Archive for the ‘migraines’ Category


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Doctor Who: The Doctor, Jodie Whittaker

Have you ever had a wonderful doctor that you actually recommend to people because you genuinely feel they’re splendid in their job?

They’re the kind of doctor who keeps up on their specialty and know what they’re talking about. They have a great bedside manner. The kind of doctor who is willing, and even encourages back and forth dialogue. The kind of doctor that you want to hug during emotional moments, and on the way out of the appointment.

They even have excellent office staff, nurses, medical assistants, and APRNs. How often does that trifecta happen?

How often do you really get to keep that sort of doctor? Whenever I have this type of Wonder Doctor, I always wait for the other shoe to drop. Whenever I tell other people about my Wonder Doctor/s I can see the initial look of doubt on the face of the person I’m telling.

The more I mention my Wonder Doctor/s the more it seems they’re actually more elusive than *loyalty, devotion, selflessness, unflagging optimism, and unqualified love. 😉

In very early December I called the office of my pain management and spine specialist doctor. I needed to confirm my upcoming appointment and let them know I needed refills prior to the appointment since we misjudged the timing during scheduling the last time I was in the office. The nurse answering the phone said,

Oh… you didn’t get the letter?

Um, no?

And I didn’t call you? You were on my list my call, I could have sworn.

Well, no, James [name has been changed to protect Todd] you didn’t call and I didn’t get a letter (nervous laugh). You’re starting to worry me.

I’m so embarrassed (really, really nervous laugh from James). Doctor Awesomesauce is leaving the practice. I swear a letter went out, but sometimes … I’m so sorry you didn’t get a copy.

And that’s when I burst out crying while on the phone, and apologized to James.

I’m so sorry you found out this way.

Can you tell me why she’s leaving? Is she going to a different practice?

She’s not. She loves this place, but while her family is still young and her child/ren is/are small she wants to be sure to be there as they grow. It’s very important to her.

I understand that. I was a stay at home parent for years, and am one again. (wipes snot and tears) I wish her well, but of course I have to be selfish for a moment. Will you be moving to the new doctor’s office?

No, unfortunately. Thank you for asking, you’re the first.

Sure. You guys have been great. Are you able to tell me who’s taking over the practice?

We don’t know who’s replacing her yet, but it’ll be a few months. It shouldn’t be past March, however someone will call you sooner than that. If not, you should, um… get a letter. With, um, all of the contact information for the new doctor.

NOTE: I did not get a call. Nor did I get a letter. Shocker, right?

I did get my usual 3-month refill for my daily medication, and single month refill for Tramadol. That helped ease some anxiety.

She was my White Rabbit of Wonder Doctors. When I got off the phone with “James” I cried for what felt like hours. Deep, sobbing, grieving cries. Much of it was because of what I described above, and much of it was because this I felt out of control. I felt anxious from not knowing who would be taking over the practice, and not knowing when that would occur. That was a rough, impossible weekend.

Throughout December, January, and February I called the number listed on the practice’s web site for Pain Management and Spine Specialist section. It directed me to my old doctor’s phone number, so I left messages there letting them know I was still interested in setting up an appointment with the new doctor. The longer I went without knowing anything, the more anxious I felt. In March I started to panic when my prescription for my daily medication reached two weeks. When I reached only a few days it was full blown anxiety attacks, especially since my pain levels have been increasing versus simply being a flare up.

I called my primary care doctor at that point and explained the situation. She was the one who referred me to Wonder Doctor in the first place, especially as friends in and out of the practice. She insisted on an in-office appointment so I complied and went in the next day. Of course we talked about my pain levels, which she keeps close track of along with the rest of my health, and updated all of my medications as we do every appointment. We had to remove the Zoloft since I was getting over a severe allergic reaction.

She agreed to give a one-time refill on my Gabapentin/Neurontin, which not only helps the Fibromyalgia but the myofascial pain, carpal tunnel, and osteoarthritis. She then asked me if I expected a refill on Tramadol. I hadn’t asked for one since I had been without it since mid-February after stretching it out. I tend to try to stretch it out for emergencies, but got yelled at by my pain doctor for that since she said it’s not managing my pain properly. No pain medication taken daily can relieve more than 25-to-45% of chronic pain, and that’s why Tramadol when used properly is given to take 2X a day 12 hours apart with the exception of specific, special instructions for, well, exceptions. When I explained what Wonder Doctor and I discussed and usually did, and how I handled Tramadol, she looked through the shared notes on the system and saw I wasn’t lying. She called in Tramadol too.

In case you couldn’t tell, I really, really love my PCP. Since at least as early as 2004. I’m still waiting for the other shoe on her to drop. ::sigh::

When I went to the reception nurse to check on my next appointment, she gave me the number for the new Pain Management and Orthopaedic Specialist taking over Now SAHM Doctor and set up and appointment for me for two weeks later. That was early-ish April. I prepared myself for a doctor who would be like my first Rheumatologist.

He’s young, tall, seems to know his stuff regarding my medical issues, and he’s open to back and forth discussion. He’s open to continued research. He’s open to discussing how alternative therapies can help support relieve pain so that any pain medication I take is at minimal dosage. After that appointment, we had a check-in two weeks later since we adjusted my meds and got results from a urine test. At that appointment we both agreed to continue treatment, and both signed the contract regarding opioid use and other pain med usage, how to behave in the office, how to use (or not use) alcohol and other drugs, how to approach ERs and hospital visits, how to approach other doctors, etc. He’s really, really thorough.

I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.

If that shoe does drop, I’ll have to remember that when God closes one door he always opens a window*.

 

*Full quote with thanks from  John Grogan:
Many of the qualities that come so effortlessly to dogs – loyalty, devotion, selflessness, unflagging optimism, unqualified love – can be elusive to human.

*2 I’m sorry not sorry for mixing metaphors. 😉

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Last week I had a neurology check up. I love this guy. He took it very seriously that I had a migraine that was on its ninth day, and showed no sign of alleviating. I’d been taking my daily med religiously; I’d been taking the Imitrex when it got out of control. I’d even been taking Advil on occasion in order to make it through work. I told him that I’d missed two days of work in spite of it all, and wasn’t sleeping even on the weekend.

He prescribed Prednisone, which he said would likely leave me feeling wired like after having way too much caffeine. He said not to take the Imitrex with it, because the efficacy of the Imitrex would be non-existent while on the steroid. I should feel better after the 2nd or 3rd day, taking 5 tablets the first 3 days in the morning; then 4 tabs; then 3; and so on.

I started the Prednisone on Wednesday of last week. I’m feeling “better” but the weather we’ve had hasn’t entirely helped. I’ve had restless sleep thanks to pain, which of course hasn’t helped. Over the weekend any rest I attempted was interrupted by the girls, the Mister, or Leo calling for his Mama. That dog likes to wake everyone up by 7:30 am. If I’m not downstairs by 8:30 am on a weekend he calls me specifically, with this whiny barking that gets urgent, so I end up having to go downstairs to let him hug me. Yup, he’s a hugger. I had to train him to be a polite gentleman dog and hug “properly” so that he wouldn’t knock me down. Goober.

I think that if I can get some long, uninterrupted sleep while on the Prednisone, it’ll work much better. The cats like to take care of me when I’m in bed, so they won’t be a problem. It’s the rest of the clan. 🙂

I went to work today, and I’ll be honest, I should have stayed in bed after the kids got on their rides to school. The Prednisone isn’t wiring me up, it’s making me sleepy. Neat trick.

What worries me at the moment is that if that damned Trumpcare bill passes? Migraines aren’t covered. I could be denied healthcare coverage simply for my migraines. Forget everything else I have to cope with. Migraines can keep me from any sort of healthcare insurance because the bill, if passed into legislation, will allow insurance companies to deny me coverage as a pre-existing condition. That means out of pocket if I see my neurology; if I have to go the emergency room for debilitating migraines that only the hospital can handle; for any of my migraine control medications. That’s thousands upon thousands of dollars a year. If they deem me suitable to cover at all, migraines alone could raise my premium thousands upon thousands of dollars a year.

Just the migraines.

I’m not talking about a little pain in the head. I’m not talking about a headache that some rest and avoiding sex for a night will take care of.

I’m talking about truly debilitating problems that are neurological in nature. Migraines are painful in the eyes, behind the eyes, in the top of the head, behind the head. They cause vision problems. There are sparkles, floaters, auras in front of the eyes. There’s tunnel vision. There’s blackout vision, where nothing is visible at all. There’s vertigo. There are auditory problems, sometimes a blocking of the ears and sometimes hypersensitivity. There can be auditory, visual, tactile, and olfactory hallucinations. Any combination of these symptoms can cause nausea, and vomiting. Fever can occur during migraines. Difficulty and slurring of speech can occur. Inability to walk and stand upright, or even to sit. Light sensitivity. Skin sensitivity.

There is a complete lack of function. It’s debilitating. Literally debilitating. The worst of a migraine is like having a seizure and stroke at the same time. It takes a lot out of you physically and emotionally. You want to scream, cry, beg, plead, but you can’t even think straight let alone speak. You’re forced to ride it out.

Luckily, most of the time mine have been under control by taking Topomax daily. I take the Imitrex for breakthrough migraines that need to be put under control when Advil doesn’t work. After a week, more than that, when that didn’t work, I finally needed to figure out what to do with my doctor. And if this doesn’t help, I don’t know what the next step is. But we’ll get there.

I’ll only get there if the current law, the AHCA, remains in place.

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I have good news! Are you interested?

I went to my pain management and spine specialist last Wednesday after work. During the appointment we went over the X-Ray results for my hips and lumbar spine due to the exacerbated pain I’ve had since the fall my beastly dog caused on a walk. There was a concern that my hip fractured or broke.

I’ve mentioned before that my lumbar spine already has bulging discs. The X-ray was for just the lumbar and hips, and since my MRI during the summer, that’s deteriorated, likely due to the fall.

Neither of my hips, which have arthritis, are broken or fractured. That’s the excellent news. The arthritis, however, has also deteriorated and has done so more significantly in my left hip. That’s likely due to the fall.

I’m relieved that there aren’t any fractures. That means that we can take “putting a pin in it”off the table. That’s a huge relief. I guess now I’m wondering what my treatment options are, because I met with the APRN instead of the doctor. When I have pain that, in the moment, is at least a 10 what do I do? I can’t support my body when I’m standing up because the pain is so severe. I feel as if my skeleton is being ripped apart and shattered with a hammer. It’s scary, and it takes my breath away.

Since I’m 42 and never had a bone density test, I’ve requested one to be ordered. I know that it’s been an issue in my family, and with the arthritis, maybe it can help with therapy. I’m already doing aqua-therapy but anything at all that might help relieve this pain and I’m in. The APRN didn’t indicate that the degeneration is severe enough for surgery to repair the arthritis, so I’m guessing that’s not an option right now. And honestly I think that has to be a last resort.

It’s funny, though… my PT for aquatherapy seems to think that surgery with additional PT is preferable to additional medications. She has Fibromyalgia, too, so I’m assuming that she’s aware that every time someone like us has a surgery it further suppresses our immune system because the body has to fight so much harder than is typical to heal, and to fight off even simple infections and illnesses. We also have to cope with having all of the medications administered during a surgery coursing through us for months which affects the medications we’re already on. Anesthetics stay in the body for up to two years, especially when it’s administered in large doses.

I would rather exhaust all other options before considering surgery. Just like before I agreed to try pain medications, I exhausted every other possibility first. And sure… I kicked myself and wondered why I didn’t go to the pain management specialist years sooner when my PCP first suggested it, but this isn’t the same thing. I have a hard enough time healing from paper cuts. 😉

I know, I’m putting the cart before the horse. It was just a conversation I had with my PT on Friday. I’m just trying to work it out in my head a bit. And maybe the APRN didn’t let on how bad it really is. She’s been known to do that.

Oi. I need chocolate. Good chocolate. Better yet, I want someone to give me good chocolate.

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I really need to write an entry about managing my spoons per day, because at the moment I’m having trouble leaving myself enough to even get through until 4:00 p.m. during the school week.

I know that I need to recenter myself, refocus, and remember to simplify. I need to use the tools at my disposal.

I need to remind myself of how to do those things and what those tools are.

Before I can even write that blog… I need to take a big breath. In through the nose to the count of five, with the eyes closed. Pause. Out through the mouth until all of the air is gone. Pause. Breathe in through the nose to the count of five. Pause. Breathe out through the mouth until all of the air is gone. When you do this breathing exercise, think of nothing except the breathing. Focus and direct all efforts on your breathing. Do this five times without rushing the process. Keep your eyes closed, and don’t allow outside distractions, such as children or spouses but most especially your phone to interrupt.

This exercise takes as long as it takes. Do it twice if you need, but this exercise will force your brain, body, and anxiety to relax. Bringing in oxygen and forcing out thoughts does wonders.

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As it so happens, thanks to recent news, Jill Stein and that other guy, um, Gary Johnson are completely out of the question as well as long as Senator Clinton stays in the race.  As of today Gary Johnson has as chance of less than 0.1%. That’s not even a quarter of a percent of a chance of winning. Jill Stein isn’t even placing a fraction of a single digit percentage. They would both have to completely change their platforms to gain any sort of traction with anyone; and they would have to, well, not be Independent or Green Party. 😉 Because with their individual platforms and the ideals of each party? I have to go with,

“Thank you, hell no.”

 

If you’ve followed my blog at all lately, you’ve probably noticed that I’m not a Trump supporter. 😉 I’ve questioned why people support him. But then… I may have been a little insulting at times in my passion for my intense dislike of Trump regarding just how little I understand why reasonable people could even consider voting for Trump, but then again ‘m not running for office.

You’ve probably guessed by now if it weren’t obvious that the only option I find reasonable is Senator Clinton. She’s by far the safest choice.

Anything she does is under a microscope. Things from three decades ago are brought under scrutiny, twisted into half-truths and outright lies, and turned into spiteful memes. Present non-issues are “trumped up” if you will and blown into nontroversies until every single Trump Supporter and I Already Hate Hillary Clinton Frother laps it up with a big fat ladle.

They’ll pick apart her statements where she apologizes, even when she has no need to apologize. They’ll comment on how that’s a lie or only stated to gain voters or it’s rhetoric. That’s to be scrutinized crumb by crumb, ingredient by ingredient, until it’s lost all meaning. She can talk about her grandchild or daughter, and that has ulterior motives.

She coughs, and the world is on notice and thinks she’s not being transparent enough in her campaign or in regard to her health.

If only any month’s worth of comments Trump has made were scrutinized by the media so much as any single comment made or cough and antibiotic taken by Hillary Clinton at any given moment. Pneumonia is viewed as a death knell, apparently, and deceitful to boot. Who knew that allowing herself to become dehydrated and catching the common cold now and then wasn’t transparent, was deceitful, and she was on her deathbed. It apparently adds to the mountain of criminal activities she’s involved in while trying to destroy America in her conspiracy with President Obama.

Then this landed in my lap today from a friend on Facebook:

Pundits claim Clinton had a bad week. Next to Donald Trump’s seven days of gaffes and scandal, that is insane.

Source: An absurd week in America’s two-tier election – Macleans.ca

 

Well, I look forward to the day that we can call it the Ovulation Office, thank you very much.

Now, I’m not giving Senator Clinton a free pass. I don’t believe she’s perfect. I haven’t always supported her. In fact, for the majority of my life, I’ve “hated” the Clintons. The thing is, I’ve grown up. I’ve done research in unbiased sources. Some of what I thought I knew, I was proven right except not in the way I thought and most of what I believed was disproven.

For instance, calling half of Trump Supporters “a basket of Deplorables.” I mean… Trump likely doesn’t even know what the word means but most of his fans do, and many of his supporters are educated and are on the fence on whether to support him or her.  I might agree with the sentiment that there are many, many deplorable Trump Supporters, and there’s very good reason. But the fact is that TRUMP is deplorable.

There are many HRC supporters who have been asking what the big deal is in her insulting Trump voters when Trump has been nothing but crude, rude, crass, vulgar, and outright insulting to every voter out there except for racist, sexist, homophobic, or xenophobic voters. In fact, the wording she used wasn’t crass or vulgar.

She was composed and used a relaxed, almost humorous tone of voice. She was speaking to the educated of America. She was speaking to those whom she knew were already on her side and didn’t need rhetoric or cajoling or politicking. She was in a safety zone.

That was exactly the problem.

Due to who she is, and what she is ie. a female AND a Clinton, she doesn’t have a safety zone.

She’s automatically being held under a much greater microscope and to a much higher standard than Trump or any other male. She’s always had to hold herself to a higher standard, and she always has just like any other woman in virtually every career that exists. She’s always carried herself with dignity and grace under pressure, and this was a slip. It wasn’t even as bad as that slip that Mitt Romney made when he denigrated all voters during his campaign for President.

During election seasons, when you’re running for any office but especially for President of the United States, you simply don’t insult the voters. You don’t insult the voters of your opponent because of the off chance you might have had that they would have become your voters at some point in the near or far future. If you call your opponent’s voters “deplorable” even if you specify “half of them” then those people are going to wonder if you really meant “all” and therefore…. you’ve personally insulted every single voter of the opponent. They now have a personal reason to hate you. They don’t simply hate Hillary for the lies spun from half truths by the GOP, or because they dislike that she’s female or a lawyer or a former first lady or a Democrat or “too liberal” even though she’s practically a Republican, or her wardrobe, or who she used to be friends with, who donates money to her campaign, who her husband used to be friends with, the colors lipstick she chooses, the sound of her voice, etc.

They now believe that even if they momentarily supported Trump, HRC finds them deplorable and will automatically assume them to be racist, sexist, homophobic, and xenophobic. You have to be careful with the voters. Most of them may be harsh to each other, even in their own circles and families, but they have very thin skins if they think the spotlight is on them. Anything that seems critical of anything they support and it’s a personal insult. And even if they do have these deplorable qualities, are they really irredeemable? Is that really a judgment on their character that any candidate should make? No, it’s not.

Even if they do have these deplorable qualities, who wants to say that those qualities are racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, or any sort of -ist or -phobic or a bigot? Not when they have justification after justification after justification for being anti-whatever it is.

Those things are very true of Donald Trump. And yes, those things are very, very true of many of his fans. But at the same time, there are people who are voting for him not because they support him but because they feel they can’t support any other candidate. Many people are single issue voters, or can’t get past a particular story they heard and don’t research well enough to find out if something was as true as they believe. Many people don’t care to know. Many people just won’t vote for The Woman or A Democrat.

I think she knows these things, and even if it’s more rhetoric, she nearly immediately apologized and expressed regret for her comments. She then dropped the other shoe, and that cracked me up.

Trump has tried that maybe once or twice, and it backfires. It’s always a crass and backhanded nonpology. Hillary Clinton backtracked quite eloquently, regretting that she generalized so grossly and shouldn’t have said “half.” She put the onus of lifting up individuals that are racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, etc. back onto TRUMP. Essentially she called him out for glorifying those traits in people who find those qualities admirable… even if they don’t like the words used to describe those qualities. She called Trump’s social media contributions to be offensive, hateful, and mean-spirited rhetoric. She did state that some of those people are irredeemable (which is true) and “Not America” which is also true of the IDEAL IDEA of America.

She also said that his supporters are people that are looking for change in any form because of economic anxiety and she urged her supporters to empathize with them.

Oh yeah, and the e-mails too. What started as a non-troversy to begin with, and is turning out to be one of the BEST things she ever did. After all of the investigations and committees and waste of tax dollars, because the Republicans have this need to discredit her and try to make her look foolish; after an FBI investigation found her to have done nothing criminal; it turns out that just as it was stated early on in the first week or two that her servers were FAR MORE SECURED than the government servers at that time. It also turns out that if her servers were being used today they’d be more secure than the currently updated servers the government uses. Because her servers were SEPARATE and therefore much, much harder to hack. That was the whole point of several government officials having their own servers.

So I found this below, which was written last week. And to think, I was almost THISCLOSE to thinking that the e-mail stuff actually was a bit more scandalous than I originally believed, and I’d have to eat a bit of crow. That I didn’t actually know what I was talking about way in the beginning.

 

The attention paid to it has far surpassed the boundaries of the facts.

Source: The Hillary Clinton email story is out of control – The Washington Post

You know, I just realized that I never once commented on the positive aspects of HRC’s campaign. I pulled a stunt that I HATE from certain Trump fans. My apologies. I clearly had some purging and pontificating to do! LOL

So, I’ll save the, “why I support HRC versus other candidates” post for another day. This one got out of control and too long. 🙂 Ta, loves!

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Double-Chocolate-Chip-Swirl-Cookies- from Sally's Baking Addiction Blog

Double-Chocolate-Chip-Swirl-Cookies- from Sally’s Baking Addiction Blog

Let’s Play Pretend

You’re a nutritionist.

You’re a nutritionist that’s advising clients about how to choose healthy and healthier foods when they’re out and they have very limited options. You teach them about basic ingredients; whole ingredients and whole foods; which ingredients are all right when refined and which aren’t; which ingredients to always avoid; how to read ingredient labels; how to prepare meal plans and meals. How to shop for groceries.

Your client knows that fruits and veggies are the best choices. Include them in as many meals as possible. Find fats and oils from as many natural sources as possible. Avoid low-fat and low-calorie labels. Avoid sugar-free labels and artificial sweeteners. Avoid artificial dyes and high fructose corn syrup. 100% whole grains. Real ingredients. Real food. As much as possible.

All in preparation for how to be able to choose between poor options, and when to refrain from any options at all; and when it’s not healthy to refrain from making a choice.

The Day Comes

One day they’re at a party and there’s a cookie table. Let’s say it’s a political party. An election, even. At the back of the table, the fruit and veggie trays are out of reach and wrapped up and not an option. Apparently the best options are for later.

There’s a plate of cookies that are simple sugar cookie. They look fabulous.

There’s one plate of cookies that are sugar cookies with caramel in the middle. Also pretty delicious looking.

There’s another plate of cookies that appear homemade, and they have some chocolate chips; in fact, these cookies have chocolate chips on one half of the cookie and white chips on the other half, but your client dislikes chocolate chips. He thinks they’re disgusting. They also have some sprinkles on top. The sprinkles aren’t completely natural or healthy, but that’s ok. It’s just sprinkles. You can flick those off if needed.

There’s another plate of cookies, but they’re clearly not homemade. They’re supposed to be pumpkin cookies with white chips, but they’re so bright orange they had to be pumped full of dye. There are fire-hot cinnamon chips in them, so hot they’ll make you gag, and Lemon War Heads and Jawbreakers on top. Clearly these cookies are vile, and not worth another look because every ingredient will make your client sick. There’s nothing natural at all in them. They’re completely toxic.

Your client walks away for a while to see what’s happening at the party, but when he comes back he notices that the cookies he really, really wanted, the sugar cookies and caramel cookies, have been completely eaten up. He was too late. All he’s left with are the chocolate-white-chocolate chip cookies and the pumpkin-nasty-ass cookies. He knows the pumpkin cookies will make him incredibly ill, and even have far too many ingredients in them that will make him sick and even have ingredients he’s allergic to… but he desperately hates chocolate chips.

So he eats the whole plate of fake pumpkin cookies stuffed with nastiness, just to avoid the chocolate chips in the chocolate chip half of the cookies.

And he’s so violently ill, he’s vomiting orange for four years and regrets every damned bite wishing he had eaten the half and half cookies.

I completely understand that cookies, on principle, are not healthy. That’s entirely the point I’m trying to make in what I hope is an obvious parallel. And I must note on a personal level that Sally’s Baking Addiction has the most bang-up amazingly awesome cookies you’ll ever bake whether you have a nutritionist or not. You’ll bake your own just so you have an awesome choice at a political party.

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I don’t get paid to write this blog. I’m not good enough. So take me at my word when I say, as a very hyper-critical caramel-in-coffee-but-I-love-it coffee drinker that this is THEBEST salted caramel… nay, caramel creamer for your coffee. 

I say this, admittedly, as someone who already enjoys Natural Bliss. It’s the only one besides pure organic cream that I can drink in my coffee without contributing to pain issues and migraines.

I was skeptical about the flavor before buying because so many caramel creamers leave a weird aftertaste. No worries. I’m not buying any other caramel creamer brands now.
COFFEE-MATE Natural Bliss Salted Caramel Creamer 

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