A New Alternative For an Opioid-Free Painkiller

This post is sponsored by Pacira via SheKows Media.

I recently had the honor of joining SheKows media at the BlogHer 18 Health Conference in New York City’s beautiful Tribeca.  I’ve made a conscious effort to tuck away and pull from the powerful words spoken by the organizers of The Women’s March, Chelsea Clinton, the journalists from The New York Times who exposed Harvey Weinstein and more inspirational women. I heard from women who are fighting and overcoming various health battles, breaking down stigmas and creating greater awareness of often misunderstood health conditions. We also had the chance to connect with companies creating cutting-edge responses to some of the most complex and pressing problems of our time.

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According to the CDC, on average, 115 Americans die every single day from opioid overdose – and in 2016, an estimated 3 million surgery patients became long-term opioid users.  Did you know that women are prescribed twice as many opioid prescriptions as men? Surgery has become an inadvertent gateway to opioid addiction with nearly 1 in 15 patients becoming drug dependent following a surgery. Bottles of unused opioid prescriptions are sitting idle in medicine cabinets. A recent report found that 13 percent of middle-aged women use opioids three to six months post-operation, placing them at significant risk for dependence and misuse.  In addition, middle-aged women are most at risk of death from opioid overdose, with women ages 40-59 getting opioid prescriptions more than any other group.

As a former public health researcher with a background in addiction research and harm-reduction, having an intimate look into Pacira’s surgeon-lead panel at BlogHer 18 Health was promising – because there are safe and effective non-opioid options available.  Pacira hopes to encourage patients and patient advocates to be empowered and proactive with providers when facing surgery.

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EXPAREL®, a drug developed by Pacira is a long-acting (non-opioid) numbing medication injected during surgery to control pain while limiting the need for opioids following surgery. One of the Pacira panel speakers, Dr. Gregory Greco, a board-certified plastic surgeon, explained how administering EXPAREL during surgery eliminates the need for starting opioid pain relief in the recovery room – because pain management via EXPAREL can last for days. This often eliminates or completely reduces prescriptions of opioids for post-surgical pain management.

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All of the speakers, including a plastic surgeon, oral surgeon, an orthopedic surgeon, along with the team running Pacira’s information booth at BlogHer18 Health, spoke of the need to be proactive and informed patients or patient-advocates in surgery consults. With the volume of opioids being prescribed post-surgery, it’s crucial to ask important questions about non-opioid options and post-surgical pain management.

According to the CDC, the number of prescription opioids sold to pharmacies, hospitals, and doctors’ offices nearly quadrupled from 1999 to 2010. And so many of us have seen the resulting devastating effects of this epidemic.  We can only hope that others will follow in Pacira’s footsteps with a commitment to reduce prescriptions, exposure, dependence, and deaths due to opioids.

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Skin Care Series: I Had Laser Treatments and Here’s What Happened

A few months ago, I shared a story about being intrigued by the possibilities in laser skin rejuvenation – especially as a thirties-close-out party was quickly approaching. If I could go back in time, I’d scare my younger-self into protecting my skin (especially my face!) from the sun. Since I can’t do that, I jumped at the opportunity to test out cutting-edge lasers including the Cutera excel V, Clear + Brilliant Permea, and Alex TriVantage lasers.  In the hands of an expert, Jennifer MacGregor, MD at Union Square Laser Dermatology, I began laser treatments to address small facial blood vessels, sunspots, sun-damage, overall complexion improvement, brightening, plus more. Three months, and three different lasers later – I’m ready to share my results.

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After my initial consult, Dr. MacGregor went after the small facial blood vessels around my nose with the Cutera excel V laser. Let’s just say, instant gratification after seeing those little squiggly red lines around my nose dissipate. The full details about this laser and consultation are in a previous story. Dr. MacGregor also treated me with two other lasers:

CLEAR + BRILLIANT PERMEA LASER: 

The Clear + Brilliant Perema laser is a non-ablative laser to stimulate collagen growth and produce an overall brighter complexion, smoother texture, and even color. Often called “baby Fraxel” – this laser is super popular since it has little to no downtime. Dr.MacGregor frequently uses this laser pre-weddings and on patients requesting fantastic skin for a specific event. I had two separate appointments several weeks apart. First, a numbing cream was applied, and Dr. MacGregor went over my entire face, I found it to feel warm and not painful at all and expected to be redder than I was when the treatment was over. My skin was then treated with SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic, and sunscreen before I left the office. I could have put on makeup right away but chose to hop on the subway make-up free after all of my appointments (check out a flawless cover-up immediately post-treatment here).  I actually really liked the post-treatment feel of the numbing cream and slightly hot face. Call me strange, as I hear that most don’t care for the numbing cream sensation! Dr. MacGregor recommends the Clear + Brilliant three weeks before an important event – with a series of sessions based on specific need. I, however, found the sweet spot at the one-week mark. During the days-post treatment, my skin was dry and a bit rough but not peeling. If anything, I noticed the dryness around my crows-feet until I woke up to glowing skin a week after my treatments. I also appreciated that two lasers fit into each appointment. I had the Clear + Brilliant laser after the excel V laser in my second appointment, and again after the Alex laser (detailed below) in my third visit.

ALEX TRIVANTAGE LASER:

During my initial consult, Dr. MacGregor discussed the possible need for a laser stronger than the Clear + Brilliant to remove specific stubborn sun spots. After carefully examining the photos taken at the beginning of my third appointment, she lifted particular spots with the Alex TriVantage laser used to treat sun posts, freckles and age spots. She left the natural looking freckles on my nose and miraculously removed the spots that appeared in my late thirties, including pools of spots in my under eye area and several on my cheeks and cheekbones. This laser wasn’t painful, but it does require downtime to heal completely. When I left the office my sun spots were raised, swollen and angry! I noticed women on the train looking at me, and it was hard to not overshare my excitement about my laser treatments with total strangers. During the next few days, the spots became darker and more pronounced before flaking off. It looked like I had tiny flakes of mascara on parts of my face – but I went out to dinner the following day. As the spots began to lighten, I couldn’t’ believe the overall improvement in my skin.

Check out my before and after photos from October 2017 to January 2018:

To say I’m thrilled with the results is an understatement. Although it may not be evident in these concealer + foundation free photos – having the sun-spots removed under my eyes and in specific areas of my face makes me look healthier. Even with concealer, my sun-spots contributed to the look of dark circles under my eyes. I also noticed a significant improvement in my skin’s texture and complexion, as well as the lines around my eyes. I’m still the same me with much better skin!

Here’s what I learned:

  • Don’t Go for the Groupon Special:

These lasers require protective eye-wear, numbing cream and sometimes recovery. Some of the sunspots targeted with the powerful Alex laser were just centimeters away from my eyes. I can’t imagine undergoing medical treatments like these with anyone other than a sought-after expert. Laser treatments are not the time to go for a non-reputable bargain. Save that for a hobby class!

  • Choose Your Provider Wisely:

It’s important to see a highly-skilled provider to customize the right treatment plan. Dr. MacGregor closely examined the photos taken before each session in addition to my skin to tailor my treatments with specific lasers. If I went for a Clear + Brilliant only package from another provider, my outcome would not have been the same. Union Square Laser Dermatology employs the latest medical technology, including the newest lasers and energy devices catered and adjusted to each patient. Dr. MacGregor also set me on the right at-home skincare path as an essential part of the process.

  • Think of Your Desired Outcome: 

While a trip to a posh spa may leave me feeling relaxed – a lovely-feeling facial has never provided me with any sort of lasting results. For me, lasers are effective and are a much smarter investment.

Feel free to reach out with any questions or ask them in the comments below!

Thank you to Union Square Laser Dermatology for services.  Opinions, as always are my own. 

 

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On Wellness Goals with the Help of Smart Scale Technology

Nokia-Body+-smart-scale-review

Thank you, Nokia for sponsoring this post. Visit the Nokia Body+ site for more info and start the new year off right! Sometimes, I’m team get-on-that-scale-every-single-day, and sometimes I’m more inclined to opt for a weekly weigh-in. You know what I’m never gung-ho for? That session with a gym trainer gripping those fat pincers (and my bare flesh. […]

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February 2018 Printable Calendar

beautiful-central-park-snow

Welcome to February, the month that leaves those of us in the cold climates longing for a natural source of some serious Vitamin D. Despite the cold, the hunkering down, and the cabin-fever that sometimes sets in with kids who just want to get outside and skateboard – there are a lot of wonderful things […]

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The Queen Rules at Medieval Times

Medieval-Times-Queen

It’s a new year and a new time –  and we’re thrilled to share that starting today, Medieval Times is debuting a new show based around a matriarch! So move on over King, because her majesty, the Queen, is now in charge as the sole ruler of the land. We’re big fans of visiting the Lyndhurst, […]

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Introducing Luciana Vega: American Girl’s 2018 Girl of the Year + Giveaway!

Luciana-American-Girl-2018

  Introducing Luciana Vega – American Girl’s 2018 Girl of the Year!  This adorable 11-year-old character is of Chilean descent, and she is set to inspire and encourage – with dreams of being an astronaut and the first person to set foot on Mars. Luciana is a champion of STEM, a role-model, and a leader – […]

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