Saturday, March 5, 2011

It's the Pits

Gather round ladies... let's have virtual coffee and chat about something I absolutely hate talking about.  I feel the best thing for me to do is blog about it because there is nothing more private than the world wide web. Right?!?

Well, there have always been certain things I wanted to do and certain things Dave wanted to do.  Dave had always wanted Lasik Eye Surgery, which he got in December 2009.  He loves it, by the way.  He believes it was the freakiest thing to have ever happen to his body, but everyday he loves it.  He got that done and encouraged me to cross something off my "bucket list."  It seemed like a good idea.  I was working, and we don't budget my paychecks, we were inbetween kids and even sleeping at night.  In general, life has been in a pretty nice holding pattern for the last year or so.

So, I took him up on it.  I got laser hair removal.

I took a referral from a friend for a "med-spa" in West Omaha (by the swanky eye doctor, by the way).  I had always wanted my underarms done.  Not because I hate shaving them, but because my dark hair shows up under my light skin, even after I shave.  It has always been something that I am terribly embarrassed about-- as in every summer, softball season, basketball season, prom dress and wedding day.  Every time I put my hair in a pony tail and wore short sleeves. You may not realize how often people actually see your pits, but trust me.  I remember on my wedding day, my photographer encouraging me to put my arm around Dave's neck when I sat on his knee.  No way.  Look through every picture of me you have and I can almost promise my arms are down.

So the particular med-spa I went to had a special: Pay for all 6 underarm treatments up front, and get 6 bikini treatments free.  Heck yes.  Another "trouble area" with this black hair and light skin-- sign me up.  So I wanted to give you all a few thoughts about this process, now that it is over.  I had my last treatment just after our cruise.

* Surprisingly to me, the goal of laser hair removal is not total removal.  It is 85% reduction.
* Success completely depends on zapping the hair during the right phase of hair growth.  So it is a guessing game to some extent.  This is why you need to wait 4-6 weeks in-between treatments for best results.  If you get laser hair removal yourself, I encourage you to do your own research and make sure that your spa is timing the treatments correctly.  I saw a lot of spas doing 6 treatments in 6 weeks.  Bummer for those people.
* Once the hair is zapped in the right hair growth phase, it is gone forever.
* The darker the hair and lighter the skin the better candidate you are.  This made me an excellent candidate.  If you have a lot of blond hairs that you can't see until the sun hits them, you are not a good candidate. (And I don't feel one ounce sorry for you :)
* The "med spa" world has a lot of turn over in it's clinicians.  I only chose a spa where the laser technologists were Physician Assistants or Nurse Practitioners-- Master's Level medical professionals.  I take this seriously, even if it costs a little more. 
* The med-spa clientele is somewhat "needy."  They are often cash paying for elective procedures.  I might have fallen into this category, as I insisted that I only would come on a Tues/Thurs at 10AM.  Lol.  I was not going to line up extra daycare for this, miss a client, miss a nap time.  I was insistent and not afraid to remind them how much I was paying per treatment.  As a result of this somewhat entitled clientele, there is high turnover in the med spa world.  For those Master Level technicians, they are working odd hours, evenings, and weekends taking care of "needy" and demanding clients. They are paid per treatment on a "commission" basis.  Can't say I blame them.  Or me.
* Even still, each of the three clinicians I saw (only one actually quit to take a job in a family care clinic), each had years of experience and assured me that the training was rigorous.  "I take a laser to people's faces, " one of them told me.  She said they have a high rate of liability and must do it right each time.
* It hurts like hell heck.
* It is a weird hurt that is over the minute the treatment is done.  By the time you are dressed, you've forgotten.  There is little they can do to help with the hurt, save an ice-pack on the area before the laser hits it.  Still, I often had to ask them to stop so I could catch my breath-- which they completely understood.
* I never cried.  My technicians said most women don't, but that men do.  She believed they had a lower pain tolerance, and also were generally getting large areas like their back done.  I would cry for sure if my area was that big.  Some areas are more painful than others due to skin sensitivity as well as underlying bones and nerves, and to no surprise the bikini is one of the most painful (yet small).
* The most common area for women is the face-- upper lip, sideburns, eyebrows, etc.  However, this is also the area with the worst overall results (though they are still showing significant reduction) due to the fact that a lot of that hair growth is driven by hormones.
* If this works, and I have the time and budget, I'd love to get my lower legs done (from over the knee to the toes).  Though apparently the shin bone and ankles are very painful.  And that is a much larger area.  It's not that I don't like shaving, it's that I could shave everyday and still look like I need to.
* I say "If" this works, because I had this done once before about 11 years ago.  Granted, the lasers and research weren't what they are now, and I only had 3 treatments and I don't know how long in-between-- so I am skeptical.  However, I have been very pleased with the results.
* I loved the cruise that much more because of these treatments.  Particularly my bikini line, but I also loved not being self conscious in my short-sleeved shirts.

I can't wait for spring.  I love my jogging walking stroller.  I have several walk routes with parks on them and I'm looking forward to spending the mornings getting moving and sharing some time with Dekker.  I also love my in-laws gorgeous country club pool, and am thrilled Dekker will finally be old enough to "get" water parks, sprinkler parks and pools.  Bring it.  I'm thrilled to wear tank tops and say good-bye to the "Farmers Tan" I've sported for the last 28 summers!

I would give a high referral thus far to Sage Spa here in Omaha.  If this is something you are considering I hope you'll talk to me.

On the journey,

Friday, March 4, 2011

Quick 5 (Status Updates that never made it to facebook this week)

1.  Stefanie trying not to count how many times I've huffed Afrin this week.  It's addictive you know.  But it works sooo well on this cold/allergies/misery. (Monday)
2.  Stefanie Rowe... has a big break in her day and instead of spending it on paperwork, ran home and took a short nap.  So not feeling well. (Tuesday)
3.  Stefanie Rowe... Took Dekker to HyVee.  Glad I did because those breathing treatments weren't going to help with the double ear infection. (Wednesday)
4.  Stefanie Rowe... just ran into Bag N Save to grab lip hair tweezers, face lotion and lip gloss before returning to work.  A little powder and I can face the public again.. (Thursday)
5.  Stefanie Rowe... praying said purchase at Bag N Save stays 'pending' in the bank account until the paycheck comes through at mid-night.  Yikes and Dang it. (Thursday).

And a bonus:
6.  Stefanie Rowe... considering the effects of Lanolin on my "Rudolph" nose.  Thanks, @ Becky Sallinger for the idea. (Friday)

 In all honesty, it was a rough start to this week.  On Wednesday Dekker was just a mess and I was, too.  I ran him into HyVee after he took a 50 min nap and woke up coughing so hard he was sobbing.  I felt so lousy that I wanted to sob, too.  The APRN was very nice and patient and diagnosed a double ear infection, which made me feel better in a weird sort of way.  Two doses of medicine and he was a new man.  I had a busy week in my clinic with rare morning appointments, which created some "gaps" in my day.  I usually get all my files up to date when this happens but just couldn't this week.  Bummer.   Looking ahead I'll have some time next week.  Here's to up-to-date paper files by this time next week.

Finally, I think everyone should check out my friend Beth's blog this week.

On the journey,