It’s National Cuddly Kitten Day guys! And even if you don’t have a cute little furry kitty at home to snuggle up with, you need to cuddle something! It doesn’t have to be a kitty, pooch, or even a bunny…studies have shown that touch can be a key component of healing and healthy living that improves your everyday life!
On my previous post, “5 Things That Made Me Smile This Week #1”, I mentioned how happy the newly prescribed higher dosage of prednisone (steroid typically used to treat Lupus) made me feel. For a Lupus patient, I’d like to compare the normalcy associated after taking a moderate dosage of prednisone to a high or blissful feeling that you may get after consuming strong pain relieving medication (oxycodon or tramadol for instance). Now remember, individuals suffering with Lupus are literally in pain all of the time–I can’t reiterate that enough. Even when taking prednisone daily, the underlying pain unfortunately remains. In addition to the satisfaction of pain relief, one thing that all Lupus patients quickly learn is of the impact that this drug has on their weight!
I’m probably late, but I am SUPER excited about my discovery of frozen fruit! There’s nothing worse than purchasing a ton of fresh produce, only to visit your refrigerator several days later and see it all rotting away. Well, while picking up groceries today, I peeped a bag of Dole Brand frozen strawberries priced at $5.99. In spite of my excitement, I wavered a bit. I wondered if the nutritional value would be comparable to fresh produce or if the frozen stuff was garbage. Ultimately, I decided to pass and continued with my errands. The story doesn’t end here though!
I’ve decided to spend some time each week reflecting on events that I believe added to my life, left an impact on my heart, and ultimately made me smile. A crucial part of maintaining good mental, physical, and spiritual health is having the ability to acknowledge our blessings as well as keeping the positivity going, so perhaps you’ll be motivated to take a moment and do the same! I’m sure there are numerous things that happened to you this week that were impactful–acknowledge them!
This is a judgement free zone right? Phew, great! Because I am well aware of my recent post about showing humility and thinking about others rather than focusing on yourself, but I also feel compelled to write about the value of the word “no” and how finding a balance between service and self-care can be tremendously fulfilling. I personally do not believe that God wants us to work to the bone in service of others and entirely forget about our personal needs. I’ve been there and it is such an unhealthy way to go through life! When you really think about it, we are no good to those around us if we are not taken care of ourselves.
My devotional this morning was on a topic that I am all too familiar with–humility. Sometimes it is so easy for us to claim that we practice humility and put others before ourselves. After all, is there anyone who is proud to say, “I could care less about the next person and simply want to spend my life achieving my own agenda“? If that’s you, I’ll kindly send a prayer your way! But back to the topic at hand, humility. How can one who is constantly battling their own demons, struggling day-to-day, and consistently trying to make it through the next 1/2 hour capable of stepping outside of themselves and serving others?
As I take some well-needed time to re-evaluate my schedule, health, and ultimately make lifestyle changes in an effort to be a better me, I’ve decided that I’d like to try out meal planning! Now, I’m a bit nervous about the consistency of this and how well I’ll be able to keep up with it, however, my hospitalization provided me with access to healthy and nutritious meals each day, and more than ever, I’m beginning to internalize the impact of a well-balanced diet on my Lupus management. Prior to my hospitalization, my mom pointed out that my appetite was very poor. I was eating child-sized portions of food and the combination of a gluten-free diet (stay tuned for a post on its effects) and minimal food intake was clearly impacting my body. All things considered, I am now even more aware of the value of a wholesome and balanced diet and truly want to work towards maintaining one.
Is today the day that I am going home?! I am anxiously awaiting this morning’s round of blood work to hear if I still need this kidney biopsy or not. In the midst of uncertainty, I woke up this morning and felt the need to share the beautiful view that graced my hospital window, along with an inspiring poem that was posted by a fellow blogger (Charis Psallo) several days ago. It is a well-known poem written by an anonymous poet that is bound to encourage you through whatever challenges life has brought you.
As I lay in my hospital bed with an IV in my arm and antibiotics and steroids being pumped into my system, my mind can’t help but wander: How are my students doing? I wish I had my laptop. Ugh, I have to do my lesson plans! I can’t get work off of my mind and quite frankly, it’s sad.
For the past several weeks, my Lupus symptoms have gone absolutely haywire. My fatigue has become unbearable, and I’ve developed daily high fevers that fluctuate between 101 and 103 degrees. But of course, I live in New York City, I have a hustler’s mentality, and I care about my team. So what do I do? I suck it up and deal. I self-diagnose and “treat” with over-the-counter medication. I continue to push myself to get dressed every morning. I get pretty, put a smile on, and get myself to work.
I’ve always prided myself on being an ambitious, hardworking, and dedicated person. Unfortunately, being all of these things AND having an autoimmune disease has driven me into the ground. One of the most challenging things I had to learn to do at the start of my diagnosis was to listen to my body rather than my head. In my head, I can do anything! Then my body begins to scream and argue, reminding me that this is not the case.
Then I ask myself, is this always realistic? I’m a single (non-married) woman living in a city that never sleeps. Where people work an average of at least 50 hours per week and the expectations are the same for us all–bills gotta get paid! Life doesn’t say, “She has Lupus, so let’s make her bills less and decrease her work load.” I work hard and do my best to take care of my responsibilities and naturally in the process, tend to put my health to the side at times.
This entire experience of being hospitalized has reminded me that I am no good to the people in my life (friends, family, colleagues, or students) if I’m confined to a bed. I HAVE to put my health first in order to do all of the things that I love doing. I KNOW how challenging it is to balance life, especially when battling with Lupus, but as someone who is going through the trenches right now, I truly encourage all sufferers to put your health first. The report that’s due tomorrow isn’t worth it. That extra hour at the gym isn’t worth it. Not even the late night dinner with your BFF is worth it. Take a step back, relax, and please be well.
Following this read, please take a moment to pray for me and my recovery. The Bible says “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and I truly believe that prayer in numbers can make mountains move!
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If you know anyone suffering with Lupus and/or any other “Invisible Disease”, please feel free to share with them directly!