Now trying Lithium out for a mood stabilizer….. it’s not doing fun things to my stomach, but at least although there haven’t been changes that have been too noticeable yet, my anxiety does seem to be a little less. I’m also feeling a bit less depressed, but that could just be that my hormones have shifted.

On the IUD/endo front things are… interesting. The good news is that my periods are much lighter, almost to the point of non-existent as far as bleeding goes. The bad news is that this month I’m having a terrible period pain wise….. yesterday was the worst, but today hasn’t been fun (though I have managed to just get by with OTC meds today for pain)….

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September 12th-18th is Invisible Illness Week. We all know that awareness is so important, and part of events for that week is the 30 things that affect us living with illness, and perhaps will help to gain a wee bit of understanding.

1. The illness I live with is: Endometriosis, fibromyalgia, interstitial cystitis, vulvodynia, vaginismus, lupus (SLE), bipolar disorder
2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011.
3. But I had symptoms since: For years… .some my entire life, some just a few years…. most since my teen years at the latest.
4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: Listening to my body
5. Most people assume: That because I’m so young I can’t be so ill.
6. The hardest part about mornings are: Getting out of bed, whether it’s actually am, or just when I wake up.
7. My favorite medical TV show is: None, I can’t stand them! – The closest I get is Sons of Anarchy, where one of the women is a doctor.
8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: laptop/pc
9. The hardest part about nights are: When it starts cooling off more my pain goes up.
10. Each day I take a minimum of 8 pills & vitamins….. usually I add at least 4 or 5….. in the form of pain management.
11. Regarding alternative treatments I: Don’t usually take them, but I am willing to consider them and talk to my doctors about them. I do have an alternative treatment I use to help my liver with all the other meds I take.
12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: I really don’t have an answer for this. They both come with different challenges. I think I’d stick with what I know.
13. Regarding working and career: I am currently unable to work. I’m trying to get my health back enough to work part time again.
14. People would be surprised to know: How it is so hard some days and so easy on others….
15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: losing hopes and dreams, and struggling to get them back.
16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: have a biological child, and deliver vaginally.
17. The commercials about my illness: are terrible. At least the PSAs about lupus, done by lupus patients are ok.
18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: signing
19. It was really hard to have to give up: sign language
20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: crocheting
21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: go to the beach and play in the ocean with my kids.
22. My illness has taught me: that I can and will survive through a lot of difficult times!
23. Want to know a secret? Sex hurts, and I usually pay for it afterwards, but Johnny and I still have a sex life through it all. (This is HUGE when you understand how sex is (or rather ISN’T for most people with chronic illness who I’ve spoken to)
24. But I love it when people: Try to understand and learn about what we are going through.
25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” Dr. Seuss
26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: Research. Lots of research. Advocate for yourself off that research. If your doctor isn’t treating you how you think they should be, get another opinion (3 years into diagnosed lupus I’m going to be doing this soon, if things don’t change during my next appt, as my lupus has become more active again). Listen to your body.
27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: I’m not really sure…. I guess how much of a difference just having a name for what’s wrong with me changes things.
28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: make a meal for me, or clean the bathtub for me so I could take a bath.
29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: We desperately need awareness and research and understanding!
30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: so very grateful to you and for you being in my life!

This post may be TMI, but I don’t care. As I’ve said in the past, this is my life, and if it’s TMI… stop being a part of it!

I’m starting to wonder if there isn’t something wrong with my bowels, though it could just be adhesions from the endo….. every time my bowels get upset I get sharp pains in specific areas… the same specific areas….

Also, peanut butter seems to be one of the culprits… I know regular peanut butter definitely is…. I’m not sure if this morning’s issues are the natural pb I ate yesterday (I don’t think so, since this is the first attack of the bowels, and I have had it over the last couple days fine, and with the regular pb it strikes pretty quickly) or if it’s the med withdrawals because I slept through when I was supposed to take pain meds, and since I had to use them heavily yesterday and the day before I need to wean back down…..

I just know this is terrible and hurts and is gross. 😦

I don’t share good news often enough.
In fact I’m not even sure I’ve mentioned my IUD placement at all on my blogs.

I had an IUD placed in… I believe it was early May….. and although I have some discomfort physically, over all it seems to actually be working to treat my endo! The only other thing (aside from surgery) that has helped was the birth control patch, which I had to use without any breaks, so that I wouldn’t bleed at all!

Yay for working birth control and endo control! I wanted to wait until I had at least a couple months of it before really talking about how it’s helping, and I hope it continues to, because it’s so nice to not have to worry about taking a pill daily or anything!

Infection seems to be a bit more controlled right now…. second round of antibiotics, and I’m going to be needing a partial third round to get to the appt, otherwise it’ll just come back up in the meantime.

My jaw finally doesn’t have a golf ball attached though! I’ve seriously had a ton of inflammation, and have had to use different meds to get it down so it wouldn’t swell my throat shut. I’ve still got some inflammation, but not like I was having!

Ummmm…. IUD string cutting and check was today, things look awesome, my body is actually acting like it should with the IUD (as far as the ways it works as birth control) and I seem to be getting relief from the endo…. I can’t remember the last time I had this few cramps in a month… it’s been over 3 years ago….. I had a few months where my endo wasn’t bugging me after my last surgery (4 years ago), but I had to go back on birth control to help keep it from bugging me as much 3 1/2 years ago, and 3 years ago it got bad enough again that the doctor had me on continuous birth control, which worked well until my lupus took away that option…

My lupus is flaring, but it’s seeming to be a steady flare, not one that really has anything out of the ordinary, and since my lupus is constantly at some level of a flare, I’ll take the constant i’ve had lately…. especially since *gasp* I”m able to use stair cases, and I can walk more, and everything else! I think this is a combo of the psych drugs, the weather change, and just all around starting to feel a bit better from all that’s gone on…. things are leveling out physically and emotionally for me!

I think that’s all the updates I have…..

So I have a cyst that seems to be getting ready to pop (yes… even though I’m right around the third trimester – either I hit it Monday, or last Monday was the big day, depending on where you look) I’m still dealing with cysts… I seem to have had them the whole pregnancy.
I decided awhile ago I was going to come lay down in our bed and take a nap…. after laying here for a bit I started having a lot of pain hit….. running from just below my lowest ribs on my left side, to mid thigh… .eventually it started running all the way down my left to my foot….. I ended up nauseated and having just a lot of pain…
Thankfullly I still had the laptop in our room from last night when I was trying to wind down for sleep… so I was able to roll over and grab it, start it up, and message Johnny asking him to get me ginger brew (Reeds Extra Ginger Brew is a wonderful thing), toast and some pain meds… and he did it for me. He then helped me sit up so I could actually use those things… and brought my glasses to me so I can lay here using the laptop and distract myself.
I’m so tired of cysts though… yet another sign I shouldn’t do another pregnancy… at least when I’m not pregnant they only happen every 3 cycles at the most frequent… they’ve been continuous while pregnant though. 😦

The good in all of this… that I had the laptop in here with me and was able to get Johnny’s help without having to drag myself out of bed (not sure how I’d have done so) and get those things… I think I’d have just stayed in bed sobbing until he checked on me in a couple of hours if I hadn’t had it. 😦

So cysts aren’t uncommon in my life. I rarely get documentation of anything but “functional” cysts, which have to do with ovulation, but I do end up with cysts every few months generally … I should say I get painful ones that often, I obviously get “functional cysts” every month when I’m not pregnant as I ovulate, but other than that. I have had endometriomas (two or three of htem at once) documented before, and I’ve had evidence of resolved cysts, but it’s odd for me to have anything actually show up… of course I also don’t go since I know they do resolve themselves one way or another… if I start having symptoms of something wrong with a cyst in the future I’ll go get checked, but so far they’ve never gotten dangerous.
I have had what is a suspected cyst once so far this pregnancy that resolved itself… even my OB agreed it sounded like a cyst, but by the time I was at an ultrasound appointment again 1) the pain had gone away and 2) I was far enough along that they couldn’t get a shot of my ovaries anymore. Today I noticed I’m having that pain on my left side now…. it’s just a certain type of pain, and usually since it’s pretty centered in an area it’s obvious it’s not just endo flares. We’ll see what happens this time around with the cyst. :/
In cyst related news… a family member (I will leave privacy intact and just leave it there, not my news to tell, other than how it affects me) has been diagnosed with PCOS recently. Please keep her (and her spouse) in your thoughts as they deal with this and the infertility related to it. Anyway… this helps strengthen my wonder if maybe I have a mild case of PCOS and that’s why I have these cysts, or at least why I get them as often as I do. There are a couple of family members who have had cyst issues in the past… one I suspect endo in because of the family connection there, and one who may have PCOS from what I understand… though I have heard this through another family member, the PCOS suspicion in this other relative has not been diagnosed (though there was apparently cyst activity there, again heard through another family member, who should be in the know), and the family member in this instance never mentioned cysts or any of that to me. So this could be another part of the puzzle for me. All I know… something causes me to regularly have cysts, which (thankfully) resolve themselves.
Other things (well thing…)…. I have a cold sore, and it’s driving me nuts. And… I can’t treat them the way normal people can treat theirs…. I don’t know what it is about the lupus becoming a more active part of my life, but for some reason instead of healing my cold sores, all the creams and things just make them last longer and get worse. 😦 I have yet to find (in the past two years or so) a treatment I can actually use. 😦 Hopefully one of these days I’ll at least find a way to take some of the sting out again….
A friend recommended apple cider vinegar on them… I’m going to try that. She said it stings when you do it (not surprising considering it’s vinegar, but I am grateful for the warning), but if it shortens the time and nastiness of this cold sore, I’m all for it!!