Category Archives: disease

The Difference of a Year

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I just returned from a week in Mexico.

It was gorgeous, relaxing, adventurous, fun and much needed. I always plan it the week before I return to school as a last way to recharge, reflect and get ready.

The sun, blue water, time for self care is good for my soul. Seeing the Lord’s work in nature and taking the time to listen to what he is saying with new opportunities is a gift.

But this trip hit different because a year ago today my life changed when my marriage changed along with a stressful year in education (see other post about change and reforms in school). In this last year, the stress of all the changes restarted my body to get sick-very sick and it was obvious if you looked at me for the first time ever.

The butterfly rash, psoriasis, weight loss, eye inflammation, dental issues…all the symptoms came roaring back. The hardest was the weight that caused people to ask if I was okay and the hair just getting thinner and shorter without being cut.

It led to two new medications and finally tests and a biopsy.

Pictures do not lie! I usually pull it back, but this night I got feisty!

I often want to step out of the picture or refuse to take it, but I will not let pride and vanity win. This.is.me! This is my season of sickness. It is rough, but my reality. So I will show my confidence and continue to take the selfie or portrait. I an more than my appearance. I hope I inspire young girls that think they are fat or ugly to be confident and brave.

The hair will grow back or I will invest in wigs and hats. This is Lupus and the world needs to know…even Virgin River had a story on the disease!

So I start these meds today and wait patiently for a cure and hopefully an answered prayer with little to no side effects and some relief.

Pray with me!

Biopsy Results

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Today was the virtual consult with the nephrologist. The biopsy revealed the Class 5 Membranous Lupus we were expecting. This was good news since the kidneys were not worse than we thought. The medications will be intense. 2000mg Cellcept daily and 25 mg of steroids daily.

Nervous if similar side effects will occur like last time causing my hair to fall out, lip blisters and overall decline in my weight and health. This drug is most famous for the stomach issues which is a struggle when you are trying to gain weight. Overall, my biggest fear is just struggling to stay thriving. Fatigue is real on these medications! But, this is a fight for a major organ so I will suck it up and follow doctor’s orders.

I serve a mighty God! I serve a God that saves and goes with me. Today made me feel frustrated that we have to get serious with medication right before I start back to school where my stress kicks in the highest…so afraid of going backwards and just feeling beat down when I need to be stepping it up. But I will trust in God’s promise that he goes before me, stay grateful for the good things he has done and remain hopeful for a cure and better tomorrow with Lupus.

Lupus Impact

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Here are just a few of the things an auto immune disease will attack in an attempt to fight off invaders:

Hair-thinning, falling out, bald spots on scalp, dry and brittle

Eyes-itchy, burning, blurry vision, inflammation

Skin-dry, rashes especially on face, psoriasis

Mouth- ulcers (the worst) cavities due to being too dry or too much bacteria

Joints-aches, pains, stiffness, deformities, loss of grip, cannot move arms above head, hard to walk or bend at the knees, hard to dress

Blood-anemic, easy bruising

Reproductive-can cause infertility, dryness, overgrowth of bacteria

Organs-failure of vital ones, hard to breathe, chest pain, lung inflammation

Digestive-weight loss, foods hard to digest, IBS, watch what you eat-sensitivities

Brain-forgetfulness, depression, brain fog

This is a list of things I have endured in my 12 years with this disease.

Thankfully not all at the same time and thankfully meds can help alleviate much of this.

My hope is in Jesus. I am thankful I have a promise of eternity and faithfulness in a cure or in a plan or purpose for my pain. Prayer is powerful.

Stop Going to Google and Start Going to God

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I do it every time.

Hear a diagnosis then Google it to death.

What I really struggle with is fear, control, the unknown and what-ifs.

God has the answer.

When will I learn to start with Him?

He knows, He cares, He loves.

The end.

To Biopsy or Not Biopsy

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After meeting with the nephrologist, she suggests getting a kidney biopsy to learn the extent of the kidney damage. Originally, I thought this was a good idea, but as I learn more I question if this is necessary. Of course, I want to know the extent of the damage, but will it change the treatment? If not, then can we skip it?

Who knew the biopsy would be considered an outpatient surgery? The cost is very high since my deductible is high. The recovery is longer than I thought. Just wondering if it is necessary. I know this is a result of Lupus so let’s get it under control.

I question if I do not get it, will I miss treatment that is necessary. Who knows. What I do know is Lupus is evil. It attacks healthy cells. It attacks organs. It masks itself as good. It is deadly, painful and rests only to act up again. It is uncurable and induced by stress but our world is stressful.

So for now I pray and wait and hope for a cure and long for a full life not cut short by disease.

Disappointment with AutoImmune Disease

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So now that my summer break is here I am ready to tackle this Lupus flare. I was referred to a nephrologist only to learn she is booked up until August. It was devastating since I return to school in August. By God’s miracle, I got a call that said she could see me that afternoon and I went no questions asked.

She reviewed my labs and gave me the news I am stage 5 Lupus Nephritis. Not good. No blood in urine, but very high protein. Crazy because I have no symptoms yet.

She is referring me to get a biopsy to learn how bad it is. The biopsy will determine the treatment. It is so disappointing.

The rising cost of co-pays. The fear that my organs are being attacked. Thinking about living with this disease another 40 years…it is frustrating.

All I can do is give it to God and be okay with whatever may come.

Lupus Gone Wild-Health Update

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The hair loss, weight loss, cramps, stomach issues, swollen joints, ulcers, skin rash and night sweats….were all a result of Lupus.

Not a disease.

Not Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Not Celiac Disease.

The Lupus I have always had, just very active. There are still kidney issues that are likely a result of my Lupus gone wild, but Lupus is the disease that created the drama.

So yeah…this disease sucks.

Who Doesn’t Have 30 Minutes?

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My recent health Journey had me put a hold on intense workouts. For one, I had no calories to burn. For two, the workouts wore me out with my low body weight and muscle burn. Little did I know these last couple of months I had pneumonia and possible kidney disease (we are learning more with tests).

I know a key to handling Lupus is exercise and it workouts are so good for my stress. Add in that at this weight, muscle tone and definition is so nice. And you cannot forget it is swimsuit season so even though I struggle with my bony frame and hair loss…I want to look as good as possible.

Smaller chested brunettešŸ˜‰

Although it feels like I am wasting my Camp Gladiator membership…I have started utilizing the website. Specifically, on demand workouts and quick hitters. 30 minute workouts targeting the areas you want to grow. Who does not have 30 minutes to take care of yourself?

Choose the time, the area of focus, the trainer- it is all up to you. Great for those that cannot go all in, but cannot afford to give up.

Teacher Struggle

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I want to start by saying that this year for me is WAY better than last year, so I am thankful. Last year juggling virtual teaching and student absences while trying to maintain a gradebook was intense. I will always be grateful for my mental health this year, however teachers across the country are abandoning education at a massive rate. I struggled to put into words why…but then a teacher I follow on Twitter said it perfectly…

The teaching game has changed, but the mindsets of those making the decisions and laws have not. They want to “catch up” kids to make them what they use to be and these kids are not what they use to be. Families have changed, education has changed and now laws need to change. The stress being put on teachers to test and perform is breaking our spirits as more hours of tutoring, documentation and building up their SEL is exhausting. I made this TikTok last year I think of one of my favorite Christian songs called Truth Be Known. It sums us up well…looking good, but feeling weak.

https://vm.tiktok.com/TTPdkM82sU/

God is my source of hope and strength so I know my foundation is firm. I have endured this business for 20 years so I know I can endure this valley, but those that do not know any different are walking out at an alarming rate. I get it. I hate it, but I get it.

On another note, wow how Lupus has changed my hair. No clue when my hair began to fall out and thin, but seeing my hair in this Tik Tok is shocking…long, full of volume…this is it today

Not without hope, but definitely not what it was. Crazy how a medicated auto immune disease can do that. My devo today said God has a purpose for my broken body and I am putting all my faith, hope and love that it is true.

Which Flare? What does a Lupus flare feel like?

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Today I go to two doctors to check on symptoms of inflammation. One is an eye doctor…my eyes have been on fire lately and the second is my regular check up to see if the Methextrate is working or we need to try something new. Many Lupus drugs have serious side effects, so I need to be careful and check blood work often.

Going to the doctor today got me thinking about all my flares the past ten years. I often get asked “What does a flare feel like?” My response is “Which one?”

My first flare was my worst…achy joints, high fever always, weight loss, fatigue, cold all the time. We started Plaquenil and within three months I was feel good again…a new norm of anemia, infertility and fatigue always, but not hurting.

My second big flare was achy joints, fatigue and hair loss. Patches of bald spots and an itchy scalp that kinda surprised me since I did not know my hair was connected to auto immune issues

My third big flare was my scariest. Lung inflammation. I felt like I was going to have a heart attack. I could not catch my breath and my chest hurt. Again, no clue my lungs could be connected to my Lupus.

This one has lasted the longest…mirrored more Rheumatoid arthritis than Lupus. It caused me to change my meds to focus on joint pain rather than fatigue. It caused my hands to go crooked and surprisingly has impacted my eyes. No clue if it is inflammation or allergy or random coincidence but my eyes have been burning. This flare also impacted my weight and fatigue and now thinning hair. A big surprise is the new inflammation in my stomach…food does not process which makes me feel malnourished.

The crazy thing is insurance causes me to need referrals and it is hard to know what can be treated with a GP versus a specialist. So much is determined by Lupus and is just confusing. So my goal today is to get answers and maybe a better plan. I feel good mentally, but Lupus can cause depression too and I have had that this time as well. Pray that God leads me to answers and wisdom today!

I am blessed with all the advancements in this tricky disease. I am learning to accept myself at my lowest weight, infertile, bruised from blood thinners, thin hair that does not grow out and feeling tired all the time. Learning I am who I am with this disease. No one can truly understand it through my eyes and what I go through each day to make it to the next as a mom and teacher and wife…but God is using this for His glory! Adoption and more has been a gift in this and I am not dead. I have felt like dying is near at times or even frustrated that my quality of life at 42 is so different …if this is 42 what will 62 feel like…will I live to see 72? Does my child get the mother he deserves?

In it all, I will take this life and live it awake. I will appreciate what I do have through a support system and medical team. God is good!

Today I am focusing on Psalm 136:1. I am giving thanks to God. Thankful for my body. Thankful for my medical team. Thankful for prescription drugs. Thankful for a supportive husband. Thankful for prayer. Thankful for days to take off for the doctor. Thankful for the beauty in the ashes. Thankful on purpose.