Family <3

I know I haven’t posted in a couple weeks. Sorry! I have a very scary doctor’s appointment on top of all the school work I’ve been doing. All I have to say this week is be grateful for those you consider family. They are always there when you need them the most and don’t ever let a fight or anything at all make you forget how special they are. People take their families for granted and it breaks my heart to see that. Your family will always be your family and love you and support you and help you when you need it!

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Published in: on September 28, 2011 at 7:01 pm  Comments (8)  
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Migraine? Butterfly rash? Joint pain?

This was actually supposed to be posted back in the beginning of August, I just now realized it never posted! It may be late but I hope you find it useful anyway! 

Okay, so all us lupies know the deal – on really good days we’re only mildly stiff and achy and on bad days we can’t get out of bed the pain is so bad. Here are some things that have worked well to help with symptoms I experience.

  • Migraines/headaches – Migraines are probably my worst symptom, the pain sometimes is absolutely unbearable. I can’t listen to anything or open my eyes unless it’s dark. For these, my doctor gave me fioricet which works wonders when taken at the start of one. When I don’t have those with me, a can of coke and 2-3 advil (600 mg ibuprofen) work wonders. If I have any other type of headache, 2 advil are usually okay. I also put peppermint oil on my temples and behind my ears, it really helps the pain calm down.
  • Butterfly Rash/Nodules – I get the butterfly rash only rarely but my face does get red an puffy when I’m not feeling well. The Body Shop has this super rich vitamin E face cream that cools my face down a lot. Most of their stuff has worked pretty well so I’d take a peek around. Since that is kinda pricey, I use Oil of Olay for Sensitive Skin everyday. It really good on irritated skin from waking up with the rash or being out in the sun. I also get painful bumps all over my hands, cool water and hydrocortisone help these on milder days.
  • Joint/Muscle Pain – one of the main lupus symptoms. Who wants to feel like an 90 year old person everyday, creaking and cracking up and down the hallway each day? It sucks! At least there are some ways, besides good old advil again, to make it feel better. Hot baths with epsom salts are really good when my ankles are acting up. Also, peppermint pain spray is amazing, it cools your joints and muscles off almost immediately. I have a local brand down here but try looking in your local natural remedies store or a holistic medicine store. You definitely get your moneys worth. Sleeping with a pillow under my knees also helps my knees, hips and back when they’re acting up. If that doesn’t work, using my Back Buddy heating pad does, I suggest investing in a heating pad if you don’t have one already.
  • Restlessness – I don’t know if this is actually a common one to lupus but all those things above usually add up to me being anxious and restless all day. Yoga helps a lot if done in the middle of the day, it also helps in the morning for stiffness. At night, meditation really does the trick. It’s pretty easy to learn how to meditate, all you have to do is Google it :).
On that note, I’m currently wrestling with the overwhelming fatigue that often hits. My only solution for that is to listen to my body and head to bed! Sweet dreams!
Published in: on September 14, 2011 at 6:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Set-backs

As everyone knows, in life we experience set-backs. Today happened to be a day I experienced several. Turning to, of course, my family I got some great advice that in reality is very simple but sometimes you just need to hear other people say it.

Everything went wrong today, or it felt like it did. I woke up fighting with the insurance people, had my interview cancelled, and then got some not so great health news. I came home in tears, my boyfriend tried to cheer me up and let me cry. Then I talked to my mom, she said cry it all out, take a deep breath, and remember it’s okay. I know that doesn’t seem like intricate advice but it was really helpful for me and I really needed to hear that it was okay.

I am an overachiever. I always have been and always will be. Sometimes, I forget (or I intentionally disregard) the fact that I am actually sick. It’s hard to understand that sometimes, lupus will stop me from doing the same exact things as everyone else and really, I’ve come extremely far for anyone, even compared to a lot of healthy people. I had an interview that got cancelled – my dad told me to remember they saw something in me originally that made them want to interview me even though I didn’t necessarily have to top GPA. I hadn’t thought of it like that, I just thought “Everyone else is better then me and now I feel like crap about myself.” Sometimes you really just need to hear, or tell a friend, that it’s okay that you’re not perfect. It’s okay that you didn’t get the job or the interview. It’s okay that your best is not necessarily as good in the ways other people’s are. They aren’t dealing with this issue, I am and I’ve done really well for myself.

From Left to Right: Dad, Sister, Me, Mom (Brother is missing)

We all have set-backs in our lives,  minor and major. The important thing to remember is we are dealing with something other people aren’t. We must find a way and work harder than others to get where we want to be. As long as we remember how far we’ve come in our lives, those set-backs won’t be anything more than dust in the wind.

Published in: on September 13, 2011 at 9:37 pm  Comments (6)  
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Move it move it!

Whether you deal with a chronic illness or not, there’s something everyone should get into the habit of doing – exercise. I know, I know that’s what everyone says, but it’s especially important for those people with joint or muscle problems. I don’t mean going out and jogging 10 miles every morning but doing exercise a couple times a week is important. It’s important to do not only cardio, but weight bearing exercises. They’re both extremely helpful in keeping your joints loose and building up muscle to support those areas such as your back and neck.

So what kind of exercise programs can you do? When you have a chronic illness it’s important to push yourself but NOT to the limit – don’t go anywhere near it! Especially when you’re first starting. Here are some types of exercise I’ve found most beneficial depending on how I’m feeling that day.

  • ZUMBA – My official new obsession for the time being, this high energy dance workout uses latin rhythms to work your body. Can’t dance? Who cares! Believe me, a majority of the people there get lost following some of the steps but the beauty about this exercise program is all you have to do is move to the beat. If you can’t do some of the exercises the instructor is, you can just move to the music for that section. I often don’t do the jumping parts and instead just rock my feet on the ground. And that whole looking silly thing – forget about it. A few minutes in you’re having so much fun you don’t care how you look (that or you learn to laugh at yourself, that’s my strategy).
  • Wii Fit Plus – Doing this for twenty minutes to a half hour can actually give you a good workout. This is nice when I’m just too tired to drive to the gym. The games are so fun you don’t even realize how much you’re working out until after you’re done. The yoga poses are awesome stretches that make your muscles feel amazing after, but don’t over exert yourself. When your body says stop, do it. Be careful with some of the faster paced things like boxing or kung fu, your arms will thank you for it the next day.
  • Yoga – For me, yoga is an amazing thing when I’m extra stiff. Most of the stretches I do throughout the day I learned in one yoga class or another. Some people can do this is the morning to wake them up, others find it relaxing enough to do right before bed. Find a class close by and try it out or do it at home with a DVD. There are also varying levels and intensities for those of you that are more limber or want more a workout (instead of stretching) feel.
  • Nike Training Club – This is an app on the iPhone and the newer iTouches, sorry to those of you who don’t have one =\. When I’m feeling really good, this is the app to use. You make your own 30 minute playlists and the app plays them while you’re doing the workout. There are a ton to choose from for every level and some workouts are 30 minutes while others are 15 making it easy to fit into a busy schedule. You will sweat, that’s for sure. At the start of each exercise, it instructs you how to do it through the headphones, or you can watch a video. The exercise regimen looks kind of easy until you actually do it. It works you hard but it feels so good when you’re done. I, for one, feel very proud of myself because it’s not every day I feel good enough to finish one.
  • Pilates – Pilates is a really good workout if you have a bad back. A lot of the programs focus on working your core muscles which help support your back. The stronger those muscles, theoretically, the less back pain you’ll have and anything that reduces pain gets an A+ in my book.

Even if you can’t do any of these, get up an walk everyday. There’s a little old lady who lives next to me and she walks up and down the complex at least once everyday. If she can do it, so can you! Take breaks when you need and remember not to push yourself too hard. Get into a habit of exercising, you definitely won’t regret it.

Published in: on September 7, 2011 at 9:10 pm  Comments (4)  
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