All posts by StephanieV

Women and chronic pain: The issues with getting fair treatment

Women and chronic pain: The issues with getting fair treatment. Found at


It’s been awhile since I’ve written a blog post. I’m still sick. I’m still untreated. My GP thought it was rheumatoid arthritis. He’s the third doctor I’ve seen in the last year who had that same thought. I haven’t wrote anything here because, frankly, I’ve been depressed and I feel beat down and discarded. I feel like I’m swimming upstream trying to find out what is wrong with me, and getting treatment for it. Or even getting help with pain management.

I saw a rheumatologist at the beginning of October. The visit involved giving a lengthy medical history during which his nurse chastised me for not knowing the exact dates for every CT scan, MRI, and doctor visit I’d had in the last 10 years. She chastised me for not showing up with my medical records and imaging results from every single past doctor visit. For not having every single test result with me.

As if I was suppose to know that sometime, in the future, I’d experience chronic joint pain and fatigue, and need to have those things in my possession.

I’d originally been told I wouldn’t be getting in to see the rheumatologist for about a month. That would have given me time to get any medical records and reports. Instead, they called me just a few days after receiving my referral and said they had a cancellation, so I could go ahead and go in. I had no time to prepare.

Yet at the same time, symptoms I have now and in the  past were brushed off as unimportant. The wrist pain I’ve had for at least five years was considered inconsequential – even though I was in their office for joint pain. It was inconsequential to them because it was usually brought on by doing something with my hands, such as typing. Because apparently, chronic pain only counts if it is never worsened by doing manual labor.

Makes total sense, right?

Because I show no inflmmation in my blood work, and show no visible inflammation in my joints, the joint pain was basically ignored entirely. The rheumatologist refused to take into account that I never have swelling when I am injured. Serious sprains and surgery has never – and yes I do mean never – resulted in visible swelling. The pain can be at a 10, but there will be no outward appearance of injury.

No one thinks that might be a little bit… odd? Or I dunno, maybe a reason why inflammation isn’t in my blood work. Why is my body not responding to injury the way most people’s do? Why is that not a puzzle to figure out?

Where the hell is House, M.D. when I need him?

They focused on the timing of onset of symptoms: Shortly after stopping Zoloft. They’re sure that the Zoloft was keeping the pain at bay. In other words, the doctor chose not to look at symptoms I’ve had for years when not on an antidepressant and instead imply that the symptoms I have right now are all in my head.

Cause you know, women be crazy. We can’t be trusted to know our own bodies and surely any pain we feel is exaggerated for attention.

It’s not like we are designed to handle pain. Do men forget that we’re the ones that push human beings out of ourselves?


The rheumatologist ordered more blood work. Results showed that my iron levels are high, but my kidneys are functioning “better than they should be” (doctor’s wording) and my liver function is also good. He finished up my last appointment by telling me, “Come back if you feel worse, but I suggest you get a job because working takes my mind off my pain.”

Yeah, that’s the answer. Just distract myself. Forget the wonky blood work and forget that some days, I can barely handle grocery shopping, and forget that if I do too much – like vacuum the living room – my joints will be throbbing in pain for hours after. Surely the answer to my problems is to do more things.

I plan to go back to my GP to follow up on the iron issue. The rheumatologist wasn’t interested in doing further testing (even though high iron can explain my joint pain).

I’m not alone in seeing first-hand how women are treated as less sick, and less likely to get treatment, than their male counterparts. Studies and reports have shown women receive inferior health care.

In a clever 1999 study, researchers from Georgetown University videotaped professional actors portraying people with chest pain. The researchers showed the videos to more than 700 primary care physicians and gave them data about each hypothetical patient. The doctors were much less likely to believe that the women with chest pain had heart disease. Similarly, when European researchers looked at the records of 3,779 heart patients, 42% of them women, they found that women weren’t worked up as thoroughly. It was the same story in a 2000 Mayo Clinic of 2,271 men and women who went to the emergency room with chest pain. 

I do not think the rheumatologist would have been so blase about my symptoms if I were a man. I feel fairly confident that I won’t get that same treatment from my GP, as he didn’t brush off any of my symptoms or complaints when I saw him, and he was proactive in getting a battery of tests ran and referring me to a rheumatologist. I don’t think he will be so quick to tell me that there’s nothing he can do for me.

I think there’s plenty the rheumatologist could have done for me. I don’t think the issue is that he couldn’t, it’s that he didn’t want to.

I already have an appointment for a workup with another rheumatologist, but it’s not until April. This time, the doctor is female. I’m interested to see if I will be treated differently by her, if I do end up needing to see her. Maybe treating my high iron levels will make a difference, and I won’t need a rheumatologist at all. One can hope, right?

Have you had problems getting healthcare practitioners to take you seriously?

Five on Friday – Wildfires

It’s the end of the workweek (not that I work anymore), which means another Five on Friday! I wish I could say it’s been a great week, but for so much of the state, it has been a nightmare.

1.Mr. V was called up on Sunday to go help with the fires in Central Washington. He’s acting in an administrative role with the Washington National Guard, so he’s not in any danger, but I worry for all of the personnel who are battling these fires and the residents who are in the path of danger. So many homes have been lost, and now three firefighters have lost their lives: Tom Zbyszewski, Andrew Zajac, and Richard Wheeler. Daniel Lyon, the fourth crew member involved in what is thought to be a vehicle accident while escaping the fire, suffered third-degree burns on 1/2-2/3 of his body.

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More than 400,000 acres are burning across Washington, with gusty winds forecasted for this weekend. DNR is setting up a coordination center to handle offers of help or equipment. Omak City Hall and the state Department of Transportation office in Colville will organize training sessions for those not currently qualified to serve on the fire line.


To volunteer your time: For Omak, call 360-826-2546 or email; for Colville, call 509-675-7847 or email Offers will be reviewed starting at 7 am Friday.

The Community  Foundation of North Central Washington is collection donations for victims of the fires through the Chelan Valley Fire Relief Fund. or 509-663-7716

Okanogan County Community Action Council is providing aid for immediate needs such as gas, food, and shelter. 509-442-4041

Room One in Twisp is accepting donations. or 509997-2050

The Salvation Army office in Wenatchee is collecting money to supply fire victims with gas cards and thrift store vouchers. or 1-800-SAL-ARMY (designate gift cards to “Northwest Fires”)

The Red Cross is accepting donations. or 1-800-RED-CROSS or text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10.

The United Way of Chelan and Douglas Counties is taking donations through its Sleepy Hollow fire relief fund. You can specify in comments a specific fire to direct donations. or 509-662-8261

Vern is taking advantage of Mr. V’s absence to stretch out on that side of the bed. Since both Mr. V and Vern snore, it’s almost like I’m not alone in bed, although one definitely has worse breath than the other.

2.It’s hard for me to use the blow dryer anymore, so I went to my wonderful stylist and had her color and cut my hair. My scalp is still a little pink and I clearly don’t bother with more than running a comb through my hair but I’m happy with it ;p


3.I’m pet sitting this beautiful kitty once again while her humans are on vacation. Isn’t she just a gorgeous cat? She’s very cuddly and insists that I pet her while she eats.

Sophie sophiebandw

4.It’s been a good week for photos, for a change.


5.Still no word on my referral to the rheumatologist. I did a home sleep study  last weekend and that came back normal, which I expected. I’m surprised they learned anything from it – it’s not easy to sleep with a big chunk of plastic stuck to your forehead.

What I posted this week:
There were some amazing photos linked up at the Macro Monday Mixer.
Have you tried Lip Monthly? I posted my review of the monthly subscription service.

6.Bonus item, I guess?

Madonna quietly released a new video not too long ago. No waves were made, but it’s everything I wish music videos still were.

Linking up at: Friday Favorites, Momfessionals, Friday Favorites @ DofaRH

Lip Monthly Subscription Service Review

I don’t suppose there’s any point in denying it any longer: I have a problem with lipsticks. Also lip glosses, lip balms, lip tints, lip crayons, and lip liners. They are scattered around my house and half the contents of my purse is lip stick and lip gloss. When I came across Lip Monthly, a monthly subscription service that is focused on lip products, I was drawn like a moth to a flame – especially with a low $10/month price tag. I may be an addict, but I’m an addict with a budget 😉

June & July Lip Monthly Products. See the review at

I will tell you that I am now a Lip Monthly affiliate, so if you were to sign up yourself, I’d get a small commission. I think it’s worth it, and I do think Lip Monthly is a stellar return on my investment each month. I have received only full-sized products so far, many of which are cruelty-free, and I’ve been introduced to many great companies that I probably would not have heard of or tried otherwise. But we’re all here for the lipsticks, so let’s review!


The June bag included a pink zebra-print bag and four full-sized products, with a retail value of $54.44.

June Lip Monthly Bag

June Lip Monthly Products. See the review at
From left to right: Be A Bombshell in “hollywood,” So Susan Colour Hybrid, and Jelly Pong Pong Paradise Pigments in ” Fig Jam.”
  • The Be a Bombshell lipstick was definitely my favorite in June’s bag. I love coral lipsticks and this was a nice reddish-coral shade. It had good staying power and felt very light and creamy. I would put it close to the same quality as my MAC Amplified lipstick. Be A Bombshell does not test on animals. Website:

Be A Bombshell lipstick in "Hollywood."

  • So Susan Colour Hybrid bills itself as a “velvety lip/cheek mousse” and frankly, I thought it was kind of weird. It has incredible staying power, but after application, it felt like how I imagine chalk paint feels. With a gloss over it though, the weird chalk feeling wasn’t there. It’s cruelty free, so I’m sure that’s a selling point for many of you. Website:

So Susan Color Hybrid lip/cheek mousse

  • The lip/cheek cream from Jelly Pong Pong was SO vibrant! Think “bright fuchsia!” It wore well and had good staying power, it just wasn’t a good shade for me. Jelly Pong Pong and So Susan are both the masterminds of Susan Chyi, by the way. Busy woman, right?! Website:

Jelly Pong Pong Paradise Pigments in "Fig Jam"


  • I like the J. Cat eyeshadow in “Ticket to Stardom” a lot. I’ve wore it quite a few times already. I think the packaging is wonderful for something that is only $3! It has some fallout, and it doesn’t stay in place all day but I also have oily lids so no eye shadow really stays all day anyway. J. Cat has 48 individual shades in the Flying Solo line, which is pretty impressive. The products are also cruelty-free and free of a whole lot of bad stuff, like sulfates. Website:

J. Cat cosmetics eyeshadow in "Ticket To Stardom"
June Lip Monthly Products. See the review at

J. Cat cosmetics eyeshadow in "Ticket To Stardom"


The bag for July was a cute bright blue one with four full-sized products and a retail value of $59.94. Yes, you read that right: I received $60 worth of product for $10. Now you see why I think it’s worth it?

July Lip Monthly Bag

From left to right: Lord and Berry lip crayon, MICA lip balm, and Milani lip gloss
From left to right: Lord and Berry lip crayon #20100, MICA tinted lip balm in “Velvet Rose,” and Milani lip gloss in “Pink Grapefruit”
  • The Lord & Berry lipstick crayon, shade #20100, is so cool. It’s almost my favorite product so far. It’s vibrant, it has staying power, and it doesn’t feel dry. I would wear it pretty much anytime, anywhere. I couldn’t find mention of whether their products are cruelty free though. Website: Lord&Berry

Lord and Berry lip crayon in shade #20100

  • The Mica Beauty Cosmetics tinted lip balm in “Velvet Rose” is the kind of vampy lip balm I’d wear paired with a smoky eye for date night or a hard rock concert. I don’t see myself wearing it unless “dark” was a theme I wanted to go for. Someone who isn’t Paley McPalerson like me could definitely get away with wearing this on occasions other than rock shows and Halloween 😉 Mica Beauty is a mineral makeup, but I couldn’t find mention of whether their products are cruelty free. Website:

MICA Beauty Cosmetics tinted lip balm in "Velvet Rose"

  • My favorite from the last two months is a brilliant shine lip gloss from Milani in “Pink Grapefruit.” I knew I’d love this as soon as I pulled it out of the bag, because I love Milani products. This is just the perfect shade of pink for someone pale like me. It has a hint of peach, and just the right amount of pigment. It also sticks to my lips better than a lot of other gloss I’ve used, so it stays on longer than I expect from a gloss, even while drinking and using my e-cig. Milani has vegan products, which wins them even more points in my book. Website:

brilliant shine lip gloss from Milani in "Pink Grapefruit."

  • The last product in July’s bag and that I’m reviewing today is my least favorite: A honeysuckle-scented mini-roller perfume (8.8 mL) from Harvey Prince called “Sincerely.” I’m very sensitive to smells, especially synthetic/chemical smells, so I don’t wear perfumes. If you like the smell of a honeysuckle candle, you’d probably like this, but that’s one of my least favorite scents. I do give points for being organic and having the roller ball applicator. Website:

Final Thoughts

I have branched out and wore lipsticks in shades I otherwise wouldn’t have since I started getting a Lip Monthly bag. I’m not too crazy on getting a new literal bag every month because I really dislike clutter, and I do wish there were four lip products in each bag instead other makeup products, but the overall value to me as a customer is well worth continuing to pay $10/month. I look forward to the gold envelope arriving each month and will continue with this service indefinitely.

If you’d like to check out Lip Monthly for yourself, click on the banner below (this is my affiliate link, I will get a very small commission if you sign up through me).

What subscription services for makeup do you use, and what would you recommend? Will you be signing up for Sephora’s monthly bag when it rolls out nationwide, or if you are in one of the three cities it will initially be offered in? That one is definitely on my radar!

Linking up at: Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop, My Girlish Whims, Wake Up Wednesday, Friday Favorites @ DofRH

Macro Monday Mixer #10 – Dragonfly

Welcome back to another Macro Monday Mixer! How is everyone?  My husband was called out by the National Guard to help with the wildfires in Central Washington, so I have at least the next two weeks to myself. I’m torn between “Woo-hoo! Turn up the music and dance!” and “Ugh, this is going to be a long and lonely two weeks.” Right now I’m straddling the middle by loudly listening to a Medina album while editing photos. I hope to get more Hawaii trip planning done (still can’t believe I’m going) and actually venture beyond my backyard for photos, creaky joints permitting.

In photography news, I found this Paddle-tailed darner on the sidewalk earlier this week. He was sadly on his way out of this world, so I scooped him up and brought him home to photograph before humanely euthanizing him. I’d like to try my hand at pinning him.

Clicking on the photos will take you to my Flickr account where you can view them full-sized.


DSCN5142Bet you didn’t know dragonflies had so much hair! DSCN5136

This guy had a couple of very small hitchhikers on him.

DSC_0029DSC_0039 Let’s link up! Share your macro and close up photos from ANY platform. Macro Monday Mixer You can find me linking up with:  Inspire-Me-Monday-Button-1502sharethelove macro monday 2        




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