05 May, 2015

"Awareness" Day

May is National Lupus Awareness Month and May 15th is National Lupus Awareness Day.



I have Lupus.

I want to share to inform people.
Last year at this time, I barely knew what Lupus was, let alone knew that it had an awareness day.
I had heard of the disease before, but had no idea what it really was.
When I received my diagnosis last summer, we were shocked, but I was simply amazed as I read up about it. It was SO nice to have an explanation for how I was feeling and so thankful that it wasn't all in my head.

What is Lupus?: 
 
Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body (skin, joints, and/or organs inside the body). Chronic means that the signs and symptoms tend to last longer than six weeks and often for many years. In lupus, something goes wrong with your immune system, which is the part of the body that fights off viruses, bacteria, and germs ("foreign invaders," like the flu). Normally our immune system produces proteins called antibodies that protect the body from these invaders. Autoimmune means your immune system cannot tell the difference between these foreign invaders and your body’s healthy tissues ("auto" means "self") and creates autoantibodies that attack and destroy healthy tissue. These autoantibodies cause inflammation, pain, and damage in various parts of the body.
Lupus is also a disease of flares (the symptoms worsen and you feel ill) and remissions (the symptoms improve and you feel better).     Source

 My story: 

Two years ago when we moved to the PNW, I started feeling achy, severely fatigued and ill all of the time. At first, I just chalked it up the major life change we had just been through and all of the stress our family was under during that time. I just didn't understand why I had no energy and why I seemed to be getting sick constantly. I swept it under the rug though and continued to tell myself it was just stress.
As most of you know, in August of 2013, my arch collapsed in my left foot causing major swelling, (at the time we didn't know what happened,) and I began to experience severe nerve pain throughout my left leg, along with other symptoms. After months of seeing specialists and taking different medications, we finally got the swelling down.

At this point, I blamed the problems in my leg and foot as the cause of how I started feeling after we had moved. I began again to tell myself that I would feel better when I adjusted. And I continued to tell myself that it was all in my head.
Months later I was feeling absolutely horrible, and there were many mornings when getting out of bed brought me to tears. I knew I had to get in to see my doctor, but I won't lie, I put it off because my worst fear was being told that nothing was wrong and that I just needed to suck it up.

Ironically, a few days before I went in for testing, we were discussing with a relative about what my dr was going to test me for and I mentioned lupus as one of the things. Thinking that lupus was only a skin disorder, he quickly looked at me and replied, "oh you don't have lupus, your skin is fine." I shrugged and said ok.
I had no idea what it was either.
So as you can see, when we got the results back, we were quite surprised. 

I had Lupus and my #'s were through the roof.

Today:


I have good days and bad days.


I take as little of my meds as possible because they are also bad for my body. That way I can double up when I'm feeling worse.
I have cut out all red meat and alcohol, (both of which are big inflammation triggers.)
So far my major organs are still in good condition. 

Severe joint pain, nerve pain and fatigue are my biggest problems.
On most days, I accept what God has challenged me with, but there are days where I struggle.
I am not afraid of dying, as I know where I am going, but I fear leaving my children and husband. I also fear leaving them with medical bills if it's a long drawn out and painful process.
During one of my toughest days, my son said that he didn't want to have a sick mom anymore and that really hurt.

Having a disease that effects the insides of my body means that a lot of people, even some friends and family, don't understand when I still "look" perfectly fine and they think it's all in my head.
 

So this is life as I know it now.

And even though I know there are thousands of diseases out there, and everyone has their own story, today I wanted to share with you about mine.

If you want to know even more about lupus, here are a couple of links: 


Lupus. org
Lupus Wiki page

Please feel free to email me if you have any more questions.




22 February, 2015

Still That Girl


Based on what I wanted to be when I was growing up, I am living the dream.

I

Never

Ever

Wanted a career.
I wanted to stay home, take care of my own babies and serve my husband with the best of my ability.
I wanted to keep our home in tip top shape, plant flowers and tend to a garden.
I wanted to take my children to school and make sure I was the first smiling face they saw when they got out of school at the end of the day.

Yep, I'm living my dream.

But sometimes I get a little depressed.
All of the main "goals" have been achieved, but there are a lot side dreams that grew along the way, that ended up slipping through the cracks.
There are other things I wanted to accomplish and I've never forgotten about them.
With our lifestyle and how things have turned out with my health, the realization has hit that I just might not get those accomplished and that makes me sad.

{Insert song}


We need the reminder that just because things haven't turned out exactly how we wanted or we haven't accomplished everything that we planned, it doesn't mean it's not going to happen.

And today,
on my 34th birthday,
I know that I'm alive because God isn't finished with me yet.
He still has so much more in store!

17 February, 2015

Best. Day. Ever.

My favorite little girl turned 7 a few weeks ago.
And in case you didn't know this bit of random information, when she was 4 and half,
she planned out all of her future birthday themes out until she was like 15.
Now while I highly doubt her 15 year old self will want a My Little Pony party, she has stuck with her planning to a T for the last 3 years!
So Rapunzel for the 7th it was!!
























And she declared it really was the best day ever!!


14 February, 2015

Why Not Today?

We all know my blogging has been MIA/hit and miss for over a year now.
I will never catch up.
But I always wanted to post about our ten year anniversary trip last summer, and I figured that today was a good day to kind of rewind the last 6/7 months.

Last March one evening, I looked at my husband and asked him if we were going to do something special for our upcoming tenth anniversary. Way back when we had our quick cheap wedding, we always talked about renewing our vows and having a kind of a big celebration for our tenth, but now that it was time, that idea really didn't appeal to us anymore. We selfishly wanted to do something for just ourselves.
We threw ideas around, but we both knew we wouldn't have much to spend. I didn't want to let that get in the way though. I really really wanted to do something. Even if it meant staying more local and keeping it simple.
Everyone around here always ends up going to the coast and that's just not our thing. We finally decided on Sunriver/Bend Oregon.
My husband had already picked his vacation times for the year, so we knew we would have to go the last week in July, (even though our anniversary isn't until September,) and I went ahead and just booked the hotel. I knew if I put it off, we would end up not going and I wanted to make sure THAT DID NOT HAPPEN!
We made plans, booked adventures, got a babysitter and I typed up a crazy long list of instructions!
Did I mention that it was only going to be the second time away from our daughter and the first time away from our son??!!
I was SO excited and couldn't wait for the time to pass!!!

Here are some pics from most amazing week: (Sorry for the overload!)

Hitting the road: I was SO excited, you have no idea!!!
See, I was so excited to took a pic of the backseat with no car seats, haha!
 Beautiful Mt Hood:
I Love Oregon!
 And just because Josh was on vacation! ;)
 Because you can't blog about a trip without posting a pic of the bed, duh!
 The view from our room:
 
 The happiest I was the whole week, finally on the golf course again!!! My foot held up for the most part and the day was so warm and beautiful:
 (I could do without the beard ;) but I love this man so much!!)


 Lost Tracks golf course




 Out for dinner:
 Great food!
 SO so happy!

 
And it wouldn't be a trip for us without some mini golf:
 Don't you always play some skee ball on your ten year anniversary trip too??
 And go bowling?!

 Not impressed with the food or service here at all, but it looked nice:

Canoeing down the Deschutes:

 



 The relaxed face of a mom who is taking a vacation from her kids and who just had a massage!





All in all, I didn't sleep well but that's because I never do away from my own bed, and our hotel wasn't that great.
But it was the most relaxing trip ever.
We didn't talk to our kids the whole time.
They didn't miss us and we didn't miss them.
Just goes to show that it was a much needed break on both sides.
It was also one more instance in the realization that the Marcella who used to like rain and cold temperatures, is now a Marcella who loves hot and humid.
It had been almost 5 years since I got to play golf and I picked it up like I never even took a break.
I love it out there on the golf course.

I must say, the only negative from this trip,
Is that I want to do it every year now!
;)