Our Loc Journey: Treating His Eczema

Its been five months since my fiance started his loc journey. I remember when he decided to start them. He told me that he wanted me to be a part of the journey as well. He wanted our shared energy/love to nourish his locs. Please forgive the hippie in me, but I fell in love with him again when he shared this with me. Plus, he said it would be a learning experience for us both. And it has been. I’ve become somewhat of a loctician.

We wash his locs every Sunday evening. Its become part of our routine. I know washing starter locs so frequently is often discouraged. We’re washing them so frequently because he suffers from eczema on his scalp. Learning how to keep his eczema under control has been a big part of our loc journey as well. Currently, we’re trying to pinpoint what his triggers are through an elimination diet. We’ve eliminated dairy and eggs. I’ve been a vegetarian for over 10 years. I’ve been trying to make the change to veganism for awhile now. I’m excited that he’s doing the elimination diet because I’m trying to get him to join me.

We’ve also added weekly tea rinses with Marshmallow Root and Nettle Leaf.

Marshmallow-Root

Marshmallow Root is often used to treat skin/scalp conditions like eczema and psoriasis.

Nettle Leaf is often widely used for treating skin/scalp conditions. nettle teaPlus, it adds the extra benefit of being a natural anti-histamine.

This is our first time using the tea rinse. I’ll be sure to provide an update on any noticed changes to his scalp. Here’s what I did for the tea rinse:

Marshmallow Root/Nettle Leaf Tea Rinse Recipe

  • 2 Quarts of boiling water
  • 1/3 cup heaping scoop of Marshmallow Root
  • 3 teabags of Nettle Leaf
  • Steep the tea for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain the marshmallow root out. Remove the nettle leaf tea bags. Use the tea as a rinse.

If you have any tips, treatments or suggestions for managing eczema with locs, please share!

Short Hair, Don’t Care: My Big Chop

I’m four months into my big chop and I love it. Admittedly, I look more like my father now, but who cares.

I cut my hair because, well, I was tired of it. It was exhausting. What to use, how often to wash, pre-poo, deep condition, protein treatments… I could go on forever. You have to understand, I’ve been “natural” for a long time now. I remember getting teased in high school for wearing my fro. I never cared what anyone thought. I also remember my friends thought I was crazy when I told them I was growing out my relaxer over 15 years ago. To be fair, I was always lazy when it came to my hair. My style of choice for the past five years was braids or twists. And I used to leave them in longer than I should have. So, I decided getting rid of it all was the only thing that made sense.

So, I’d cut it… but I didn’t know who to go to or how to do it. My laziness prevented me from actually looking into it. Then, my honey got tired of hearing me talk about how I was going to cut my hair. So, while he was visiting me in New York during his Christmas vacation, he cut it.

I remember standing in front of the mirror in the bathroom and he came in with scissors. “You ready?” I told him to go for it. He seemed to be more nervous that I was. He hesitated for a second and asked if I was sure. I told him to just do it. And he did. He cut five inches off of the back. I looked down at my hair on the floor and told him to keep going. Ten minutes later, he was done. It felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. It was truly liberating.

Having short hair has been exactly what I thought it would be–EASIER! Though, it’s growing faster than I expected. I’m currently debating between cutting it again or just letting it grow.

PCOS Chronicles: No Insurance

 

The medical bills from my emergency room visit (PCOS Chronicles: My First Ruptured Cyst) have been pouring in. At the time of my visit, I was uninsured. Though, I applied for Medi-Cal two months prior. Medi-Cal is the California Medicaid welfare program for low-income individuals. I applied as soon as I moved to California because I figured that it would be a lengthy process. I was finally approved after about three months.

Apparently, they apply the insurance retroactively to account for this delay in processing. What this means? Since I applied in January but was not processed/approved until April, the date of coverage starts from time of application plus two months prior. So, coverage runs retroactively back to November 2015. This was good to know, but not necessary for me because I was covered through insurance from my job through the end of December.

I’d like to give some insight into the costs from the emergency room visit for my ruptured ovarian cyst. Here’s a brief overview of the services I received:

  • Day 1: Blood drawn
  • Day 2: Blood drawn; ultrasound; spoke with emergency room doctor; spoke with gynecological doctor on call; moved to room in surgical unit; IV; blood drawn again; overnight stay required for observation
  • Day 3: Blood drawn

As I sit here, I have medical bills amounting to $1750, and this is after the hospital applied a courtesy adjustment credit of $712 because I was uninsured. I’m pretty sure that there are more bills on the way. I’m not entirely sure of how Medi-Cal works, but I’m hoping that the costs will be covered completely since I’m still in the process of securing a job.

PCOS is already stressful enough. Trying to navigate it all with little or no insurance has been a nightmare.

Currently Reading

It’s finally here! This book has been on my list for awhile now. I’m excited to read it. 

dark matter

Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora, edited by Sheree R. Thomas

It has stories from Octavia Butler, Derrick Bell, Walter Mosley, Tananarive Due and so many other amazing authors.

This will be book number seven out of the fifteen I plan to read for the year. What are you currently reading? Any suggestions? I’m always looking to add more books to my shelves.

PCOS Chronicles: My First Ruptured Cyst

Have you ever had sex that landed you in the emergency room?

Well, I have. And it’s not what you think. My honey and I hopped in the shower after an extra vigorous round of sex. Then, the pain came out of nowhere. I thought I was going to die. It felt like my uterus was going to fall out. I thought I was dying. I couldn’t stand up. I screamed in pain. My honey, terrified and confused, got out of the shower. I sat on the shower floor, only to find that it made the pain worse. This was it. The worst part is, as terrified as I was about the pain, I was even more terrified about what I should do next because I didn’t have health insurance.

My honey got dressed and told me that we were going to the emergency room. I managed to get out of the shower to get dressed. Through the agonizing pain, I tried to weigh the options, logically of course. If I go to the emergency room, I’ll be saddled with thousands of dollars of medical debt. If I don’t go to the emergency room, I could die. So, what did I do? I told my honey to give me a painkiller and I’d take my chances. After about 5 minutes, the pain became even more excruciating. So, begrudgingly, I let my honey take me to the emergency room.

On our way to the emergency room, my honey told me that it was crazy that this was happening. Through my pain, I mumbled out, “Why?” With a slight smirk on his face, he told me that his barber just told him that he had to take his girl to the emergency room after sex. His barber literally “beat it up.” Now, said my fiance, I’m part of the club. It wasn’t exactly the time for jokes seeing as how I thought my uterus was falling out, but I laughed out loud… then grimaced in pain.

After sitting in the emergency room without being treated for 2 hours, we left. The pain was still there, but I was so tired that I was falling asleep in the chair. With my fear of the medical bills motivating me, I managed to convince my fiance to take me home so that I could sleep in our bed.

I managed to get a few hours of sleep, but when I woke up the pain was still there. We went back to the emergency room. After a few hours of waiting, blood tests and an ultrasound, I found out that a cyst ruptured on my left ovary and that there was some fluid in my abdomen from the rupture. So, the doctor wanted me to stay overnight for monitoring. I thought he was done. But there was more. Apparently, the ultrasound revealed a five centimeter cyst on my other ovary. I zoned out but heard the words “torsion,” “surgery,” and “removal.” I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome about 2 years ago. So, I was aware that I had cysts on my ovaries. But, I never had one rupture. And I had never considered the possibility that this condition could lead to the removal of an ovary. Luckily, it didn’t.

After I was moved to a room in the surgical unit, my honey left to get food. He came back with vegetarian ramen from our favorite place and a few books. He helped me sit up in the bed, fed me, and tucked me in after I was finished eating. After, he sat down in the chair next to my bed and read a chapter from the latest Walter Mosley book he was reading. I remember sitting there, looking at him and thinking to myself, “I’m the luckiest girl in the world.” 

After being discharged the following day, I was given instructions to follow-up. It’s been over a month and I still haven’t. Lack of insurance is one reason, fear is another. But sooner or later, I’ll get to it. Let’s just hope another cyst doesn’t rupture in the meantime.

Meet Me Halfway: Our First Date

It took nine long months before we had our first date. Our relationship started out long distance. I was living in New York City, attending my first year of law school. He was living in San Diego working in special education. We connected through a mutual friend. She was my best friend and she was his friend from childhood. She knew us both and suggested that we get to know each other because she thought we’d connect.  At first, I was hesitant because I was in a long distance relationship before and swore I’d never do it again. After some urging and convincing that “he’d be a good fit for me,” I decided I’d give it a try. After all, he would be a welcomed break from endless hours of studying Torts.

After some time, I learned that we had a lot in common. We connected through our love of music. The first time I knew he was special was when he told me that Teedra Moses’ Complex Simplicity was one of his favorite albums. I loved to read and I shared my love of reading with him. He wasn’t too keen on reading. Fueled by his desire to learn more about me, he agreed to read the books that I sent him. I sent him my favorites. The next time I knew he was special happened when he proclaimed that Octavia E. Butler had become his favorite author after reading The Parable of the Sower, one of the books I sent him. After months of countless phone calls, text messages and instant messaging, we finally had the opportunity to see each other. I was going to leave NYC for the summer for an internship in my hometown in Central California.

Our first date was a meet me halfway trip.  We agreed to meet in Los Angeles. I decided that I would stay with a friend from college for a few days. He also had a friend from college that he was going to stay with. We had a limited amount of time because I had to get back home for work. So, we decided that we were going to spend a full day together. We didn’t have a plan for what we’d do. I just wanted to get to him, to see him. That was enough. We’d fill in the details as we went along.

I rode Greyhound to Los Angeles. It was a mode of transportation that I was more than familiar with. I spent countless of uncomfortable hours traveling between the Central Valley and UCLA, where I went to college. This time, the trip was different.  I was traveling down Highway 99 for my first date with a man that I had never met in person. Though, the anxiety that I felt was calmed somewhat by the nostalgic familiarity of the endless rows of crops and stench of cow manure. I arrived a day before him so that I had time to reconnect with my friends from college. The next day, I was going to go to Union Station to meet the man that I found myself falling for despite never being in his presence.

I remember sitting in Union Station anxiously waiting for him. Then, a text message from him, “I’m here.” I sat, frozen. It was really happening. I was going to meet him. Then, after what felt like forever, I saw him. I lit up and jumped out of my seat. He was wearing the “I Love NY” shirt I sent him months ago. I wanted to run up to him, jump on him and shower him with kisses. But, I stood there frozen from excitement. I watched him closely as he walked up to me. His walk was sexy. It was sexy in that confident, Denzel Washington, “I got this handled,” way. And that smile… to this day, I fall in love with him a little more each time I see him smile.

Just like that, there he was.  After being separated by over 2700 miles for months, he was inches away from me. I remember standing there, face to face. We were both smiling from ear to ear. “ Hi,” I said. “Hi,” he said. Then, he put his arms around me and hugged me. With my face on his neck, I breathed him in. Finally, he was here in my arms. And that was it. There, in his arms, I felt it–the end, the beginning.