I was recently diagnosed with Lupus. While it is a crummy diagnosis, I am at least glad that I finally know why I have been feeling off for the last handful of years. I really thought I was going to lose my mind. The pain, the fatigue, swollen joints that wished me a "good morning' each and every day....all are a result of this silly autoimmune disorder that I am unlucky enough to have. I know that my husband, friends and family must have thought I was a hypochondriac. I was always tired and something always felt weird. I thought..."Am I imaging this? Certainly I cannot feel bad - again!" So, I have my diagnosis after a little blood test showed the Smith anti-bodies were positive, throw in a little Raynaud's Syndrome, swollen, painful joints, and pleurisy - and yourself got a nice little Lupus salad, dressing on the side please. My husband has coined the term "Lupus Poopus". I like that. It is poopy.
Stress. It is best avoided. It is really best avoided when you have lupus. I can't tell you why, but stress causes lupus flare ups. A flare for me is extreme fatigue, painful joints and a constant pain under my left rib. During a flare, I am worthless a good 2 - 3 days. I have mild lupus. I am 47, have a 5 and half year old son, a career that demands I stay on top of my game, my mother is institutionalized with Alzheimer's Disease. I want to be a wife and mother who is engaged with the family, a devoted daughter who can take care of her parents, and successful in my chosen field. So, no stress in my world. Ha! Why am I sharing this with you all? I am certainly not looking for sympathy. I have always approached just about every situation with a little dose of humor and sarcasm, and for the first time, I do not feel like being funny. This is a drag. I have mild lupus..cannot imagine what the poor souls who have full blown, chronic lupus feel like.
No sun exposure. What? I am a beach loving, sunshine worshiping girl who misses living in Florida. Sun exposure is not good for us lupers. That is just not acceptable. I take Plaquenil, which is an antimalarial medication that happens to help with lupus symptoms. Now I can visit a third world country without the worry of getting malaria, and I could be pain free to boot! The joy. Never mind that I have had an allergic reaction to the medication. It causes me to itch uncontrollably. I am taking long showers with anti-itch soaps and lotions. I smell funky. I am really sexy these days. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I can go into remission with a little time on this medication. If I take good care of myself, I will avoid flare ups and can live a fairly normal life (I use the word normal loosely). That is the goal.
I've got to be better for my family, I've got to keep dancing, and I have to become my old, energetic, annoyingly hyperactive self again. I feel deep in my bones, and believe me, I feel everything in my bones...this is a perfectly attainable goal in the next 6 months. Things have got to change. I need 'me' back. I need to find the humor in everything again. I am just not Jennifer without that.
Life is still a wonderful thing, and I am so glad to be where I am - right now! XOXO