Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Amazing Grace—Such a long, long run

My sweet kitty Grace’s long LONG run has come to an end. After watching her fairly stable (but old) condition decline last week and especially over the weekend, I had her put to sleep in our home on Monday—a decision I believe was perfect timing.  

Gracie and I met in Dallas almost 22 years ago, on or around August 1st, 1994; given to me by a friend who found her in unusual circumstances. She has been a constant companion, a pain in the butt sometimes, but always and forever a sweet little girl, delicate from day one until the day she passed into the beyond. She truly embodied her name.

Gracie started out as a foundling in Dallas TX, then she became a Chicagoland cat, and finally a Colorado kitty. She saw the kitten I got for her 1st birthday (Archer) pass away at 16 ½. She recently went through Quincy, my dog, transitioning. And now her time has come to pass into pure spirit, pure love.

Grace, unlike Archer and Quincy, was never sick a day in her life. She was easy that way. She was, however, a very picky eater—until the very end. Sometimes there could be as many as 5 food bowls lined up on the kitchen floor and me hoping one of them would be adequate enough for Grace to eat. Such a picky eater!!! (Admittedly, I gave in to her more as she got older. I revered her age, which made me much more susceptible to her picky ways.) Toward the end I would bring the food to her, but still if it didn’t suit her, she would turn up her nose.

See what I mean...
She had a tremendous “voice.” Burmese, like Siamese, can come with loud cat cries and Gracie sure had one all her own. It kept me up or woke me up for years, but the last year or so of her life, she didnt have the loud cry. I guess old age has its advantages.

After moving to Boulder, I adopted Quincy Blu, an Australian Cattle Dog, who was kind and sweet; he passed away last summer. Although Grace lived with him for over 7 years, what seemed like each and every time she saw him she acted (and reacted) like she had never seen him before, looking incredulously at this giant beast who had walked into her space or who she was passing by. That always made me chuckle.

Grace was a true cat. She preferred to hang out alone usually and sleep in secluded areas. Just before Quincy passed last July, she started to sleep and live exclusively on my bed. I thought when the habit started that perhaps it was her way of being closer to me toward the end. I think I will continue to think that, no matter if its true or not.

After 22 years together, I called this sweet girl by many names, some of these included: Grace, Gracie, Grainy, Gracilla, Princess Grace, Amazing Grace, Sweetie, Puddin, Pumpkin, Lovey, Sweetness, Silly Girl, Macy, Macy-Macy-My Gracie, Mookie, Mocha Chocolata, Brown Girl (shes espresso—Burmese—but looks black), Little Girl, Sweetness of Life, Sweet Thing. More recently I was calling her Skittles. (She lost some function/stability of her back legs—so she kind of side-winded and skittled about.)

Although I mentioned I think her passing was at the right time, I didnt think that at first. Like so many pet guardians, I struggled with the thought that perhaps I was putting her down too soon. I felt this with Quincy Blu as well. But like Quincy, once the day was dawning for the vet to come over, it was abundantly clear that indeed I was not too early, in fact I was hoping I was not taking these steps too late.

When all is said and done, I truly believe that her passing came at the perfect time—for her. She felt ready, she seemed in some discomfort, and I feel blessed that I could have my wonderful vet come to the house (like he has done twice before) and euthanize my sweet 22 year old in the peace and comfort of her home and in her “place.” The special place that was all her own where she slept and ate and finally took her last breath.

Thank you Grace for these 22 years. You came to me (thank you, Teel) unexpectedly and gave me unimaginable years of joy and love. I love you, Sweet Girl. Macy, Macy, My Gracie—rest, in peace.

For more about Grace, see:

Monday, May 23, 2016

What is topical vitamin C?

Vitamin C is a very important vitamininternally. It is neither manufactured nor stored in the body, so you must get it daily from food or from supplements. Vitamin C is also important to healthy skin. It is an antioxidant, meaning it helps to keep free radicals from invading your cells’ oxygen stores. And vitamin C helps in the formation of collagen.

It sounds great to think you can apply a topical product to the skin and have it penetrate down to the inner skin or dermis, affecting the collagen fibers. But there is no evidence to show that vitamin C can penetrate down that far into the true skin. However, because topical vitamin C products are generally made with citric acid, they can help to smooth texture and decompose cells (exfoliate). Remember, citric acid is in the alpha hydroxy acid family. So using vitamin C topically may help with exfoliation, but it is doubtful that anything more than that will occur. Also, the acidic nature of topical vitamin C may cause skin sensitivity and possibly redness.

I recommend getting adequate amounts of vitamin C in your diet. I do not believe in the abilities of a product, in this case topical vitamin C, to work miracles where miracles are virtually impossible. Your skin acts as a barrier, keeping foreign substances from entering your body. Keep in mind that if a cream or ointment has the ability to cause a structural change to the skin, especially in the basal layer and down into the dermis, it will be classified by the FDA as a medicine or drug, not just a cosmetic. Drugs are dispensed by prescription only.

I have yet to meet a client who has had any sizable results from using a topical vitamin C product. Many agree that these products are expensive and do not deliver the expected results. In many cases the vitamin C caused sensitivity in even non-sensitive skins.

As an example of someone who not only loves these types of products but who is also possibly incurring damage, years ago while I was getting ready to do a national TV show, one of the producers said she used and loved vitamin C products. As I was speaking with her, I couldn’t help noticing she had a lot of capillary damage on her cheeks. It gave her a rosy glow, but it was still capillary damage. I recommended she discontinue using the C products to try to halt the progression of the redness.

She did say she already had some capillary damage before she started using the C products. She probably had sun damage, which definitely can cause capillary issues, and was using the vitamin C product to help combat premature aging from the sun. I would still recommend not using the acid producteven if just for an experimental periodto see if the redness diminished. If it did, this would be a sure indication that the topical vitamin C was causing more redness and probably more capillary damage.

Acids irritate; that is a fact and a function of what they do. Is the irritation and subsequent redness worth any “anti-aging” benefits vitamin C products may or may not provide? Perhaps today your answer will be yes. But remember that years from now you will probably, naturally, have some capillary damage due to sun expose and just plain age. Please use caution when using these kinds of acidic compounds along with any products or procedures that may cause capillary dilation and damage. Keep tabs on how your skin looks and feels and proceed accordingly.

For more information, see: