Thursday, September 27, 2018


What do you call a bear without teeth?
A gummy bear!

If you know us, you know teeth are pretty important around here. Growing up a family of girls we were (are) all kinda obsessed with having good teeth. No, perfect teeth. Straight, white teeth. Fast forward and I worked in the dental field for four years. 
Fast forward again and I marry a handsome hunk heading into Dental School. And here we are now, living the student life, living and thriving through dental school.  People joke that the graduating individual earns their PhD and the spouse earns their PsT (Putting spouse Through). It's a little dumb joke, but makes us spouses feel better about our role in the process.

I recently tried a new product called Smile Brilliant. They are an in-home whitening treatment that is the same strength as if you went to the Dentist for a teeth whitening kit or  treatment (Holla!).

 Not all home whitening systems are created equal and this opportunity is unique! 
I was pumped to try this product all the while continuing my day as normal. Not interrupting our home routine.

Smile Brilliant first mailed me a kit with thorough instructions on how to mix the clay for impressions (this is way easier than the alginate used in dental offices - for all my fellow dental assistants). I completed the prep "work". Taking about five minutes -- including an extra impression cause I messed up my first one. Thank heavens they plan on there being an error, and send an extra mixture with every kit! 

Once finished, I put the impressions in the pre-addressed and stamped envelope they include, and sent if off in the mail.

I received a package shortly after with beautifully made whitening trays! Also, I'm not sure exactly which product they use for this, but these are BY FAR the most comfortable trays I've ever had. They fit perfectly snug, soft on my gums and not digging anywhere.

I have sensitive teeth, so I used their sensitivity gel for a few weeks before the whitening process. This helped insanely much. If you have the same issue I have, I highly highly recommend this. Quite frankly you could probably just order this gel to help with your tooth sensitivity needs on a day-to-day basis.

I followed up with the whitening bleach, every other day for 30 minutes. I started out cautious; cause again, sensitivity issues but worked up to every day for one hour. I am happy to report, I had zero sensitivity issues during the whitening process. No "zingers"- if you've had 'em, you know what I mean. And no sensitivity with cold foods, either.

Thank you Smile Brilliant for making this such a seamless process. I have a load of doctor appointments and frequently trying to find babysitters for them -- not having to make a Dentist appt. for new Whitening Trays relieved my schedule, saved on gas and time/money on a babysitter.

Smile Brilliants home whitening kit, didn't interrupt my routine either. I wore my trays while getting us ready for the day, during my lung and breathing treatments, cleaning, driving and whatever else was on my schedule. 

I love my new shiny smile. And because I love it so much, I thought I'd do a giveaway for one of YOU to receive a FREE KIT.

 To be entered in the drawing you'll need to: 
1. Like the photo on instagram (@shermanmandie)
2. On instagram, tag friends in comments. One tag per comment, please.
3. Fill out this Giveaway Form
4. **10 Bonus entries** if you subscribe to blog by filling out the "follow by email" box, on the right side tool bar. 

Here is my before and after. I can't wait to see yours. Tag me in your new smile!

Remember to brush and floss your teeth, 'cause no one wants to BE a gummy bear!
Thanks Smile Brilliant for making myself and others feel more confident all around the world!

Smile Big, 

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

whoomp! there it is

i recently had a friend text me and say, i’ve noticed when your having a hard time you withdraw...said friend is  also a therapist and at times will analyze and call me out. but i don’t mind, she’s always right, and she always helps.
truth is i have been in a funk.
i have been in limbo with my own health and lungs status. two full weeks where i was possibly going to be admitted. back and forth (educated) decisions resulting in 'well let’s try this’, ‘it could be this’....all of which have been correct and i am seeing improvements. (yay.)
however, during that waiting period it is hard to be hopeful. actually, it's easy to be hopeful, but i hold back feeling that hope. because if i brace myself, the sting isn’t as bad when they say i "need to come in for a clean out.” so, i kept all my bags packed. i lived out of suitcases for two weeks in my own home. i didn’t want to unpack just to turn around and repack the next day.
the CF community has seen many difficulties recently. on being a key Cyster (@claire.wineland @clairesplacefoundation) of our community passing in an unexpected way. a woman of much influence and dedication to speaking openly and positively about our disease. she is a beautiful, strong light and it stung when her light left to shine somewhere else.
i watched as multiple friends were being admitted. it almost felt like there was a plague.
my psyche and mental health were struggling. anxiety, frustration and depression.
i simply am frustrated it’s not an equal ratio of my efforts and results. quite frankly it doesn’t even feel like a 10:1 ratio; efforts:results. this can be overwhelming. it can be tiring, in fact i am tired. everyday. all the time. i still take 2-3 hour naps daily. what used to be an indicator that i had an infection brewing, now seems to be part of a new normal. i only have about 5 hours of functioning before my body is like, “no. no more. i need to recharge if you want me to go on.” it’s like i live two ‘mini days’ in every 15 hours i am awake.
anyway, i kinda took an unintenional break from everything. commitments fell through. i haven’t written since july. i’ve been inconsistent in my social media presence, as well as updating you. you, who are so invested in mine and my families health. i appreciate you dearly, and i am sorry.
sometimes i am envious of my friends who have lung transplants. they have a new light to them. a look of relief. a release from the demands of frequent hours of daily lung treatments. i know lung transplantation by all means is not easy, and is not a cure. it’s basically trading one disease for another. learning to manage something new and something as grand as foreign organs in your body is no easy task. but sometimes i just want to breathe. i want to be able
to laugh without going into a coughing fit. i want to be able to rough house with my kid at any moment; instead of responding to his plea, “let mommy do a treatment first, then i can wrestle”. only to then be able to participate a few short minutes before being depleted.
guys this is open, this is raw, this isn’t my usual postings or my usual mental view. i have been in a funk. but this has been my truth. i am human. we are all human. i have bad days. we all have bad days.
but during my bad days, i have had many hours to reflect and my conclusions are often the same. gratitude. sure, i might not be seeing a 10:1 ratio of my efforts to improve my lung status, or even maintain where they’re at, but i AM alive. i AM breathing, even though i am also coughing. i AM watching my son grow up, even if the view is often while sitting next to my treatment machine. i AM making memories with my husband. i am here. and frankly what more could i want? nothing. my greatest blessing, my greatest gift, all of my gratitude lies in the fact that God does here my prayers...i am still here on this earth, still breathing, and that is a luxury.