Monday, August 30, 2010

Oh, Ovaries...

I'm sitting up in bed, surrounded by things that are supposed to make me feel better: A good book, chicken noodle soup, crackers, ginger, popcorn, Norco, and my cell phone.  Since Friday I've been a bit under the weather.
It started out with a sharp, almost cramp-like pain in one distinct spot in my lower abdomen when I would pee.  Usually it would go away after I finished up.  Later that night the pain was continuous.  I asked Kevin to pick up some pure cranberry juice, thinking maybe it was my kidney (even though I'd never had a UTI with pain in the front, before).  The next day was pretty normal but with pain.  I went to the gym and spent a half hour on the arch trainer.  This hurt, but I ignored it.  I spent most of the afternoon just chilling on the couch with a general condition of feeling like poo.  Finally, after some WebMD searching, I became a bit afraid that it may be my appendix which was hurting.  We went to Urgent Care first (who told us it looked like my appendix but that I should go to the ER) and they weren't super helpful, aside from giving me a wheel chair ride over to the hospital.
Anywho, after a CT and an ultrasound (the kind where they stick the wand up your woowoo... ouch) they finally ruled out my appendix and found a nice little (big) cyst on my right ovary.  It was the kind that bled a little bit.  Well, I was sent home with a prescription for Norco (Basically, two Vicodins) and ibuprofen and told to get an ultrasound in six weeks.
Did I mention I've puked three times since then?  We were in the ER from around 3 pm- Midnight.  No food.  I was getting a bit hangry.  After standing up to get dressed and almost passing out I sent Kevin to find a vending machine.  I needed a candy bar- fast.  All was fine and dandy until I got in the car.  Yikes.  We finally found me a burger to take home.
At home I first puked up the candy bar and the fries, then I told myself that I'm sure that puking "helped" and that I could eat my burger.  No bueno.
Then yesterday my diet consisted on popcorn and crackers until dinner, when I decided I could handle some Mediterranen Chicken Delit pizza from Papa Murphy's.  I was sooo hungry.  I bet I would have been fine, except I went for a third slice.  That one did me in.  :(
So today I'm being extra careful.  I'm hoping to be able to eat a turkey burger this evening.  Cross your fingers for me!
Also- did I mention how FABULOUS Kevin is?  I'm very lucky to have married a man who can take care of me when I'm sick.  He doesn't handle the vomit too well, but he can at least take my puke bucket out to the dumpster. 
A big shout out to Cassie, too, who brought me the book Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger (the author of the Time Traveler's Wife) from Powell's.  I didn't think I would have time to read it back when I was feeliig well.  Now I'm overrun with free time.
School starts on Friday, but I have a couple meetings I have to go to on Wednesday.  Here's hoping I can walk easily by then!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I've been trying to use spare half hours in my days to catch a bit more of a workout. This started up last week with my impromptu trip to the gym after my brain got fried while thesisizing.
I've now twice done the P90X workout since then. I love how much it makes me sweat- plus I get an arm and leg workout. It's very soothing. I allowed myself some yoga after spending all day in a training for a program I already know how to use (halfway, but still... it was terribly boring).
I noticed today that I was slipping a lot- especially during downward dog. I wiped the mat, I turned it over, I wiped myself off- nothing worked. I plan on moving my mat to a new spread of carpet tomorrow. Maybe our new area rug is too squishy. Frankly, I kinda like the squishyness- I tell myself it's easier on my joints. While researching this issue I came across these:

Note the super cute puppy!  But, I digress.  They are toe socks with little grippy things on the soles.  It cracks me up a bit due to the fact that toe socks were all the rage in middle school.  Plus, I do have issues with cold toes in the winter.  I may get a pair soon- as soon as we have an extra 15 bucks laying around.   Here's a link to the website.

Then of course, as all shopping excursions go, I found something else I liked:

 I guess they are like yoga blocks but you don't have to put your hands flat.  Some of the reviews talked about using it for older generations of yoga people (probably meaning people with arthritic hands).  I was told by my PT that my hand/wrist pain may decrease over time.  Guessing that the chances of that are unlikely, this may be a smart purchase for me.  Much more expensive than the toe sox, though.  Here's the website for these:


Saturday, August 21, 2010


One of the things Kevin is really serious about is what is and is not ironic. A simple coincidence is not ironic.
Here's one for the school books: I switched birth controls, as I shared previously, so that I could have more peace of mind about our family planing decisions (Read: I wanted a period monthly so that I would know that I wasn't pregnant). I've been off the active pills for the full week as of today and no period. In trying to give myself regular periods, switching hormones is actually causing me to not have a period. Irony.
It's not that I'm bummed out that I didn't have to endure cramps, backaches, and the whole tampon process. Believe me, I'm kinda cool with that. However, as long as I'm not having periods I'll have to take a pregnancy test once a month. Awesome. Those are 17 bucks for 3 tests. Can you believe that? It's something you pee on. Insane.
The lack of period does mean that I'm feeling really good lately. My diet is going well (usually I'm <1500 calories a day), my pain levels are low, and I have some energy most days. :)
Today I even let Kevin talk me into a bike ride. I'm proud to say that I kinda kicked his butt. I think my legs are better for endurance things than his are (since he really only does weightlifting). Also, I got a Jamba Juice out the meal. Bonus.
We're going to go to REI for some shorts for Kevin and some gloves for me. My hands don't hurt as much as they did the first time, but it would still probably be a good idea.
This is going to be a good weekend- Cassie and her parents will get here tonight and I take a hiatus from calorie counting for some gin and tonics and Chinese food.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Research Updates!

I got an email from the Lupus Foundation today!
Two good things about my undying love for hydroxychloroquine:

Hydroxychloroquine may help to delay the development of skin damage in some people with lupus. Since it is a very safe treatment if a person tolerates it well and continues to get their eyes checked at regular intervals, and since it is thought to have many benefits for people with lupus, this provides an additional reason to continue taking this drug when a person with lupus is feeling better. (Click to read the full study from the Lupus Foundation of America).

This study also mentioned that it appears that those with Raynauds also develop skin problems slower than those with Lupus who don't have Raynauds. Score one for the purple people!

Also, there's another article mentioning that anti-malarial drugs (such as hydroxycholoroquine) may decrease the chance of blood clots. (Click to read the full article from the Lupus Foundation of America) However, this article doesn't mention antiphospholipid syndrome at all. I just found out this past year that I have this fun condition that pairs up with lupus. I'm not sure if the article includes the clotting associated with this issue or just general clotting problems. Regardless, I'll continue taking both my anti-malaria drugs AND my baby aspirin.

Isn't it fantastic to see research being done on Lupus?

Today is going to be wonderful... hopefully!

First of all, I did end up going to the gym yesterday. 30 minutes on the elliptical and I was sweating horridly. :) I'm contemplating whether to go today or to just take a long walk with Kevin and Spartacus in the evening. It definitely will make me feel like less of a fat-ass (pardon the swearing, but seriously, I do feel like one).

It probably doesn't help that my period is due to arrive. I switched my birth control and this is my first round of monthly fun. Before I was on Jolessa which allowed me to have a period once every three months. Due to the fact that my arthritis likes to act up when I'm on my period it was a rather good plan for me. However, I would have to wait every three months for a guarantee that Baby wasn't making an appearance. Given that I'm not supposed to have a baby in the works for another couple of years, I wanted a monthly reminder that I was still in the clear. We could handle a baby right now, but it would possibly mean sacrificing my graduation date. And I've kinda worked really hard to graduate in May 2011. :) Besides, in 2 or 3 years we'll be financially stable, maybe with a house and some family close by to babysit. I think mini-me (or mini-Kevin, whatever) would like that (note how I'm not openly sharing his name... no one will steal it that way!.

So, enough over-sharing about my current condition of being "overwhelmed with fluids", as my friends from the Renaissance era would say (I have got to stop working on this thesis....). Anywho, new BC is okay. I've already noticed a change in my complexion. I'd like you to meet Ralph, he's the huge pimple on my forehead. Sigh. Other than that, no crazy side effects. I know it will have been a good decision to switch in the long run.

Today I'm going to be getting a facial from my girl Laurel at Perceptions Salon and Spa. It's one of their introduction deals. 30 minutes free. :D I almost went for the full hour at 40 bucks more, but I thought that I didn't want to indulge myself too much. I still need to go grocery shopping and then come back and work on my thesis after wards. Regardless, it should be very relaxing and hopefully it will help get rid of Ralph.

I don't live a sad life- do I?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


So, here it is: I probably could have gone to the gym today.
Lately my excuse for not going to the gym has been two-fold: First, I want to avoid a flare. Therefore, I've been avoiding any extra strain on my joints. But I've also been telling myself that all time I'm not sleeping or spending time with my husband I should be working on my thesis.
That last excuse is the one I feel the most guilty about.
I have been working on my thesis today, but there's also been periods of time that I've been daydreaming, staring at the television, staring at facebook, and staring at my thesis, praying it would finish itself.
If I were still in research mode I would go to the gym and take a book with me. Unfortunetly, I'm supposed to be writing the sections "The Renaissance through the Colonial period" and "The Victorian era through Freud". It's very difficult to type and work out at the same time. I've pondered it. Impossible, almost.
I believe tomorrow I'll do better. Or maybe I'll do better today. Should I go right now? This process is obviously burning me out. Maybe I need a break.
I'll go and see if it makes any difference...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Doctors appointment and blood work

I had my doctor's appointment first thing this morning. It went really well- except for the part where they weigh me. :)
The blood work all came back great. My white cell count was low (which is normal for me), no anemia, and no kidney involvement. No active signs of the disease (not flaring today, woot woot).

Something has been on my mind ever since I visited Spokane. Children are extremely hard work. Damien wore me out and my knees were killing me. Thankfully, at the end of the day I was able to hand him off to his mother.

There was some rumor that Janelle and Wally (My best friend's parents) heard about me trying to get pregnant. I'm not, by the way. But, I guess Janelle and maybe Wally too, believe that I shouldn't get pregnant. This is what has been on my mind. I'm pretty sure her concern is for my health. I kinda ignore that portion of the process. If the pregnancy is terrible and I get put on bedrest for my own health I'll just limit it to one kiddo. I would be happy with one. I would be ecstatic for one. It's after the baby comes out that I'd concerned with- playing horsey and teaching them sports... helping them with their homework and baking cookies for their bake sale at school. There are days that the mere idea of any one of those things would exhaust me. And as you mothers are aware, parenthood is rarely one thing at a time.

I truly believe that I can summon the strength to overpower my lupus and raise a damn fine child. I think I just need everyone else to believe that too.

Motherhood isn't something I'm willing to give up for Lupus. My tennis rackets are collecting dust in the closet, I miss the kids I used to work with at the autism agency, and I've accepted that my running shoes will probably never be worn for that specific purpose. But I can't give up on wanting to be a mother.

Only a couple more years and we'll see how strong I am.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


This is the point where I say "yeah, I saw this coming", or "might as well, it's going to rain anyway" or something depressing or negative like that. I'm feeling very Eeyore.
I'm trying to compare how I'm feeling today to how I felt two days ago. I had PT on Tuesday and again today. Tuesday I was so peppy and happy... optimistic. Yesterday I walked around campus to get books and drop off papers. Then Kevin and I walked the dog around. I still felt good but there was a certain fog hanging over me. Last night I realized why: Stiffness. Sinking. That ache where my bones try to melt into the bed... and then came the hopeless feeling.
By hopeless I don't mean depressed or anything like that. Mostly just "Damn, here we go again".
I'm not as far along on my thesis as I would like to be. This extreme fatigue thing isn't helping. I'm trying to be less stressed about it. Mantra.
Back to work. Updates coming tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Donating Blood

I tried giving blood today. e- I love giving blood- I have a cool tiny scar on my arm to prove it. In Washington they were totally cool with me donating and I did so as often as possible. I have a decently rare blood blood type so I felt like I was doing my part.
Unfortunately, California seems a bit more picky. I tried giving today on campus and it didn't work out. But, BONUS! I still got a coupon for a free pint of ice cream.
I'm not exactly sure why Lupus is a dis qualifier, though. It's not contagious, after all.
Anyone know why?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Feeling fantastic!

This week is off to a super great start. Camping went well this past weekend- Kevin enjoyed it, Sparty had a blast, and I managed to avoid bad sunburn while getting a lot of reading done. It was really nice.
I'm feeling really great- the only problem is that I'm spending all of my feel-good time sitting on my butt working on my thesis. It's rather lame.
I did go to physical therapy today and got a really great arm workout. I'm contemplating doing another workout tomorrow but my hip flexors are being cranky, so we'll see.
During my major thesis work I've been rocking a lot of the instant meals- Subway, frozen meat sauce that I made a couple months ago, DeLite pizzas, etc. I'm also trying hard not to snack during the day but it's difficult. I'm trying to stick to fruits, veggies, and not-so-bad dips like hummus and salsa. Kevin has been really helpful in all this- cooking what he's able to and telling me that I look gorgeous to keep my self esteem up. He's very good at it.
For the rest of the evening I plan to veg and not think. I spent the entire day reading about how women were considered deviant and morally weak. It hurt my brain.

Good night! I think it's wine time!

Friday, August 6, 2010

What a fun couple of weeks!

I had a fantastic time in Spokane! For the most part, I was in fantastic health for the entire time. The only issue was my slight cat allergy to Pickles, Mama and Papa's cat.
I was able to play with Damien a whole bunch! We rocked some t-ball, Damien climbed on my back and said "Rawr!" (I think I was a lion), and we made lots of "soup". After that first day of being a lion, or a dinosaur, or whatever, I decided not to do that anymore, but it was still fun.
The day I got back I needed a day to recoup. I visited Don to get some tightness worked out, then sat on my butt for the rest of the day. I ended up needing the day after, too, but now I'm back to my happy self. Two days is a pretty short recovery time- normally it's a week or so. I had a great workout in the pool at PT- some cardio, abs, and arms. My knees were a bit cranky so I didn't work them too hard. But, I think I'll be all set to go camping!
We're headed to Black Butte Lake for a couple nights with our Sparty. I'm planning on reading, fishing, and putting a dent in a case of Miller Lite.
Have a great weekend!