Sunday, September 14, 2014
Trying to find My Way Back - to What A "Normal" Autoimmune Diseased Life Should Be...
I began this as a post on Facebook early this morning, Sept. 2, 2014. Yet, after writing on it for about a half hour or more, getting up to check on the dog, and my head pounding... it dawned on me, "Get your other stuff caught up... i.e. make some sugar free jello, make the chocolate fudge cake for the weekend, getting the "stuffed peppers" I bought the stuff to make on the day when it was supposed to be cooling down; thus this morning seemed to be the best morning. I had thought about going out to wash my car. I thought if I did maybe rather than continue to "test" and tease us, it would actually rain. Well, so far I was wrong, as it all has done lately. It seems the weather has made many of us hurt terribly. Physicians (some physicians) want to tell us we are full of bull when we say that the "weather" doesn't effect our lives as far as our pain, joints, headaches, and so forth. I know beyond a doubt that from the barometric pressure, to "cool fronts', the humidity, rain, sleet, snow, thunderstorms, you name it, many will more definitely have an effect on chronic pain illnesses, joint issues, and many of the "2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and so on, disease that follow right along with the primary diagnosis. I had been concerned lately over "Shingles". I have seen way too many of my online friends, as well as close kin folks and friend that have had a breakout of shingles. I found articles stating people that have never had them, have well over 2 to 1 (50%) chance of having shingles if you have an autoimmune illness. I've been concerned over my illnesses because I feel I can't quite find a place of "remission" in any of them. I am on the medications, I am trying to do everything I can correctly, rest, eat well (ah, that one is hard with the teeth issues I have) This next paragraph or paragraphs if you would like to say below are what I began on Facebook. I copied what I had already typed on and then decided I am going to "stick" to my word. I am going to post the bulk of the post here, then just put a small snippet in FB, with a link back to it here in my Blog. Blogger has made some changes, some good, giving you more options and other than just add chaos & confusion. I was hoping FM would slow down a bit and give people time to catch up. Sure many of us are "hooked" on line 24/7/365. But, all too often we don't have time to sit around and figure out the "new" things on FB, Blogger, and the numerous other sites we "belong" to. It reminds me of all of the stores I frequent here in my home town. About the time you learn how to use your markets check out debit system, they bring in one that is "better, bigger, more secure" and also confuses the hell out of me. Then you run over to your pharmacy, same thing, now they handle the entire way you check out totally different. Now try to go shopping two or three department stores! Everyone one of them, either has a new "card" for you to sign up and and get 20% discount. Yes, the first time, and then after that, all you get an email box full of junk from them daily. Then they have all of these mark-downs with an "extra 20% off" at the register, and you either have your calculator out, they might be nice and have a "chart" up on the rack telling you what the cost will be after the "extra" is taken off at the register. Anyway, when you are already dealing in trying to keep your sanity with a brain fog that seems to only be getting worse each week; the lists that have now become the lists of lists you need to take care of and LORD forbid I not forget something for someone, a doctors appointment, or even something as trivial as getting "change for the coke machine, or picking up a drink, some kind of soda that if I don't, no one else would think about how thirsty I get when I am having to drive anywhere, and in fact I cannot walk through a huge store like a Wally World's, unless I stop by a front counter and pick up a drink to sip on while I shop.
I've been telling this now for awhile to my family and friends. Not only had my physical issues change, I seem to have slowed down to a crawl at times. My brain cannot function, I feel it takes me forever to get ready, then I look down and there is always something else that needed to be done, or I forgot to put on "the list" .... heck even times I do well to remember the name of a room, or the name of what is in that room! Store names, my own phone number, it seems that may "brain fog" add
I thought I would post this on FB at first, then changed my mind. I is a combination of several days posts, I began days ago. I changed my mind and want to put it here first, then really tell about these feelings I have on my blog; then share them that way. I will put this on my blog, but it has been on my mind now since I went to Winstar last weekend with my Mom. As most of you know, due to all of my extensive sharing, I LOST ALL of my Teeth to Sjögren's within a year. It sounds almost impossible, and I know from everything I've read and been told, that they "damage" that could not been seen probably had been going on since I was first diagnosed with Lupus, Sjögren's, Raynauds, RA... and who knows what else. That was back in about 2009-10 when the very first real "blood work" was done, and the doctor took ALL of my years of symptoms seriously to put them together. When he did, I was sent immediately to a Rheumatologist. This gentleman, a Rheumatologist no doubt for many, many years, still even used "gold injections" on occasion on patients. But, he was far from a dummy, and further he end around the corner there in his office to have blood drawn, urine and he did even a more extensive workup on me. But even that first day, just by an examination of my toes, fingers, wrists, thumbs, feet... he "felt" and the saw the damage. He also saw that I had Raynaud's immediately, and I had an "hyper-extension of many of my joints, almost like being double jointed. Even after that first visit, I was so upset that it had probably been going on for years and years.. my Xrays showed my toes and finger joints being bad already, so none of this happened over night, and not one doctor until my new PCP at the time, could ever put ALL of my symptoms together. It was somewhat almost a relief, yet it also very scary also, No telling what had really come of "damage" not detected since it might have been years this was going on, yet no one could explain the severe migraines, the extreme tiredness, the not being able to "multi-task" as I once could, having just about every joint either already been injected or had surgery or even been totally replaced before the age of 50! No one could truly explain how someone, like myself, a very fit woman, (walked, ate properly, exercised daily, kept my weight down, and yet I had a heart attack at 40 years old and another at 50! Nothing made sense, yet no doctor could put it all together either.. what made my new PCP at the time think "autoimmune issues" I don't know... Maybe a conversation I had with him about me thinking I had "Lupus". Anyway something finally "clicked"... thus here I am today, far into the realms of autoimmune illnesses... and the latest issues the Sjögren's... so here I am now 54 (since Feb 15th) ! battling a battle I thought I would never have... losing my teeth and having dentures... and won't hold until the "mini implants can go in, which will be another 60 days or more. I am not going to lie They are a pain in the butt, or mouth I guess. They seem odd, too much "junk" in your mouth, a pain to have to clean, then put in each morning, then have to brush them, clean my mouth and put them in, then out they come at night... you cannot sleep in them. And eating in them for now is almost impossible. Even my "bite" pattern is completely different, which I am thrilled about, because they are "pretty and I wanted pretty teeth all my life, just never realized they would have to be "fake" and not my real ones. But, I honestly felt like once I got these new teeth in they would "fill in" where I had lost many teeth, which in turn would fill out my lips more, my bottom cheeks and lines around my mouth. I was hoping to "see" a bit different maybe even more youthful (by a few years) me.... but guess what? Nope.... did not make that change nearly as much as that as I had so hoped it would. I just was so disappointed, because I did not realize with the scars from the accident years ago, and the two small scars from my fall right around my mouth. I keep thinking, well, like any other woman, there has to be a way to "tighten" up that skin, or "bleach" out those darkened scars. I even went so far as to begin looking today and am going to research some of these new facial creams out on the market to see which ones really work, and which ones charge a fortune, yet do nothing. I come more and more to realize I must take even better care of my skin. I have always pretty well used the proper things on my face and skin, lotions, I always take my makeup off at night, allow my skin to breathe and so forth. But, I pray quitting smoking will also reduce some of those lines around mouth. I see elderly women who probably smoked all their lives, and they have all of these deep seeded wrinkles around their mouth, and I always said I never wanted to do look that. But, dammit, when the teeth are out, I somewhat do and it upsets and embarrasses me to have anyone see what it truly looks like. I know we all age, some of us more gracefully than others... and depending on how well we have taken care of our bodies, minds and spirits makes a huge difference in the way you look as you age.
So does having these illnesses like Lupus, RA, Sjogren's age us faster? In all ways, in some ways.... what do you think????? I want to know how you feel about the subject and how many of you really take great care of the hair, skin, nails, including your face? If so, how and do you feel it is making a difference??