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Personalabs.com Review

I recently discovered I have issues with my TSH levels. Without getting into the nitty-gritty details of it, my TSH levels are affecting other systems in my body. I started medications and have been waiting for a re-draw, but, as my six-year-old says, I’ve got ants in my pants and I am impatient. I have made some massive  dietary changes, and the idea of keeping up the dietary changes if it’s not working, sounds like torture. While researching more on dietary changes that benefit people with high TSH levels, I found some information on a website called Personalabs.com.


Personalabs.com

I wasn’t really sure about it at first. I watched the videos and read about how it works, but I was still uncertain. Some states are ineligible to participate, but if you’re in an eligible state, it’s a pretty simple process.

  1. Order your tests
    Really, it’s as simple as buying something off of amazon. You find the test you want, add it to your cart and checkout. Easy peasy!
  2. Make sure your patient information is filled out
    After you checkout, make sure you fill out your patient information. I didn’t realize I needed to and there was a slight delay on getting my orders back because of it. My second order from Personalabs came in almost instantly, since my patient info had already been filled out.
  3. Check back for your lab orders
    It can take about 24 hours for your lab orders to appear in your patient portal. Once they arrive, print these out! You’ll need to take them with you!
  4. Take your lab orders to the nearest approved testing site
    Personalabs has approved collection sites across the country. Once you have your lab orders in hand, take them with you to the nearest collection site, which you can find by using Personalabs locator tool! You may or may not need an appointment, so if you’re unsure, call the collection facility. Because I had to travel a bit to get to the one nearest me, I made sure to schedule an appointment.
  5. Update your patient portal with the date your sample was collected
    Once your specimen has been collected, be sure to update the date in your patient portal. By entering the date you had your labs collected, Personalabs is better able to make sure you get your results in a timely manner and will get after the laboratories on your behalf if it takes longer than expected.
  6. Kick back and take it easy while you wait for your results!
    It really couldn’t be any simpler! Once your results are in, they will appear in your patient portal! You can then use your newfound health data however you choose, or print it out and bring it with you to your next doctor appointment.

My experience with Personalabs was amazing. I was stunned at how easy the process was, and even more stunned at how quickly the results came in! My labs were drawn in Anchorage, Alaska, shipped to somewhere in Washington and I had results available to me the next morning when I woke up, less than 18 hours after the initial blood draw! I couldn’t believe it. I have had labs drawn at the local hospital that take days and days (sometimes even weeks!) to come back; yet this came back ridiculously fast! I couldn’t believe it!

I never knew that you could order blood work online prior to using Personalabs.com but I am so glad I found them! I am not able to take control of my health, reduce the costs associated with my lab work, and get timely results from my lab work! Ordering lab work online has never been easier thanks to Personalabs!

Overall Rating: 4.8 Stars

Fulfills Purpose Well
Design & Visual Appeal
Ease of use
Affordability
Earth-Friendliness

Fulfills Purpose Well:

Personalabs.com is amazing. I didn’t even know it was possible to order your own labwork without visiting a medical provider. Personalabs helps cut out the middleman and allow you full control over your health! I could not have been more pleased with the service.

Design & Visual Appeal

Personalabs.com has an easy to browse website. You can sort tests by function, system, condition, or even just view them alphabetically. Each test page has an informative description of the test, what it is for, and the estimated wait time for results.

Ease of Use

Personalabs.com was simple to use. I found the test I wanted, added it to my online shopping cart, paid for my purchase, filled out my information and waited for my orders. Once my orders were in and the lab was drawn, all I had to do was update my testing date. The only thing I would change is an email notification; Personalabs.com did not email me when my results were in. It would have been nice for an email alert.

Affordability

Personalabs.com is extremely affordable in comparison to traditional physician-ordered bloodwork. Instead of paying for a doctor appointment AND lab work, you simply pay for your labs. It includes the lab draw fee as well, so long as you use an approved collection facility. In my case, my TSH test only ran me about $40 after a coupon code; much cheaper than what I was recently billed for a TSH lab.

Earth Friendliness

Personalabs.com works in conjunction with thousands of testing facilities to make the experience easier on the consumer, delivering results directly to the patient portal online. There is no faxing or mailing paper copies of results from clinic to clinic. I’d say that’s about as earth friendly as a labwork company can get!


Blood Testing for your Healthy Well Being

*Disclaimer: I was not provided any compensation for this post, nor did I receive any complimentary products. I have purchased these items on my own, with my own money. My opinions expressed in this review have not been influenced and are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

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My Experience: Dental Work & Halcion

I am not going to lie. I am a big freaking baby when it comes to dental work. I can push a baby out in my kitchen with no drugs, but the second they start touching and scratching my teeth, I turn into a big blubbering wreck. I shake. I cry. Sometimes I puke. And I pass out. It’s a big, ugly and embarrassing ordeal, not to mention, a pain for the dentist trying to work on me while I’m doing all of the above. It just… never goes well.

In the past I have used a combination of valium (diazepam) and nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to deal with my dental anxiety. It’s been effective before and I figured that is what my new dentist would use. He told me they use something called triazolam for dental work (also known as halcion). I had never used triazolam and wasn’t sure what to expect. The youtube videos weren’t very reassuring, but I decided to just trust my dentist and go with the flow.

About Halcion

Halcion is primarily used for dental work, but at one point was used in medical and hospital settings, especially so for the treatment of insomnia and sleep disorders. It is a powerful sedative, in the same class as other benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Valium.  Halcion commonly produces retrograde amnesia, meaning the patient won’t remember what happened after the fact. Halcion seems to be preferred because patients can understand and comply with directions, but are relaxed enough to perform the work. Halcion is a controlled prescription drug in the United States. Patients under the influence of Halcion cannot drive to and from their appointment and will require an escort. Halcion is favored due to the fact there are few contraindications. For more information on Halcion and dental work, please visit Dr. Brian Hoffman’s website.

Taking the medication

My dentist instructed me to take the first pill an hour before my appointment. I felt absolutely nothing for about 20-30 minutes and then my legs started feeling funny and I wasn’t exactly able to form my thoughts into words as quickly as I would have liked to. Once I was at the dentist, he administered the remainder of the pills sublingually, under the tongue. Beyond this, I really don’t remember much, so you’ll need to watch the video.

Memory Loss

I only know this because I went through the texts and Facebook messages I sent while on the medication. I told people I felt fine and felt lucid, but I knew I was going to forget shortly… then an hour later I would send the same text message, not realizing I had already talked to the person and already said the same thing. This makes me worry I was conscious in the moment, but not after. I can remember some of the feelings and emotions (panic!) I had during the dental work, but I can’t really remember actual events. I do know at one point I was crying and panicking and I was given nitrous, but I am not sure if I actually remember this, or if I only “remember” it because I was told it afterward.

My overall impression

The halcion was effective in memory loss, but the effects lasted way too long. I don’t remember most of the entire day (and it was my 10 year wedding anniversary). It’s a weird feeling knowing you have amnesia over a certain period of time. I think, if I were to need dental sedation again, I would request valium and nitrous oxide. Valium wears off pretty quickly and relaxes you without the amnesia component.

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Hiking the Russian River Falls Trail in Cooper Landing, Alaska

I grew up in Alaska. I’ve been to many a body of water and on more trails than I can count. We recently took a trip down the Russian River Falls trail in Cooper Landing, Alaska, Catherine, Danielle, and I. It was about an hour from Soldotna (probably an hour and a half from Anchorage) and was an awesome workout. I loved it and plan to go again later this summer.

 

Russian River Falls Stats5

Elevation Gain: Russian River  500 feet.
Start Elevation: 1,400 feet
Rating:  Russian River Falls: Easy.
Distance:  Russian River Falls 2.3 miles one way.
Nearest Landmark: Cooper Landing, Alaska
Season:  Mid-May through mid-September
Popular:  Hiking, Mountain Biking, Fishing, Camping, Boating, Horseback Riding, Cross Country Skiing, Snowshoeing.

Where is the Russian River Falls trail?

Once you hit Cooper Landing, you will find the Russian River Campground access road at milepost 53 of the Sterling Highway.  The access road is narrow at points, so go slow to prepare for oncoming traffic. There is very limited parking at the trailhead and the trail tends to be very crowded when the salmon runs are in. Get there early and get a spot, but keep in mind there may be parking fees depending on the time of year. There is overflow parking available, but it is further from the trailhead and not as convenient!

What is the Russian River Falls trail like?

The Russian River Falls trail is about two miles long and is covered in gravel. The trail is a popular one and as such, is very well maintained. In some areas, the gravel felt a little deep for our wagon wheels and it took some force to pull/push through it with the two toddlers in the wagon. The trail is decently wide and comfortably able to accommodate two people walking side by side, maybe even three in some areas. The trail does have slight changes in elevation, which for normal non-wagon-pulling hikers, shouldn’t be an issue. On the way back, we were getting pretty sore pulling the wagon uphill. At the end of the trail, there’s a viewing deck and platform with a couple areas you can stop at to view the falls. The falls can be loud and wildlife viewing is common.

What kind of plants and animals can be seen on the Russian River Falls trail?

Catherine and I went semi-early in the season, so the foliage wasn’t quite showing off in full effect. We found labrador tea, horse tail, crowberry, cranberry, willow, yarrow, devil’s club, mushrooms, ostrich fern, tree fungi and more.

As far as wildlife, many animals call the areas near the trail home, including many species of birds (you may even see eagles!), squirrels,  moose, ducks, caribou (if you’re lucky!), black bears, brown bears, and salmon in the falls! The salmon who make it to the falls, have managed to evade fisherman and bears along the Kenai river and are in the final stretch of their journey to spawn and die.

Is the Russian River Falls trail a good trail for kids?

Catherine and I took two toddlers in a wagon and a baby in a carrier on the trail. While the wagon got heavy on some of the uphill parts, it was a relatively easy and kid-friendly trail. There were a few points where the gravel felt a little too deep for the wagon wheels, but overall, it was easy enough. It is a long walk (2.3 miles one way) and older children may not do as well walking on their own if they aren’t used to it.

Can I camp at the Russian River Falls?

There are campsites available, as well as cabins that can be rented near the falls and the lake. These campsites may have fees associated.

Safety Precautions

Where there are fish, the bears and wildlife will follow. Bear sightings are common on the Russian River Falls trail and it’s a good idea to brush up on bear safety practices. If you are able to, it’s not a bad idea to bring guns with you on your hike. It’s better to have weapons and not need them, than to need them and not have them.

As always, never hike alone and always bring a buddy. Tell people when you leave, where you are going and when you expect to be back.

Extra Tips

Be sure to bring plenty of water with you, especially in warmer weather. There are no fountains along the way and it’s not wise to drink water from the falls without adequate filtration.

Mosquitoes can be a nuisance. Be sure to use bug repellent to keep them at bay. Depending on the time of year and the weather on that particular day, the mosquitoes may be more or less of a bother. Best to be prepared!

 

 

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Foods to AVOID for hypothyroid

Unfortunately, I was recently diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I made myself a handy little chart of foods to avoid in order to promote healthier TSH levels and thought I would share!

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HCG Diet P2-Friendly Chocolate Jello Bite Delight


I am not a chocolate junkie. I don’t scarf it down like crazy, but every so often, I get a chocolate craving. And when I say chocolate craving, we are talking about the most simple chocolate craving there is; a chocolate bar. I don’t want pudding, or cake, or shakes, just a plain old chocolate bar. What am I supposed to do during phase two of the HCG diet when chocolate bars are off limits?!

In the HCG Diet Support group I found on facebook, there is a recipe that is passed around more than the salt and pepper at my family’s house on Thanksgiving. They call it “Chocolate Delight.” It sounds delightful. Hell, anything chocolate sounds delightful right now. What is this chocolate delight everyone swears by? It’s similar to a chocolate bar, made with cocoa, sweetener, and…. coconut oil. FYI for those of you who don’t know, coconut and I do not get along. I want to love coconut, really, I do, but it makes insanely sick, vomiting, diarrhea, and for some weird reason, I start shaking whenever I have it.  And of course, there really aren’t any oils similar to coconut oil in consistency (believe me, I’ve looked) and if there were, I kind of doubt they would be approved for P2. What the heck am I supposed to do with a supposedly amazing recipe for P2-safe chocolate that I can’t even have?!?! What’s a girl to do?

Make my own recipe, of course! It took a little tweaking, and a few batches in the trash, but I got it down and I swear it is *almost* like biting into a chocolate bar.

Chocolate Jello Bite Delight

1 cup boiling water
2 packages Knox plain unflavored gelatin
3 TBSP cocoa
Stevia to taste

Boil 1 cup water. Pour into small glass pan. Mix in both envelopes of gelatin. After gelatin is completely dissolved. mix in cocoa. After cocoa is well mixed, add stevia to taste (liquid mixture should taste similar to chocolate pudding).

Cut into 16 squares. Each square is approximately 2.5 calories.

TIP: For a variation in flavors, try using flavored stevia, such as Vanilla Creme, English Toffee, Valencia Orange, Caramel,  or Hazelnut.

 

 

 

 

**This post contains affiliate links.

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Weight Loss Resolutions

I hate to be one of those people with the cliche weight loss resolution, but this year there’s no denying that I need to set that resolution. Let’s face it. Most of us have been toting around some extra weight. And for one of the first times in my life, I am no exception to this.

As a kid, I was pretty twiggy, much like my two older daughters are. As a pre-teen, I got a little chubby and then quickly lost the weight and thinned out once puberty hit. As an adult, I stayed pretty thin, even after giving birth. While postpartum and breastfeeding, it seemed like the weight just melted off, no matter what I stuffed my face with. With each of my four children, I bounced back in 3-6 months, rocking the same size 3/5 jeans I wore in high school. I never expected I would ever become overweight. After all, I was just built thin and losing weight always came so easy to me.

Fast forward to baby #4. I had lost all my baby weight, plus a little extra. I moved to an old farm town in Minnesota when my daughter was six months old. Despite my best efforts, I just didn’t fit in well and there wasn’t really much to do like there had been in Alaska (think hiking). Even worse, it was really cold and windy in the winter, and in the summer, it was way too hot for me and my Alaskan babies. As an added difficulty, Minnesota’s summers set off my asthma. I had asthma attack after asthma attack all summer long, despite not having had one since I was three when living in Alaska. Needless to say, I spent pretty much the entire 19 months there sitting in the basement, packing on the pounds. By the time I returned to Alaska, I had gained 50+ pounds.

In December, I joined a weight loss challenge with a cash prize. I was so sure it was going to be what I needed to motivate myself and get into gear. I stuck with it alright; probably not as well as I could have, but I did make a conscious effort to choose healthier options, workout and sneak exercise into my daily routine. And guess what?

The scale didn’t budge.

The month long weight loss challenge ended and I lost a whopping one pound. That was it. All that work and I only lost a pound. One. Freaking. Pound.

Obviously I wasn’t thrilled with it. I was actually pretty stressed about it. And then a friend told me about the HCG diet. I had heard of it before, but it sounded really weird and not entirely healthy. At first I just brushed it aside. It sounded too easy, too good to be true, and borderline risky. This friend though, kept telling me about it so I decided to read the book “Pounds & Inches” by Dr. A. T. W. Simeons detailing the original protocols, research and successes. The reviews on Amazon were overflowing with success stories!

All I can say is WOW.

I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but I tried to start the book with an open mind, keeping my own shallow and limited impressions of the HCG diet out of the picture. I read the book and took what it said at face value. I have to admit, some of the concepts presented in “Pounds & Inches” by Dr. A. T. W. Simeons were foreign to me; they challenged everything I thought I knew about weight loss and health. Despite these challenges, the research and information presented by Dr. Simeons was very encouraging and some of my skepticism began to wane. But I wasn’t convinced yet.

Even after reading the book, I still wasn’t sure. If this was the solution, why weren’t more people doing this? I did a lot of digging. I found articles on every end of the spectrum; it’s a scam, it’s a miracle, it worked for me, it didn’t work for me, it’s dangerous, it’s healthy, you name it. But what I really loved finding would surprise you.

Facebook groups!

I found several Facebook groups dedicated to individuals using the HCG diet. These groups were not only encouraging, but validating. I could find someone’s amazing before and after photos, search their username and find their very first post on the group expressing their own skepticism, just a few months prior. That is what sold me. These are real people; people who have struggled to lose weight, people who doubted this diet would work, and people who got the results they were trying for.

I am by no means an expert, but the HCG diet consists of three phases;

  • Phase 1
    Phase one is a preparatory phase focused on cleansing and preparing, however, it is not required for the diet, but rather encouraged.
  • Phase 2
    Phase two is when you begin taking either shots or drops of HCG. Phase 2 consists of 2-3 “loading days” (where the goal is to gain a little weight) and 20-40 days following a low-calorie diet plan consisting of only specific approved foods.
  • Phase 3
    Phase 3 is often referred to as the “stabilization” phase, lasting three weeks. During these three weeks, the goal is to stabilize your new weight. Anything can be eaten during this phase with the exception of starches and sugars. Drops/shots are discontinued during this phase.
  • Phase 4
    Phase 4 is often referred to as the “maintenance phase.” Weight has been lost and stabilized and there are no longer any restrictions on diet, nor are there any more shots/drops. At this point, a dieter can simply maintain by employing healthy eating habits, or they can remain in phase 4 for three weeks before beginning a repeat round of phase two. Multiple rounds of phase two may be needed for individuals who need to lose a significant amount of weight.

So there you have it; a brief synopsis of the HCG diet and why I have decided to follow this plan. I am very excited and will keep everyone updated on my progress! Wish me luck! And if you’re interested in it, don’t take my word for it! Read the book. Read the reviews on Amazon. Join the Facebook groups. Do some digging. Decide for yourself.

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