Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Lupus Strong

It sounds rather odd to say that I'm grateful to have a disease, but in a strange way I am glad that I am the one to have lupus. Do I wish I didn't have lupus? Absolutely, but I would never wish this disease upon anyone else.

Being diagnosed with lupus forever changed my life. I certainly never expected to be 19 years old and receive such a diagnosis. For all intensive purposes life was just beginning. I was in college, in a new city, with a fresh start, but here I was being diagnosed with an incurable disease. Looking back I don't think I understood the magnitude of such a diagnosis because I remember being numb when I got the phone call confirming my diagnosis. 

In the years since I've been diagnosed I've gone through a lot; a zillion trips to various doctors, hospital stays, surgery, countless medications, and the list could go on. I've gotten asked a number of times how I can be so positive when I live with chronic fatigue and pain (among other things). Truth be told I'm not always positive. I have my days where I'm utterly exhausted, my emotions are ragged, and I'm hot mess. But every day I have the power to chose to let this disease get the better of me or to chose to be joyful. I chose joy and daily remind myself how blessed I am to have access to a really great team of doctors who help me in this fight. I chose joy because I know there's lupus patients out there who can't run or lift or workout period. 

I chose joy because when it comes down to it why not try to find the good in a not so good situation?

I know very well that at any point lupus could affect any of my other organs and ultimately take my life, but I'm not going to dwell on that fact. That's like getting in a car and wondering if you're going to get in a car accident today, you just don't think about it. You know the risks involved, but you don't live your life in fear. I'm not going to let this disease have power over me. Sure, there's days where it does limit me because of pain, exhaustion or whatever is going on, but it makes me more thankful for the days where I run pain free or stay out a little longer with friends.

I'm also grateful for the friendships that have been made because of lupus. In a strange way I was blessed because one of my best friends and I were diagnosed three days apart so we've been with each other from the beginning. We also met two other amazing women who have lupus and together we've formed an incredibly strong bond. We've been through hell together. We've been on doctors trips together, sat through chemo sessions together, laughed and cried together, and not even living on different sides of the state has been able to break our bond. We have a group chat that we talk on daily and there's nothing we don't talk about. These girls are my lobsters (if you're a fellow Friends fan you'll understand). If it weren't for lupus I wouldn't have these girls in my life and honestly I can't imagine my life without them, nor do I want to. 

Lupus is a terrible disease, but this journey has made me a stronger person. I'm more confident, I'm not afraid to speak my mind, I no longer take health for granted, I make myself a priority, I'm not afraid to say no, and I've learned to love my body for what it can do. I could add a lot more to that list but I'm still on this journey. I'm still learning and figuring out what works for me. 

I don't know where this lupus journey will take me. I know there will be good days and some not so good days ahead, but I'm going to take it one day at a time. Lupus awareness month gives me a chance to speak out about this disease and educate those who have never heard about it before or don't know what it is. I know that for as long as I live I will continue to speak out and raise awareness because knowledge is power.

To my fellow lupus warriors, we are so much stronger than this disease. This disease can take so much away from us, but it can't take away our spirit of determination to rise in the face of adversity or overcome medical odds. We are more than statistics. We are more than this disease. Know that I am always rooting for you and never forget that you are a warrior. You are lupus strong. 

Thank you to everyone who participated in all the various events for lupus awareness month. Thank you to all who wore purple for put on purple on May 19th to show support for lupus patients and research. Thank you to for all the sweet messages, comments, and texts of support. I am so grateful for each and every person who took the time to read any of my posts this month (here or on instagram) and took the time to learn about this disease. I don't have the words to fully express how thankful I am to all of you.

Know lupus so we can have a future with NO LUPUS. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

SoCal and Sunshine: Thinking Out Loud #38

Happy Thursday from sunny SoCal🌸 I am so excited to be in California visiting my brother and checking out the sights. Getting to SoCal has been an adventure in itself seeing as it took two Airbnb disasters and a flight getting pushed back causing me to miss my connecting flight, thus getting in over 2 hours later than planned and arriving smack dab in the middle of rush hour. Nonetheless I'm here now and I'm going to try to soak up some much needed sun and enjoy. Let's jump into this weeks thinking out loud!

1. I've used Airbnb multiple times to find places to stay all over the U.S. and I've never had a problem, but for some reason this trip seemed to be doomed. I booked a place over a month in advance and one week prior to leaving the host contacted me and said the current guest wanted to stay longer so she had to cancel my reservation. Cue scrambling to find a new place. I find a new place and I think all is well. But it's not. Less than 36 hours before I am set to leave my new host contacts me and says he has to cancel. He was incredibly rude and at one point threatens me so I call Airbnb basically in tears. There's only a handful of places left and all are significantly more expensive than what I originally paid. After over two hours on the phone and now less than 12 hours until I leave I finally got a new place to stay, but had to shell out over $100 more because the prior host screwed me. Needless to say I'm not overly happy with Airbnb or the jerk of a host right now. My new host has been fantastic though.

2. This quote seemed fitting after the whole Airbnb debacle. There was a series of bad days, but I am thankful to be in Cali now and spending time with my brother and his girlfriend. One bad day doesn't have to make another day or week or year, etc bad. Wake up each day with a thankful spirit and a good attitude. Good things will happen. There's always good even in the midst of heartache or struggle.

3. In the midst of a lot of ongoing chaos my best friend and I went out for a girls night. We hit up one of our favorite restaurants, had a fabulous dinner, relaxed, laughed, and got dairy free froyo after. I'm seriously so grateful for Kate because she never hesitates to tell me exactly what I need to hear. She knew life had been stressful recently and she immediately said, "We're going out for a girls night." It was exactly what I needed. I'm so thankful to have such an amazing best friend💜

4. I'm also incredibly thankful to everyone who participated in Put On Purple for lupus awareness last Friday. Typically I am not one to open up about my struggles with the disease, but in the past few years that I have been sharing my story I have met countless others who also struggle with the disease. I've formed amazing friendships with people from all over because they understand and relate to what I go through on a daily basis. Now I'm proud to share my story because if it makes one other lupus warrior feel less alone then I'm more than happy. If you or anyone you know struggles with lupus don't ever hesitate to email me, I'm more than happy to lend a listening ear. Of course I also wore purple because raising awareness and educating others about lupus is so important in the fight to find a cure for this cruel disease.

5. In the past few months I have really gotten into self-care. I used to only think of my time at the gym or running as all the self-care I needed, but I got so burned out. I shared more about why taking time for self-care is important to me in a post earlier this week. One of my favorite ways to take time out for myself is by doing a face mask. It's really helped my skin tone even out (as much as it will anyway thanks to lupus) and it's made my skin super soft. My favorite face mask is a dead sea face mask from skyorganics. I got it on sale on Amazon. I'm not sponsored in anyway by them I simply love their products and I feel good using their products knowing I'm not putting any harmful chemicals on my skin.

6. Cora has gotten increasingly lazy. She always used to greet me when I got home from the gym in the morning, now most of the time I'm lucky if she opens one eye or sometimes I have to step over her to get in. She always plays way harder in the spring and summer since she can be outside so much more so in the mornings she is dead tired. Normally around 8 or 9am she starts to really wake up and of course wants to play again🐶

7. I came across this quote this week and it really struck me. I used to be so big on journaling and I've kind of fallen away from that habit, but writing stuff down is how I make sense of things. I've also find writing to be incredibly healing. You can spill all of your feelings onto the page and when you're done you feel empty, but clean and you can close the book, walk away and begin again. 

I'm going to end things so I can head out and soak up some more SoCal sunshine☀ Have a fantastic weekend and a very happy Memorial Day!! 

How do you like to make sense of things? Journaling, Going for a walk, etc.
What is your favorite way to practice self-care?

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Self-care Is Not Selfish

Self-care is something I have always struggled with. I love running, lifting, practicing yoga, hiking, and meal prepping, but I've always thought I was being selfish by dedicating so much time to myself. It's time I take out of my day that I could be doing something else- working, volunteering, etc. 

I recently returned from vacation in Hawaii and the biggest lesson I learned was taking time for yourself is not selfish at all. I'm a perfectionist to the nth degree. No matter if I'm doing something personally or professionally I want it to be done just right. The problem was I had been running myself ragged striving for perfection. 

Simply put there is no such thing as perfection. 

You can work on something endlessly, but someone, including yourself, is always going to find a reason that it's not good enough. 

For the first time in I don't know how long I put my phone away on vacation and ignored emails, texts, phone calls and most communication. I pulled out my laptop probably three times and even then it was only to back up my photos in case something happened to my SD card. Taking time away from technology was so refreshing and it was something I desperately needed. 

I'm sure we've all heard the phrase live in the moment, but it's so true. Putting my phone away and just heading out into nature was so refreshing. I went for walks, hikes, and runs without every snapping a single picture. I sat on the beach and listened to waves and just soaked it all up. 

Did I take pictures and videos? Of course because I want those things to remember my vacation by and to share with others, but that wasn't on the forefront of my mind. Instead I focused on soaking up all the vitamin D I could (with sunscreen on of course 😉) and just being present. 

I can honestly say it was one of the best vacations I've ever been on. There were less than perfect moments but I gave my body the rest it needed, both physically and mentally. I still ran and lifted but I did so for pure joy. Running in Hawaii never once felt like a chore because the scenery was so beautiful and there were so many places to explore. I did yoga on the beach and watched the sunrise and left with an incredibly full heart. 

Life is meant to be lived in the here and now. Life isn't meant to be lived through a phone screen while trying to portray life as perfect on social media. Life isn't perfect. It's messy, it's chaotic, it's a crazy, unpredictable ride, but life is pretty dang awesome. 

There's nothing wrong with taking a break from work and social media to just unplug. In fact it's needed. Take a day and just disconnect. Spend time taking care of yourself and in genuine conversation with other people. I came across some really amazing people in Hawaii and I ran with the same people every morning because I genuinely enjoyed their company and conversation. Had I been on my phone or had headphones in I would have missed those moments. 

Disconnect from your devices and connect to yourself and those around you. Since I've been back I've made it a point to take time out every week to take care of me. I don't feel guilty working out or going to yoga because those are moments where I am making myself better by making myself a priority. I've also been doing weekly face masks because it's incredibly relaxing and it gives me some time to just destress.

Self-care is not selfish. By taking time out to make yourself a priority you will see other areas of your life improve and you will be more productive. I know it's made me more productive and it's helped me to manage stress better. So go ahead disconnect and set some time aside for yourself, I promise you won't regret it.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Put On Purple: Thinking Out Loud #37

Happy Thursday! This week has gone by in gigantic blur following a series of mini emergencies, but thankfully I think everything is mostly back to normal. I am ready for one very long nap though because I am exhausted from running all over the place this week. The rest of the week is looking up though and the weather is gorgeous so I can't complain! Anywho let's jump right into this weeks thinking out loud

1. TOMORROW IS THE DAY!! Please wear purple tomorrow for put on purple to support people, like me, who have lupus and also to show support for research efforts. Post pictures on instagram, tag me, and use the hashtag #putonpurple to spread the word! It would mean a lot to myself and all the other lupus warriors if you would wear purple to show your support!

2. Sunday was my first real day back running. My doctor told me to take it easy and day by day. I really wanted to jump right back in and go gun hoe but I knew after two weeks of hardly running my body just wouldn't be able to handle it. I stuck with 3 miles and by no means was it a great run, but I got it done and walked away grateful to run. I'm slowly ramping back up on my miles though and plan to do so safely, but am also listening to my body.

3. It's rained the past number of mornings here so running outside in the early morning hasn't been possible so I've been sticking to the treadmill. The weather is finally warm but the heat is still on FULL BLAST at the gym. It's basically an inferno and I get so sweaty so fast🔥 I get sweaty while running, but good grief when it's close to 80F in the gym it's flat out miserable to run but it beats running in a thunderstorm.

4. I've been on a salad kick this past week and this one has been one of my favorite combinations. It's a mix of kale, spinach, arugula, and romaine topped with strawberries, avocado, tomatoes, goat cheese, dried tart cherries, and pan seared turkey sausage. It's packed with flavor and so dang good! I've even added a tad of organic poppyseed dressing on top and it blends so well with all the flavors👌

5. Luckily the storms and rain have cleared by mid morning and the rest of the day has been gorgeous so Cora and I have been soaking up as much vitamin D as possible. I felt bad leaving her alone so much early in the week so we made up for it yesterday afternoon. It was around 90F so she was in the lake a ton, but it felt nice to just be outside and enjoy the weather. I'm all for these warm temps😎

6. With all the hecticness I haven't even started packing for California yet and I leave in a few days😳 it's sending my OCD/planner self into a bit of a panic, but I'm setting aside time to pack this weekend. I'm heading out to the Newport Beach/Costa Mesa area to see my brother and I am so excited to be back in Cali. One day I hope to move out there because I love it so much. I'm super excited about getting açai bowls and exploring new running trails. If anyone has any restaurant, shopping, trail, etc. recommendations definitely comment and let me know👇

7. I've always been a quote person. I love finding them, I love keeping them and I love sharing them (if you hadn't already noticed on my instagram stories). I really loved this one because there's always chaos in the world. Everyone always seems to focus on the bad, but really there is still so much good in the world. Even if you see bad around you you can make a difference. The simple act of smiling, complimenting someone, or having a genuine conversation with someone can make ALL the difference. Fill your world with kindness and it will overflow into other peoples lives.

Have an amazing Thursday and PLEASE WEAR PURPLE TOMORROW!!

What is one thing you always look forward to doing on vacation?
Do you like stepping out of your comfort zone and explore new places, trying new foods, etc.?

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Running and Happy Puppies: Thinking Out Loud #36

Happy Thursday! I'm running on aloe water and fumes as I type this because the two and half hours of sleep I got cannot be considered a nights sleep, heck that's pretty much a nap. The struggle is very real today #teamnosleep. Here's to hoping I form mostly complete sentences for this weeks thinking out loud!

1. Sunday was an awesome day for me because I ran SEVEN pain free miles🎉🎉🎉 I shared a little about why I needed to run on instagram, but I was beyond happy to just run. I didn't put any time limits on myself because I hadn't run in a week due to pain from the kidney stone, which I've still yet to get rid of😒 I'm taking it one day at a time and listening to my body but I was bursting with joy that I was able to get seven miles in!

2. I picked up some flowers for my mom this week because this week marked her ten year cancer free anniversary! She was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was pretty young and I really didn't understand what was going on. My mom was fortunate because the cancer was caught early so she didn't need chemo, but she went through several surgeries over the course of a year and despite a few setbacks, a little over a year after he diagnosis she was declared cancer free! Every year I get my mom flowers with the number of carnations corresponding to how many years she's been cancer free🌸

3. The weather has finally broke in the mitten and we are FINALLY getting some warmer temps. Cora has been overjoyed that it hasn't been raining every day and she's been running around the yard, playing with her best friend who lives a few houses down, and swimming in the lake. At the end of the day she is one very tired puppy. The other day I found her spread out on my bed sleeping with the happiest look on her face💜

4. "Character is who you are when no one is watching." I love that quote and ironically it was in the fortune cookie of my Chinese takeout. It's such a powerful statement because I've always believed actions speak louder than words and the actions you take when no one is around speak volumes about who you really are.

5. The quote from my fortune reminded me of a saying my dad always used to tell my when my brother and I were growing up. He would always tell us, "never do something you'd be ashamed to tell your mom and I about." This is something I still keep in mind even now that I'm in my 20's.

6. I'm not one to buy new music often but I have been loving Charlie Puth's new single Attention. It's such a fun song to listen to to get pumped up for a workout or when running because I just want to dance. The beat is so dang catchy and fun and I definitely recommend checking it out👌

7. I want to say a big thank you for all the support, messages, texts, I have gotten about my World Lupus Day post. I'm always hesitant to share posts like that because I never want something to think I'm looking for sympathy because I'm definitely not. It's always scary to be so open and vulnerable about my struggles with this disease because people can be (and have been) really, really mean about it. Thankfully I have a thick skin and mean comments don't get to me, but all I ever hope to do is raise awareness about this disease. If I can educate one or two people about lupus then I'm a happy camper. Also, thank you for all the love this week and for all the kinds words and prayers for healing with this dang kidney stone. I'm determined to make the best of it and not let it get me down💜

Have a terrific Thursday and an amazing weekend!!

What is one thing that you are really passionate about and sets your soul on fire?
Do you have a favorite song?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

World Lupus Day

Lupus. It's an autoimmune disease some people have heard of, but many know nothing about it. I could give you the clinical definition (I know it by heart), however that really wouldn't tell you what it's like to live with lupus so let me provide you a front row seat into what it's like to live with lupus. 

I'm a 22 year-old trapped in a body that feels 80 years old. My joints swell up like balloons, often it's incredibly painful to bend my fingers, which is semi-essential to everyday life. A lot of times it feels like fire is shooting through my fingers. Sometimes my feet swell up and I can't fit them into shoes, flip-flops in February anyone? My stomach also swells, no I'm not 16 and pregnant (I've been asked) so please stop looking at me like I'm a terrible person. 

You say you're tired? Try living in my body for a few days and then you'll see what tired really is. I count my lucky stars if I get 3-4 hours of sleep at night. Sleep is illusive and naps have become my best friend. But really it doesn't matter how much sleep I get, 2 hours or 10 hours, exhaustion lingers over me like a giant cloud. And for the love of pete please stop telling me I look exhausted and have bags under my eyes, I'm well aware of them thank you very much. 

"Do you want to hangout tonight?" When you say 'at night' do you mean watch movies in our PJ's and eat snacks at 7pm? Because if it's after 9pm lord knows it's not happening, I have to go to bed and count the cracks on my bedroom ceiling and pretend to sleep. There's going to be drinking there? Yeah definitely not going now, lupus and drinking don't exactly mix. It's like smearing ketchup on your peanut butter sandwich instead of jelly. 

Complain one more time about having to go to the doctor and get blood drawn and see what happens, I dare you. I've had so much blood taken out of me I have needle tracks on my arms. I'm on a first name basis with nurses in about a dozen clinics because I have blood work done so often. My doctor probably knows more about me than my best friend, heck he can even tell you what I ate for my last meal<- true story.

Food...HA. Don't even get me started. Spontaneous dinner out? Yeah right. Does the place have gluten and dairy free food options? And no I don't want to eat a giant bowl of lettuce. Want to know what my diet currently looks like so I don't have a flare? Gluten free, dairy free, low fat, low fiber, limited carbs. Is there one of those on the menu? 

This is a small glimmer into what my life is like. Yet this doesn't even begin to describe the ridiculous amount of doctors I have (more than I have fingers for), the frequent doctor visits- I see my doctors more than I see most of my family, the medication- I'm not sure there's a purse big enough for all my pills, or the ordinary everyday things I miss out on in life because of lupus. It's a struggle to go out to eat, it's just too hard and often expensive to find allergy friendly options, most social events are at night and I'm too tired to even think about going, and dating is a joke. Try explaining to someone why you want to go on a date at 6pm instead of 8pm or later or why you have to carry a bag of pills around. 

My life with lupus is drastically different than what it was before lupus and I now know that I took my health for granted. In a lot of ways life with lupus feels like I'm living a double life. On the outside I look fine, I always say "I'm good" when someone asks how I'm doing, I get work done, I workout, etc., but really it's a facade. Inside I'm so exhausted I wish I could lay down on the floor and sleep, I'm probably hurting beyond belief but why bother to tell someone that and make the situation awkward?, and yeah I workout and get my work done but it takes triple the amount of effort for me to do it. I'm a shell of the person I used to be.

Lupus sucks. There really isn't any other way to put it. It a horrible, life-altering disease. There's no cure for lupus. Medications are used to help manage symptoms if you're lucky enough to find some that work. Most medications take 3-4 months to work and if they don't work, well then it's another 3-4 months to try something else. Essentially I'm a human lab rat which is always a fantastic feeling...not

I've had more blood drawn in the past year than most people have drawn in their life. For awhile I held the clinic record for 22 vials of blood drawn, probably not something most people would be proud of. Since the start of 2017 I've had three ultrasounds, countless ovarian cysts and now a kidney stone, which are all directly linked to lupus. Not to mention I really cannot remember the last time I got more than four hours of sleep or had a day where I didn't feel nauseated.    

But, people with lupus are a special breed. We're strong and we're resilient. We live life in spite of the disease. We also have a special bond with one another. Some of the best friends I've ever had are fellow lupus warriors. We understand what one another goes through, we're there when the other has a rough day, we celebrate each others victories, and we stand united against this disease. 

You see despite all the crap I go through and suffer through on a daily basis because of lupus I'm also semi grateful for the disease. Do I wish I didn't have lupus? Of course, but I'd never wish it upon anyone else. You see if it weren't for lupus I wouldn't know how strong I am, some of my best friends wouldn't be in my life, and some of my favorite memories wouldn't exist. To an outside maybe it's weird to bond over a game of Cards Against Humanity in a tiny room while your best friend is getting chemo for her lupus, but to me it's moments like those that show how deep our bond runs. 

Most people don't know about lupus because it's not talked about. Everyone talks about cancer research, but lupus needs to be studied too. Lupus isn't a visible disease, but essentially your body is at war with itself. If you don't think lupus should be studied I invite you walk in my shoes for a day or two and I think you'll change your mind- there's about 5 million people worldwide who would agree with me. It's a disease best served with a sense of humor (and a nap) because some days that's all that will get you through. 

Today (May 10) is World Lupus Day, which is why I am sharing my lupus story. I invite you to learn more about lupus by clicking here. I also ask you to put on purple on Friday, May 19th to show support for lupus patients and research. Post a selfie on social media and use the hashtag #putonpurple to raise awareness. Let's stand together to find a cure for Lupus! 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Lupus Awareness & Kidney Stones: Thinking Out Loud #35

Happy Thursday! This week has been a bit of a blur. I've had my days all mixed up this week so every day I've been left questioning what day it actually was🙈 I think all the rain and pain (totally did not mean to rhyme) have been messing with my brain. Before I start whipping out anymore rhymes let's jump into this weeks thinking out loud

1. The past week and half have been rather rough dealing with lupus pain and side effects from one of the medications I am on for it. I was basically stuck in bed all weekend and food wasn't even remotely appealing. Sunday night I did get some nutrients in me with a smoothie bowl and I got a few requests for this recipe that I shared on my instagram story. I blended frozen pineapple, blackberries, strawberries, a small chunk of banana, almond milk, and Vega chocolate protein until smooth. I topped it with strawberry slices, blueberries, raspberries, and chia seed granola. 

2. Monday morning I finally dragged myself to the doctor because the pain, nausea and other symptoms were not going away. After all was said and done I was diagnosed with a kidney stone (an ultrasound this morning confirmed that diagnosis). Maybe I'm blissfully ignorant but I had no clue that young people could get kidney stones. I was told that because I have lupus I'm at a higher risk to have kidney stones and ovarian cysts (which I've had a lot of) because of lupus. While I wait for the stone to pass or if it doesn't I get to have it lasered I can't run because the back pain makes it hard to do much of anything. The doctor gave me permission to do very light lifting and gentle yoga, but I have to stop if it hurts. If you have any tips on how to ease kidney stone pain please let me know!

3. I had also shared a shot of my new Calia shorts and I got a number of questions about where I got them. I bought them online from Dick's Sporting Goods, you can see them here. I am not in any way shape or form affiliated or sponsored by Calia I just genuinely love the clothes. I have never been one to drop a lot of money on workout clothes because I get sweaty, the get worn constantly, and then they have to be replaced. Running shorts have always been a struggle for me because I could never find a pair that didn't chafe me after a given distance. I own a number of pairs of Calia running shorts and they are by far the best shorts I've ever owned. They are comfortable, they give you room to breathe and don't let sweat stick to you, and I never have to pull them up or adjust them while running. Hands down the best investment I've made for comfort while running or lifting. Plus there are a ton of cute prints so you can look cute while getting your sweat on! 

4. My nutcase of a dog has FINALLY learned that she won't be allowed outside after I eat breakfast if she doesn't behave while I'm making and eating breakfast. Now when I go to find her after I've eaten I almost always find her looking something like this. Laying down surrounded by toys looking totally innocent. She is far from innocent, but she's cute so sometimes she gets away with things. Lord knows when she cocks her head at me when I'm talking to her that she can get away with just about anything. I'm a terrible dog parent I know. 

5. I get asked a LOT about what I eat for breakfast and honestly I'm a creature of habit. I have oatmeal basically every day for breakfast because it's easy and actually holds me. I mix gluten free oats with two tablespoons of Bob's Red Mill protein powder and top it with a mixture of fruit and honey. Usually I try to have a mixture of berries, but recently I've been using all sorts of different fruit just because berries have been so expensive. 

6. I actually took some time and meal prepped this week, which I haven't done in awhile, but I have been LOVING this combo recently. It's a turkey taco bowl of sorts👉 spring mix lettuce, cherry tomatoes, carrots, red cabbage, avocado, olives, dried cherries, and chopped up turkey burger topped with peach mango salsa. It may sound like a strange combo but it's so good😋

7. I'm making my second attempt at reading Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst. The book has been recommended to my by countless friends, so I picked up a copy right when it came out and I started reading it right away, but my dad started going in and out of the hospital so the book got pushed to the side. Here's to hoping the second time is the charm.

8. I did a little happy dance on Wednesday because the sun finally came out🌤 it's been raining here pretty much for a week nonstop so I was beyond excited to see the sun. Cora has been moping around too because she is not a fan of the rain either. We spent basically all day outside soaking up vitamin D. I definitely need to move to Cali so I can soak up all the sun I miss by living in the arctic. 

9. Lastly I wast to say a huge THANK YOU for all the support I've gotten on my lupus awareness month post. The outpouring of love and support has been overwhelming and it sincerely means the world to me. Lupus is often overlooked because so much funding is poured into cancer research. Raising awareness of the disease is so important to me as someone who suffers from the disease, but also because the more people who know about the disease the easier it is to get funding for research. Next Wednesday, May 10 in honor of World Lupus Day I will be sharing more of my lupus story to raise awareness, but also to give people who have never heard of the disease insight into what it's like to live with lupus. Just thank you again for all of your support💜💜

Have a great Thursday and an amazing weekend!!

What is your favorite way to spend a rainy day? 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Lupus Awareness Month

Today is a special day for me because it marks the start of Lupus Awareness Month. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can affect any part of the body, skin, joints, organs or combo of all three. Something causes the immune system to go haywire and start attacking and destroying healthy tissue. There are a whole host of symptoms for lupus, but it affects everyone differently, thus making it incredibly difficult to treat. 

I was diagnosed with lupus when I was 18 years old and it's radically changed my life. Throughout the month of May I will be sharing different parts of my journey with lupus, while trying to provide a broad overview of this cruel disease because many people have never heard of lupus. 

To kick off Lupus Awareness Month I wanted to share 10 little known facts about lupus. I also want to encourage you to wear purple on Friday May 19th to support those living this with cruel disease. 

1. Lupus is most commonly diagnosed in women usually between the ages of 15 and 44. Men can develop lupus too, but women have a significantly higher chance of developing the disease.  

2. There are four types of lupus- systemic, cutaneous, drug-induced, and neonatal lupus. Drug induced lupus and neonatal lupus are not true forms of lupus and usually disappear within a few months. 

3. Systemic lupus is incurable and cases range from mild to life threatening. 

4. Any/all organs can be affected by lupus. It can also affects joints and tissues in the body causing other diseases.

5. more than 16,000 new cases of lupus are diagnosed across the United States every year. 

6. In no way shape or form is lupus contagious. You cannot catch lupus or give someone lupus. 

7. Large scale research has never been done, but it is believed that there approximately 1.5 million Americans living with lupus. The number could be much higher as lupus is incredibly difficult to diagnose and is often misdiagnosed. 

8. Lupus is two to three times more common in women of African American decent than it is Caucasians. 

9. A study conducted in 2008 estimated the average cost for a lupus patient in health care and lost productivity is over $20,000. 
     *I guarantee those numbers are significantly higher in 2017 as medical costs have risen drastically and the numbers can vary greatly depending on the course of treatment needed. If chemo is needed to suppress the immune system the cost can be 3-4 times that much.

10. 73% of American between 18-34 have never heard of lupus, which is problematic because this is the age group that is most at risk for developing the disease. 

Sources: The Lupus Foundation of America: What is Lupus and The Lupus Foundation of America: Lupus Facts and Statistics