying that they reviewed my transaction and decided it was legit after all, so my dispute was denied. No explanation was offered.

I hadn’t spoken to a real person yet so I decided to call their 800 number.

After awhile I realized that my wait time was getting ridiculous and I snapped this photo of my phone…

I also realized that ALL my interactions with 800 numbers are quite similar to this. Not to mention the voice prompts from hell where every choice you make is a circular loop to the wrong person. And why even bother with entering information into the voice prompts when every single time the person that finally answers makes you repeat it all anyway?! So ridiculous.

But really why? Like, why do companies no longer care about taking care of their customers? WHO are they taking care of instead if not customers? What could be more important to a business that makes revenue from customers besides their very own customers?

I truly don’t understand this mindset.

I’m starting to think that they must be making TOO much money that they can afford to neglect/alienate/anger/risk the squeaky wheel subset of their customer base. If that’s the case, then they are overcharging all of us.

Rant over.

And I still haven’t spoken to a real live person at my bank yet.

School Dress Code Frustration

So my daughter has been back to school for the last 3 weeks now, and there was a new change to the school dress code that has me stumped, as she’s been dress-coded twice already.

We spent the weekend looking for outfits that would both satisfy my daughter as well as the school dress code, and we came up empty-handed.

My daughter’s style is distinctly “athleisure” – shorts, leggings, athletic tops, sneakers, etc.

We already knew she couldn’t wear her athletic shorts to school as they are too short and that has been the dress code for ages. So we were accustomed to that rule and able to comply.

However, this year the school updated the dress code to no longer allow leggings UNLESS the top is long enough to cover the crotch area. Issue #1) Except for shorts, my daughter only has leggings to wear; and Issue #2) None of her shirts are long enough to cover the crotch area.

So, in order to comply… my daughter has been wearing baggy oversized hoodies over her leggings to school everyday while it’s been 90+ degrees F outside and she gets hot easily all day in class. It is uncomfortable and distracting to her.

And the 2 times she got dress-coded at school, was when she had a school soccer game that evening and the school soccer coach asked the girls to wear their jersey tops that day. (This is typical for all the athletes of all sports at school to do this on game days). However, her soccer jersey (assigned by the school) was not long enough to cover her bottom area while she was wearing her leggings, AND, she cannot wear her soccer shorts (also assigned by the school) because they are too short.

She was definitely entrapped to fail dress-code those days. Now on game days, she wears her school soccer jersey UNDERNEATH her baggy oversized hoodie and nobody can even see that she is on the school soccer team.

To say I am frustrated is an understatement. We went shopping this weekend with the sole intention of finding different pants or shirts that would comply with dress-code. My daughter found some shirts she liked that were long enough, BUT, they were too low in the front so still not eligible for school. And for some reason my daughter refuses to wear jeans (which would help tremendously) so we were unable to find different pants that would work for school.

So now my daughter is going to look online for some sweatpants she’d like. I’m not thrilled that her dress-for-success look at school will be sweatpants going-forward.

But also, I’m starting to notice that the dress-code at school is mostly impacting the female students. For example, the only way boys can violate dress code at school is to be missing their shirts or bottoms, wear something offensive, exposing their underwear, or by wearing a sleeveless top. But girls can literally be covered from head-to-toe, only exposing their hands and face, and STILL get dress-coded. Is that fair?

I think not. Your thoughts?

Trying the Gluten-Free Diet

So we are trying the gluten-free diet at home. My daughter has been having several health issues over the last several months, so we’ve found a doctor now that is coaching us through a detox process. It involves many supplements, as well as going gluten-free.

I’ve learned that gluten is a protein in grains – mostly wheat, rye, and barley. And now I’m checking ingredient labels for this and it does appear in almost everything! I find it mostly in the form of wheat flour and that includes breads, pastas, cereals, crackers, cookies, etc…

We are trying gluten-free for awhile to see if it helps my daughter with feeling better. Some of the concern with gluten is that she might have an intolerance to it, and, there is a chemical called Glyphosate used in American wheat farming that can be a contaminant to her system. So we’re eliminating it for awhile to observe if there are any noticeable improvements.

The good news however, is that we’ve been able to find substitutes for almost all the above. We’ve been able to find gluten-free bread and pasta made out of rice flour instead, and we’ve been able to find cakes and cookies made out of almond flour. The taste is similar, but we do notice a difference in texture which is a bit distracting sometimes.

Other good news is that potatoes and rice are naturally gluten-free and we love carbs so we’re happy to not have to eliminate any of those.

The bad news so far is that we’ve had to give-up practically all fast food because most of it is either fried (the breading on fried foods uses wheat flour unfortunately) or served on a bun (made with wheat flour). That’s been the most difficult change for us up to this point, but honestly – we recognize it’s not a bad thing to quit fast food. It’s much healthier to quit it. It’s just been the most difficult change so far.

Anyhow, I will keep you all posted on how this goes. We’ve been gluten-free about 2-3 weeks now. Cross your fingers that we keep it up!

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Chronic Headache Treatments

Hello everyone! I hope you are doing well! We’ve had a crazy couple of weeks at home. The summer temperatures have been 90+ F degrees daily, with a heat index of 100+ F. THEN we had a crazy storm pop up out of nowhere and knocked out all our electricity for several days. It was miserable. We finally have power now, and I’m back online, so I’m playing catch-up!

So back to the point of my post, my daughter is 12 years old and she had a non-stop constant 24/7 headache for 9 months. Oh gosh, approximately 270 days of pain. The pain was in the front of her head area, symmetrical, and it was a just a constant pain that never went away no matter what she did. It didn’t pulse or ebb/flow it was just always THERE. (She has another chronic symptom of constant vertigo as well, but we’ll skip that issue for now).

It’s terrible to see your child in pain for such a long period of time. Of course we tried everything to relieve it. When her headache first appeared, it mostly hovered around a 8-9 pain number on a scale of 1-10, where 10 is the worst possible. And it was debilitating to her at that level, preventing her from even getting out of bed most days. She missed so much school and activities because of it.

Below is a list of the chronic headache treatments we’ve tried and what worked/didn’t work for her.

  1. Over the Counter Medications – These include NSAIDS (Aspirins, Ibuprofens, Aleve) and Acetaminophens (Tylenols, etc) and none of these helped relieve her pain at all. We tried these all very heavily at first, and then I learned about Rebound Headaches/Medication Overuse Headaches, and we backed-off since those exact medications can actually CAUSE headaches if you use them too much. Be careful!
  2. At-Home Treatments – We tried many at-home treatments as well. These include resting in silence/the dark, cooling the headache, heating the headache, aromatherapy, sleep, caffeine, etc. We also tried drinking a ton of water to ensure she wasn’t dehydrated. None of these had any effect on my daughter.
    We did purchase a cooling/heating cap for her to try. While the cap didn’t work for my daughter at all, we didn’t want to waste it so we gave to a friend that experiences frequent, but not constant, headaches. And that friend loves it and claims it quickly relieves her headaches everytime she uses it. We’re so happy it helped someone. Here’s a photo of it in case you are curious about it:
  3. Prescribed Medications from a Doctor – We also consulted with several doctors about my daughter’s headaches. The prescribed medications we tried included: All the Triptans which are supposed to block pain pathways in the brain, but they had zero effect on my daughter. We tried Anti-Migraine medications, Anti-Seizure medications, Blood Pressure medications, and Anti-Depressant medications and all had no effect on reducing my daughter’s pain. Some of the medications actually introduced MORE symptoms that made my daughter feel worse – such as light-sensitivity, nausea, lethargy, and sometimes even increased the headache pain. We were about to start different prescription treatments using CGRP antagonists and Nerve Blocks, but we had a development I’ll describe later that took us off that path.
  4. Emergency Room “Migraine Cocktails” – We did go to the Emergency Room for my daughter’s headache pain when it got unbearable for her. The Emergency Room gave her their “Migraine Cocktail” intravenous treatment for the pain and they were shocked when it had no effect on her. They even prolonged the treatment for her under supervision expecting it to work and seriously seemed surprised that it didn’t even help a little bit.
  5. Diagnostic Testing – My daughter was ordered an MRI/MRA of her head and neck to look for any obstructions or compressions, and these tests came back fine. She later had an X-Ray of her neck that did show a structural issue. See item #7 below for the details about that.
  6. Diet – There is an anti-migraine diet that is supposed to help prevent trigger headaches and alleviate the symptoms. Fasting can also trigger headaches so it is recommended NOT to skip meals and make sure to eat at regular intervals throughout the day. Some of the dietary triggers include: alcohol, cheese, processed meats, milk, high fat foods, nuts, etc. The list is pretty exhaustive and sometimes it feels difficult to find items to eat that are safe. But it’s worth a shot if you are suffering with headaches. It didn’t help my daughter.
  7. Chiropractor – We were advised by a doctor to see an “Atlas Orthogonal” chiropractor only. That doctor was very clear that chiropractors can actually make headache issues worse, so only visit that specific type. We found the closest AO chiropractor to us was in a different state and 1 hour drive away (so, a 2 hour round trip), but we made the appointment. Here was where my daughter was given an X-Ray of her neck, and the results were that her atlas bone (the top vertebrea) was rotated and tilted.
    At this point, my daughter’s headache was around an 8 on her pain scale, and had been hovering around 7-9 for several months. The chiropractor did his first alignment session on her and before she even got up from the table, she claimed her pain dropped to a 2. She hadn’t been lower than a 7 in months and I started crying right there I was so happy that something finally helped her.
    The chiropractor was never able to reduce the pain any further, and her headaches remained, but were lower in severity going-forward. They ended-up hovering around 2-5 after that, which was enough of an improvement that she was able to do more things and go to school and start living her life with less pain. He continued to treat her, but it was mostly for maintenance, and not really expecting any more improvements. Follow-up X-Rays showed that her atlas bone is aligned correctly now and seems to be holding in place.
  8. Acupuncture – Now that my daughter’s headache was lower severity (hovering around 2-5 at this point), we started seeking different types of treatments. A few months later, we found an acupuncturist that was highly recommended. I was skeptical about acupuncture because I don’t understand it. (I still don’t). But during my daughter’s acupuncture appointment, the doctor said he wasn’t going to stop until her headache was gone. On this day, my daughter’s headache was around a 5. So, he worked on her by sticking needles in her body. I’m over-simplifying the procedure because it doesn’t make sense to me, but he was very methodological in what he was doing. And he would constantly check-in on her and ask if her headache was gone. She’d say it was still there. So he’d continue sticking needles in her.

    This went on for about an hour. And then he checked-in on her and asked if her headache was gone. This time she said her headache WAS gone. So he stopped. I kinda thought she was lying and said it just to make him stop. So as soon as we left, I asked her if she was lying just to make him stop. And she said, no. It really was gone. And it’s actually been gone ever since. I’ve been worried that it would come back and stay, but it hasn’t yet. My daughter is now 4 months headache-free. It took 9 months to get here. We still go to this acupuncturist for maintenance/preventative and we’re very happy.
  9. Neuroplasticity – This was our next step to try if the acupuncturist didn’t work. Since her headache is gone now, we might still try it anyway for her vertigo issue that still remains. I’ll be oversimplifying again, since I don’t understand, but neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to physically adapt and to structurally create new neural pathways, sometimes called “re-wiring”. Most of us are familiar with negative neuroplasticity – when the brain maladapts to addictions and stress and disorders. But there are clinics focused on positive neuroplasticity, and it can be applied towards pain and vertigo issues.

I hope you all found the information above helpful. I hope none of you are suffering with chronic headaches because it is terrible, but if so, I hope some of the treatments above can help you find relief.

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Impact of Nonstop Negativity

Have you all noticed that every time you watch the news or go online it’s just constant negativity and nonstop doom-and-gloom?

And if you haven’t noticed… pls share your secret with me because I want to escape this.

I can’t watch my local news anymore because as soon as I turn it on, I get bombarded with multiple crime events and fear-provoking stories such as the latest study on what could possibly cause us to die. And I don’t believe that the local news is a good reflection of my area at all, as my town is FILLED with good people doing good things. But that never makes the cut.

I can’t watch national news anymore because as soon as I turn it on, it’s nothing but arguing and disagreeing and trading punches about whatever the hot topic of the moment is. No matter what side of the political spectrum you fall on, I don’t want to be subjected to the fighting with no end or resolution in sight. It makes me feel like a little kid again… hiding around the corner but still listening to my parents yelling and fighting with each other and scared to death that they would get a divorced. Very traumatic as a kid. Now the national news is doing the same to me as an adult.

I can’t visit Twitter anymore because every single time I check it out, I see something too terribly graphic that I just want to cry. Just today I saw a 20 second clip of dolphins beaching themselves and banging their heads against rocks until they died, and also people lighting a bulls head on fire so it would panic and stampede. By the time I figured out what I was watching, it was over. But I can’t forget what I saw. I HATE Twitter.

I can’t visit Facebook anymore for several reasons: the people I personally know on FB are judgey and hateful so I can’t say anything. And the people I do NOT personally know on FB, when I do say something to them for interaction, often end up ghosting me. And the FB Groups I’ve joined are even worse and are the exact opposite of what I wanted. For example, I love cats and and I have my own cat and I joined a few FB Groups dedicated to cats… and I had to leave them all because way too many of the posts were about cats who just died or cats that are sick and suffering and photos of injured dying cats and I just can’t deal with that everyday.

And when I consume content like that mentioned above, it seriously disturbs me and I fear that it will have a more permanent impact on me regarding my mood, state of mind, train of thoughts, etc.

And if that impact is happening to me, I believe it’s happening to everyone right? And having an entire population desensitized to tragedy and despair cannot be good. I feel like it will make people less caring and less sympathetic in response. It’s de-humanizing us. It’s terrible.

But how do we avoid this and stop this from happening to others? I feel like we have to be very mindful of what we consume as a first step, and then be responsible enough to not share graphic material that can provoke negative reactions in others. There is a way to report and educate others with dignity, and we need to foster that skillset again.