Renée Rouleau Rapid Response Detox Masque is Everything the Name Says

I am having a perfect storm for my cystic acne - the stress of the upcoming inauguration and what that means for my healthcare, chemotherapy which causes a slight dip in my immune response, and all the wacky things they do to my hormones - mix together et voila... Cysts! Cysts everywhere! Big, painful, throbbing, impossible to cover up, and lasting forever.

This time, a special package arrived in the mail. A gift from Renee herself because she liked my Into the Gloss article.  If you follow my instagram stories than you know I basically ripped into it like a wolf and slathered it all over my chin. I also did two spot treatments, one for a little sucker on chin and another already popped on my cheek.

Unlike what I'm used to in detox masques (drying, messy, chalky, mud) this is a luxurious and decadent gold flecked gel that goes on with a light, refreshing feel. It seems to thicken as it dries to a tacky consistency, but never made my skin feel tight or dried out. It's luxe.

That was a week ago. This morning I went to my dermatologist for my 8 week check in. Him and the nurses were SHOCKED by how clear my skin was. They looked at it closely, felt it, and bestowed upon me a big smile and a "this looks amazing!"

I am a convert now. Thank you so much Renee, you are truly a hero for cystic sufferers everywhere.

Rapid Response Detox Masque

Donald Trump Is Making me Hate Faux Tanner

An answer to the question: Why is Dena so pale right now? Obviously, there is a level of laziness implicit here. Plus the amount of skin showing at any point in time is like, the tip of my nose. Add into that a splash of deep tissue repair and exfoliation, and you get a pale Dena. That's the nuts and bolts mechanical explanation. The truth is I am always a little bit lazy and I still prioritized faux tanning as part of my indulgent self-care ritual.

So what is going on? I'm sure part of it is the influence of truly gorgeous images like this one (hi kelly!)

And a winter aesthetic in the midwest that makes being tan seem slightly ridiculous. The fact that I truly enjoyed the latest installment of Underworld: Blood Wars in part because of all that gorgeous pale vampire flesh does hurt either. Helllllo Irene Adler. 


But the truth is, I just can't bring myself to dose up on tanner. I have so much of it, and it's soooo good, but putting it on just makes me feel a kernel of dread in the pit of my stomach.  So what's behind the sudden aversion?  I can't resist the kernel of awareness that makes me believe my current pale status is rejection of the most infamous spray tan in the world right now. It's impossible to think or see "spray tan" and not think about the end of national healthcare, planned parenthood, and possibly the world as we know it.

I'm not sure I can truly capture it any better than this video can, so if you haven't watched this yet, just trust me it's so so worth it. And it's funny, and making me laugh when I feel like I have my own personal storm cloud following me around is really something.

Why I Support The Million Woman March: The Saga of the Broken Glass Vagina

My vagina feels like someone placed a glass in it and then crushed it with their fist. If this is  the "mild vaginal discomfort" I was warned about, I balk to think what classifies as pain. There must be something I can do about this, and so, with the reluctance that only comes when a side effect of my cancer treatment that impacts my hoohaw, I go to the doctor.

"Here's the problem," he explains patiently and gently, "We need to keep estrogen out of your body so it doesn't feed your cancer, but estrogen does a lot more than just feed cancer." Ok, logical, makes sense, so is there some way to put the estrogen just in my painful lady womb?

There is a cream, but it's a form of estrogen (I learn from googling) that needs to pass through the bloodstream and bond with other hormones in my blood before it can be the kind of estrogen that will fix the crippling pain in your pelvis. Estrogen passing through the bloodstream = potential cancer growth. Ok, pass.

There's a ring, that distributes pure estradiol (the converted form) just to the place you need it (hoohaw) but...

-- It's not covered by your insurance. (Why not? Because menopause is not covered by your health insurance, and this is a drug to treat menopause - which is what you *technically* have)

-- It costs about $500,  but the manufacturer offers coupons which bring it down... to $300.

-- It's sold out, everywhere. There is only a single manufacturer of it (love, patents) and the factory had some kind of issue and so it's gone. From everywhere. We expect it back in stock in a month or two.

Now, I am lucky enough to have a Supermom, who upon hearing this called every Walgreens in a two-hour radius and found (and paid for) one of these magical rings for me, involving several multi-hour round trips and some sort of her voodoo witch magic.

They say you can't actually remember pain, but I remember being curled in a ball with a hot pad, weeping over the powerlessness I felt to do anything about the pain I was in, broken, fixable, but unable to access the thing I needed. Forced to choose between pain and potentially feeding my cancer.

It was a nightmare I still have not recovered from, and I can't imagine that the new regime is going to make things like this any better.

Not unless we use our voices, our power, to advocate and fight for the things that are the most important to us, that are unique to us as women, that are not easy to understand, talk about or fight for.

Thank you for marching for me. This may be broken, but it is fixable.

Author's Note: I found it kind of overwhelming to write a short snippet of why I support this march. I am overwhelmed by the sheer number of possible answers. I wanted to write something inspiring, something powerful, something helpful. I wanted to tell a story that only I can. I was paralyzed over a blank cursor. We have a saying in our house. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

So this is just my first bite.