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Fantastic Little Snowflakes, Each and Every One


Just in case anyone thinks that Lupus patients have the market cornered on “stupid” or “crazy” things said to them about disease…. ya don’t!  The uneducated masses out there socialize with other people too, and they have ridiculous ideas for everyone if they have them at all.  We’re not special.

Here are some remarks I ran into on a popular page this morning that set me off:

I switched all my food to organic 4 years ago. Since, I have lost 100 pounds without exercise, I am off the cholesterol meds, off high blood meds, off allergy meds, my eczema and psoriasis have completely disappeared along with my sleep apnea. 

[My thought on this is that someone is lying.  You NEED to exercise, and unless you are a quadriplegic, you have no excuses.  It doesn’t matter whether that means just taking a walk, or raising your arms over your head a few times, or wiggling your toes, MOVE YOUR BODY!  If you are sitting around, doing nothing, you’re hurting yourself worse than taking a medication ever could.]


-I refuse to take drugs with their unwanted side effects. I suffer with my pain. Taking drugs to ease my pain will only kill me in another way. Nope will just deal with my pain even when it gets unbearable! 
[Clearly this person has never hit “unbearable”…. I have.]

-I so agree. Pharmaceuticals scare me to death.
[News flash, your heart stopping can kill you too.  Some pharmaceuticals do serve a purpose.]

-You be never had a kidney stone.
[Someone with experience and an intelligent comment.]

-I’ve never had a kidney stone, but I have a dislocated shoulder that destroyed the rotator cuff and has been this way for 12 years, I’ve also broken my back and wrist and the only drug I took was aspirin… and not Bayer as I refuse to support them.
[I didn’t realize we were in the company of such greatness.  I’m not worthy. *bows down*]

You will not get kidney stones, [name omitted], if you are on a healthy diet.
[Well, if that’s not the biggest bunch of hooey I’ve heard all week, I don’t know what is.]


I believe the only medicines we need god gave us is water and vegetables. We don’t need to feed drug companies pocket when all they do, is help kill us with their chemicals.
[Belief is a wonderful thing.  Let me know how that works out for you when your genetics catch up with you, because they get everyone sooner or later.  Birth is a death sentence, and these imperfect bodies DO break down, whether it happens when you are 9 or 90.  It happens.]


The only medicine the cures anything when properly used is antibiotics, the rest of the 250million medications in the Physicians guide only treat symptoms.. Hoping that your body will heal itself before whatever is wrong wears you down.
[I can’t even make a sarcastic remark here because that was so ignorant that it speaks for itself.]


Here is how I finally felt compelled to respond to the stream of ignorance:

[Name omitted] – and the rest of you holier than thou commenters, shame on you.  I AM minimally medicated, and I AM one of those proponents of eating whole foods, anti-inflammatory, avoiding preservatives, and anything else you can think of and I DO THOSE THINGS consistently in my life.  I promote it, I teach my friends about it, I live it without deviation, and it has given me back a lot of my life.

BUT

How dare any of you smart off about chronic illness, not understanding what that life is like?  How dare any of you have an opinion about how someone else needs to handle their issues?  Do what YOU do for YOU and stop being so high and mighty.  Chronic illness, such as LUPUS (which I have, among other things) is not curable by medicine or by how you eat, either one.  It requires a genetic predisposition that you are born with to even develop it in the first place, and it’s not coming from modern “agra”, or “pharma” either one, as the disease existed long before those came onto the scene.  Education is a wonderful thing!  Get some.  Triggers that put rheumatic autoimmune diseases into motion vary, and I will only agree that there are *some* modern conventions that contribute to it, but they did not create it.  In the end, the result is the same.  You have a disease that isn’t going away and can only be managed. I have done pretty darn well for myself too, going from unable to walk in 2006 to I’m out hiking again in 2014.  I am not however a professional athlete, and never will be.  I still have to manage my energy levels, consider how I feel at each given event, week, day, even moment, while I make my decisions about activities.  No one else can do that for me, and no one else can tell me HOW to do those things.  It’s my own responsibility.  It is also my own responsibility to now take a beta blocker because my heart is damaged.  Eating right isn’t going to fix that issue, nor will it make the hereditary palpitations or dysautonomia go away.  It takes *both* a medication and eating right (and knowing how to reduce stresses of all types) to manage that condition.

Some of you act like I should throw my pills in the ocean.  If I do that, I’ll be dead and you won’t have to listen to me scream about this stuff anymore.  I guess you would prefer that.  In the mean time, I will be so crippled up that I won’t be able to walk and possibly not type much and you still won’t have to listen to me.  Is that your goal?  I take Plaquenil (a biologic) to manage my Lupus symptoms because my pain levels were too intolerable.  Let me say this about that… I can take a lot of pain – probably a hell of a lot more than many of you.  I also eat correctly now to deal with inflammation and everything else.  At the end of the day however, some of us just have such severe conditions that we need a little assist.  That is what medicine was always supposed to be.  An assist.  That’s how I utilize it.  Does no one understand “happy medium” anymore?  Anyone?  Anywhere?  Even ancient medicine as in my own culture (Native American) is still medicine and still utilizes chemical compounds from plants.  I have training in that as well, but it’s not sufficient to manage what I live with.  That’s the bottom line.  I enjoy being able to walk.  I enjoy not having my heart stop suddenly.  It’s the little things, eh?

If it’s possible for an individual to entirely eschew medication, then I am always happy for them.  I even have friends with Lupus that have been able to do that – for the most part.  One uses the very occasional pain med when it becomes so unbearable that she cannot even sleep for days on end.  Another is going through a recent flare due to terrible life circumstances, and has had to go back on some other meds TEMPORARILY.  She does not see it as a permanent switch back.  I respect those choices, the same as I respect the choices of those that want to just suffer (though I find it insane), and those that are able to manage without any and feel better, and those that stay on more meds because it is all that has worked for them.  We are all individuals, and all on a path, and all learning, and none of us have a right to turn our noses up at the necessary decisions that others make.  You are not in my shoes.  You do not know my pain.  You do not know how my own body and mind process that pain.  It is the height of arrogance to tell someone else that they should do precisely as you have done because you have it alllll figured out.  [Name omitted] is 100% correct here.  Chronic illness is a beast that you cannot understand unless you have lived with it – yourself or a close loved one, either.

[Name omitted], not everything is curable or 100% manageable with eating the right food.  That is a fact.  You can improve your conditions, and symptoms – and I will even say that you can *always* get some level of improvement by doing so.  That does not mean that it makes every single condition go away, or improve enough for everyone to function the same.  We live in flawed, imperfect bodies with very individual needs.  This is not a one size fits all scenario.  So try developing a little compassion for the needs of others.

Why did I write such a long comment?  Because I am fed up with seeing ignorant remarks like this and a bunch others on this thread.  I am happy for anyone that has been able to get better results, but you all are not representative of the entire population.  I bust my a** to “eat right”, to exercise (as much as I am able and sometimes more than I should and I pay for it), and adapt so I can live my life, and do more than I used to, and encourage others to do the same, and stay in a positive and hopeful mindset, and set fantastic goals, and everything else you could possibly come up with, including consuming turmeric, pineapple, avocado, and everything else you could throw at me…… BUT….. sometimes we need a medical assist.  Let’s try to show some respect for those that do and stop putting them down for wanting to stay alive and be able to get out of bed in the morning.  We all do what we are able and continue to learn along the way.


Yep.  I said it.

We are all as unique as snowflakes.  We have different DNA patterns, different flaws and imperfections, different advantages, different experiences and exposures, different environments and life paths, and our outcomes and needs are very individual.  Along the way, we can only make comparisons.  We can find others with whom we identify on some level, in some area, but no one is a carbon copy of another – not even identical twins.  There are no living clones at this time, and even if it does ever happen they still will not be precisely the same once they have taken a few steps into life and had experiences and exposures in this world.  That is the wonder of life itself.  Embrace that, and you can get on with it.

I lost an old friend recently.  He hit “unbearable” and just couldn’t anymore.  I have been there myself, as I said.  I grieve the loss and what could have been, but at the same time I cannot judge.  There is not much I can say about it other than that it hurts deeply that he is gone, and that he felt that he had to just let go of life.  Anyone that cannot understand what goes through a person’s mind at that stage has never been there themselves.  The words are used far too flippantly these days.  R.I.P., my friend.

T

*** [Edit – additional thought]: Just as an added note, regarding pain (which is not the only thing people take medication for, and “pain medication” is not the only kind of med that treats conditions that cause pain)…. Pain, when intense and intractable, causes stresses on the body that in turn causes damage. Just for information sake. There are valid reasons in some situations for treating pain.  While it is inspirational to see someone able to tolerate and push through, it is NOT the right choice in all situations 100% of the time.  Adrenals become exhausted, blood pressure spikes, and the constant stress can easily elevate inflammation levels.  Continuous pain without relief is not a healthy condition.  It even interferes with reparation processes for healing.  Lack of sleep resulting from severe pain does even more damage than I can go into here, including screwing up hormone balances.  It’s complex and to be taken very seriously.  So if you think butching up and bearing all of it is impressive…. it’s not.  Know when enough is enough, please.

Strong

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Cards Dealt, and Choices at Hand


It doesn’t always make you a popular individual to draw a hard line when it comes to diet. (Refresher: that word refers to “what you eat”, not a prescribed outline like being “on a diet”.) Dietary choices – and choices they are – will make a difference in every aspect of your daily life. They determine how you wake up, how you walk through your day, and how you go to sleep at night. They’ll have effects on your level of concentration, energy, and emotional state throughout your day. They’ll have effects (positive or negative) on your sexual function as well. They’ll change the way your skin looks and feels, your fat distribution, the type of fat you carry, the muscle you build or lose, the health of your bones and connective tissues, the condition of your hair and nails, and ultimately even your unseen cellular repair and regeneration rates and quality. That’s the center of what we are in body. It’s our lifespan and the quality therein.

Quality of life is of extremely high importance to me. I am a Systemic Lupus and Fibromyalgia patient. I am also a heart patient. I never thought that I would be saying at 45 years old, “I have heart disease.” I spoke just now about choices and diet, but I want to be clear that I am deeply aware of the factor genetics play in our physical health and make-up. It is however a tremendous problem in today’s society that people are blaming such a large portion of their issues on genetics. MOST things are predispositional, and can be managed with good choices and self discipline (and a drop or two of adaptation to live by). I have some inspirational figures that I look to when I feel blocked or weary, and they are not just people that have disadvantages. They are people that have adapted and beyond surviving, they THRIVE. I don’t believe in merely surviving. I know a lot of people that feel that is all they do, and I do understand what it is to have utterly overwhelming pain and dysfunction that makes you not want to take even one more breath. I was there in 2006. I am still here in 2013, seven years later. I no longer feel that every breath is a chore I am uncertain I wish to undertake. I had to make changes for my quality of life.

I was at my rock bottom then. I couldn’t stand for more than few seconds. I couldn’t walk because the pain was so intense. I couldn’t sit in a chair to eat a meal. I couldn’t drive. I couldn’t crawl to the refrigerator because my floor was hard tile and it hurt too much. I had to have food set within reach for the day before I was left on my own, and that went on for months on end. I was on multiple medications just to keep me from screaming, and not one Dr would give me a cortisone injection or suggested any lab work for a more involved problem that “a bad back” (it wasn’t a bad back.. not entirely). I went through so many flares before I ever knew anything about Lupus, or even heard the name “Fibromyalgia”, and for many years all I could do was take to bed and take pills when this happened. Anyone that knows me knows that I don’t like to take medication if it’s avoidable. I was at the point of unavoidable. Seven years later, I can say that yes I have prescription pain medication if I need it but I am no longer on daily doses. Yes, I take Plaquenil for the autoimmune diseases but I am on a low dose. On occasion I need a steroidal med for a flare, but really not often. For my heart… unfortunately, I am probably stuck with a beta blocker for the rest of my life. I have a careless insurance/medical provider corporate entity that shall remain nameless to thank for the amount of damage I sustained, undiagnosed for 2 years worth of complaints. In the aftermath however, I will still adapt and keep living. It is a choice I make each day when I open my eyes.

I see people every day in my online travels, both autoimmune patients and those who are not, that rave about “treats” and “yummy recipes”. I see pictures of things that turn my stomach to even look at, and to my dismay the ensuing comments and applause are all either “I love that” or “I miss that”. It saddens me, because in many cases I know those same people will in short order be complaining about how ill they feel. A relatively healthy person may indulged or over-indulged and say “I know I’ll pay for that later.” That itself is tragic enough, being an intentional carelessness committed with the knowledge that it is self-harm. When I see someone that is not only diagnosed with a chronic illness of epic proportions, but knowledgeable about what those unhealthy choices will do to them, I find it appalling. I’m taking a hard line today. I love my readers. I love my friends. I love my extended family around the web. I want you to have the same and better quality of life that I strive for every day. One of my very favorite quotes in the world is from Sean Stephenson. “Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.” We make choices every minute of every day that will have a banked effect for good or bad on whether we are going to thrive, survive, or suffer. Which do you want?

Jelly donuts, cake, and candy no longer appeal to me, even in the short-term. I will always be honest with my readers. About once a year I have 1 or 2 plain donuts of some kind. It always reminds me of why I don’t eat them too. When I “crave” something, it’s (99.9% of the time) something like avocado, cucumbers, tomatoes, spinach, various fruits, and sometimes specific types of meat, or nuts. I have allowed myself to become in tune with the nutritional needs and the cravings do serve a purpose. Craving sugar is not a meaningless “I have a sweet tooth” thing to joke around about. It is a symptom of a nutritional imbalance, and it can be controlled and channeled properly – and believe me, it will change your entire life. This is like the story about which wolf do you feed? Feed that sugar thing, and it will take over, guaranteed. The more highly processed it is, the worse it will be. Making the wrong dietary choices is – and I know this is blunt – not only a slow suicide, it is a choice to reduce the quality of life you have now as well as when you are 90 and someone has to help you.

NO, food is not “all you have left”. Food is sustenance, and a means to an end. It is medicine, and it is life. Not Lupus or any other illness or disability can remodel your life into a waste unless you allow it. It may not be the life you envisioned, or the path you thought you would have, but it is still a temporary and amazing journey that you have great opportunities to influence. I will never tell you that I do not commit indiscretions. I just told you about my once a year donut. When I say “rare” however, as you can see, I really mean RARE. I am leery of people that say “never”, and I offer the people in my life the same thing that I expect in return – respect, sincere care, and honesty. Don’t let yourself be a slave to your plate. When you’re done cleaning it off, what awaits in this life you that you may be missing out on unnecessarily? No matter your age or upbringing, you can learn to love the right choices. We have to work with the hand dealt to us. Let’s make a better life out of what we are given and find ways to thrive.

Everybody Lies?


Dr. House says that “everybody lies”. If that’s really the truth, then why are we placing our trust in physicians so deeply that are nothing more than another human being capable of a lie? While I believe there is an element of truth about the lies (haha), I don’t believe it is an unavoidable character flaw. Unfortunately, there are a massive number of patients that do withhold pertinent information from their physicians. As a result, they don’t even have an accurate picture of what the truth IS. I’ve said for years that men don’t know what 120 lbs really looks like on a woman, because most of them lie about their weight. I never do because I just don’t see the point. I look how I look, and speaking a number won’t alter that for good or bad either one. As a general rule, I don’t lie to physicians. What would be the point?

I say “general rule” because it is true that everyone commits omissions, even if it’s not intentional. It can happen. I do not however leave my Dr’s office and snort down a Big Mac, super sized fries, and a HFCS-laden soda. Yuck? When I tell him that I eat fresh fruits & vegetables, organic as much as I can, lean meat, wild caught ocean fish, omega rich cage-free eggs, almond milk, lowfat yogurt, dark leafy greens, nitrite-free preserved meats, nuts, berries, cook with canola & coconut oil, and drink water most of the time… I’m not kidding! If I do not do those things, I pay for it most readily. Most people may get away with it for a while but I can’t. So why would I do that to myself?

Dr’s are jaded by the untruthful lot. I know this. You would think after a few visits though, they’d get a clue and treat you with a modicum of respect. What can I say, I expect it even after years of not getting it.

Drs… lie. So I’ve spent a few days in serious distress over the idea that I’m stuck with a permanent type of damage to the left ventricle of my heart. According to my Dr, nothing will improve it and all you can do is try to prevent further damage by lowering your blood pressure. Well guess what? I READ. Not only have I found there is a medication that can offer (over time) reduction of LVH, but I’m a prime candidate for it. Beta Blockers can trigger asthma, and worsen Raynaud’s Syndrome – both of which I have. Losartan not only isn’t an asthma risk from anything I can find, but it is used to treat and improve Raynaud’s AND has some anxiolytic potential (treats anxiety). It’s in my record that I have anxiety disorder. Do these Drs not read what’s right in front of them?

I wish I knew why this information was withheld from me. One thing is for certain… come Monday, someone is getting a piece of my mind.

If you have LVH/cardiomyopathy and haven’t been offered alternatives to a Beta Blocker, ask your Dr about this medication. I will be.

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