Sunday, December 27, 2009

Lupus, Pregnancy, and Raising Kids

Good day Lupies. I have to say, I'm enjoying this very long weekend. I don't want to leave my apartment. I just want to be lazy and lie around enjoying the quiet of my home and the beauty of the day. It has also been a great opportunity to catch up on the latest lupie news.

This morning I read an inspirational story about a fellow lupie by the name of Madam Low Kwee Yoong and her successful attempts to have children while dealing with lupus. She talks about her many trials and tribulations with in-vitro-fertilization, but after it all, she now has four beautiful children.

I had my children before I was diagnosed with lupus, but I now look back at some of the issues I had in my pregnancy, and I can point those issues to possible lupus symptoms. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I broke out into a rash on my forearms, and the doctors could not figure out what on Earth was going on. Now I think, "lupus rash".

Fortunately, I had my kids when I was young and before I was diagnosed. I think otherwise, I would have hesitated. Even though there really isn't any significant lupus risk for me to have kids, I would have worried. The average pregnant woman is filled with worries about the health of her unborn child. Imagine the worries that a woman with lupus goes through.

One worry is likely what effect lupus medication will have on an unborn child. These worries are often greater than necessary. There are certain lupus medications you shouldn't take if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant, such as certain chemotherapy based drugs. It's best to communicate with your doctor in order to know for sure what medications are safe. Be heartened that many women with lupus successfully go through pregnancies to have healthy kids.

I think the key is working very closely with your doctor to make sure you're in a healthy place in order to carry a baby.

Another concern I would have had would have been just the physical and emotional energy it takes to raise a child. My children are both grown now, but for many years I worried about the effect that lupus has had on my family. There have been Christmas dinners I haven't cooked, school events that I've missed, and things I just didn't do because I was too sick to get out of bed or leave the hospital.

In the end, I have raised strong minded and empathetic children. My daughter is amazing. She has taken care of me more times than I can count. She is smart, brilliant, and independent. I cannot imagine my life without her.

My son is bipolar and schizophrenic, and I have to say that there have been times when dealing with his issues has exacerbated my symptoms. I think that it has been particularly challenging to be there for him because of the issues I face with lupus. I have had doctors recommend finding a place to deal with him in order to take care of myself, but I couldn't bring myself to do that.

I give it my all, and I have to depend on my husband tremendously to deal handle issues. However, I must say that considering the issues that my son has, overall he is a great son. He is caring and considerate. Also, many parents with bipolar and/or schizophrenic children often worry about drug or alcohol abuse. I've never had to worry about that with Julian.

In the end, I had to accept that I wasn't going to be the perfect mom, but that's okay. I love my kids as best I can, and they know that they're loved and that's all that's important when you come down to it.

Have a great new year lupies!


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Leaving Dimes on the Elevator

Today was sort of a rough morning. I'm a bit stressed about the final projects and papers I have due for class this week, and I haven't been sleeping much. When I woke up this morning at 6:30 after going to sleep at 2:00 AM, I was in a bit of pain. Moving around helped a bit, but I still had a rough time moving around. The all around pain is just about five feet shy of manageable. My hips were in horrible pain when I left for work.

After I left my apartment, I got on the elevator headed to the parking structure, and I saw a dime on the floor. I remember as a child, I'd always be excited about finding a coin. I often considered it to be a lucky day if I picked up that coin and held it with me for the day. However, today, as I stood on the elevator, I looked down at the coin and thought, "I'm really in a lot of pain, and I don't want to pick it up. But it's money. You shouldn't just let money sit on the ground if you see it. It's wasteful." Then I thought of the value judgment of picking up the dime versus what the doctor's bill would be if something went wrong in the process of my picking up the coin. Then I got sad. Seriously, so much thought shouldn't go into picking up a coin.

But that's lupus. You put a lot of thought in virtually everything you do in a day. What will happen to my sugar or salt level if I eat that? Can I really walk that far? Do I need to wear a hat today? Should I go to that party during flu season? Can I really stay up late tonight? Is this fever high enough for me to stay home? It just goes on and on.

Here's hoping for a better mood.

Later Lupies.