Tag Archives: rheumatoid arthritis

Stand By Me ~ The Importance of a Support System with Chronic Illness

It’s here, y’all! Friday … in all her beautiful glory! My days all run together anymore, but I do get excited for everyone else who gets to have a break from work for a little while. Time to spend doing nothing, or catching up on everything they don’t have time to do during the week. My last out of the house job I had was as a teacher, about eight years ago. It’s recent enough that I still remember, vividly, in fact, the mad dash to get housework and laundry done, plus errands … in a day and a half. I say a day and a half, because there’s really only a half day available on Sunday if you think about it. After the chaos of trying to accomplish everything before heading back in on Monday, ya gotta decompress!

I was lucky enough during that time to be healthy. That was a few years before I got my RA diagnosis. To read the backstory on that, click here. I was also lucky enough to have a spouse and a kid who pitched in when I got overwhelmed. As a housewife/SAHM for most of my marriage, housework was not my strong suit. I still stink at it haha I just think there are far better ways to spend my precious time, but that’s another post for another time. I’m not saying there wasn’t a lot of grumbling going on from both of them because there definitely was. But, my husband at least, recognized my weaknesses and did what he could.

That ability came in handy shortly before my diagnoses. My strength and stamina were quickly going downhill and my pain was increasing daily. For a while, my hubby just thought I was being lazy, and of course, there were plenty of arguments to be had over that. After the diagnoses came, there was a lot of guilt on my husband’s part, and I hate that for him. Unfortunately,  “being lazy” is something a lot of women with chronic illnesses hear. It was also a mindset that he quickly adjusted. While I felt a bit victorious in having a bonafide reason for my then-current inability to perform my stay-at-home duties, seeing how crushed my hubby was devastating. He was crushed for having thought about me in such an ugly way. He was crushed because I was in true pain and he wasn’t necessarily my knight in shining armor when I needed him to be. He was crushed because he knew what I was in for. My mom had RA, so he was fully aware of the road ahead.

If you don’t have a partner who understands your dis-ability (hyphenated purposely), I strongly suggest taking them to every doctor’s appointment possible. It is vital that they understand, as much as they can, exactly what you are going through, and will be going through. It’s one thing for you to tell your partner, but it’s a whole different ball of wax, sometimes, if it comes from a doctor, especially if you find yourself with a less than supportive partner. This isn’t just for partners. This applies to anyone important in your life, be it parents, siblings, or friends.

There will be times in your journey when even the simplest of tasks is impossible. I underwent some brain testing a few years ago. There was a possibility of a seizure disorder, on top of everything else, (thank goodness it wasn’t seizures). I underwent EEG testing, which required my brain to be mapped out on my scalp. The technician used a type of soft grease pencil. She had to press a bit hard and, of course, it triggered a fibromyalgia flare-up. By the time I got home, I was in a full-blown flare, crying near hysterically from the pain. I barely got myself out of the car and into the house. When I am in such a state, the only thing I want is a hot bath. I couldn’t even undress, or lower myself into the tub. My hubby had to undress me, help me into the tub, help me out, dry me off and re-dress me, then put me to bed. I was basically a 200-pound infant.

The physical toll is bad enough, but the emotional toll can be much, much worse. I remember the day I started methotrexate, my hubby happened to have the day off. He took me to breakfast. I was supposed to take my medicine with food, so I pulled out my little baggie of five deceptively tiny pills. I sat there at our table, staring down at this baggie of life-changing medication and I started to cry. I was terrified of these tiny, tiny pills. Would my hair fall out? Would they make me ill? What other damage might these cause? Why did I have to get RA? What had I done to deserve such a horrid fate? What had I done to deserve such a punishment? How could such tiny pills have such a HUGE impact?? My hubby reached across the table and just held my hand. There were tears in his eyes too, as he told me everything was going to be okay. He held me and told me everything would be okay, as I stood in the bathroom, holding handfuls of hair that had just fallen out from another mediation. He held me and told me everything would be alright as we faced a possible liver cancer diagnosis, even though I could see the absolute terror in his eyes. I cannot even imagine having to go through any of this alone.

There are plenty of days that find me unable to do much more than move from the couch to the bathroom and back. That means no laundry, no cooking, no nothing. My family understands and we have those “fend for yourself” nights. Or, if my hubby is feeling particularly brave, he will attempt to cook dinner. He’s gotten pretty good at laundry, and cleaning too!

Since mid-January, I’ve broken a rib randomly, had a colonoscopy and endoscopy, several X-rays, an MRI, and a CT scan. This is my life. Recently, I had to have new images of my liver taken. I’m being sent to a medical university because all of my doctors are baffled by whatever it is my liver is doing. My family doc, rheumatologist, gastroenterologist, and oncologist have NO idea what is going on. I can’t tell you how scary it is for FOUR doctors to be stumped about what your body is doing. My RA treatment has been on hold for TWO years because of this. My hubby will be going with me on Monday to get the results, and I cannot tell you how much I need his strength on those visits.

I don’t know what condition I would be in emotionally if I had to go through this alone, or if I had a family that dismissed my health complications. I cannot tell you how many women DO NOT have a supportive family. I have read hundreds, if not thousands, of their stories in RA support groups. Their stories are so heartbreaking that I actually felt guilty because my family has been so amazing.

If you suffer from any chronic disease/disability and your family doesn’t support you, my heart goes out to you. Keep trying to find ways to get them to understand. Take them to appointments, email them links to articles, print out studies for them to read, find a local support group and go together. Support from family and friends is critical, not only to our physical health but our mental health, as well. If you need support, I am here for you, to the best of my ability. You can contact me here and I will contact you back. These diseases are too hard to go through alone ♥

Carrie♥

@ 2018 Look Good, Feel Good

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Thursday Thoughts ~ How Rheumatoid Arthritis Can Affect Your Appearance

Hey y’all! Happy Friday Eve! I hope everyone is doing well today! I’m kind of meh. After being in the car for long periods of time, I’m pretty wiped out for a day or two. It’s a bummer because I really enjoy road trips. It is what it is, though. It’s one reason that I am very glad I don’t do much haha If I was a busy person I don’t think I’d ever be rested.

I thought I would talk to you guys today about how having RA has affected my appearance. I’m sure y’all are thinking “how that could even be possible?” I sure never thought it could be possible, and yet here I am. I feel as though I don’t address autoimmune/chronic illnesses enough here, even though it’s part of what this blog is about. Autoimmune diseases and chronic illness are not easy topics of conversation, but they are important, nonetheless.

I was diagnosed in 2014 and immediately put on methotrexate, which, if you don’t know, is chemotherapy. The dosage for RA is lower than for treating cancer, but that doesn’t always mean one will be immune from the effects. Luckily, I was spared the worst of the side effects. It was also completely worthless for me. The next med my doctor tried was Arava, also known as leflunomide. This is where I experienced some ugly effects.

I had only been on it a few weeks when I noticed some heavier than usual hair fall. While that was happening, my blood pressure was also creeping up significantly. Within a few weeks, my hair was coming out by the handfuls in the shower. There wasn’t a time that I showered that I didn’t exit in tears. The first time it happened, I screamed for my husband. Not knowing what happened, he was there before I even finished screaming his name. I just stood there, holding out my hands and crying. Full disclosure, even writing about it, nearly three years later, is causing me to cry.

I had been blessed with such thick, curly hair. Looking back, I am so grateful that I had so much hair. Had my hair been any thinner, I think I would have had significant balding because of that medication. I was on it for roughly five months. Shocker, it didn’t have any effect on my RA either. After almost three years being off of it, my hair still hasn’t fully recovered. The crazy thing is, this med has to be scrubbed out of your system. Otherwise, you can experience side effects for up to TWO YEARS after stopping it. There’s an old-school cholesterol medication that removes it from your system pretty effectively. Within days, my blood pressure returned to normal. I wish my hair would.

Balding can be addressed. There are wigs and hair pieces that can be worn. My hair never got to that point, but it was close. The next topic isn’t so easily addressed, however. It’s something that happens to nearly everyone with RA, and that’s joint deformity. If you’ve ever come across someone with gnarled looking hands and/or crooked fingers, it’s likely they have RA. The joints become so swollen and disfigured, due to the ongoing damage, that fingers begin to twist and bend, often into very unnatural positions. Because of that swelling and the constant pressure it puts on the tendons and ligaments, they can no longer help to hold the fingers where they need to be (and toes, if there’s RA in those joints). The result is often a claw-like appearance to the hand. The fingers become unusable and the joints are basically frozen in those positions.

There are surgical options, but they aren’t pretty. No surgery is. This surgery is usually to fuse the joints. That will restore the fingers to a more natural position, but they are fused. There will be limited, if any, movement. Forever. My mom’s hands were terribly deformed. After my diagnosis, I was gutted every time I saw her hands. I was literally looking at my future, and it was terrifying. I can only imagine how she felt because it had actually happened to her. I was just anticipating what was going to happen. She was living it every day, not being able to open anything and dropping things constantly. Clearly, those are just the minor inconveniences.

Yikes, y’all … this took a bit of a dark turn. That wasn’t my intent, but it is the reality for me and the 1.5 million others in the US alone, who have to deal with this horrendous disease. Never in a million years did I think an arthritic condition could affect my appearance. Now that I know, I do what I can. I take mega amounts of biotin. With it being a B vitamin, whatever my body can’t use will get excreted quite readily. Please, always talk to your doctor about taking vitamins first, though. You never know how anything will interact with any medications you may take. I also try to not have my hair in tight ponytails or clips. Anything that pulls on the hair can weaken it at the root, often causing it to fall out. I have found, for me, keeping my hair shorter helps a lot. No idea why, but when it’s shorter I have less hair fall than when it’s long. Right now, it barely grazes my shoulders, and that seems to be a good length for keeping it in my head.

As far as the finger joints, there are exercises that you can do to keep the joints from getting too stiff. I’m on the fence as to whether they are effective or not. I guess I’ll know in ten years or so. Staying hydrated can also help keep the joints lubricated. Lubricated joints are less likely to lock up. Honestly, I’m not the best at drinking water. I try, but I often fall short.

So there ya have it, y’all. It’s not a fun topic, but it’s something that so many like me have to deal with every day. And it sucks, I’m not going even try to sugar coat that. I definitely don’t dwell on it though. I’m not a dweller. I can’t afford to be. I know there are other autoimmune diseases that can affect appearance, like lupus, but I don’t feel qualified to talk about those. If you have any questions, or you’re just curious about something, I’ll be more than happy to answer, or if you have anything to add to the conversation, please do! I’d love to hear your perspective!

Carrie♥

© 2018 Look Good, Feel Good

Makeup Monday ~ Maybelline Color Tattoo Concentrated Crayon

Hello lovelies! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! My apologies that this post is going up so late. Today (well, yesterday I guess) has been an awful day. I had some errands to run this morning. I had to run to the dump (no trash service out here in the boonies haha), pick up my pain med prescriptions from my rheumatologist and get one of them filled. Anyone who takes a Schedule II drug understands the frustration in dealing with those meds. No refills and you cannot fill the prescription early, meaning you can only fill it on the day you are scheduled to run out. I am thankful that I don’t have to see my rheumatologist every time I need a new prescription. When my family doctor was handling my pain management, not only did I have to see him every month, but I had to be drug tested. They weren’t looking for other drugs. They were making sure my system had opiates in it. Crazy, right? Sigh … the trials and tribulations of being on Schedule II drugs. As with everything, my situation could be worse, and I am ever thankful for understanding, compassionate doctors. Anyway, after I finished my errands and got home, I started running a low grade fever. Also something pretty common with autoimmune diseases. Because my immune system is so out of whack, random fevers just happen. I’m not sick with a cold or anything like that. I’m not contagious with anything. Just a fever, and high enough to make my body hurt worse than it already does. That was a very long winded way of telling y’all this post is late because I felt like crap most of the day hahaha

While I was at the drug store, waiting on my medicine to be filled, I wandered over to the makeup section. The pharmacy fills your prescription MUCH faster if you tell them you will wait for it. Two hours versus ten minutes. Yes, I’ll wait and spend wayyy too much money on makeup while I’m at it hehe The Maybelline section caught my eye, and in particular their Color Tattoo Concentrated Crayon. It claims to give up to 24 hours of wear. Now, I don’t have the patience or the constitution to see if it really lasts 24 hours, and it’s a bad idea to sleep with makeup on, so we’re just going to have to take their word on that. I really like cool toned eyeshadow, so I chose two crayons to test out, 705-Pink Parfait and 720-Lilac Lust.

Aren’t they cute! These were $6.99 and they were buy one get on 50% off. Sweet! They apply quite well. They are very creamy. Blending, however, is another situation entirely. These shadows dry down FAST. I had zero time to blend the purple, so it looks a little choppy. The shadow that wasn’t dry just kinda stuck to my brush and came off of my eye. Blending with my finger didn’t work so well, either. I ended up rubbing the shadow off.

Disregard my face. I didn’t have a stitch of makeup on anywhere except my eyes.

It doesn’t look so bad with my eye open haha I would suggest going into the crease very lightly at first, and build up to the pigmentation that you want, instead of going all in right from the start. This is my first experience with such a pigmented shadow crayon, so it’s a work in progress. I am going to continue to play with these, for sure. There has to be a way to blend these out!! They will not defeat me! I really do like them a lot, despite the blending trouble. They are super easy to apply, they don’t skip across the lid. I didn’t use any sort of eyelid primer, but I don’t think you really need one. I don’t foresee these shadows creasing or fading. These might even look great with a black shadow base. Oooohhhhh … I might play with that look tomorrow!

Have any of you tried these out? Do you have the same trouble blending, or is it just me? That’s entirely possible haha Let me know!

Super Saturday

Yesterday was such a fun, busy day. I don’t know if I have told you all that I am a hermit. Self-imposed and much loved, but a hermit, nonetheless. I do not like leaving my farm. I actually get agitated when I have to be in town sometimes haha Yesterday, though, was a day I was glad to be in town.

My first stop was our local artisan/farmer’s market. I connected with a bath product company on Facebook and they were going to be at the market yesterday. I HAD to get my hands on their bath bombs. You guys know how I am about my bath products hahaha The Ever After Boutique makes handcrafted bath and home products, such as candles and wax melts. I bought several bath bombs, some sugar scrub cubes, wax melts and a foot scrub. I tried one of their cotton candy bath bombs last night and, let me tell you, their products rival Lush. I was highly impressed! As soon as I dropped the bomb in the tub, the colors swirled and mixed to make the water purple and the fizz with this bomb was incredible! The scent wasn’t as potent as I was hoping for, but it was there. Check them out on Facebook and see what they have to offer. The price is great and they have some really cool products!

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After the market, I headed over to our local civic center for a comicon. Yep, I’m one of those people haha I love just about anything in the sci-fi or fantasy genre. My dogs are names for Lord of the Rings characters haha Our town has tried these cons a few times and this one was quite a success! Lots of people, lots of cool vendors. The best part was hanging out with a friend and some of his cool kids. The little ginger has stolen my heart in a crazy way. We clicked instantly the first time we met and we just have a kind of crazy connection. I can’t explain it, really. Anyway, we had a BLAST walking around the con … buying cool stuff and eating treats.

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Of course, I wore the wrong shoes. Of course, my knees, ankles and feet were stagging a revolt. Of course, I grabbed the WRONG pain medicine as I was running (late) out the door. By the time I got home, my pain levels were bordering on insane. I took a dose and a half of the right meds and did nothing until they kicked in. I ended up taking the other half a pill not long after, because they just weren’t doing enough. I hate when stuff like that is totally my fault and could have been avoided. Sigh … one of these days I’ll learn. It was a good opportunity to try the bath bombs I bought earlier in the day, though.

My poor face really showed the effects of the day. I had dark circles under my eyes and my entire face just looked worn out. I dug into my bag of tricks and pulled out several products. I was gonna have to approach this with guns a’blazin’! My first attack was a sheet mask from Soo Ae Beauty. I went with a vitamin mask, because I was feeling defeated AND depleted! After the 20 minute mark, my skin felt great! I felt refreshed and the remaining serum wasn’t sticky or weird, like it can be with some masks. It has a light lemony floral scent, which helped to perk me up a bit, I think.

My eyes, though. My eyes still looked like they had seen way too much. They felt puffy and there were some very dark circles. I remembered I had some eye patches from Tarte Cosmetics. Save your hard earned money, y’all. The description for these Pack Your Bags 911 Undereye Rescue Patches claims to fight the look of puffiness, dark circles and crow’s feet. Uhhhhh … no. My dark circles were still there (and are still there this afternoon). You get four sets for $22. While not wildly expensive, it’s too much money for a product that doesn’t really work. At least, they didn’t work for me.

My last plan of attack was a sleeping mask I just got in the mail from Sephora. Ahhhh … now this is some good stuff. First, there is enough in the package for at least three or four applications, as the directions say to use a thin layer. I pressed the foil back down, and put it in a plastic baggie to keep it from drying out. Score! Second. my poor little face immediately brightened and the rosacea redness disappeared. Completely. It’s back today, but for a few minutes, it was totally gone! Also, it didn’t leave my face sticky or slimy, as some of these masks can. Maybe my skin was that desperate for some nutrition and sucked it all in haha Either way, my skin LOVED this stuff!!! Well worth the $4. Holy cow, sooooo worth it.

So how was your weekend? How did you help your skin recover from it? Lemme know!

Carrie♥

Family fun 

I have a five year old niece, and she totally has me wrapped. Maybe more than my own daughter haha We love to have slumber parties. Tonight is her second night with me this week, and she is sweeter than pie.

You all know I’ve been flaring for about two weeks now. That doesn’t stop us from partying, though. It definitely slows it down, but the party doesn’t stop. Five year olds are not known for their patience, but she tries. Her mommy, (my baby sister), has systemic lupus, so Keyra understands bad days, as much as a five year old is capable of, anyway. 

Hot baths are my go-to when I feel like this, and they happen to be one of her favorite things to do! She LOVES dropping the bath bombs in and watching them fizz. I ordered some random bombs from Amazon a few months ago, and tonight we picked cherry. Phew … talk about highly scented!!! 

After bath time fun, we were in the den, and she had a bowl of cereal. She stopped eating, looked at me and said “Kewy (she says Carrie so funny), what else sweet can I do for you? I could massage your feet?” My heart immediately melted. This precious little angel …


She does give a good foot massage, but what we did instead was a mini facial. I have a Peter Thomas Roth cucumber toner spray and she loves when I spray her face. Not too much though, that stuff sprays like a fire hose hahaha Then I give her two little squirts of ELF hydrating serum and she rubs it all over her face. We finished up with our “scent of the day”, which was a few squirts of Bath & Body Works Winter Candy Apple.

I hate that this disease has caused a five year old to be so concerned about making me feel good. At the same time, it has allowed her sweet soul to shine. And does it shine!! Don’t misunderstand me, she can be hell on wheels sometimes. Most times haha, but in my worst moments, her best moments shine bigger and brighter than anything I’ve ever seen. 

Do you have a special little in your life? When do they shine their brightest? What are the little things they do to show that sweet side?

Be on the look out tomorrow for a Dior mask review. I am super stoked to share it with y’all! Have a great day today! 

Carrie❤️

How to make money without leaving your house

**This post contains affiliate links**

When you have a chronic condition, leaving your house to shop can be a daunting task. It takes a lot of time to get ready to leave the house, and the trip itself can be an arduous task. I don’t know about you, but I tend to walk quite slow because I hurt. What may be a thirty minute jaunt for healthy people could be a two hour nightmare for us. I mean nightmare literally.

Often, there aren’t enough handicapped parking spaces, if you’re lucky enough to have a handicapped placard for your vehicle. That means we’ll end up walking farther than we really should. Then come the stares when you get out of your vehicle. Because we look healthy, people assume we are. When we exit the vehicle without a wheelchair or some type of aid, we get all sorts of nasty looks from people in the parking lot. Once we get through that, we have to navigate gargantuan stores. Why do they have to be sooooo large?? I am not ready to drive around in the little electric carts. Not yet. It’s a mental thing for me. So, I brave the mega-stores on foot, knowing how badly I will pay for it. I usually take a pain med before I go in, hoping to ward off the worst of it.

Most shopping can be done online, these days. THANK YOU, INTERWEBS!! Online grocery shopping isn’t a thing here, yet. Dry goods can always be ordered, of course, but not actual groceries. Everything else, though, can be delivered to my door with a few keystrokes. Did you know there are ways to actually make money on those purchases? Wanna know the secret? You have to promise to keep it just between us, okay?

Ebates! Ebates is the answer! Nearly any online store you can imagine is affiliated with them and offer varying percentages of cash back on purchases. Until July 1, Walmart is offering 10% cash back. 10%!!! That can be quite significant if you are ordering your household supplies for the month. Sephora, Ulta, Macy’s, Bloomingdales all have cash back offers. I started my account May 5, and I have over $37 in cash back already. Not bad when you consider most offers are around 3%. That 3% adds up!! Also, I may have a slight shopping problem hehe There are times when these companies double their cash back offers, too. 

Check them out here. (<<affiliate link) If you do as much as I do to avoid going out, and possibly create a worse health situation, I highly recommend checking Ebates out. I mean, if you’re going to shop online anyway, you may as well get some cash back from it! Lemme know what you think … do you use a rebate service already? If not, why not?

Carrie♥

Nifty nail polish

There are a few YouTube beauty gurus that I watch all the time. One is Kathleen Lights. She’s so precious and she stays away from the beauty community drama. That drama is NEXT LEVEL, y’all!! Anyway, Kathleen started a nail polish company a while back and her new summer collection just hit the web. If you sign up for emails on her website, they’ll send a 10% off code for your first purchase. Pretty cool deal! You can find her collection here.

She has some pretty cool shades in her summer collection, so I thought I would give one a try. I’m pretty boring when it comes to polish shades haha I’m a darker pink, deep berry kinda girl. I chose Mia, which is an iridescent pink. The shipping was pretty quick. I think I received my package 3-4 days after I placed my order. If you are having a polish emergency, that’s not too bad, really.

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One thing I noticed right away is this color is on the sheer side. It will become more opaque as you add layers, though. This first picture is one coat. I don’t know how well you can see the sheerness, but it’s there. The second picture is with two coats. There doesn’t seem to be much difference in the photos, but there’s a big difference in real life. I would suggest at least three coats. With two, you can still see the white tips of my nails underneath the polish.

Kindly disregard my red sausage fingers … still flaring. Although, they are always red and a bit swollen. I think keeping my nails polished may actually distract from my fingers. They certainly look prettier with polish hahaha Anything I can do to camouflage what the RA is doing to my hands (and body, for that matter), I am down for.

This polish dries down to a matte or semi-matte finish. That struck me as a little odd. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just different from what I’m used to in a polish. If you need a shiny finish, a good topcoat will give you that look. I think I like the way this looks, just as it is, personally. These polishes are $8.50. With my 10% discount, then shipping, I paid $12.60, which I think is a fair price. Any time I don’t have to leave my house for something I consider it a win. $5 shipping is a bit steep for one polish, but if I had ordered more, it would have been very worth it. Overall, I think this is a great polish. Go to the website and check out Kathleen’s collection. What is your favorite nail color? Do you have a go-to brand? How do you disguise a flare, or do you even try? Lemme know your thoughts!

Carrie♥

Flare I go again … 

Or, should I say still. I’m ready for whatever is going on with my body to be over with. My hands and fingers have been ridiculously swollen over the last few days, and I have had absolutely no energy to do anything. My fingers legit look like sausages. That makes typing challenging.

Of course, flares happen at the most inconvenient of times. My hubby is leaving tomorrow to go to Texas for several weeks. That means we had to make a trip to Walmart. On a Saturday afternoon. I think that must be a “thing” to do on Saturdays in my town. I swear, everyone was in that store. Surely several fire codes were violated with the number of people there.

For those who don’t have chronic illnesses, it’s hard to imagine why that might be difficult. Well, aside from the fact that it was two hours in Walmart. That, in and of itself is tough haha The best way I can describe it is to imagine your legs are filled with wet concrete. They get heavier and heavier with each step you take. Then, imagine someone set sandbags on your shoulders. And they add sandbags every few minutes until you are totally hunched over from the weight. Now, imagine someone has put your ankles in a vice. With every step, the vise gets tighter and tighter until you are sure the next step will shatter your ankles beyond repair. I honestly don’t know what I would do without shopping carts. They are my lifeline in those situations, truly.

I am so thankful for a caring and understanding spouse. So many of us who deal with chronic health issues do not have caring and supportive partners. I can’t even tell you the sadness I have experienced, reading the stories from women whose families actually think they are faking it. Who would choose to fake something like this?? Who would want a life like this? No one needs attention that badly.

My husband has been beyond incredible. He knows when I’m having a hard day, just by looking at me. I try my best to hide it, but he sees through me. He has been to countless doctor’s appointments, cooked, cleaned, dealt with the laundry, made our daughter’s breakfasts and packed her lunches (when she was still in school). He’s not the most patient of men haha, and he was raised in a family where all of the above was “women’s work”.  When it comes to me, though, he is the kindest, most patient, most helpful and considerate man in the universe. He is truly my rock. He has the biggest shoulders, I swear. They carry so much weight. I don’t know how he does it.

I hope I don’t sound whiney. That’s not my intention, because I am not a whiney person. I don’t dwell on the negatives of this disease. There’s no point. It won’t go away and it would be a never ending downward spiral. I just wanted to offer a glimpse into what many chronic illness sufferers go through with a simple Saturday afternoon trip to the store.

Okay, now that all that is out of the way, I have some really cool items up for review over the coming weeks. Here’s a sneak peak of just a few things:

With my entire family gone for a least the next week, I should have plenty of time to pamper myself and work through this nasty flare. What are some things you do to help yourself feel better? Any tips and tricks you’d like to share?

 

Carrie♥

Yucky Weekend

I hate flares. I really do. Not only is my pain much greater, but they really mess up my plans. I started flaring late Thursday, with some increased pain. Friday afternoon, the pain in my hips was so intense that I was near tears. My pain meds weren’t helping. I even tried a prescription muscle relaxer, thinking that maybe the way I was sitting caused the problem. Those didn’t help, either. On top of that, I started running a fever Friday, which is what clued me in that it was a flare. It only lasted a few hours, but returned Saturday evening. Because I was in such a state, Skin Care Saturday didn’t happen. I was also going to do an unboxing of the Wal-Mart Beauty boxes that came in Saturday’s mail, as well as my prize for winning an Instagram contest with SOO AE Beauty.

Honestly, I didn’t even feel like blogging this little bit today, but I decided that I should let you all know what happened. My blog plan for the next few weeks is shifting back a few days. Something to look forward to (at some point) is an interview with a local spa owner, massage therapist and aesthetician. We will talk about the benefits of massage therapy for chronic illness sufferers, as well as the effects chronic conditions can have on the skin. The goal was to already have the interview done and posted. At this point, I cannot say when the interview will happen, just that it IS happening.

This is our reality. These are but a few of the non-physical and non-emotional ways that chronic conditions affect our lives. I’ve learned to roll with the punches, so to speak. Unfortunately, a lot of “healthy” people don’t understand. They look at me and see a healthy 40-something woman. When I have to cancel plans or adjust my schedule (more than once) they think I’m lazy and not doing what I can do. I WISH I was just lounging on my couch, being lazy, instead of fighting back tears with every movement. It’s all good, though. Really. These days are few and far between, for now, and I am incredibly grateful for that. I do what I can, when I can, and I don’t sweat the rest. Hope everyone had a restful and peaceful weekend. Let’s show life who’s the boss this week!

Carrie ♥

Working for the weekend

Whoohooo … the weekend is here! I don’t work outside of my home, so the “weekend” is a bit irrelevant to me. Every day is a “work” day on a homestead. For many of my fellow chronic illness warriors, however, working outside of the home is a necessity. Relaxation for my pals out there is a MUST, and the weekend is the most obvious time to do that. When I am feeling stressed out, run down, exhausted (take your pick), I have several methods I use to recharge my batteries.

The first thing is to demand (yes, I said demand haha) some “you” time from your family. Alone time can be incredibly rejuvenating, even if it’s 30 minutes in your room, with the door closed. Read a book, watch a show, take a quick nap, or just sit quietly and reflect on the week. Another method I use to relax is a hot, hot bath. I am the queen of bath products haha! I have bubble baths, bath salts, bath bombs, bath fizzies, bath oils … you name it and I probably have it. I incorporate baths into my “me” time. I get the water as hot as I can stand it and soak for 20 minutes or so. It can be even more relaxing by using candlelight, rather than harsh bathroom lighting. I use scents that are known to be relaxing (see yesterday’s blog post about aromatherapy). For me, that’s lavender, rose, gardenia and just anything from Bath and Body Works. They have a specific aromatherapy line that is really nice.

Something else I really enjoy using to relax is hot tea, or tea to my European friends. I really like hot tea, no matter the season. A few of my favorites are Earl Grey, English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast, peppermint, chamomile and a chamomile, lavender blend. There is nothing better to me, after a rough day, than getting out of a hot bath, lounging on my bed with a good book and a cup of hot tea. It is manna for the soul, I swear.

Some of us with more extroverted personalities find they recharge by being around people, which is totally fine! I don’t get it haha, but if that’s you, plan an evening out with some friends, catch a movie or have dinner and drinks, if your meds allow for alcohol consumption. However you are able to best recharge yourself, do that.

Studies show that most of us afflicted with chronic diseases are women, and despite our illnesses or conditions, we are still the backbone of our families. Our lives (and the lives of those around us) can be impacted in a negative way if we aren’t operating at our peak, whatever that might be. Those of us with chronic diseases/illnesses/conditions tend to operate with a disadvantage as it is, so anything we can do to keep our emotional system running smoothly will help every other aspect of our lives.

Your peace of mind is so important on this journey. It can be almost impossible to not fall into a depression when we are faced with our unique challenges. Keeping our heads above water has to be a priority, and finding time to really relax can help. I hope you can find some quiet time (or fun time, for you extroverts) and recharge this weekend.

Carrie ♥