Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Holidays, Dreams, Illness and Love

As I look forward to the fast upcoming holiday season, a piece of me is excited. Fall is upon us, and it has brought a cool fresh brick crispness to the air. One one hand I am thrilled to see the cooler weather, and the holidays, yet on another I am worried and stressed over the fact, my illnesses tend to zap my energy each day. I am truly concerned about all that I need to get done to be ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas. My usual holiday season was all about every room decorated, a beautiful tree, the smells of cinnamon, ginger, and spices in the air. The taste of homemade fudge, and home made fruitcakes. Our Christmas puzzles that have become one of our traditions over the past couple of years. We usually do a new one or two to add to our collection. The fun over buying gifts, and knowing how much your loved ones will be surprised. Family, especially my daughter, her husband, and my 2 grandson's, who are James, he will be 4 in December, and Logan, who is now almost 5 months old. I don't get to see them very often since they live about 8 hours away, so that is a joy I know is a blessing. Jim and I have done a Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner every year since our first one together. LOL, even though at times it is only us, and our two "fur kids", Tazz and Bubba Gump, my pug and chi-weenie, we cook like we are having part of the nation over for dinner. I love decorations in every room, like our Christmas bedspread, shams, and dust cover. I love making what I call a "yule log". I found some large enough pieces of our China Berry tree that I can take saw off in the right length, then I decorate them with holiday poinsettias', holly, little birds nests, etc to reflect the holiday we are in. They look awesome sitting on our table, and then on our heaters.
Yet, I also fear the holiday season. With each passing year, and especially this one, my physical health has failed even more. I see the hundred's of things I want to do, to be ready for the joy of the season, yet when I think about what I need to do, I go into overload, hoping and praying the Fibromyalgia, Lupus, CFS, and the rest do not get me so completely down in a flare, that I will be unable to enjoy the baking, shopping, cooking, decorating, and my family.

When you have something that is a chronic illness or chronic pain, even though you fight hard to not allow it to rule over your life, you come to find quickly, even with good stress, it can kick you down the mountain very fast, and leave you in a crumpled heap on the floor, until you can once again find the energy to force yourself back up the mountain. We have had a very difficult year in many ways, along with some good things also. My Lupus, and now Fibromyalgia has brought a whole new array of tests, doctors, and honestly new symptoms that are really at times getting me down and out. I find myself much more fatigued most days, I am slower at things I used to be fast at, and with the extensive and severe bruising all over my arms and legs, I feel embarrassed to go out in public, due to all of the looks and stares I get. I feel as if people think I have some kind of contagious disease like Leprosy or something, when I see the fear in their eyes. Now, the dermatologist seems to possibly think they could get much lighter, but it could be years, and even now, all we know it is it NOT skin related, but it is something to do with my blood vessels and it petechiae and purpura. Thus it is still a mystery, and between what the doctors have said and NOT said, Jim and I have a theory about the severe bruising. For one, we feel after much research, the Lupus itself is causing part of the issue. Lupus tends in some people to attack the blood vessels, causing them to weaken and "leak". Which makes sense, because the type of Lupus I have, can attack any type of connective tissue in the body, from the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin and of course blood vessels. Secondly, the very medications that are helping to try the "wolf" at bay (Lupus means wolf in Latin, since one of the symptoms is a "butterfly" rash across the cheeks and bridge of the nose, making it appear like the "mask" of a wolf.) One of the medications in particular can weaken the vessels also, but it also thins the skin, so I am easier to get scratched, easier to bleed, and it takes longer for me to stop even a small wound from bleeding.

But, as the dermatologist said, it is NOT worth possibly making my Lupus worse by getting off the medications. I need them to keep the Lupus from causing further health issues, and even at that I still could develop more organs involved.

So, after all of my year plus research, I am adding yet more pills to my daily routine. But, this time I am adding more Vitamins and Supplements to the mix. The 4 I am adding are highly recommended on many of the huge Lupus support foundation sites. None of them are harmful to me, so I want to take a chance to see if they can help. Also, after much research on Fibromyalgia, I decided to try the Fibromyalgia/Guaifenesin Protocol. For some reason doctors have found out that Mucinex DM (the Guaifenesin) helps to lessen some of the symptoms of FM and CFS. It also is not harmful, so I have added it to the mix also.

I am keeping a daily very detailed journal of what we have added, what changes I have made as far as lifestyle as of lately, what the doctors have said, done and not said, nor done. We intend on arming ourselves with several pages of everything I have been through as far as tests, doctors, blood work, etc. along with my medications, and everything I am doing, so we can take it to my Primary Care Physician, who by the way honestly is the only one that really seems to care about what is going on with me, and he is more versed in many ways about Lupus, FM, and CFS than he darned specialists! WE intend on sitting down and having a consultation with him, and see if between the 3 of us we can come up with some type of "game plan" as to what to take, don't take, do not do, and so forth. Jim and I feel since he is very willing to listen, then give his sound advice, that we may be able to fight these Chronic Illnesses much better, and get my flares more in control.
Okay, I shall stop for now.... I hope the feel of Fall and Winter bring you much joy, and anticipation of family, food, friends and most of all... Love...

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