Thursday, October 30, 2008

Is it depression or the blues?

I've been feeling a bit down for the past couple of days. When I feel down like this, I struggle with thoughts of suicide or self-injurious behavior. I don't know why I get like this. I just feel so sad and alone. A few years back, but therapist and I put together a depression plan. A depression plan is a long list of things I like to do. I pick things from the list and do them until the feeling passes.

The problem is that it's been so long since I've felt this way that I can't recall where the list is. I'm going to play tennis with Ellen, a friend from work, after work, so that's one thing. I'm going to head into work in a few. That should help keep my mind occupied until tonight. Then it's just a matter of getting myself to sleep.

Take care.

Live lupie!


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Managing the Pain without Painkillers

I've been able to get along for the past several weeks without the need to take the heavy-duty pain meds. I think this is mostly because of self concious self massage. I've been going to acupuncture treatments once a week, and I have to say that I think it's working because in addition to the treatments, I get training in self maintenance. I was a bit dubious when I started this process, but I can't argue with the fact that I'm feeling better.

Right now, I have some sort of seed in my ear. My acupuncturist put it there. He said it would help with inflammation. I should point out that it's not directly in my ear as much as on my earlobe. I feel like Dumbo with the magic feather.

I think a lot of my pain management has to do with maintaining a steady blood flow. When I move around rather rigourously such that my heart rate goes up a little bit, my pain goes away.

I also keep a massaging heating pad with me at work, so that if I start to feel pain, I can see to it immediately. When I'm in a position where I can't use the heating pad, I'll apply Mineral Ice. It's great. It's a little stinky, but it works.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Finding the Lupiest Candidate

Personally, I know where my vote is going for president, but I thought it would be cool to do research in order to write how the candidates fair for lupies. In researching this issue, I found myself fairly disappointed. First I went to the respective web sites for Senators John McCain and Barack Obama. Senator McCain does have a fairly extensive plan for health care. I would think it is a pretty decent plan if not for the fact that Senator Obama stated that the funds provided for purchase of health care in Senator McCain's plan would be taxed. That bothers me.

Senator McCain mentions chronic conditions on his site. He says, "By emphasizing prevention, early intervention, healthy habits, new treatment models, new public health infrastructure and the use of information technology, we can reduce health care costs." I'm concerned there isn't a mention of any particular plan to promote this. I am heartened by the fact that he states more money should be dedicated to research.

Senator Obama has a pretty detailed plan on his disability policy. A lot of it has to do with children and early screening. He does mention a pretty interesting policy on helping those with disabilities obtain higher education. He also voted for the Individual with Disabilities Education Amendment. This one resonates with me because I've been working on my Bachelor's degree for longer than I care to mention. It has been very difficult because if I go into a flare, it is nearly impossible to keep up with classes. Sometimes I get understanding professors, but most of the time, I don't.

Also, Senator Obama supports Universal Healthcare which would be beneficial for lupies who have problems obtaining health care.

In checking Project Vote Smart at I found that Senator Obama voted for stem cell research two out of three times. Senator McCain voted for stem cell research all three times.

Who should lupies vote for? I think it depends on your priorities. If you're a lupie who isn't working and on disability or if you work part-time and can't afford health care, your better vote would likely be for Senator Obama. His health care plan would likely be better for lupies who have a problem affording health care.

If you have a job and health care and your main concern is finding a cure and a better way of dealing with lupus, McCain would likely be your guy. I'm not certain on this, but McCain in my opinion would more likely support research. I say this only because I don't know Senator Obama's position on this.

If rights for people with disabilities is your issue, go with Obama. He is a strong supporter for rights of those with disabilities. I think that overall, the better candidate for lupies is Barack Obama. He speaks to the issues that the majority of people with lupus face.

Take care. Vote smart. Live lupie!


Monday, October 13, 2008

Household Help

Last week, I was talking to my sister, the coolest lupie ever, and she told me that she's getting someone to come in and help clean her house. She said that it was a special service through some government facility for the disabled. I thought this was pretty great.

Many lupies have a hard time cleaning their homes. Not even considering the pain aspect of bending over and lifting things, there's the breathing factor with using all the chemicals necessary to have a clean and sanitary home. I, myself, can't use any kitchen or bathroom cleansers without sending myself into an asthma fit.

I hire a housekeeper to come in once every few weeks to clean my bathrooms and kitchen and to do some vacuuming. If you can't afford something like that, try looking into what sort of public assistance is available for the disabled in your area.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

What it takes

As you can read from yesterday's blog, I was having dizzy spells. Whenever I have an unusual health problem, I do what any conscientious lupie should do. I make calls. I don't like to bug my doctor unless it's absolutely necessary, so I call the nurseline, which is a feature of my United Healthcare insurance. I can call the nurse line and ask them questions about pretty much anything health related.

So I call the nurseline, and we have a nice little chat about my symptoms. The nurse tells me I should page my doctor. I told her that I felt fine aside from the dizziness, and she said it was best just to page the doctor, so I did. My doctor tells me he wants to see me first thing in the morning to look me over. I tell my husband that I have to go to the doctor in the morning and I tell him the time.

The next day, my husband pretty much is a jerk about driving me. He doesn't want to drive me. He thinks I can drive myself. He says he has to get to work. We both work at the same company which is a very understanding company. If he says he's taking me to the doctor, absolutely no one would have a problem with that. I said that I didn't want to drive myself with dizzy spells. He said I shouldn't have a problem. I pretty much forced him to drive me.

Today, he tells me that he believes I over reacted about the dizziness. I don't see how I did considering I did exactly what I was supposed/told to do.

When he says things like that, I honestly believe that he doesn't understand what it takes for me just to get through a day. I know that in many ways I'm lucky. I'm not as bad off as other lupies such as my sister, but it still isn't easy. Every day, I'm in pain. I deal with rashes, asthma, anemia. Infusions two times a week for months at a time aren't easy. The myriad infections, endoscopies, colonoscopies.

Every single day is an effort. I force myself to be positive and have a bright outlook, and for my husband to think/treat me that way just hurts.

Well, as you can see, I just needed a good vent. Now I need to get back to work.

Have a lupie day!


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Feeling Dizzy

So, I've gone from itchy to dizzy. There should be a set of Lupus dwarfs like the dwarfs in Snow White. There should be Itchy, Dizzy, Sleepy, Achy, Rashy, Foggy (as in foggy brained), and Moony (because he's allergic to the sun). It took me a while to think of that one. My first thought for the name of that one was the opposite of light. To avoid obvious racial implications, I went for Moony.

So today, I'm dizzy. It actually started last night when I was driving home from work which is a scary thing. I didn't know what to do. Do I pull over? And if I do, then what? Do I call someone to pick me up? Do I wait for it to pass? I was at a loss. Finally I just soldiered on through and made it home with no incident, but I was worried the whole time.

I called my insurance company's nurse line. I often call the nurse line in order to avoid being a nag with my doctor. If the nurseline tells me to call the doctor, I will. I called my doctor, and he asked me to come in this morning. He looked me over and determined that I likely have an inner ear infection.

This means no driving for me until I feel comfortable that the dizziness has subsided. My husband seems to think I can still drive while dizzy, but I just don't think it's a good idea. I think I will avoid getting a DWD. (Driving While Dizzy).

Take care all and Live Lupie!


Monday, October 6, 2008

Feeling itchy!

Last week, I was down with a cold. Actually, I couldn't figure out if it was a cold or the tetanus shot I had the week before. I don't react very well to tetanus shots. The one I had ten years ago got me pretty sick. My arm broke out into a rash and I had a fever and asthma on top of it.

This time, my arm didn't get rashy, but I had a large hard lump in the injection site that was about six inches in an oblong diameter. I then got sick with the cold. It was a tough cold. Had a hard time shaking it. I'm still feeling pretty tired from it, and today, I've broken out in a rash from head to toe.

I just took some Benadryl. Hopefully, that will help settle down the rash. I'm itchy and miserable, so I think I'm going to cut it short and try some meditation.

Just another part of living lupie!