Tag Archives: sickoflupus

2016

http://www.sickoflupus.co.uk

Hi all,

I can’t remember the last time I put thumb to iPhone and blogged!
I have 2 main reasons for being slack:

1: I’ve been really unwell.

2: I’ve been struggling with depression again and I don’t like to post blogposts that are full of negativity.

However, this post will be more negative than positive, sorry.

For the last few months, I’ve been really busy and haven’t been living my ‘pacing and planning’ lifestyle.

I have been really terrible at writing this year. Thankyou for continuing to support my blog, I can see that a lot of you are still reading.

2016 has been the hardest year yet. I’ve lost count of the number of doctors appointments, hospital appointments, hospital stays and referrals. I should also take this time to acknowledge the amazing care I’ve had from the NHS. It’s easy for people to criticise the NHS, but I find that they are the ones who don’t spend too much time in hospital and so are unable to appreciate how much of a lifeline it is.

My 2016 NHS snapshot:

Thousands of pills, atleast 3 hospital stays, 3-5 trips to A&E, atleast 10 rheumatology appointments, around 10 GP visits, 3 appointments with a specialist nurse, chemotherapy, 2 steroid infusions, 1 ambulance called to my home, 2 brain scans, 4-6 X-rays, an attempted lumbar puncture, 2 trips to the brain centre, 2 trips to respiratory, the flu jab,2 visits to the sleep clinic, countless phone calls to the rheumatology helpline…

It’s no wonder that I’ve continued to struggle a lot this year with anxiety and depression. It’s impossible not to be affected by the disease itself and the mountain of other things that come with chronic illness. It’s the multiple appointments that you have to balance  with work, the waiting for test results, the constant fear of what might happen, worrying about meeting commitments when you’re in pain or when you’re just too tired. And all the while looking completely fine! (But that’s another blog post entirely)

It’s hard to enter a new year when people around you are setting exciting goals and resolutions and you’re just trying to survive the day. Lupus and fibromyalgia just don’t care about your plans or aspirations and for me, this is one of the hardest parts of the illness.

However, I’ve still made plans! Both personal and professional. I can’t let lupus win, it doesn’t deserve to! 

As I write this, I have so much pain in my chest, shoulder and arms so I’m gonna sign off here. (I currently have costochondritis) 

I’m planning to get back to weekly blogs and to share anything I feel may be useful to others in my position so check back soon!

Until next time X 


Advertisements

11 Things You Need To Know About Lupus

http://www.sickoflupus.co.uk

Hi all, 

Here’s a list with a difference. If you have Lupus, chances are you know all the signs, symptoms and statistics.

I was just sat thinking about the things you don’t see on the medical sites and in the medical books. What are those other things that also occur when you have Lupus? 

1. When people say that they “suffer with Lupus” – suffer isn’t just a verb.

Suffering can take many forms; in my experience, the suffering is physical and emotional. I ‘suffer’ with chest pains, joint pains, widespread body aches, sickness, dizziness, headaches, psychosis, fatigue, depression…

I ‘suffer’ emotionally knowing that I will most likely have this forever. 

2. You rarely just have Lupus and Lupus alone.

For me, its fibromyalgia and depression. For others, there are overlapping conditions like sjogren ’s syndrome, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis or Raynaud’s disease. 

3. People with Lupus can often be registered disabled.

When Lupus affects your mobility, you can apply for a Blue Badge. In the UK atleast, if you qualify for Blue Badge, you have the parking rights as any other person with a disability. Many people don’t know that the Blue Badge is for disability and long term sick – not just for wheelchair users.

4. Lupus can be scary as f**k

Pain can come on suddenly causing stress and panic. Lots of us regularly end up in hospital for all kinds of pain and again, a hospital atmosphere can be scary at the best of times.

Knowing that you lack control over your health may be one of the scariest things ever. It’s something I absolutely took for granted before my diagnosis. I often sit and think about how many medical professionals look after my health and I’ve put 100% of my trust in them. However, knowing that someone has your life in their hands is scary.


5. Don’t expect all medical professionals to know about your illness.

Don’t assume that the doctor you see in A&E will even know what a lupus is. I’ve experienced this atleast 3 times. Your GP may also lack knowledge about your condition. My nurse specialist explained to me that in most GP surgeries, there may only be 2 patients with Lupus out of several hundred. There are also hundreds of autoimmune related illnesses so bear that in mind also.


6. Living with Lupus means living with Lupus. 

I’m still finding my feet with this illness and I’ve been living with my diagnosis since 2004. Illness is a lifestyle (for me anyway) By that I mean I’m always balancing my illness with everything else going on in my life. I know that Lupus will always be a part of me and brings a range of barriers and restrictions. For example, I’ve accepted that pain is a way of life for me now, so is fatigue, so is depression, so is medication and so forth. 


7. The Lupus community is bigger than you think.

Being ill can be very lonely; even if you’re lucky enough to have a great support system of family and friends.

We created Sick of Lupus to unite Lupies all over the world. (The phrase Lupies was not created by us!)

Social media is an amazing tool allowing us to network and support eachother. I’ve seen so many profiles on Instagram, groups on Facebook and pages on Twitter that show how strong we are as community. We’re amazing at sharing information, advice and stories as well as forming friendships based on a very special common ground. 

8. Fatigue can be absolutely debilitating. 

I can’t verbalise just how severe fatigue can be. The word ‘tired’ just isn’t enough to describe how it feels to have fatigue. It’s like having flu, jet lag and being dosed up on sleeping pills at the same time. All day, everyday. 

9. Pain becomes a way of life

There’s no escaping it, pain will be a part of your life. It can take many forms but unfortunately, it will always be there. It’s important to get help in managing pain if you’re struggling. There are lots of resources available to you that you may not know about. I had 13 sessions of treatment at pain clinic as well as attending Lupus education programmes. 

You can also try alternative therapies, mediation and graded exercise. If you’re dealing with emotional pain, it’s equally important to seek help. (There’s a blog in the SOL archive about depression if you want to take a read)

10. Despite everything, Lupus can be totally invisible to others

This can be a blessing and a curse. The butterfly rash is arguably the most identifiable Lupus symptom but not everyone has this. I don’t think I’ve ever had any visible symptoms, even during my most severe flares. On one instance, whilst waiting for test results at hospital, the doctor said, “Do you mind waiting out in the reception area? You look fine to me” – 2 hours later, they told me I had pneumonia. 

11. All of the above can make you stronger.

When you consider all that you have to deal with, you can see how living with chronic illness can strengthen your character. Lupus is always with you and can be completely unpredictable. It can stop you in your tracks, ruin special plans, affect relationships, force you to settle, cause endless tears – but after all of this, you pick yourself and start again. 

I think illness forces you to see things from a clearer perspective – from a place of gratitude. You feel grateful for the days that you have little to no pain, for the days that you’re able to get out of bed.

I feel more empathetic towards other people and I feel more informed about invisible disabilities. If I wasn’t going through this, would I care about things like this? 

I’ve heard people say that what doesn’t kill you make you stronger; for now, I think this sums things up perfectly.

Thanks so much for reading. 

XOXO

http://www.sickoflupus.co.uk

When It All Gets Too Much



http://www.sickoflupus.co.uk

Hiya! 

How are you? 

Sorry for the lack of blog posts recently but I’ve been really unwell. You know how it goes; you take your meds, you take it easy and you still end up collecting every ailment under the sun. 

I felt compelled to write today. I feel like I’ve used up all my chat allowances with family and friends but I still have so much weighing me down. (Insert steroid weight joke here)

In the previous post I wrote about my first session of Rituximab. I’ve since had my second and final (for now) and so it’s a case of waiting to see if it’s been successful. I’ll write about part 2 soon incase you fancy a read. 

Ok, with that out of the way, let me get into it…

For a really long time, I’ve been feeling like I’ve been watching life go by from the sidelines. At work, with friends and family and even alone, I’ve been feeling absent minded and like I’m in a permanent daze. My cognitive function is horrendous at the moment. I’m forgetting things and struggling to get sentences out without slurring. My mind just feels too tired to function.

I don’t think I’ve ever truly come to terms with my diagnosis and as I’m getting older, I’m struggling more and more with it. I feel numb most days and then out of the blue I’ll remember that this is my life. I’ll panic, spiral into low mood and have episodes of anxiety and then depression.

Since the chemotherapy, I’ve been more fatigued then usual. I’m completely useless within 4-6 hours of being awake. I’m also reminded that I need to rest and although it’s for my own good, it’s beginning to drive me crazy. 

I feel so empty at the moment and I’m genuinely watching the world pass me by. This is the scariest feeling ever and I know that most people with chronic illness feel the same way. It’s genuinely heartbreaking when you have to live within the prison of your illness, when others have the luxury of health and therefore freedom. When I describe it as heartbreaking, it physically aches to scroll through your Facebook or instagram and watch everyone simply ‘live’ and they don’t even know how much of a gift it is to not be held back by your own body. 

It’s extremely hard not to become consumed by negative feelings. I always have a smile on my face because none likes a Debbie downer (sorry to all the Debbie’s out there!) but more so to convince myself that things are ok. This facade is completely exhausting!  



I need to state that I have so much to be grateful for and I have a great deal of happiness in my life but the feelings I have towards my illness are starting to overshaddow the positive. 

Right now, all I can see ahead of me is a life that I never wanted. In my mind, I am still the hardworking, ambitious and motivated girl I was pre-diagnosis. Whereas in reality, there were days last month where I couldn’t feed or dress myself. I couldn’t even push the pain pills out of the blister pack! Isn’t that ironic?! I want so much more for my life and not for nothing, I bloody deserve a life where I exist on my own terms. We all do! 

Right now however, it’s out of my hands. Try as I might to live with optimism and a positive outlook, the Lupus monster is in total control. Im waking in pain which means Lupus (and Fibromyalgia) dictates the fate of my day before it’s even started. Trying not to feel depressed is like not being able to swim and trying not to drown. Almost impossible. 



With chronic illness, you have a lot of time to think. I may be wrong but I’d say you think about the past, present and future more than the average person. You think so much about how you used to be, you’re consumed with the right now and you worry about the future – how you’ll be and who you’ll be. 

Right now I’m desperately trying to get through this fog and find happiness in the things I used to. It’s easy to ruminate and though this solves nothing, there’s little else you can do. 

I’m sorry this post wasn’t an uplifting one but you probably guessed it wouldn’t be from the title! However, I hope that it’s been somewhat insightful whether you have Lupus or you know someone who does. 

Thanks so much for reading.

Til next time, XOXO

http://www.sickoflupus.co.uk