Hi friends. I have some personal news to share today.
I want to share what's been going on in the past several months because, well, that's what I do on my blog. I share the good, the bad, and the ugly with the world. It's really the point of a lifestyle blog, right? To share our lives and bond with complete strangers over it....
I don't share the yucky stuff to gain sympathy or to get attention. I'm just keeping it real. Sometimes it's therapeutic to write down my troubles and say what I'm exactly feeling.
So, here goes.
I was recently diagnosed with Lupus. The new "L" word in my vocabulary.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that attacks mainly women, usually in their child-bearing years. It's basically like a Civil War going on inside my body. My body is producing antibodies against itself. Those antibodies are attacking healthy tissue which causes inflammation. Eventually, Lupus can attack the heart, kidneys, and lungs if not controlled. There is no cure for the disease, though there are several new treatments that are effective for controlling the symptoms and protecting the organs from damage.
I've had weird symptoms on and off for years, and since December, things have escalated. I've been in a lupus flare for several months.
I was scared. I knew something was wrong with me. Part of me didn't want to know what it was and part of me just wanted answers. What if it was cancer? What if it was nothing and I was crazy? What if it was Lupus? I had done my research and new my symptoms fit the disease profile.
One of the positive things that has come out of all of this is that I learned how important it is to listen to my body. My body was waving its white flag and I didn't ignore it. Thank goodness.
I went to the doctor and told her all of my strange symptoms. I gained so much respect for her as a physician. She listened to me, took me seriously, and promised that we would get to the bottom of this. Mr. BMJ was worried too. He saw me, night after night, suffering from fever and pain and encouraged me to get checked out.
The worrisome symptoms are daily fevers and night sweats. The other annoying symptoms are muscle and joint pain and stiffness, flu-like symptoms, rash, mouth sores, sun sensitivity, hair loss, flu-like symptoms, frequent kidney infections, extreme fatigue, headaches, memory loss, and other cognitive issues.
My blood tests showed signs for Lupus and my primary care physician sent me to a Rheumatologist. He made the diagnosis and established a treatment plan. The good news is that all of my organs look good and no damage has occurred. We just have to protect them and get the symptoms under control.
Maybe I will feel good one day? I forgot what that feels like. There are days that I would look around and think "Is this what life is about? Feeling awful everyday? I'm 37 going on 97. What will I feel like then? Am I just a wimp? Surely not everyone feels like this."
So, here's the plan.... I start an oral medication today that will hopefully make me feel a little better. It's a medication that is used to treat Lupus, arthritis, and malaria. Interesting, I know. I will be starting an infusion medication (a drug that is slowly administered through an IV in my arm) next week and will be spending many hours in the near future at the doctor's office trying to make myself feel better. Hopefully, it will all be worth it. I've lost my mind with worry and stress about the possible side effects of these medications.
Being newly diagnosed with a disease really makes you think about your priorities in life.
I don't want Baby Girl to grow up with a "sick mom" who never feels like doing anything. She is very perceptive and knows there is something wrong. She's been overly sensitive and complains of some of the things I complain about. She has "sympathy Lupus" at age 3. That breaks my heart. I want to be around to see her as an adult. I want to be a happy, healthy grandmother who is fun and can take care of my grandchildren when she needs me to.
I feel like a shell of the person I once was. I truly struggle some days to get out of bed because I feel like crap. I don't feel like being social anymore because I'm sick and sad and tired. I want to get my old self back. I don't want this disease to define me as a person. I feel bad for my family and friends. I'm always sick. What a drag that must be to hang around. I've become the one thing I was afraid of becoming. Funny how life turns out sometimes, huh?
I considered quitting the blog. With everything going on in my life right now, do I really need an added stress? Stress exacerbates Lupus flares. But, my blog has been nothing but positive in my life. It provides an outlet for me to express myself and connect with other people. I've formed some pretty amazing friendships through this webspace. So, for now, I'm going to keep on writing. You'll know if you don't hear from me that it's not because I don't want to be here, it's because I can't.
Thanks for listening friends. We'll talk soon!