Thursday, August 25, 2011


After almost a month of some serious fever-running, poor-sleeping, joint-swelling, flaring, I decided to try out acupuncture while my doc and I are waiting for some labs to come back. I did my second session yesterday.

And there has been improvement :)

Since the first session last week, I have slept all the way through the night (yay for no more waking up hurting!) and even though I am still running a fever a couple of times during the day, I am no longer CONSTANTLY running a fever, and the temp is lower. So yay for progress!

I am going to do one more session next week - we are hoping that my joint pain starts to go away too. If it doesn't, next week's session will be more localized on the joints causing the most pain.

I'm going to a different acupuncture place than I did for The Back and I like this place much better. Acupuncture doesn't hurt, but it can have its uncomfortable moments (like realizing you have 24 needles stuck in your feet, legs, hands, arms, stomach, and collarbone), you do feel the prick of the needle, especially since she is using a larger gauge needle for me (I think it's because of how much inflammation I have...), but after the needles are in, I get to lie in a spa-ish room with nice music for about 45 minutes. I totally nap :). For the most part, I don't feel the removal of the needles, but I do bleed a bit for some of them, and I have had two small bruises form. All in all, I don't mind acupuncture, and I am thankful that it is working!

One interesting tidbit, with my flares, my appetite goes all weird, as in, I don't have one. So when I saw her yesterday, it was already past lunch time and I hadn't eaten yet since I wasn't hungry. She pushed on a spot on my inner ankle and asked, is this tender? Oh, it was. JAB. Needle in. And my stomach started growling!!! Apparently, that particular spot is connected to my spleen and my stomach. Who knew!? And when she put in the one in my stomach, more growling! (granted, my appetite is back to its lowness state today, but don't worry, I am making sure I eat enough :) ). Anyhow, I just found that interesting.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Living room updates

Two more living room projects tackled: a new ceiling fan and adding the additional pops of color to compliment my Soviet propaganda poster that I mentioned here. However, the ceiling fan project isn't quite finished. Turns out, I have a defective ceiling fan - the motor grinds something awful, so it will soon come down and be shipped back for a replacement. However, I do LOVE it and glad I took so much time to find the right one for the space.


Notice the pops of blue and yellow? (Big thanks to Erin W. for the pillow recommendations from CB2!).

Close up of the fan (Please note, I didn't mean to match the fan to the propellers of the B-36 on the wall...but, apparently I subconsciously did exactly that!)


In July, I went back to AZ to meet my friend Lynn's new little addition, Brooklyn, and I also got to spend time my my bestie, Tima, and her little guy Aiden. I grabbed some pictures from their pages (since I didn't take any, how bad of an auntie am I!?) It is so much fun watch your dear friends become and be mommies :)


Lynn's kiddos - Roman and Brooklyn

Aiden giving kisses

Me and Aiden

Practicing what Aiden's learned at swim class

This picture just makes me laugh a lot. It may become my new desktop.

Beautiful family. And I have this EXACT same picture - but with me and my parents :) (with cactus in the background too!)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Dust and Water

My friend Jessica and I are reading through John Bunyan's "The Pilgrim's Progress". It was written in 1678, so the language brings a few challenges at times, but the descriptive illustrations are as applicable today as they were back then. I was floored today when I read about the room.

The main character, Christian, has a conversation with Interpreter while they are standing watching a man try to sweep a horribly dusty room. The room just gets more and more filled with dusty clouds as the man tries to sweep and clean, to the point that Christian starts coughing and has trouble breathing. Then a door to the room opens and a woman walks in and lightly sprinkles the room with water, and begins cleaning. The water, of course, settles the dust so that it can easily cleaned up. I'm going to summarize Interpreter's explanation of this to Christian, but I've copied the passage below and encourage you to take the time to read it because it's so good.

Interpreter tells Christian that the room is a man's heart and the dust is his sin. The act of sweeping is the Law (Old Testament and if you allow me the extension, our human methods of trying to better ourselves), the Law reveals dust but cannot clean the dust, it just moves it around to different piles in the room. The water that was sprinkled in the room is the Gospel, it clings to the sin, nullifies it, and is easily cleaned up, leaving the room fit for Christ to inhabit.

What a great reminder of the work of the Gospel in my heart! I was dusty and now I am not! And yet, the Gospel continually cleanses me, sweeping out those dust bunnies that collect, as He continues to grow me to be more like Him.- I can't cleanse myself from sin, but God can and I am so thankful for His grace.

Actual passage:

"The parlour (room) is the heart of a man that was never sanctified by the sweet grace of the Gospel; that dust is his original sin, and inward corruptions that have defiled the whole man. He that began to sweep at first is the Law, but she that brought water, and did sprinkle it, is the Gospel. Now, whereas thou sawest that so soon as the first began to sweep, the dust did so fly about that the room by him could not be cleansed, but that thou wast almost choked therewith, this is to show thee that the Law, instead of cleansing the heart (by its working) from sin, doth revive, put strength into, and increase it in the soul, even as it doth discover and forbid it, for it doth not give power to subdue.
Again, as thou sawest the damsel sprinkle the room with water, upon which it was cleansed with pleasure: this is to show thee that when the Gospel comes in the sweet and precious influences thereof to the heart, then I say, even as though sawest the damsel lay the dust by sprinkling the floor with water so is sin vanquished and subdued, and the soul made clean, through the faith of it; and consequently fit for the King of Glory to inhabit"

Friday, August 5, 2011

My new toy!!!

The trainers ready to be distributed (minus mine)
It's a trainer!!!

No, not like "hey I hired a personal trainer". A bike trainer. I can now ride my bike indoors!

All thanks once again to the most awesome of awesome bike stores who is willing to negotiate with me (like with my bike, and my cycling shoes, and my bike rack).

Six of my coworkers/friends also wanted to invest in a trainer. So when I took my bike to the shop for a tune-up (and to adjust my bike computer), I told the owner that I wanted to talk to him about purchasing a trainer. He asked me which one I wanted. I told him the Magneto and that I wanted 6 of them. And I asked what kind of a deal we could work out. He did a quick search online to find out the retail price and gave me an offer. I counteroffered $15 lower and he accepted it! I ended up getting each of the trainers for $100 off the retail price!!!! And two climbing blocks for 50% off! (I can put the climbing block under my front wheel and it's like I am instantly riding up a hill...oh joy...)

Putting it together

Ready to ride!

Gone are the fears of weekday rides in rush hour traffic. Of not being able to ride due to bad weather. I can just hop on my trainer and still get in a good ride (in fact, many pro triathletes do most of their week day rides on a trainer and save the long weekend rides for the real road). Can't wait to try it out!

Ode to Flare (up)

(Nerd sidenote: thought this picture was appropriate cause of all the recent solar weather :) )

Flare-up. Or as most auto-immune disease sufferers say: a flare.

Flare-up (compliments of Webster)

1: a sudden outburst or intensification
2: a sudden bursting (as of a smoldering fire) into flame or light

Autoimmune diseases are interesting creatures. They vary incredibly from patient to patient. One can test positive for one disease and negative for another, yet still have symptoms of that disease. New symptoms can pop up and symptoms can disappear completely. A large majority of people with autoimmune symptoms thankfully live a large portion of their lives with minimal symptoms and then a flare occurs and you're just miserable.

When it comes to sharing about my disease, I always think: "should I really post this, is is too much information?".

But after realizing that I would tell everything that I post to anyone who asks (this isn't a secret!), I post:

To share what God teaches me through my disease
2) To help myself process what I learn through each up and down
3) To help people understand autoimmune disease better
4) To attempt to encourage those who are suffering, or who know someone who is suffering

I haven't had a flare since last fall (it was a LONG flare, but settled by January). However, I've been flaring for almost two weeks now. For me, a flare means my joints hurt, I run a low grade fever almost constantly, I start feeling worse as the day grows later and I have no energy. For me, which joints are affected changes from day to day. For this flare - it has been my fingers, wrists, toes, ankles, and shoulders (upper back), with a dose of my SI joints thrown in every few days or so. Flares can last days, weeks, months. It is always different and you never know exactly what to expect or when your immune system is going to start behaving again.

I am thankful that my flares only worsen in the evening, which means I can still be productive at work and feel fairly normal until about 4pm (woot for being a natural morning person!). I've found morning workouts are okay as long as they are not too intense and I stagger them every other day; in fact, they help work out some of the joint stiffness. I crawl into bed around 7 or 730pm because usually I am hurting so bad by then that it takes awhile to fall asleep and I usually wake up during the night hurting. I curtail evening activities, because while I have gotten pretty good at pretending I feel okay so I can still have a decent social life during flares, it does take a lot out of you!

For this flare, my rheumatologist put me on some oral steroids for two weeks (IV steroids didn't work last time and we're still not sure if my usual steroid injections helped in making my back go all wonky). Four days into the steroids, I've seen a slight improvement...not as great as I would have hoped. The next step is tweaking my immuno-suppressive meds - according to the doc I still have a lot of wiggle room. But we just tweaked them last year too...I don't like it when my body destabilizes so quickly. Silly body.

I've noticed during this flare, that I am handling it better spiritually and emotionally. Trusting God more, not getting as frustrated when I have to cancel hanging out with a friend 'cause I just don't feel like putting on a smile-mask anymore. Taking one day at a time and doing what I can each day. Now, I am not perfect. Oh no. Believe me, there have been some tearful nights lately where I just HURT and I am sick of the struggle. But God is good to remind me that there is a reason for all of this (of course, He hasn't revealed that yet, but there is still peace in the thought :) ). I am learning so much about Him. He doesn't give me more than He and I can handle. And His plan is more incredible than I could ever imagine. So I focus on that when I start hurting really bad (and then pray to fall asleep REALLY quickly ;) ).

So, here's to this flare ending shortly. Don't take good health for granted. Do what you can.