Brittle Asthma

There is Asthma and then there is:

Defined:

brittle asthma

A rare form of ASTHMA affecting mainly females and featuring sudden, very severe, often life-threatening attacks. Those affected have a mild degree of immune deficiency, with poorly-controlled asthma in spite of substantial doses of inhaled steroids and wide diurnal swings in their peak flow meter readings. The term is also applied to people whose asthma is normally well controlled but who, nevertheless, suffer occasional sudden severe attacks. Brittle Asthma. (n.d.) Collins Dictionary of Medicine. (2004, 2005). Retrieved June 13 2016 from http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/brittle+asthma 

Asthma Disease

 

There is nothing more we take for granted than breathing. Hell even I take it for granted, that is until I can’t. Let me paint you a picture, a very real picture. It often starts with coughing or some form of chest tightness. Unfortunately, it never stays that simple for long. Within minutes the chest tightness goes from 0-100. It was a normal Thursday, you know get up, get ready, get little man ready, rush out the door, get little man to day care… But this Thursday was different. 4:28am brought with it a dream that I was drowning, shortly after that I was up gasping for air and attached to my home nebulizer. Crazy how the body works.

It never ceases to amaze me the strength within.  Instead of going to work I found myself in the parking lot of the ER. I thought it would be an easy visit and for all outsiders it was. Simply because I refused to be admitted, yes you have to stick up for what you want or need. Unfortunately, I have not bounced back as quickly as I had hoped. Four day’s later and I am still struggling. Something as simple as putting my clothes on has me breathing like a 90 year old chain smoker. Getting in my car this morning had me sitting and utilizing my rescue inhaler. There is nothing like feeling like you are breathing through a straw. Ever try it?

Some day’s… Day’s like the last four have me mad… Mad at my body, mad about these diseases that take over. No matter how hard I fight, try being healthy, eating healthy, taking vitamins, attending my appointments, sometimes I feel like I lose anyway. Something as simple as not keeping up with my little guy shatters a piece of me. I will never stop fighting, but damn it if I don’t come close some day’s to just saying FUCK IT! I can’t tell you how many day’s I come so very close to staying in bed. 🙂 Some how I crawl out and push forward, but it’s a close call.

Keep fighting my friends… Keep getting out of bed… I am there with you!

XOXO,

Undefeated Diva.

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Keep your head up…

Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world straight in the eye.

It is not always easy to hold your head up in the middle of a storm For many reasons it’s easier to look down. The only reason I look down is because it is the path of least resistance. When you are in the center of a storm, the last thing you want to do is answer questions. To answer questions or cater to anyone else’s emotions, do they not see you are in need of your own TLC? So to me it has always been easier to keep trucking. Often times people take not holding one’s head up as a sign of an insecurity. I often wonder if these people ever stop to think, maybe we just don’t want to talk to you it has nothing to do with insecurities. I quite frankly am very secure in who I am. Keeping my head low has nothing to do with who I am or how I feel about myself.

SO, on with today’s lesson. I spoke to someone I haven’t seen since I was around 7 years old. He was a good friend of the family and he told me today that whatever I do to keep my head up. You would think I had never hear this before, for heaven sakes I give this advice all of the time. Today, it was a little different. Today it hit me differently. I was hearing this message from someone I had not seen in over 20 years but someone that I considered family regardless of the distance. He told me ” Life is going to throw you things and with each passing decade it will throw you more difficulties, but it is up to you to hold your head up through the storm”. It may not sound as profound as it was but it was one of those moments where I took stock of everything around me for fear of forgetting that moment. Maybe it was profound because it was advice not given to me by just anyone. Maybe it was profound because it wasn’t someone just shooting from the hip and giving me advice that didn’t know me from a hole in the wall. Either way it was profound.

In that moment I took stock. I realized I have been in serious self preservation mode for nearly 6 months and probably longer. My current woes are no more serious or important than the next person. Self preservation is not bad, but when you allow self preservation to be all you live well that is no longer healthy. So today I looked up for the first time. I realized I was not looking people in the eye’s any more, today I did. I realized that although I am in the middle of what is one of the toughest years of my life, that I need to look up and hold my head high. Realistically, how else would I see the beauty ahead?

Everyone remember:

Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light! 

Albus Dumbledore

XOXO

Undefeated Diva

Getting to know the new me…

Sometimes it’s the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination.

I have searched for the eject button on the recent path of my journey, to no avail. In the years since my diagnosis I have done what I always do, plow through, head held high, never looking back. As of late that methodology has not been as comforting. Life’s lemons are still sitting on my porch waiting to be made into it’s potent beverage. I have stared at them not quite understanding what to do with them, as my normal kick ass, straight forward approach has had me coming up drained and in the same place. Stagnant and drained are pretty substantial words to describe my current state of being. I have pondered and scoured for an answer to the “why” and it wasn’t until several days ago that I found the answer.

Let me be clear, my friendship with my chronic illnesses is nothing new. We are several years in and I thought that I had gotten a nice hold on them. What I wasn’t ready to admit to myself or the world around me was that, I no longer knew who I saw in the mirror. She looked familiar, she sounded familiar, but all in all not the same person. Really, it should have come as no surprise to me but it surly was. As I was in my beautiful world of deep cleaning and ridiculously loud music this week, the answer to the why was so very clear.

I no longer knew myself.

For someone that knew who she was and where she was going in life at a ridiculously young age this was a catastrophic blow. It all made sense though. The feeling of being lost and alone even when I was surrounded by the people that loved me most. The feeling of unease and uncertainty when I had the best support system someone could ask for. It all made perfect sense. When all you know is this semblance of a person that handles life with a vigorous fire that can never be snuffed, then you find yourself confused and depleted from life’s lemonade, you can’t help but feel shaken down. Right now, in my life I am getting a shake down. One day I woke up and I was in another body that had unimaginable pains, unclear thoughts from what could only be described as a foggy state, and a back bone that no longer stood straight. Who was this person? How did this happen?

Getting diagnosed wasn’t the hard part, reacquainting myself… well, with myself has been the most excruciating experience. Trying to do this while living life on life’s terms, well now your asking for too much. Having to work, be a wife, a daughter, and fuck it a productive member of society… All the while trying to understand what happened to you… Now that’s a damn epic mission. Nevertheless, I realized it and all of the missing pieces came together. I hadn’t realized that it was going to be a grieving process or even a process period. The vibrant woman was now a slower moving version of who she used to be. A more jaded and fatigued version of who she used to be. The woman that looks back at me in the mirror is tired, depleted, and honestly a little angry… Not the old me that was the fire spitting free spirit with endless energy. Can I place all of the blame on chronic illnesses? Well sure I can but that’s not who I am. I take responsibility for my actions and my part in the situation. I could have done more about my illnesses. I could have done some more soul searching. In the end, I won’t look back at what I could have done, to me thats a waste of perfectly good brain cells that I should preserve for days that the brain fog sets in.

So where do I go from here I asked myself. Well to the beach of course! So I find myself at the beach, searching for answers to questions I thought I already had the answers to. I am searching for answers and way to steer this new way of life for me. To figure out how to still be that firecracker powerhouse that is determined to teach the world all the while possessing a body that does not match the soul.

What I have come to realize in all of this is, this is normal guys. I am no different than anyone going through any struggle. It is real, it is normal, and it is going to be O.K. Now I just need to find sticky notes to help with the brain fog and some great heels!

Until Next Time.

 

XOXO,

Undefeated Diva!

My Wrist Bling (Review)!

If I had my way, I’d wear jewelry, a great pair of heels and nothing else.
Jada Pinkett Smith

I love personalization… Anything with my personal touch or something sentimental has my vote!

Today, I received the most beautiful wrist bling. When I was first diagnosed, I felt like I was alone in the world on the never ending roller coaster ride filled of doctors visits and symptoms. The last 3 years have been filled with some of the most amazing moments… Today was one of them.

Last year I joined instagram and it I learned quickly the power of social media. I now never feel alone! I have a family constructed of the most beautiful and caring people in the world. In my lows I have sunshine and support, in my highs I have support and a team that would rival the olympic team.

Now, one of my beautiful Lupus Sisters makes some bling. I have seen so many of my other beautiful family members get her bling. I finally decided to jump in… and I am so excited and happy with the results.

Review:

From the first moment of interaction about the bracelet her customer service was impeccable. Foxxy took her time to explain the process in detail and took the time to ask in depth questions to get the concept of what I was looking to do. She asked questions, made suggestions, and allowed me to make a change before she sent the finished product.

Upon completion, she sent me the tracking information for my bracelets. They arrived so fast that I did not even get to the tracking information! When I opened the package, there was personalization everywhere. The personal touches and customer service were everywhere. When I opened the box, I was blown away. The quality was phenomenal. I initially had fears with the quality of a “stretchy” charm bracelet. I learned immediately that was not the case. Dare I say that my bling was better than the picture proofs she sent. When I put my bling on, the bracelet was heavy. The quality is superb. The color scheme was wonderful! Iw as so very surprised to find extra personal touches I did not see in the proof. There is nothing about the bracelets that don’t scream “I AM AMAZING and was made with love and care”. What I love most about my bling is that it was it is personal to me! It encompasses the essence of Undefeated Diva. (see photos below)

(The gloves signify undefeated)

So I say, if you are looking for impeccable customer service, personalized bling, and quality product made with love… I recommend http://foxxycharms.bigcartel.com.

 

Thank you Foxxy for my beautiful bling. I think I just found a great idea for christmas!

 

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I dare you say something!!!

“Not guilty by reason of Prednisone”
Gorgon

BOOM! You have a flare up, you stub your toe, you have chest pain, body aches. Just pick a complication, because 9 times out of 10 the treatment plan is still the same…Drum roll please….. STEROIDS… Most often Prednisone, but steroids come in several shapes and dosages.

You get sent home and reap the reprucussions of the side effects, of a medicine that is keeping you alive. The list of side effects to steroids is endless, but for me I cringe at the thought of the wrath. The silent hunger that creeps up on you and wakes you out of a dead sleep (when/if you can actually obtain it). A hunger that claws at your insides like you have not eaten in days… When honestly it has only been 2 hours! This of course is only one of many side effects. For me, a short fuse would not begin to describe the C4 loaded box in my chest. I know it’s there, I know why I am emotional, but hell if I can control the explosion once it is ignited; most often over nothing… *BOOM*

Then as the dust settles, if you are any type of human being you assess the casualties. Often times leaving in it’s wake it’s share of emotional hurt or pain. I am not saying this is right, but at least I am human enough to admit the truth. This is the problem ladies and gentlemen, often times people say they are being “real” when in all honesty it is the “real” they want to portray. Well, me, I am here to give it to you straight. If you don’t like it, well thats okay. I would be doing everyone an injustice if I sugarcoated even a word in my blogs. The down and dirty, good/bad/and sometimes ugly truth, SHIT HAPPENS and chronic illness SUCKS…

So to make me happy… Tonight as I wrote this up, I partook in a mini fiesta in my kitchen! I’ll give it to you guys, it did in fact look like I was hiding something; As I stood in the corner of my kitchen with only the light from my iPhone flashlight, going to TOWN on some amazing chips and dips… I laughed, because I sure as hell had NO SHAME! I had ignored the hunger for so long that the hunger pains actually ensued. My stomach started cramping up and the nausea kicked into hyperdrive… SO I had a choice… Eat the chocolates in my nightstand (resealable bag!) or get up and grab something more.

I will admit, I was craving the ultimate Philly Cheesesteak at that moment. In the end, I ended up with my small little fiesta and boy it was a party in my mouth! My fellow spoonies out there know what I am talking about. The first bite of whatever meal or snack you have when your on steroids is like nirvana. You could be eating a damn burnt hot dog and it tastes like the best meal in the world! My chips and dip did just that. The first bite of my chip, I threw my head back and “mmmm”. It sounds insane, because frankly it is. How could a medicine that is supposed to help you stay alive wreak so much havoc on you. Haven’t you been through enough? I mean for heaven sake you are on the medicine because you are not well.

 

NEVERTHELESS… Exhibit A below is a picture of my 12:17am fiesta! It hit the spot so well, I am thinking I may actually get some sleep tonight! SO, to my fellow spoonies out there suffering from midnight, midday, mid-second hunger/craving pains… I’VE GOT YO BACK! Ain’t No Shame In My Game! Eat, not to the point of being sick… but eat. I snack regularly, I eat fruits for snacks such as bananas (to keep the Potassium balances (Yet another problem from steroids)). I also get the 100 cal snack packs and although I may eat more than one, it is better then eating a damn Philly at 3 am!

In the end, I dare someone say something to me. I almost beg for someone to say something because I would use the opportunity to ask this…

What would you do if the medicine that was supposed to save your life, is also killing you slowly?

(YOU EAT CHIPS AND DIPS! BOOM)

🙂 Good Night and sweet dreams!

 

XOXO,

ME!

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Making Lupus Look Good!

Thought I would take a moment to share with all of you, the Shinanigans going on in my Instagram/Facebook world.
“My beautiful and brilliant Twisted Twin sista from another mista @lupusdiva called me out to do this sexy and beautiful Lupus Collage Challenge! Put up your sexy and gorgeous pictures so we can all continue to make lupus look amazing! Call as many lupus ladies as you would like… I call my beautiful Spoonie sisters @erinmeghan23 @walker_eleni @divacor @thuggin_wit_lupus … AND fuck it because I go against the grain my Spoonie Brother @lupusbro927 can’t leave him hanging!!!!!”

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It was nice to see all of the beautiful faces of Lupus/Chronic Illness. I wanted to share my post from IG …

XOXO,

Undefeated Diva

Even the fiery advocate gets tired…

Man has got to know his limitations. Clint Eastwood

“Oh you look better”, “you don’t look sick”… Or the ever agonizing look of pity or question of whether you are faking it…

I was ashamed of myself when I walked out of the doors of my school today. Sunglasses on, bags on my shoulders, I just left after what should have been me waiting to speak to my advisor. See, because even the fiery advocates get tired of advocating sometimes.

Unfortunately, this semester of college has been one of my toughest. I have been in the middle of a flare up of epic proportions. Although I have my good days, those have been farther and farther apart. The good days are actually bad day’s that I have medicated myself, slept for 2 days prior to them, yet still take 2 hours to get dressed. Often times I wonder if I will even make it to class most Wednesdays, never really thinking about the on-line classes I can’t seem to wrap my brain around due to the epic brain fog. Today I had the option of sitting with my advisor, which happens to also be a current professor of mine. I sat while she spoke to another student and then it hit me. I have fallen behind in her class and here I was going to sit in front of her and discuss my future. Although my face had make-up on (miracles do happen), I was put together, and standing upright she could not see the turmoil and pain I was in. The impending migraine that was threatening a night of torture and the fact that the sheer touch of my shirt to my skin felt like shards of glass. Nor would she be able to tell that my body was threatening me with the possibility of passing out from the dizziness I have had for two days. So as I sat there and watched her speak to another student, I made the decision I was allowed to say I AM DONE… for the day and leave. For a natural born advocate like myself, it was a realization. The realization that I had “given in” to the pressure of stigma, that I talked myself into walking out when I hadn’t even given her the chance to talk to me. What I did do though, was show myself that I know my limits!

Every person has their limits. Today, I knew that I had reached mine. I knew that a look from her or too many questions would have turned me into an angry and defensive me. I would have been no advocate at all, I would have been a stereotype… So I left. As I felt defeat walking out the door, I felt no more as I drove over the beautiful bridge met by sunshine and clear waters in my town. I knew I had done the right thing, which was advocate to myself and for myself that today was not the day.

So the lesson for today… Is even the strongest of us advocates gives in. Sometimes it’s ok not to “advocate”, if you know that really you are causing more harm than advocacy.

XOXO,
Tired Undefeated Diva

On Facebook

Technology and social media have brought power back to the people.
Mark McKinnon

Good Morning World and Happy Friday!

I hope that all of you are having a wonderful morning, noon, or night. I have been asked by a couple of my blog family members if I was on any social media and I was except for Facebook, that is until now. If you ask you shall receive:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Undefeated-Diva/1386807961561329

One of my blog family made a fantastic point, it is much easier to communicate via FB with anyone then it is to do so through my blog. So if you have some time come on over and show your support!

Thank you all for your support of my writing and my journey!

Much love on this Friday,
Undefeated Diva

Setbacks

I think whether you’re having setbacks or not, the role of a leader is to always display a winning attitude.
Colin Powell

2 weeks I tell you!
I never realized the severity of my pain, until it was longer present. The loving caress of modern medicine helped me achieve what I thought was impossible… a pain free life. Unfortunately today, just 2 weeks from the first blissful day I am suffering an epic setback.

Today is a 6 or 7 kind of day. In my house we go on a 0-10 scale for pain.
0-4- Is an amazing day. I can jump, run, and have energy that will carry me most of the day.
5-7- Rough… Swelling and pain accompanies most of my body. My body hurts to the touch and I have a bit of brain fog.
8-10- Debilitated. These are the days I drink my morning coffee out of a straw!

Today… Well I am a 6-7. Not truly terrible, but in enough pain to render me a bit useless this beautiful morning. This setback though, hurts more emotionally. Truthfully when you live with a chronic illness that is accompanied by chronic pain you learn to live with it. The pain and symptoms become a part of your daily life, so to be honest there comes a point that you forget what life was like prior to it all. The 13 days prior to today were amazing! I was able to climb a jungle gym, to stay awake for a 9pm show, and experience consecutive day’s of getting dressed with no pain or having to pick out an outfit that wasn’t difficult on my hands. On day one… I didn’t believe it, I walked around as if I was in pain just because I was fearful I may have been hallucinating! 🙂 Yes, quite a crazy concept but again I didn’t remember what life was like prior to all of the pain and hurt. By day 7 I was back to being the closest version of “me” I could remember. I was doing laundry, reorganizing my office, and banging out papers for school like if it were the easiest equation in a math book. I laughed a little harder and swore that I would live each day a little more now, which I thought was impossible since I am one to climb a tree if I feel compelled to.

What I hadn’t realized was that although I was “living my life to the fullest”, I was doing so in the realm of “pained Chris” not the real me. I always considered the repercussions of even a long shopping trip, or a longer drive to the pharmacy. So really was I living? or was I existing within the means I set forth for myself? Either way… I was alive again!!!! Today that feeling was setback, I won’t say crushed because it was real! I remember what it was like before the pain and anguish. I remembered what it was like to be able to be hugged and not cringe at the pain when someone was showing me love. I remembered what it was like to wake in the morning and not have to worry that I wouldn’t be able to do something as simple as brushing my teeth.

So setbacks… I love the quote above by Colin Powell, because in the end it’s my attitude that has gotten me this far. I was not delusional in my understanding that I would have bad day’s along the way, it’s part of the illness I live with. I won’t allow it to crush what I remember now, so thank you modern medicine for the reminder. I will be pushing to find that life again… to find the me before the pain.

Love, Peace, and Chicken Grease!
Undefeated Diva!