LET’S CHIT-CHAT | Coffee Withdrawal, First Mammogram, Skin Issues

Hey there zillas! Let’s take a brief hiatus from all things beauty; after all, we don’t live in a bubble solely dominated by makeups and whatnot. I haven’t done a lifestyle update in eons, not that it matters to the universe, haha! But let’s put it this way, some of you have become my online friends outside blogging and since it’s nearly impossible for us to get together, ‘thought I’d do a quick sweep of what’s going on with moi.

Nearly 20 years of daily coffee consumption (1-2 cups/ day), I finally quit more than a month ago, reason being, it’s one of the culprits to my acid reflux. Let’s backtrack a bit so you know where I’m coming from. So days after downing a rather suspicious-tasting green papaya salad from one of my go-to Vietnamese resto’s here in Oahu, I suffered from bouts of abdominal pain, gas, belching and hyperactive bowel. Typical acid reflux symptoms so my doctor had given me a long list of foods to avoid i.e coffee, tea, dairy, tomatoes, onions, french fries, cake, donuts, anything spicy, and a whole smorgasbord of this and that I can’t. As some of you know, I have been a vegetarian for over a year so looking at the list honestly made me sad (even some of my fave veggies are on the list) but instead of wallowing in self-pity, I had to research what I can rather than can’t. Concomitantly, I was started on Omeprazole which helped initially but gave me severe headaches so I had to stop it after few days. Consequently, I was also referred to a gastroenterologist for “globus sensation” or the feeling of having something stuck in my throat. Given my insignificant health history, I was advised to wait it out. My gastro doctor presumed a spice irritated my throat or esophagus following the unfortunate green papaya salad saga. He said if symptoms don’t subside in a matter of months, I have the option to proceed with endoscopy. Now that you know the background, let’s talk coffee withdrawal. Geez, bidding goodbye to my Keurig, K-cups and coffee beans has to be the saddest decision, brokenhearted I was! In the succeeding 2-3 days, I had what I thought classic coffee withdrawal symptoms: intense migraine, nausea, vomiting, extremely low energy. I was practically immobile the whole weekend without appetite at all. In between, I continuously hydrated myself with water to help flush the caffeine. Fast forward today, who goes to Starbucks and drink water? 

Check out vegetarian meal options at Starbucks:
wheat spinach foldover, oatmeal, edamame hummus wrap 

Sure I miss coffee but thinking of the withdrawal phase I went through is enough to control the urge. I haven’t had acid reflux since I quit coffee (plus avoidance of other triggers) and thank God, even the globus sensation has vanished!

Woman no shame. Red lips on her day of mammo, who cares?! 

So let’s touch base on mammogram since it’s October, Breast Cancer Awareness month. I had my first ever mammo last August; At 41, I should have a baseline already (if you are not 40 yet but have family history of breast cancer, talk to your doctor about it). While mammogram remains a controversy in age group 40-49 (some studies correlate it to no effect on mortality), most doctors still recommend it, plus your insurance will pay for it anyway. Quite nervous, typical fear-of-the-unknown a.k.a “what-if”, I was escorted by the technician to the imaging room. Squished, squashed, poor boobies got squeezed 4 times. Whew, it wasn’t that bad! I briefly asked the tech if she saw anything unusual, she said it’s hard to tell because mine are dense (tissue shows up white which can also be interpreted as cancer). Thankfully, the radiologist cleared it as benign and recommended repeat mammogram in one year.

One thing after the other. For the last three weeks or so, I have also been battling with Keratosis Pilaris (chicken skin) in both arms. It’s so bothersome I dread doing arm swatches! Keratosis Pilaris is quite a common skin condition that causes small bumps (white or red) that may not be obvious to some but look ugly and pronounced in certain lighting situations. It occurs mostly in the winter when skin tends to be drier. Add to that is the recent flareup of contact dermatitis which leaves both my arms extremely itchy that it affects my sleep! I had blood tests done which revealed that I’m not allergic to major environmental and food allergens which is good but still don’t answer the cause.  With a gamut of beauty products I am exposed to, it’s really hard to pinpoint. So I resorted to fragrance-free lotions (currently using over-the-counter Eucerin) and doctor-prescribed triamcinolone cream to address the itch. The bumps on my arms are now slowly receding but the itch has not really gone away (worse at night) so I’m extra careful with anything I use now. In hub’s words “what’s happening to you babe, it’s been non-stop since August” to which I respond “life’s little roadblocks. It ain’t a ride without humps. Hoping there’s a resolution soon. No doubt about it…

On a happy note, I’m glad The Walking Dead and Empire are back! Here’s a snippet of Empire Season 2 feat. Jamal (Jussie Smollet) and Pitball singing No doubt about it (source: Empire Fox Vevo)

Till our next chit-chat…



  1. October 19, 2015 / 2:05 pm

    Oh my, what a siege! I'm glad to hear that your GI issues have remained at bay since you gave up coffee and avoided other goodies. In the long run, hopefully, it'll be worth it. I need to schedule my mammogram. I've been having pain in my right breast so I have put it off but gotta do it.

    • October 19, 2015 / 8:16 pm

      Thanks Allison. So far so good, I just need to be careful with what I ingest

  2. October 19, 2015 / 3:08 pm

    Oh I miss Empire! Too bad they don't show it here in Estonia yet, but when I lived in the UK I loved it.

  3. October 19, 2015 / 4:49 pm

    I'm so sorry to hear that you had to give up coffee, but it's worth it if it keeps your acid reflux at bay! I'm glad that your mammogram came back clean! I love Empire!

    • October 19, 2015 / 8:17 pm

      Thanks twinsy. I just need to conquer these skin issues, sigh

  4. October 19, 2015 / 5:28 pm

    I'm sorry it's been a rough set of weeks for you. But I'm glad things seem to be getting better! And I JUST started watching Empire — I'm only on season 1 but I love it!

  5. October 19, 2015 / 7:21 pm

    Good to know your exam was good! I gave up coffee recently too and just drink tea now and I've had much less bloating. Also I have heard that Am Lactin is great for KP..good luck!

    • October 19, 2015 / 8:29 pm

      Thanks Kristina. I thought I won't survive without coffee but like any struggle, I can or we can do it

  6. October 19, 2015 / 7:31 pm

    Reflux is the WORST! I've had it since I was 16, and after 4 endoscopies and years of meds, I've finally been able to be medication free for 2 years. For me, it's all about clean eating and avoiding fried, fast, or processed foods like the plague. Thankfully, coffee has never bothered me, so I can still drink it – I think I'd be lost without it! lol

    • October 19, 2015 / 8:31 pm

      Wow, 4 endoscopes and no resolution except for diet limitations. Yeah it's all about knowing what triggers it. I'm jealous you can still drink coffee 🙂

  7. October 19, 2015 / 9:26 pm

    I would be heartbroken if I had to give up my coffee. If I had to, I'd do it. That first mammo is… A scary one, for sure. But it's not so bad. Thanks to my family history, I've been going in for the old squish and scan since I was thirty-four. The procedure is routine, the wait for the all clear letter is the only time I allow myself to bite my nails. lol

    • October 19, 2015 / 9:40 pm

      Coffee used to be my dope. Sad life ugh! Yeah it's really more of waiting for the result that makes one apprehensive

  8. October 19, 2015 / 11:50 pm

    You've been going through a lot. I can sympathize about the coffee. I've cut down to one a day and am trying to stop completely.

  9. October 20, 2015 / 12:09 am

    It's great that you Acid Reflux has gone away, and it's crazy how dependent we become on coffee. I have stopped a few different times and went back to it, but I was a total grump for a week after giving it up!

  10. October 20, 2015 / 2:07 am

    I'm trying to give up Diet Coke and am almost there!

    • October 20, 2015 / 3:15 am

      You can do it. I quite soda long time ago. Am basically water dependent. I don't drink ang alcohol too because I have allergy to it

  11. October 20, 2015 / 2:31 am

    I've given up caffeine a few times, usually for about 2 years, before I go back to it. I don't drink coffee but I do like my energy drinks or soda.

  12. October 20, 2015 / 2:56 am

    I never drank coffee but I drink a lot of Diet Coke. I had to cut out the caffeine because of insomnia and it sure wasn't easy. I'm glad that you got through it.

  13. October 20, 2015 / 3:37 am

    I'm so sorry that you had to give up coffee. I had my first mammogram done at 35 due to family history. I was supposed to have my second one earlier this year but I don't have health insurance. grr

  14. October 20, 2015 / 3:52 am

    I had my mammogram done last month, I was scared but it was the best thing knowing I am clear. Sorry about your troubles, you are a strong lady and hope it goes away fast! Love Empire.

    • October 20, 2015 / 4:19 am

      Thanks Norah. Yeah it was scary at first but it's good you're also cleared!

  15. October 20, 2015 / 4:11 am

    Giving up coffee is ROUGH! I did it for a bit and was a complete grump!

  16. October 20, 2015 / 4:53 am

    I'm not an everyday coffee drinker, but I gave it up for a month while I did a teeth whitening review. I didn't get symptoms like yours, but I was very unhappy. It's a real addiction, no doubt. Glad you're feeling better on some fronts, but I hope the skin issues and such clear up, too. I got my mammogram (again) last year, so I'm good for a while! Gotta take care of the boobies!

  17. October 20, 2015 / 7:25 am

    I'm so sorry you had to go through the tummy troubles and rash but hope things look up for you soon. My Mum had to give up coffee recently after several decades of addiction – because she's a glaucoma suspect – and went through headaches for weeks on end. The good news is, she is coping well now and goes in for tea without problems.

  18. October 20, 2015 / 7:04 pm

    Love the life update! I am glad you're doing well and have cured your reflux. I can't imagine giving up coffee.

  19. October 20, 2015 / 8:24 pm

    Love that mug! & I'm so behind- I still haven't even watched Empire!

  20. October 20, 2015 / 8:28 pm

    As they say it never rains, it pours. Of course things could be worse, but feeling sucky is never fun. Hopefully everything gets back to normal sooner than later 😀

  21. October 21, 2015 / 2:37 am

    Thanks for sharing such a personal life update. I'm glad that giving up the coffee has helped with your acid reflux. Seeing french fries on that list of foods broke my heart. I don't know if I could ever give up those fried slivers of heaven. They are my coffee (not a coffee drinker).

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