My friend Alyssa has children so adorable they look photoshopped. I look forward to her daughter’s Girl Scout cookie note as if I’m getting a personal letter from a rock star. Alyssa found my blog yesterday, read all of it, and asked for an update on my systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). My primary care physician gave me that diagnosis about thirty days ago. It has not been verified by a specialist or testing. Here’s that update.
My immune system is freaking out. That makes sense, so is the rest of me.
Generally speaking, I’m pro-medication. I take medication and supplements daily. I’m grateful to the pharmaceutical professionals and research participants that have made them available to me. However, having seen the benefits and limitations, I think first about environmental and behavioral factors.
Rash on Face
First, I bought a wildly expensive lotion to get rid of the rash on my face. It didn’t work. In fact, it gave me two pimples. Then, I used an old modeling trick; a face mask of Desitin baby rash cream. That reduced the redness significantly. I continue to do Desitin multipurpose lotion with vitamins D and E nightly. The rash is gone and so are my pimples.
To get rid of the acidic feeling in my stomach, I drank a glass of warm water with a tablespoon of baking soda (not baking powder). I got that idea from Livestrong’s blog post on body acidity. I drank the concoction three times over the course of two consecutive days and the pain was 90% gone.
Throughout my adult life, I’ve eaten either a vegan or a strict vegetarian diet. I’m continuing that diet. I’ll spare you the lecture on why that’s good for you. I’ve removed all raw foods from my diet because cooked food is gentler on my stomach. My favorite vegan food is Nada Moo Coconut Ice Cream. Even if you love dairy, you’ll love it.
I started using Systane balance eye drops in the morning and evening to limit the burning caused by my crying.
I cut out mom’s special sleeping potion, a.k.a a nightly drink of alcohol to the point of unconsciousness. I was using it as a sleep aid instead of the medication my physician prescribed me. I had a social drink with Angela, Terra, and Rachel. I don't miss nightly drinking.
In lieu of alcohol, I exercise for an hour minimum daily so that exhaustion eases my sleep. Rachel got me going to a Pure Barre class. I do yoga for balance. I’ve just started Soul Cycle. Soul Cycle is excellent because it’s dark so I can cry openly about Constance and no one can tell.
I try to go to bed and get out of bed at the same time every day. If I wake up during the night or can’t go to sleep, I just lay there and keep trying. The rest of lying down awake is better than no rest at all.
Pain in Joints and Body
The trick to enjoying an exercise class is to go in knowing that all of our bodies are different and we can all do and not do different things. That’s okay. You do what you can and modify the rest. I had to swallow my pride and start taking barre classes with no weights in my hands just trying to build enough muscle to hold my arms up. Now, I am moving on to heavier weights. My body still aches but now it’s from exercise.
I replaced soda, flavored water, and adult beverages with one of three things in order of quantity: water, coffee, and tea. The focus on water has helped with the dehydration and has minimized sourness.
To help manage my stress, I’ve added a minimum of 15 minutes of daily meditation in addition to my medication, therapy, and writing in this blog.
As my schedule allows, I make time to visit with friends. My friends are a source of joy and love. I am lucky to have them.
That’s the health update. My body is feeling better each day. I hope this isn’t as boring to read as I fear it is.