It’s A Dog, It’s A Cat, It’s….

Some days I wonder if the four-footed one is part cat. Not that you can see it in her appearance, so I assume it would be way back in her bloodline. It is more in the way she moves and responds to certain things.

For example, there are darling birds in one of our trees. Now and then, the birds like to fly down and peck around in the ground. If little Miss Four-Feet is near them, she will get into a crouching stalk-like stance and start to stalk them. Ever so slowly does she make her way to them, until she knows that she can make an easy leap to snatch them. She forgets they are birds, so they can fly away before she actually gets them between her paws.

She is determined though, perhaps she also got nine lives of type, in this case, nine lives of determination and trying. So far, she hasn’t caught any birds, but that doesn’t stop her from trying. Try she does, with her whole being! And each time she comes up shocked and surprised, there is no bird between her cute little paws, but she can see them chirping at her from a branch just beyond her reach.

Small Radar Of Sorts

There are times that I wonder if the four-footed one doesn’t have built-in radar. Her hearing is excellent: touch a bag within a block of her, and it seems she can hear it. Her radar, however, kicks in far before I am within a block of our house.

My neighbor told the other day that the four-footed one bounced up from deep sleep to wait for my return from the market. That day I happened to come home with two bags with items she likes to eat. The market is more than a block away, and from what my neighbor said, she sat there for the full thirty minutes it takes to walk home.

Let me tell you, the enthusiasm she greeted me with was terrific. Of course, once I set the bags down, she wasn’t interested in me, she started rooting through the bags on her own.

I’m pretty sure you could hear her snuffling for miles around. To be honest, I’m surprised she didn’t inhale any of the items with how hard she was sniffing, and how far into the bag she had stuck her small face.

She reminds me, every day, how powerful and strong she is, despite looking so small and delicate!

Breaking The Rules For A Moment

Have you ever done something because it feels good even though you know you shouldn’t do it? Maybe you completely blew your healthy eating plan off for the day and enjoyed all the foods you ignore. If you did that, you probably decided that moderation could be tossed to the wind for the day as well.

It’s okay; you are human, after all. We all have these moments. Most likely, after you’ve had that moment of pure joy, you go back to taking care of yourself and doing what you should do. That is until the next time you decide to do something different. No harm, no foul, right?

When you have a chronic illness like lupus, doing something that you aren’t supposed to, something that isn’t in keeping with maintaining your health can come back and bite you in the form of being sicker or messing up your blood work. I’ve stood in the sun even though it doesn’t agree with lupus. And yes, I have paid dearly for it later on in the form of a flare. Sure, I’ve eaten stuff I shouldn’t have eaten, and lupus has thrown a tantrum. Hey, I’m human; sometimes, I do things despite lupus.

Dancing In The Dark With A Sheet

When I was young, I would hide from the lurking nocturnal monsters by throwing the sheets over my head. I used the theory that if I couldn’t see them, they surely couldn’t see me and would leave me alone. Why I never thought that they would see the lump in the bed and go to investigate I have no clue.

Of course, those monsters weren’t real, so hiding under the sheets was an appropriate measure. One cannot say the same for the monster that I now live with–lupus.

Like the monsters that used to scare me, lupus is as an invisible illness. There are rarely outward signs that I have lupus, and those that may be visible (my swollen joints and rash) belie the severe nature of this condition.

Lupus has tasted my weakness and struck my kidneys and liver. Medications try to keep this monster at bay and allow me a “typical” life. However, all of this is a dance with a creature that picks the music and the style of dance. I stumble along as best I can, knowing that the medications are the equivalent of having the skills to dance and easily shift into the movements with the creature, but also knowing that it means I may be a step behind.

So if you should see someone dancing with a sheet on, rest assured it’s me, dancing with lupus while trying to hide from it.

Lupus, Cellphones, And Chargers

If I could recharge myself as easily as I do my cellphone, life would be easier. Living with lupus means that there are days when I feel like I’m running on empty with no means of filling my energy tanks or charging my battery.

It would be amazing to plug myself in and, after a few hours, be renewed and reenergized. Currently, what happens is neither fun nor straightforward. It involves days of struggle, lots of rest, frustration, tears, and confusion. Eventually, though, I gain some energy back.

I like to tell people that the way I usually operate is akin to a cellphone that never gets fully charged. It isn’t for lack of time in the charger. It also isn’t for lack of trying. It is the nature of the illness, at least for me it is.

Hopefully, they will soon find a way to solve this and other mysteries that come with this condition. Until then, I guess I will keep trying to keep my battery as charged as I can, sort of like an old cellphone with a finicky charger!

The Great Lupus Swap

They say that if you had a chance to choose anyone else’s problems, you would grab your own again. Mostly because those are the ones you are familiar with. I wonder if it is the same when it comes to chronic conditions.

I mean, would you toss out your chronic condition for the joys of living with lupus? I have a friend with diabetes who used to say he would gladly swap it for any other illness. He complains about the finger pricks for blood tests, managing his diet and lifestyle to ensure he has the best outcomes possible.

Recently, I asked him if he’d be willing to swap diabetes for lupus. He said he’d do some research and get back to me in a few hours. Now I know that technically this is impossible to do, the swapping of illnesses, but I wanted to see what he’d do in the end.

A few hours later, he told me that his illness was more predictable and less likely to get too intense. In other words, no, he wasn’t going to swap after all. If anyone’s interested, I’m willing to trade!

Lupus, It’s Complicated

No one said living with lupus would be easy; in fact, no one really told me much about living with lupus after my diagnosis. Sure, there was a list of things provided, such as avoiding sunlight and getting plenty of rest. I wouldn’t call that preparation, though.

It was just another annoyance in a long line of annoyances leading up to my diagnosis. You see, lupus has no definitive and straightforward test that comes back positive or negative. Instead, there are blood tests for inflammation, blood counts, sedimentation rates, as well as, liver and kidney tests. But not one of these tests will come back and scream “positive for lupus.”

In addition to these tests, doctors will assess symptoms such as fatigue that doesn’t go away with rest; low-grade fevers with no other illnesses; rashes, especially butterfly ones across the cheeks and bridge of the nose; joint pain with swelling and stiffness; photosensitivity and fingers/toes that turn blue or white with cold and stress.

I guess, given how lupus likes to mimic other illnesses as well as how challenging it is to diagnose, it stands to reason that living with it is is also a challenge.