Life After Thyroidectomy & Parathyroidectomy (with “after” photos)

depression, essential oils, Graves Disease, healing, health, hyperthyroid, hypothyroid, parathyroid, surgery, thyroid, tumor, Uncategorized, wellness


So I recently had a total thyroidectomy and a parathyroidectomy of one tumor and lived to tell about it. ¬†ūüėČ ¬†Below I’ll share with you as many details as I can remember (but my memory still isn’t the best – thanks to hyperparathyroidism!)¬† I’m hoping to give those having this procedure in the near future a little preview of what to expect.¬† If you’re like me, you’ve been grasping for positive stories online, but can’t find any!¬† That’s because there are very few positive stories online.¬†¬†There’s a much smaller percentage of people coming back to tell their positive stories than there are people reporting negative ones.

First, I have to mention that I’ve had multi-nodular goiter for many years, and more recently I discovered it was it was growing downward under my sternum. It was also pushing on my windpipe causing coughing and¬†making it hard to take in deep breaths.¬† Doc said it would continue to grow if we didn’t remove the whole thing.

I also had Primary Hyperparathyroidism, which is basically a tumor on one of your parathyroid glands, caused by the glad producing too much PTH hormone.  The only cure for primary hyperparathyroidism is to remove the tumor.

I did not know if the goiter, nodules or parathyroid tumor were cancerous because I never got a chance to have a Fine Needle Aspiration biopsy on them. ¬†Since my surgeon, Dr. De Jong,¬†knew the whole dang thing needed to come out, it wasn’t necessary to biopsy it.¬† He would¬†have my thyroid sent to pathology once it was out, and then we’d find out if it was malignant.

Dr. De Jong said the goiter was the size of his fist!¬†¬†:-O¬†¬†So my incision would be 3 – 4″ long.¬† Apparently you could only see the tip of the iceberg when you looked at my neck. The rest of the large goiter was inside, and growing downward.¬† I was ready to get it out and move on with my life.¬† So we booked surgery for a month out.

Ten days prior to surgery, I was asked to stop taking Advil and all herbal supplements.¬† I hate missing 2 days of my fabo supplements (they hugely help my mood), let alone go completely off of them for 10 days! It was a bit rough because I rely on those supplements for mental clarity, stomach issues, energy and more.¬† My head wasn’t very clear at work during those 10 days – but then my mind hasn’t been clear at work for a LONG time thanks to the parathyroid tumor.¬† So my bosses would just have to deal.

Two weeks prior to surgery I went in for pre-anesthesia testing. They took 5-6 vials of blood to make sure I was healthy enough for surgery. They like to see where your hormone and calcium levels are. Makes sense. My poor nurse though… She was telling me how she has a horrible anxiety disorder, and so she had visibly shaky hands. I tried not to look nervous as her shaking hand came towards my vein with a needle! In my mind I was thinking, “is this for real!?” Everything worked out though – blood was drawn and I lived to see another day.

Thursday, January 11, 2018, (my thyroid and parathyroid eviction day!) was here before I knew it. I’d gotten a lot of prayer from a lot of people, and so I was as cool as a cucumber on my way to the hospital (I was ready to get this thing out of me). I wasn’t afraid of the surgery as much as I was the recovery, and the thought of being hypothyroid (weight gain, more depression, hair loss – NOOO!)

They wheeled me into a prep room where I put on a gown, hospital socks, a gigantic hospital maxi-pad (in case my period came during surgery). They also wrapped electronic massage sleeves around my calves that constantly squeezed and massaged my calves. This was to prevent blood clots. Dr. De Jong came to say hello and that he’d be ready for me in a few minutes.

Some people (nurses, medical students?) came by to wheel me away, but not before first putting a weird metallic shower cap hat on my head.¬† Once I was in the operating room, they exchanged the metallic cap hat for a knit cap. I am not sure what that was all about… but I was ready.¬† Drug me up and get that beast out of me!

After moving me to the operating table, they put a mask over my nose and mouth and asked me to breathe in deeply a few times. That was the last thing I remember before actually waking up in the recovery room after surgery.¬†¬†Surgery was over before I knew it and I was on to recovery – yay! ¬†The surgery was apparently 3.5 hours long, and Dr. De Jong successfully removed the very large goiter and parathyroid tumor –¬†leaving the 3 other parathyroids and vocal cords intact and in good shape.¬† Thank God!¬† If you have a poor surgeon, you may get damage to your vocal cords.¬† Please do your research and find the best surgeon on the block.

I don’t remember much about waking up from anesthesia except that the nurse administering my pain meds wasn’t exactly a warm and fuzzy gal.¬† I was drenched in sweat – dripping from my forehead down into my eyes. I felt disgusting. Oh, and guess what? Aunt Flo came to visit me DURING surgery (wasn’t that thoughtful of her??!!??). While I was trying to wake up from the anesthesia, I felt stabbing cramps in my uterus. Perfect timing…¬† They couldn’t give me Advil, only Tylenol.¬† Essential oils to the rescue! Thankfully I’d brought a roller-ball blend of my female/hormonal support oils to ease my cramps (a mix of Geranium, Clary Sage, Lavender, Marjoram, in case you want to make your own). ūüėČ

Once I was more awake, I was put in a real recovery room where I would spend the night.¬† I’d heard that you are usually in a room with a bunch of people, but I got a single room, with a TV and sink.¬† Not too shabby!¬† My husband arrived shortly thereafter, kissed me and sat down…and then I don’t remember much of what happened over the next hour or so.¬† I was so out of it from the anesthesia – foggy and sleepy.

I don’t know if you are aware of this, but apparently some people can’t handle anesthesia, and they puke after surgery.¬† Can you guess what type I am? That’s right –¬†a puker. ¬†It is a good thing they put a vomit bucket on my lap right away. If it weren’t so easily accessible, I’d have made quite the mess all over their nice sheets. ¬†After vomiting, my mind felt clearer and I was much more awake.

At this point, I didn’t feel any pain in my incision, but I did have a scratchy/sore throat. The sore throat was due to the breathing tube and camera tube that were put down my throat during surgery. They brought me Cepacol lozenges to suck on for throat pain.¬† Other than that, the only other issue I felt was a stiff/sore neck and weakness.¬† The stiff neck is from how your head is positioned during surgery.¬† I also had to keep the IV in my hand overnight just in case they needed to use it. And the massage sleeves were still pumping away at my calves – I need one of those for my house!

Below is a photo of me not long after I puked. Still out of it, but forcing myself to smile…because you can’t take a picture without smiling.¬† Well, you can,¬†but I usually don’t.¬† It’s not very often that I will share a photo of myself without any makeup on, so you’ll notice this particular photo is extra small compared to the rest.

A few hours later I felt much more alert, so I took another photograph. This time my bandage had been removed and I forced an even bigger smile even though I still didn’t feel so hot.

I was starting to get hungry but could only order from the liquid diet portion of the menu. Chicken broth and Jell-O sounded the least likely to induce vomiting, so that was dinner. ¬†It was horrible, but I wasn’t expecting much from a hospital. You basically get a bowl of broth, with a packet of protein powder to mix in. It was like eating Ramen noodles….minus the noodles.¬† Allll salt.

The nurses gave me Tums to chew on every few hours.¬† This was to provide my body with calcium because my 3 remaining parathyroids still needed to “wake up” and start doing their job in regulating my calcium level. You don’t want to have low calcium in your blood.¬† It causes hypocalcemia, which is very dangerous.

My husband and I watched TV – sort of – I kept nodding off.¬† When he had to leave for the the night, I tried to get some sleep – but everyone knows you don’t sleep much in a hospital. Nurses came in every few hours to give me the Tums, take my vitals, take my blood, etc.

I don’t remember sleeping much, but the night went by pretty quick.¬† Though weak, I had to keep trying to get myself up and walk to the restroom out in the hall.¬† I had to remember to hold my gown tight so I didn’t give the other patients a “show.”¬†;P¬† Before I knew it, it was morning and I was hungry!¬† I ordered an oatmeal and a yogurt and ate about half of each.¬† A nurse came by and gave me my very first Levothyroxine pill, which I was told I would be taking for the rest of my life.¬† “Hello Levo, so nice to meet you. We’re going to be lifelong friends…as long as you do your job and don’t jack me up.”

At one point before my husband arrived, I got up to use the restroom and got a whiff of my armpits. Holy mother of pearl…it was horrible.¬† I don’t know if the hospital gown hadn’t been properly washed before I got it, or if a family of skunks had burrowed into my armpits and died.¬† I just knew that I needed to freshen up quick – my husband was going to arrive soon and I didn’t want to smell like roadkill.¬† Thankfully my room had a sink with handsoap and paper towels. I scrubbed my pits as best I could with that pink junk soap, and asked a nurse for a fresh gown.¬† Muuuuch better.¬† I smelled like a human, and even put on a little makeup.¬† Ooh, la la.

One of the medical students came in that morning and says to me, “so, now we’re going to take out your stitches.”¬† What the?! Already???¬† I apparently said that out loud – not just in my head.¬† She sort of condescendingly/jokingly made me feel like a baby for being scared.¬† I squeezed a pillow while she plucked each one out and tossed them in a bowl. It didn’t hurt, but it pinched a little as she tugged on each one. The last one stung –¬†it was stubborn and didn’t want to come out!¬† They remove stitches the day after surgery so that the scar is less noticeable – fine by me!

My husband arrived that morning and we watched a little TV until I was able to leave. The nurse came by and gave me a prescription for Levothyroxine and post-surgery instructions to rest, drink lots of water, take 4-5 Ultra Strength Tums (1,000 mg) per day for the next week, etc., etc.¬† We would discuss more at my 1 week follow-up appointment. I was given the go-ahead to get dressed and was able to leave around 10:00 a.m.!¬† Couldn’t wait to get home – I missed my kitties…and my cozy pajamas and couch.¬† A very nice nurse took me down to the hospital entrance in a wheelchair.¬† Wheeee!!¬† It was the most fun I’d had in over 24 hours.

It was about 20 degrees and snowing that morning, and there was ice covering our parking lot, so my husband took my arm and lead me into the house.  Then he led me to the couch Рwhere I would spend the next couple of weeks watching TV.

I felt pretty good the next morning, and so I was able to take a shower.¬† But not without packaging and taping up my neck real nice so that the water didn’t soak the steri-strips. And not without the help of my husband.¬† Here’s a lovely photo of me pre-shower:

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It felt so good to wash off all hospital odor from my body Рespecially being able to wash my armpits without paper towels and hospital soap!  A little water ended up seeping in and touched my incision area, but all-in-all it was a productive first shower.

Below is a photo of my incision 2 days after my surgery.¬† It wasn’t looking so bad for only 2 days!

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We purchased a bunch of applesauce and yogurt so that I could eat soft foods for the first few days. By the 3rd day or so, I grew tired of yogurt so we ordered pizza!  Probably not the best idea, but my throat felt a little better and I needed something tasty.

Note:¬† You’ll have a bunch of disgusting yellow mucous stuck in your throat.¬† You need to get that out.¬† You don’t want it getting into your lungs.¬† So, hopefully your surgeon will give you a breathing tube (which looks sort of like illegal drug paraphernalia), that seems to help it come up.

On the 4th day post-surgery, I felt pretty good.¬† I had some irritating leg cramping, and so the nurse called in a prescription for Rocaltrol, which was an active form of Vitamin D. It¬†seemed to help the cramping a bit, but it kept coming back throughout the day. ¬†I had to keep rubbing a blend of essential oils to relax my legs.¬† It helped a ton, but I didn’t want to keep doing that every few hours! Eventually it subsided and the cramping stopped. I think part of the cramping was due to inactivity. Sitting on the couch for 4 days wasn’t good for circulation or my leg muscles.¬† I got up and walked in place for a bit, which helped.

My sister came to visit me on my 4th day post-op.¬† We ended up talking too much, as I normally do, and it irritated my throat.¬† I started to feel something swell inside my throat.¬† It felt like a little ball was inside my throat every time I swallowed. I freaked out and thought I was having a side effect from the Rocaltrol (“throat swelling”), so I called the nurse.¬† She assured me that it wasn’t going to be the death of me.¬† She explained that they have to cut through a pretty thick muscle in order to remove the thyroid. Apparently that muscle gets “angry” for being disturbed and takes a little time to heal.

Below is a picture of my 4th day post-op incision.  It was healing up pretty nicely:

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As the days progressed, it was easier for me to get around and do a few small chores, without lifting anything over 10 lbs.  I tried to do as little as possible. You know what? Cable TV stinks. They replay episodes over and over and OVER. I was incredibly bored. I literally spent most of my mornings searching On Demand for movies, without actually deciding upon one.

I don’t remember what day it was, when I got the surgical pathology results, but when they came in, it showed that everything was BENIGN! Praise God!

Below is a photo of my incision on my 5th day post-op.¬† Just a couple of days before my 1 week post-surgery appointment with the surgeon.¬† He would be removing my steri-strips, and I couldn’t wait to see what it looked like once removed.

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I saw my surgeon a week after surgery for my 1-week follow up. One of the medical students removed my steri-strips and I checked myself out in their mirror – not bad! It felt less tight, but I still felt like my neck was pulling if I moved my head around.

A few of days later, my incision was looking even better. See the photo below. Some of the scabs had come off with the steri-strips when they removed them.

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At this point (10 days post-op), I started to do what my surgeon told me to do. And that was to gently massage Vitamin E oil above and below the incision for 2 minutes at a time, twice a day for two months. He told me that it was better to rub it above and below, versus on top of the incision, and that it would heal beautifully.

The Vitamin E oil I had was incredibly sticky, so I switched to rosehip seed oil and a blend of essential oils: helichrysum, frankincense, lavender and a skin blend that my company makes.  The steri-strips had irritated the skin around my incision, and so it was super sensitive and irritated easily.  Knowing how potent essential oils are, I decided to back off of them for a bit, to let the sensitivity/redness go down.

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Once the sensitivity healed up, I began using organic calendula oil, which is very soothing to skin, along with a with a drop of Copaiba essential oil. ¬†This didn’t irritate my incision, so I kept doing it every day from this point forward.

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It’s now been 4 weeks since my surgery, and the photo below shows my scar looking a lot darker and more pronounced than it did a week ago! I’m not sure if this is because I hadn’t begun using a scar-diminishing oil, such as Neroli, or if I stretched it out somehow?¬† I think when I took the above photo, I may have had the “skin toning” feature on that blurred out skin imperfections.¬† Durrr.

Now that the incision is sealed and healed, I’m going to start massaging Neroli oil into it 3 times a day.¬† I don’t want it getting any darker than it already is. Don’t bother with the Scar Away silicone patches.¬† Maybe they work on some people, but they irritated my skin.

Now that it’s been a month since my surgery, and I’m back at work (returned after 3 weeks), I am feeling pretty good. Some days I feel achy/fatigued, and other days I feel fine. My main complaints are moodiness and depressive episodes, anxiety, fatigue and some body aches (feeling like I have a fever), cold feet and restless legs.¬† The cold feet has been improving a bit over the last week or so. ¬†I’ve had depression and anxiety for over 20 years, so I am not sure either of those will ever improve.

I don’t think I’ve lost any extra hair, and I have only gained 3-4 lbs (but I’d lost that exact amount right after surgery, so I guess I’m just getting it back by eating too much junk food!). I believe my surgeon said they would probably be increasing my Levothyroxine at my next appointment in 2 months. I am hoping once they do that, my hormones will regulate and the remaining symptoms will improve. I’m currently taking 100 Levothyroxine, and 2 Calcitrol +D supplements per day.¬† But that may change at my next appointment. I’m staying positive because the surgery was a success, so I know that future healing will be a success as well.

So far, at 4 weeks post-op, some of the symptoms that I used to have due to my hyperparathyroid tumor have begun to improve. Such as:

  1. Frequent urination (I go much less often – almost normal now)
  2. Extreme thirst/dry mouth
  3. Brain fog/confusion (feeling somewhat clearer and able to focus better)
  4. Breathing better (no more goiter pushing against my windpipe!)
  5. A tad more energy
  6. Joints not as achy when sitting still for too long

I’ve read that it can take up to 6 months to really notice improvements after removal of a hyperparathyroid tumor, so I must be patient like grasshopper. It will come in time. I am praying I am one of the success stories of those who do great on synthetic thyroid hormone and can feel completely normal one day.

If you’re about to have this surgery, please make sure you have a fantastic surgeon. Make sure you have help for the first few days post-surgery. And be sure to get a lot of rest, drink lots of water, and give yourself time to heal. Don’t rush back to work if you don’t have to. I pray your surgery goes well and that you have a positive story to share as well!

UPDATE: It’s been close to 3 months, and here’s how my incision is healing. This is with massaging Neroli oil into the healed scar 3x per day:

Lovely bags hang below my eyes these days.¬† A tell-tale Hypo sign of fatigue.¬† And stress might play a part too…

Other changes include:¬† hair loss, hypo fatigue, 5 more lbs of weight gain. and depression and moodiness.¬†¬†Dr. De Jong switched me over to the name-brand, Synthroid, and increased my dosage to 112, so I’m hoping this regulates me.¬† I miss going to the gym!

But, this is life, and I’m glad I had the surgery.¬† I would rather deal with meds, than have my goiter continue to grow down into my chest.

If you’ve recently had this surgery, or had it in the past, will you please comment below and let me know how you are doing?¬† I know our bodies are all different, but I’d like to hopefully hear some positive stories about depression going away and weight loss after Synthroid regulates!

God bless and make sure you check your TSH and calcium levels whenever you get a blood test!

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Hyper-parathyroidism & Multi-Nodular Goiter = Total Thyroidectomy & Sub-Total Parathyroidectomy

Uncategorized


To skip to this blog and see read about the actual surgery and recovery (with photos), click here:  Life After Thyroidectomy & Parathyroidectomy.


As you may have read in my previous blog, I had Grave’s Disease (hyperthyroidism) as a teenager, and had toxic multi-nodular goiter (which is, in a nutshell, an enlarged thyroid with nodules on it, that produces too much thyroid hormone).¬† After taking PTU and Synthroid medications for about a year, and not seeing any changes, my doctor decided it was time for the Radioactive Iodine Treatment (“RAI”).¬† RAI is a large radioactive pill that they drop down your hatch¬†while donning special gloves¬†to protect themselves from the radiation.¬†¬†They don’t want it to touch your mouth, and can only touch your throat enough for you to swallow, due to its radioactivity.¬† Sort of scary…not gonna lie.

For the following 3 days, I was to flush the toilet three times each time I used it.¬† I could only use plasticware and disposable plates when I ate and I couldn’t sit next to anyone who was pregnant.¬† Yikes!! I didn’t glow, nor was I green, but apparently I was dangerous to an unborn fetus outside my own body!¬† This whole ordeal was meant to stop my thyroid from overproducing thyroid hormone. And, it worked! For the most part…

All was well in the thyroid department for the next 23 years – or so it seemed.¬† My goiter stopped overproducing thyroid hormone, which was great, an and added bonus was that my thyroid didn’t become hypo (which normally happens to patients who have this treatment).¬† I think the goiter even shrunk a little after treatment.

Now, rewind to about 10 years ago. I began experiencing annoying symptoms that no one could explain.¬† My leg muscles were always cramping.¬† My anxiety had gotten worse. I was extremely fatigued, often depressed, and rarely wanted to clean my house or go out with friends. Over the years, more symptoms were added to the list.¬† Below is my running list of symptoms (the list isn’t conclusive to the actual disease – there are a few others that I never acquired – thank the Lord):

– extreme fatigue (even brushing my hair poops me out)
– GERD (acid reflux) (diagnosed and taking Omeprazole)
– depression (let’s not even go there)
– anxiety (waking up every morning with a nervous stomach ache, fears, inner shaking and sometimes hand tremors)
– hair loss (pony tail? more like a weathered paintbrush)
– brain fog/confusion (bosses think I’m an airhead)
– memory loss (I’m apparently a very large goldfish)
– frequent urination (I should set up my work computer in the stall)
– constant thirst/dry mouth (drinking so much water makes frequent urination even frequent-er)
– dry, scratchy eyes (some mornings, my lids literally are stuck to my eyeball)
– stomach issues (let’s not even go there)
– hoarse/scratchy throat/voice (no, not the sexy kind –¬†the phleghmy, groggy kind)
– trouble sleeping (due to frequent urination all through the night)
– irritability (sorry, hubs!!¬† I’ll be normal soon, I hope!)
– muscle & joint aches (I’m only 39!)
– frequent headaches (sort of dull, and sometimes daily)

Over the years, my previous doctor would test my thyroid hormone, to see if my thyroid was over- or under-producing thyroid hormone.¬† The results always came back normal, and so I assume the doctor (and possibly friends and family members) thought my bodily complaints were all in my head. I mean, I constantly Googled my symptoms, always trying to find a diagnosis.¬† I’m sure the word “hypochondriac” came up in conversation when I wasn’t around. ¬†I didn’t care – I knew there was something wrong with me and I was determined to figure it out.

Finally, in October 2017, after the frequent urination was just ridiculous (I’d go 20-30x in a 24 hour period), I decided to get a ton of blood tests to see if I had diabetes.¬† Frequent urination is a symptom of diabetes, and we have a lot of diabetes in our family.¬† I figured I was bound to get it at some point. It had also been 2 years since I’d had a complete blood workup, so…

My blood tests came back “prediabetes,” but that didn’t concern my doctor. ¬†He was more concerned with my consistent abnormal calcium level. It had been high in 2014, 2015 and again in 2017.¬† He wasn’t my Endocrinologist before 2014 (I skipped seeing one for many years, so I am guessing my levels have been high for at least 10 years).¬† I also had low Vitamin D.¬† He was concerned about the frequent urination, high calcium and low vitamin D, so he sent me back for a PTH test, which tests for raised parathyroid hormone in your blood.

Being an avid, self-professed, online medical researcher (i.e. “Compulsive Googler”), I found out that high calcium, high PTH hormone and low Vitamin D means that you have a disease called Hyperparathyroidism.¬† Hyperparathyroidism basically means you have a tumor on one…or two…or theee…or four of your 4 parathyroid glands.¬† It’s most common to only have one parathyroid tumor, but some have multiple diseased glands.

This disease is slow progressing, but in time it can cause major problems if you don’t get it taken care of.¬† Problems such as osteoporosis, osteopenia, cardiac issues, kidney failure and more.

From my limited understanding of biology, and proficient Googling abilities (don’t laugh), these parathyroid tumors cause the overproduction of parathyroid hormone. This will cause calcium and phosphorus to be pulled from your bones – not good. You can’t absorb the calcium, and so it floats around in your blood, wreaking havoc and causing annoying symptoms.¬† This is called hypercalcemia.¬† This leads to bone loss and that is where the osteoporosis can come into play. I have never had a bone density scan (DEXA) done, so I don’t know how my bones are, except for the fact that my dentist keeps telling me how much bone loss they notice at every one of my dental visits.

This extra calcium can even attach to various tissues in your body and cause calcification of that tissue.¬† Basically, it’s like growing a tooth over your organ! (I’m sorry if you have nightmares tonight…).¬† One of my thyroid nodules was calcified.¬† Parathyroid tumors must¬†be removed.¬† Surgery is the only treatment for them.

I am eternally grateful that my primary car physician noticed the high calcium levels in my bloodwork, and catching this before I spent any more precious years feeling miserable. ¬†Please, if you have any of these symptoms, and no one can figure out what’s wrong with you, please advocate for yourself and ask your doctor to order blood tests for Calcium, Vitamin D and PTH.¬† If your doctor won’t do it, find a new doctor.¬† Seriously.¬† Or, if your doctor says “let’s keep an eye on it,” so you can go longer feeling miserable…find a new doctor.¬† Unfortunately, there are many endocrinologists out there who will only go by the numbers, and not consider a patient’s symptoms.¬† This should not be happening.¬† If you don’t have any good endocrinologists near you, but you believe you might have a parathyroid tumor, you can try contacting the Norman Parathyroid Center in Florida.¬† They are experts in all things parathyroid.

Always read your bloodwork (if you can access it online like many medical groups are doing these days), and if any levels aren’t in the normal range – ask your doctor why.¬† Again, if your doctor shrugs it off,¬†find a new doctor!!¬† See as many as you can until you get answers.

As a member of a parathyroid disease support group on Facebook, I’ve learned a lot from many poor souls who have experienced my same symptoms, but worse.¬† Many of them have developed painful kidney stones due to the damage done to their kidneys from the excess calcium in their blood.¬† Most people end up discovering they have a parathyroid tumors by accident – through a CT scan or blood test that they are getting for some other ailment.

So, once my doctor referred me to an Endocrinologist, everything starting coming to light – and fast!¬† My blood tests confirmed I had hyperparathyroidism. ¬†That was the first step. The second step was to send me for a 4D-CT scan.¬† This scan showed¬†2 parathyroid tumors.¬† We wouldn’t know if I actually had 1 or 2 until I was actually opened up (they aren’t always correct).¬† The third step was to refer me to a surgeon to remove the bugger(s).¬† Being the proactive researcher that I am, I already did my homework and had already chosen my surgeon.¬† If anyone was cutting my neck open, it would be one of the best in the Chicagoland area: Dr. Steven DeJong at Loyola.¬† He’d been doing these surgeries for over 25-30 years, and it appears he does them every week.¬† That’s a lot of experience!

I met Dr. DeJong for a consultation and he spent a lot of time with me, showing me my CT and Ultrasound photos on the computer.¬† He basically told me that my thyroid/goiter was the size of his fist, and that it had started growing down into my sternum.¬† Oh my wow – a little freaked at this point.¬† This meant that I didn’t just need to have¬†1 (or 2) parathyroid tumors removed (which would have been a quick non-invasive surgery), but I needed my entire thyroid removed, and 1 or 2 parathyroid glands that contained tumors.¬† This was more involved than I imagined, but I trusted him and agreed to schedule surgery for January 11, 2018.

Removal of the entire thyroid will mean that I need to supplement my body with a synthetic thyroid hormone for the rest of my life.¬† Strangely, I know a lot of people who have had this surgery, and who are on this drug.¬† I’m not worried about that.¬† What gives me the creeps is that there is always a possibility of malignancy, AND there is always the possibility of complications during surgery.¬† One complication would be permanently damaging the vocal cords.

So, being this is an essential oils-themed blogsite, I figured my surgery would be the perfect way to show off my favorite essential oils after surgery.¬† I’ll use some for comfort and aches from the surgery it self, and then I’ll use skin, wound and scar-mending essential oils on the incision.¬† I’ll be posting pictures of the progression of healing of my incision in a separate blog, once I get to that point.¬† So if you are squeamish, you might not want to read my post-surgery blog.

Before the steri-tape is removed, I’ll be using a blend of essential oils, such as frankincense, lavender, helichrysum, rose, sandalwood and melaleuca around the area for inflammation, tenderness and skin recovery.

When the tape is removed, I’ll be using the same blend on the already-healing incision. I’m going to add some Vitamin E oil to the mix and also be using an “everything ointment,” which my company sells, that includes many of those same oils.¬† They are all fabulous for skin repair/soothing.

You can also view my videos at my YouTube channel: Karen K. – Aromatherapy

 

Easy Homemade Guacamole & Chips With Lime & Cilantro Oils

Baking, clean, cleanliving, cooking with essential oils, crunchy, Daniel Fast, diy, do-it-yourself, essential oils, home project, homemade, natural living, nutrition, organic, pure, recipe, Uncategorized

For a healthy,  quick snack, try some homemade guacamole and homemade tortilla chips!  They are fresher and taste a whole lot better than store bought chips!

First, gather your ingredients.  You will need the following:

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 ripe tomato, diced
  • 1/8 cup diced red onion
  • Pink Himalayan salt
  • 2 drops Lime essential oil (See note in red below)
  • Less than 1/2 drop Cilantro essential oil, (use a toothpick, serioulsy)¬†(See note in red below)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder or 2 pressed garlic cloves
  • 1/2 drop Black Pepper essential oil (See note in red below) or 1/4 tsp of ground black pepper
  • 4 soft yellow or white corn tortillas (I prefer El Milagro – they don’t use preservatives)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (or a healthier cooking spray oil than PAM!)

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Thoroughly wash and chop your tomatoes, onion and avocado.

Put your avocado in a bowl and mash with a fork or potato masher until your desired consistency.  I like mine a little chunky. Once mashed, toss in your onion and tomato and stir.

Then, you can add the spices and/or essential oils. ¬†Where it says to use 1/2 drop of essential oil, here’s the trick on how to do that.¬† Since you can’t really measure a half drop, I usually put one drop on a spoon and then lightly shake some off into the sink. ¬† Then I can stir the remainder of the oil that is on the spoon into the guacamole. ¬†It seems to be just enough. ¬†These oils are super potent, and a little goes a very long way!

If you aren’t going to eat the guacamole right away, put the avocado pits into the storage container along with the guacamole and refrigerate. ¬†The pits will keep the avocado from turning brown!

For the homemade tortilla chips:

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Put 4 tortillas (or more) on a cookie sheet (you’ll need a couple of cookie sheets).¬†¬†Very lightly rub both sides of each tortilla with a very small amount of olive oil (If you use too much oil, the chips will be chewy, not crisp – and ruin the whole experience).¬† If you have a cooking spray (which I don’t like using due to the propellant in the can),¬†it would work best in this instance.¬† Lightly spray both sides of each tortilla instead of using olive oil.¬† Stack the tortillas on top of each other, and with a large knife, cut through all of them so that each tortilla makes 8 chips.¬†¬†Using 4 tortillas will make 32 chips.

Spread each chip out evenly out over 2 cookie sheets.¬† Sprinkle salt over all of the tortillas.¬† And if you’re feeling¬†crazy, put some salt in a bowl, add a drop of lime essential oil to the salt and mix it up.¬†¬†Then sprinkle the salt all over your chips. ¬†Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until crispy.

Once the chips are cooled, you are ready to eat!

Enjoy!

FYI – Not all essential oils are created equal.¬† Most oils are adulterated, contain fillers and contaminants and come from Lord-knows-where.¬† The oil company I purchase¬†from¬†gives full disclosure of their countries of origin, and they are third-party tested for absolute purity.¬† They are 100% pure, therapeutic-grade and extremely potent.¬† If you would like more information on how to get them, please comment below and I’d be happy to point you in the right direction.


Build-Your-Immunity Lemon Tonic

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I have to start out by telling you flat out that this tonic is pretty¬†darn amazing.¬† I feel the need to shout it from the rooftops because my results after drinking this tonic for about 6 months have been pretty life changing.¬† In my opinion, it‚Äôs a miracle drink ‚Äď I can say that since I‚Äôm not trying to sell it to you. ūüėČ

I‚Äôve had gastric issues for about 6 years now, and nothing ever helped me.¬† I saw so many doctors and did so many tests to see what was wrong with me – I‚Äôll be paying off those bills for quite a while!¬† What a waste ‚Äď the results didn‚Äôt tell me anything helpful.

I had a laundry list of symptoms that were unexplained, so I started going to a nutritionist.  I went to her monthly for a couple of years to gently detox my system from heavy metals and other environmental toxins.  She taught me about making healthier food choices, and why whole foods and whole food supplements were important.  I felt somewhat better, but still had many unexplained symptoms.

When I first started making this drink, I only used warm water with a fresh-squeezed lemon, honey and apple cider vinegar.¬†¬†I drank it every morning before my breakfast for a couple of months.¬† At first, I wasn‚Äôt sure if it was helping my gastric issues.¬† But since I had read so many wonderful things about lemon water,¬†I knew that if I kept drinking it I would benefit from it eventually.¬† I learned that raw, unfiltered honey has the most health benefits, so I started using that instead of the cheap-o kind I was using (think plastic bottle in the shape of a bear….horrible).¬† Then, I read that adding baking soda to lemon water has even more health benefits, even cancer prevention, so I started adding that to my drink.

All I can say is WOW!¬† I sure noticed some changes.¬† I no longer had excessive gas after every meal.¬† I wasn‚Äôt bloating as often.¬† I wasn‚Äôt burping as much throughout the day (I would literally burp every couple of minutes).¬† I also noticed that I didn‚Äôt have explosive bouts of diarrhea (sorry, TMI?) after eating ice cream or pizza.¬† My skin is clearer (but I also use Arbonne‚Äôs anti-aging skin care, which has something to do with that!), and I haven‚Äôt gotten sick in a while.¬† (UPDATE:¬† It’s now¬†3 years later, and I finally got a sinus infection…BUT!¬† I’d stopped drinking this for a few weeks prior!¬†¬†I don’t think it’s a coincidence.)

I also now take digestive enzymes with every meal, to help my stomach break down the food.¬† And I take exemplary supplements from a company I represent.¬† I know that everything I’ve said have played their own part in my current wellness vs.¬†7 years ago.

I always recommend this lemon tonic to anyone who tells me that they have digestive issues.¬† I will probably drink this tonic for as long as I live.¬† Even if you don‚Äôt have stomach issues, there are so many other health benefits (listed below) that it doesn‚Äôt hurt to try it for yourself.¬† If you are consistent and drink this tonic every single morning before breakfast, you will notice changes eventually.¬† Still a skeptic?¬†¬†Google ‚Äúlemon honey water‚ÄĚ and read on!¬† There are so many great articles by doctors and health and wellness¬†practitioners praising lemon water.

So, you‚Äôre probably wondering, “Why lemon, honey, baking soda and apple cider vinegar?¬† What makes them so special?”¬† I have gathered some information and compiled it all here:

Lemon Goodness

Lemons are rich in vitamin C, which enhances beauty by rejuvenating the skin from the inside. ¬†It helps in weight loss, and is a very alkaline fruit (once it is in the body ‚Äď otherwise it is acidic).

Lemons are a great source of polysaccharides, organic acids especially citric acid, lipids, carotenoid, vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, bitter limonoids, potassium, bioflavonoids, and vitamin C.  Lemons also include volatile oil (in the peel Рwhere the lemon essential oils come from), limonene, alpha-terpinene, alpha-pinene, citral, coumarins, mucilage, pectins, and bioflavonoids (pith and peel).

Honey Goodness

Honey is a great source of good carbohydrates, proteins and amino acids.  Honey contains small amounts of the B vitamins riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6.  It also contains vitamin C, and the minerals calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, selenium, chromium and manganese.  The darker the honey, the greater antioxidants.  Honey also contains organic acids such as acetic, butanoic, formic, citric, succinic, lactic, malic, pyroglutamic and gluconic acids, and a number of aromatic acids.

Apple Cider Vinegar Goodness

(This will knock your socks off!)¬† I use Bragg‚Äôs organic ACV, which says ‚ÄúWith the Mother‚ÄĚ on the front of the bottle.¬† Seriously…you must use Bragg’s – it is the best.¬† All others I’ve tasted are disgusting.

“With the Mother” means that it still contains all of the good stuff, unlike other apple cider vinegars that are void of it.¬† ACV contains pectin, Vitamin C, Vitamins B1, B2 and B6, biotin, folic acid, niacin, pantothenic acid, and small amounts of minerals like potassium, sodium, phosphorus, calcium, and iron. ¬†It has a wide range of benefits, such as it:¬† helps stomach troubles, cures hiccups, soothes a sore throat, could lower cholesterol, prevents indigestion, clears a stuffy nose, aids in weight loss, gets rid of dandruff, clears acne, boosts energy, cuts down on nighttime leg cramps, banishes bad breath, whitens teeth, fades bruises, helps control blood sugar.¬† Amazing – and it’s only about $8 for a large bottle at the grocery store!

Baking Soda Goodness

Baking Soda isn’t just for baking cookies!¬† When consumed, it works by immediately kicking stomach acid in the face, which then helps relieve heartburn, indigestion and even ulcer pain.¬† When consumed in a lemon tonic, it gets your digestive juices flowing, and will help your stomach in digestion.¬† If that wasn’t enough, it is also known to alkalize the body and help with kidney disease, cancer, athletic performance, skin conditions and can be used in homemade deodorants (RECIPE HERE) and toothpaste (RECIPE HERE).

In Summary, here’s a list of health benefits of this tonic:

  1. Enhances metabolism.
  2. Aids digestion.
  3. Cleanses the intestines, which improves the absorption of nutrients.
  4. Boosts your immune system.
  5. Cleans your urinary tract.
  6. Balances pH levels.
  7. Clears skin.
  8. Promotes healing.
  9. Freshens breath.
  10. Hydrates your lymph system.
  11. Aids in weight loss.
  12. Boosts energy.

I am sure this isn’t even an exhaustive list.  But it is a very good start!  I feel that everyone should drink this daily, and I hope you will give it a try.  If you don’t have all of the ingredients, make sure you at least have water, honey, lemon and ACV.  Those are good enough in themselves for boosting your immune system.

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LEMON WATER TONIC

  • 8 oz. warm water
  • 1 fresh-squeezed lemon
  • 1 tsp raw, Bragg’s organic apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbs raw, unfiltered, organic honey (the darker the better)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (aluminum-free)
  • Essential oils of choice (see note in red below)

First, heat up the water in either a glass or ceramic mug, for 35-40 seconds in the microwave.¬† Next,¬†stir in the honey until it is dissolved.¬† Then you can add in the ACV and¬†baking soda.¬† (**you can toss in some of your favorite essential oils if you’d like!)

The last part is a little tricky.¬† Before you add the lemon juice to the mixture, be forewarned!¬†¬† It can get messy if you don’t slooowly add it in.¬† The baking soda reacts to the acid in the lemon juice and foams up quick!!¬† I’ve had mine spill out onto my counter a few times.¬† If you slowly add the lemon juice, but use a spoon to break up the foam as you continue to pour the lemon juice, you should be alright.¬† I drink it with a stainless steel straw because the acid from the lemon can eat away at your teeth.¬† If you don’t have one, just sip it, but rinse your mouth with water from the faucet after you finish your drink.

So, if any of you start doing this daily, and notice some changes in your health, please come back to tell me about it!¬†¬†ūüôā

FYI – Not all essential oils are created equal.¬† Most oils are adulterated, contain fillers and contaminants and come from Lord-knows-where.¬† The oil company I purchase¬†from¬†gives full disclosure of their countries of origin, and they are third-party tested for absolute purity.¬† They are 100% pure, therapeutic-grade and extremely potent.¬† If you would like more information on how to get them, please comment below and I’d be happy to point you in the right direction.


Blessings

Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Tea

clean, cleanliving, cooking with essential oils, essential oils, health, holistic, homemade, homeopath, homeopathic, immunity, natural living, non-gmo, nutrition, pure, recipe, tonic, turmeric, wellness
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My cup of deliciousness

Turmeric is all the rage these days, and I just had to try out a recipe for cinnamon-turmeric tea I found online.¬† It.¬† Was.¬†¬†Delicious.¬† My husband even liked it – he said it tasted like Thanksgiving. ¬†With flavors like clove and cinnamon, and it’s pumpkin-y color, you could make this healthy drink for your holiday party.

**Please read this great¬†article on Authority Nutrition‘s website on the many benefits of turmeric.

After reading about the benefits in the article above, now it is time to make your own turmeric tea!¬† Gather up your ingredients and let’s get started:

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Simmer all spices in water for ten minutes, strain.

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Put 1/3 cup of tea in a mug and add some raw honey (even better, how about some local honey!). Then add in 2/3 cup of milk and stir well.

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CINNAMON-TURMERIC TEA

1-2 tsps turmeric
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
3 cloves (I had ground clove, so I used a tea sachet)
A pinch of grated nutmeg
4 peppercorns
1 1/2 to 2 cups of water
1 tsp raw honey
1/2 cup milk of choice

(**Add some pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils for added health benefits!  (See note in red below).  My choices would be myrrh, clove or cinnamon bark.  But only a drop or two into the whole batch.)

Simmer all spices in water for ten minutes, strain.  Put 1/3 tea, 2/3 milk in a teacup.  Add raw honey and milk and stir.  Adjust to taste.

You can save the remainder of your tea mixture in a container in the fridge for up to 5 days.  Just warm up a batch of the mixture each time, and then add the honey and milk.

(**turmeric tends to sink to the bottom.  Be sure to stir/shake well before each use).

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FYI – Not all essential oils are created equal.¬† Most oils are adulterated, contain fillers and contaminants and come from Lord-knows-where.¬† The oil company I purchase¬†from¬†gives full disclosure of their countries of origin, and they are third-party tested for absolute purity.¬† They are 100% pure, therapeutic-grade and extremely potent.¬† If you would like more information on how to get them, please comment below and I’d be happy to point you in the right direction.


To your health!

Silky Whipped Body Butter

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 Winter in Chicago is pretty darn cold!  Between the below-zero windchill days, and the strong winds off of Lake Michigan, it is almost impossible to stay moisturized throughout the winter months.

I have tried numerous body creams and lotions, and while some commercial creams work pretty well, none are as luxurious as this do-it-yourself whipped body butter Рor as pure.  Frankincense essential oil provides extra skin-soothing support, and I highly recommend you add it to this recipe.  (See my blog on Frankincense HERE.)

Rather than purchasing creams from the drug store, which contain parabens, mineral oils, formaldehyde, sulfates, preservatives, animal fillers, petrolatum, GMOs, etc., you can make your own all-natural body cream and actually nourish your body, rather than fill it with toxins.

My husband’s job causes him to wash his hands with a very harsh scrubbing soap, which leaves the tops of his hands¬†dried out, red, rough and cracked from the lack of moisture.¬† I applied this body butter to his hands before bed, and by morning they were much softer and less irritated.

**Quick Tip!  If you have a mason jar or glass container that still has a price sticker on the bottom, any citrus essential oil will remove it, including all sticky residue, within a couple of minutes!  No need to purchase Goo Gone anymore once you have these oils.

I am always amazed at how having essential oils in your home can eliminate almost every store-bought cleaner.  (See my Essential Oils Cabinet project HERE.)

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Voila! No sticky residue left on the glass!

So, let’s get started!

First you will want to gather your ingredients (see recipe below):

In a double broiler or glass bowl, combine all ingredients except sweet almond, shea or jojoba oil and essential oil/oils.

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Bring to a low-medium heat. Stir constantly until all ingredients are melted.  Remove from heat, add your shea/almond/jojoba oil and stir to combine.  Allow to cool for 30 minutes.

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Place your bowl in the freezer for 30 minutes, or in the fridge for a few hours, until the oil is opaque and somewhat solidified.  It should no longer be a clear liquid.  (Sorry, I forgot to take a picture at this point!)

Once your oils have solidified, remove it from the fridge and add your essential oils. Using a hand mixer, whip for 10 minutes.  Body butter will become fluffy and look like whipped cream.

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Scoop into a glass jar, or if it is a gift, use a piping bag to give it more of a design.

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My piping design didn’t look so pretty….¬†¬†So, I just filled the jar completely, tapping it on the counter each time to make sure it filled every¬†space of the jar.

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If you are giving it as a gift, find some cute labels and ribbon and beautify it!  I think I will be giving one of these to all of my bosses this Christmas. It makes a thoughtful and budget-friendly gift for anyone.

SILKY WHIPPED BODY BUTTER

Ingredients:

1/2 cup raw shea butter
1/2 cup raw mango butter
1/2 cup cold-pressed coconut oil
1/2 cup sweet almond oil, jojoba oil OR shea oil
20-30 drops essential oils of choice
10 drops of frankincense oil (optional Рfyi, frankincense in creases the potency of other oils)

(*Essential Oil Variations, depending on your health needs:¬† Copaiba, cedarwood, heluchrysum, geranium, melaleuca, peppermint, lavender, chamomile, cassia wild orange, rosemary, eucalyptus, grapefruit.¬† NOTE:¬† If using any citrus essential oils, DO NOT go in the sun for up to 12 hours.¬† It could cause severe burns.¬† They are “photosensitive oils”.)¬† (See Note in red below)

Directions:

In a double broiler or glass bowl, combine all ingredients except almond/shea/jojoba oil and essential oil/oils.  Bring to a low-medium heat. Stir constantly until all ingredients are melted.  Remove from heat, add your almond oil and stir to combine.  Allow to cool.  

Move bowl to the fridge and allow to cool for 1 hour. ¬†This is important because you do not want to¬†add essential oils to hot oil, or it will decrease it’s wellness benefits. ¬†It should look slightly opaque and soft at this point.¬† Remove from the fridge and add your essential oils. Using a hand mixer, whip for 10 minutes. Body butter will to become fluffy and form stiff peaks.¬† Store in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid.

I HIGHLY recommend this body butter to anyone with dry or problem skin.  It has become my favorite body cream!  For extra added skin soothing, add frankincense and/or helichrysum oils to your butter.

Also, the types of base oils or butters that you add to this body butter makes a huge difference if you have eczema or sensitive/irritated skin.  I would recommend: raw shea butter, raw mango butter, almond oil, jojoba oil, apricot kernel oil, hemp seed oil, borage seed oil, evening primrose oil, calendula oil, kukui nut oil, carrot seed oil, safflower oil, peach kernel oil, sea buckthorn oil, rosehip oil, tamanu oil, sesame oil, walnut oil.  They are all very soothing for eczema.

FYI – Not all essential oils are created equal.¬† Most oils are adulterated, contain fillers and contaminants and come from Lord-knows-where.¬† The oil company I purchase from¬†gives full disclosure of their countries of origin, and they are third-party tested for absolute purity.¬† They are 100% pure, therapeutic-grade and extremely potent.¬† If you would like more information, please comment below and I’d be happy to point you in the right direction.

Until next time – stay moisturized!

 

Sleepy-Time Bath Salts

bath, calming, Christmas, clean, cleanliving, crunchy, Dead Sea Salts, diy, do-it-yourself, empowerment, essential oils, gifts, gluten-free, health, Holiday, holistic, home project, homemade, homeopath, homeopathic, natural living, non-gmo, pure, recipe, relaxation, soothing, wellness

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Quick and easy tutorial on homemade bath salts right here!   These are relaxing to your body and mind after a long day at work, and to help you wind down before bedtime.

Bath salts make a great gift for someone on a budget.  Or, you could just use them yourself!  Dim the lights, put on some soft music, light some candles and pour in your bath salts.  Your stress will drain away and you will sleep like a baby РI guarantee it!

First, grab your desired container (mason jars work best) and fill it with epsom salt but leave about an inch from the top.  Pour the sea salt in the remaining inch.

Next, pour the contents of your mason jar into a bowl, and mix thoroughly.   Add about a tablespoon and a half of almond oil, mix well (the consistency should be a little clumpy).

Add in your lavender buds, if using.

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Add in the essential oil; start with 10 drops and see what you think about the smell; add more if necessary.   I used 25 drops of calming oils, such as ylang ylang, roman chamomile, sandalwood, and 10 extra drops of lavender oil.

Pour the mixture back into your desired jars.  Dress up with cute ribbon and a tag if giving as a gift.

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Sleepy-Time Bath Salts

Epsom salt
Sea salt
Organic almond oil, shea oil OR jojoba oil
10-15 drops of lavender essential oil (see note in red below)
Lavender flower buds, optional

Directions:

Grab your desired container (mason jars) and fill it with epsom salt but leave about an inch from the top).  Pour the sea salt in the remaining inch.  Pour the contents of your mason jar into a bowl, and mix thoroughly.

Add about a Tablespoon and a half of shea/jojoba/almond/calendula oil, mix well (the consistency should be a little clumpy).

Add in the essential oil; start with 10 drops and see what you think about the smell; add more if necessary.

Add in your lavender buds, if using. Pour mixture back into your desired jars.  Use 1/4 cup of your bath salt in a bathtub of warm or hot water.  Relax and enjoy!

FYI – Not all essential oils are created equal.¬† Most oils are adulterated, contain fillers and contaminants and come from Lord-knows-where.¬† The oil company I purchase from¬†gives full disclosure of their countries of origin, and they are third-party tested for absolute purity.¬† They are 100% pure, therapeutic-grade and extremely potent.¬† If you would like more information, please comment below and I’d be happy to point you in the right direction.

Until next time – bathe for relaxation and wellness!

Blessings