Here and Now

Never let the things you want, make you forget the things you have.


For a dreamer and a natural born planner the struggle is real. A never ending battle to focus on the here and now. How often do we stake claim on a goal for the foreseeable future and blow full steam ahead, but forget to “stop and smell the roses”? Lately, I have been so fixated on the future that I have not stopped to look at what is right in front of me, and above all be grateful for it. I found myself transfixed yesterday in a moment that was both invigorating and self-actualizing. It was the moment I realized, time waits for no one. This is not a new lesson but one that from time to time I fail to keep in the forefront of my mind. As I stood in a moment with my son, standing in the grass of our front lawn I realized just how much I focus on things for my future that I want to give or do. Although there is nothing wrong with wanting to create what I believe to be a better and brighter future, I do see a problem missing out on moments in the here and now.

So with that I took off twirling and throwing my little man. Running around on the lawn and eventually throwing us both in the grass, worn out and gasping for breath (who would think I am only 30). In one simple moment, that smiling face brought me back to the here and now. The here and now to be grateful for that small moment. The moment’s we as people with chronic illness only dream about when we are in a hospital bed or bedridden from our diseases. In that moment, my son reminded me to live. Not in any way shape or form am I saying that I am fixed from this thought process, but that moment, a moment shared between mother and son transcends through every aspect of my life. Stay focused Christina… Take a moment and taste your coffee, smile at the passing company, and above all remember that life is here and now, be grateful. Tomorrow is uncertain for all but especially those of us fighting battles. Hell, today is uncertain. What I know is as I went to sleep staring at my son’s face, I thanked him for the lesson. He will never know the true depth of what he teaches me regularly.


Happy Monday Morning!



Undefeated Grateful Me


Not A Diagnosis

So many times people dehumanized us, forgetting that behind the diagnosis and insesant illness there is a person. A person that grieves after every new diagnosis, a person that lives with pain, a person that feels. I’ve spoken to several of you in recent weeks and I was inspired… I decided to do a small expressive piece … Here it is…
(Click the link)


Sleep… Not!

Sleep is the best meditation 

-Dalai Lama
Dear Sleep,

I miss you. For all those times I fought NOT to take you as a child…. I AM SORRY! Please forgive me and come back to me. I promise to love you and take care of you for the rest of my life! 

Yours Truly,

Good Morning Everyone! 

Sleep deprivation is real my people, but what am I saying most of you know that. I have always suffered with sleep difficulties as an adult, even more so after my diagnosis. I have never understood how ones body could be so very exhausted, yet not give in to sleep. Well you add an infant to that mix and you have one hell of a fun ride. I am totally and utterly amazed at the human body and its ability to function. 

If you see me on the streets and I do not make sense to you, just tell me you love me , hug me, and send me to bed! 😂 I had a friend that I was talking to last evening do that very thing!

On a fun note, I have a graph of my sleeping patterns! How cool is this. I was gifted a Fitbit a week ago and it has come in so handy with my sleep patterns. Check it out guys. I average about 3 hours and 40 minutes of sleep give or take a night. Not consecutive sleep of course, but over the course of the 8 plus hours I am in bed. Very cool apparatus… Have been considering getting the one with the heart rate. 
So guys, long story short… Get your sleep! If not you may be like me. Speaking jibberish and looking crazy! 🙂 Until then I will go to breakfast with my little man this morning as he has decided to shower me with the most beautiful conversation. 

Undefeated, super exhausted, jibberish speaking Diva


The Search For A Cure! 

Link for story:
University of Florida researchers say lupus treatment shows early promisePublished: Feb 11, 2015By: Doug Bennett

A new treatment that may reverse the effects of the most common type of lupus has shown promising results after undergoing early testing by a team of researchers at University of Florida Health.
The findings of a two-year study that used human cells and mouse models were published Feb. 11 in the journal Science Translational Medicine. The new treatment for systemic lupus erythematosus involves regulating metabolism in cells that affect how lupus develops in the body. It has yet to undergo clinical trial in humans.
Lupus is an immune system disorder that prevents the body from distinguishing between harmful germs and healthy tissue. In lupus patients, proteins known as antibodies that are supposed to ward off viruses and bacteria instead attack healthy tissue. This causes inflammation and can lead to irreversible scarring, blood clots and kidney, lung and cardiovascular problems.
Just as diet has a major effect on overall health, nutrients affect immune activity at the cellular level. Now, UF Health researchers may have found a way to rein in lupus by changing the way cells in the immune system use energy.
A key finding of the study involved the researchers characterizing the way specialized white blood cells known as CD4 T-cells use nutrients. In lupus, these cells used mostly glucose, a type of simple sugar, for energy metabolism. This seems to be critical in causing inflammation in the immune system and the tissue destruction that result from the disease. When the researchers blocked glucose metabolism by using the common type 2 diabetes drug metformin and a glucose inhibitor, the CD4 T-cells returned to normal activity and the symptoms of lupus were reversed.
The studies involved a number of mouse models of the disease and the key experimental findings were also observed in human CD4 T-cells from lupus patients.
The research team initially got the idea of using a two-pronged attack on lupus after seeing a similar approach succeed in cancer research, said Laurence Morel, Ph.D, director of experimental pathology and a professor of pathology, immunology and laboratory medicine in the UF College of Medicine.
“If it works to limit metabolism of cancer cells, it should work to limit metabolism in T-cells,” Morel said.
The treatment combination is especially effective in reversing lupus symptoms, the study found. It works by simultaneously preventing a T-cell from using glucose while also slowing the cell’s own metabolism, Morel said.
“If the T-cell is normal, the disease gets better,” she said.
Lupus affects more than 5 million people worldwide, and more than 16,000 new cases are diagnosed in the United States each year, according to the Lupus Foundation of America.
Lupus has no cure, and the Lupus Foundation says some scientists believe the disease arises from a combination of genetics, hormones and environmental factors.
Doctors around the world sometimes have to search for the right combination of medications to control lupus. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has a short list of medicines, including steroids, aspirin and anti-malarial drugs, which can help control lupus symptoms.
The approach found by Morel and the other researchers goes beyond just controlling symptoms. Lupus-afflicted mice that were treated continuously for one to three months closely resembled those that did not have the disease, Morel said. The drug metformin’s effectiveness in restoring normal function in T-cells when studied in the laboratory also bodes well for its potential future application for treating patients with lupus. “That suggests we can also use metabolic inhibitors to treat patients,” Morel said. “It’s the first time that it has been shown that you can have an effect on lupus symptoms and manifestation by normalizing cellular metabolism.”

The study is also significant for its breakthrough in “drug repurposing,” Morel said. Using an existing diabetes medication like metformin to treat lupus is relatively cost-effective and the drug is already known to be safe for humans. New treatments that use an existing medication can also go to clinical trials more quickly because there are fewer FDA regulatory hurdles. 
Next, Morel said, researchers will continue their efforts in two directions. One involves screening additional inhibitors targeting other metabolic pathways as well as studying patients who have been treated with metabolic inhibitors. The other involves searching for a deeper understanding of the molecular pathways that make metformin work.
Among the other UF researchers who worked on the project are Eric S. Sobel, M.D., Ph.D, an associate professor of rheumatology and clinical immunology; Byron P. Croker, M.D., Ph.D, a professor of renal and surgical pathology and UF’s primary renal pathologist; and Todd Brusko, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the UF Diabetes Institute from the department of pathology, immunology and laboratory medicine.
Their research was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Alliance for Lupus Research.
About the Author

Doug Bennett’s picture

Doug Bennett

Science Writer, Editor

Doug Bennett joined the UF Health staff in January 2015 as a science writer and editor. His topic areas include anatomy; biochemistry and molecular biology; molecular genetics and microbiology; pathology,…Read More

On the eve of the 30th…

I take stock of the last 10 years with admiration, love, and awe that I made it through. To my 20’s I thank you for holding within you some of thee most beautiful and awe inspiring moments of my life. I thank you for all of the lessons both enriching and the hard hitting . I thank you for showing me life from a different perspective. I thank you for holding within you international adventures, compassionate encounters, and love beyond compare. I want to thank you for teaching me about life, love, and the pursuit of happiness. For getting me through your years with laughter and love. For teaching me to hold tight to what I hold dear. To know that with spice in my veins and an amazing support system I can conquer my darkest hours and minutes.
Above all thank you for holding within you the most precious of memories: The first sound of a heartbeat, the first feeling of movement, the first sound of a cry, the first inhale of breath, the first sleepless night of many, and the first moment of true peace I have ever felt… Thank you for my son!
Thank you 20’s for being my stepping stone into the next decade. You showed me a helluva time. So, with a smile on my face and a finger in the air I bid you a farewell my friend, BRING IT 30’s! 

Undefeated Diva

Welcome to the world… My legacy! 

The fear ever real as the cold and lifeless room gave way to the pressure in my spine. As lifeless legs hang from the side of the table they roll me on my back. As the crew scurries around me never leaving me alone in the room but leaving me alone on a cold table with my thoughts. Will you be okay? How is it going to happen? How will I feel when I see your face? Are we taking you too soon? Or did we wait too long? Are you healthy? When will they bring mom in? My body begins to tremble, I am assured that this is a normal side effect of the spinal tap. The doctor pops her head in to let me know she is there and the room around me changes. In a blink of an eye the cloth goes up, the room becomes more populated, and the doctors come in.

Wait!!! There are two doctors. Why are there two doctors? My doctor introduces the “assisting” Dr., of which I know is actually a prominent obstetrician in the area. Then I hear mom’s voice and she is next to me keeping me still. Mom looks at me and tells me it will be okay. She sits close and holds my face and for a moment I have a renewed sense of strength. I will see you soon. The doctor lets me know they will begin and with trembling arms and my mother to my right I take pause in the moment. “Take a deep breath, here comes a lot of pressure”, she says. The hands on my face get tighter and the tears from her face pour on to mine. “Mom I am okay… It is going to be okay. He will be here soon.” With my fear ever consuming I resolved to never forget that moment. The moment only mothers knew. There was a silence that came over the room and suddenly a roar of a cry. Your cry! In that moment I knew you had arrived and you were safe.

My legacy was born!
My own mother next to me holding my face close as her daughter became a mother for the first time and she became what all amazing mothers can only hope for, she became grandmother (in our case an Abuela!). To my right I saw a glimpse of the beautiful face I had waited, hoped, and prayed for. Leaving my side my mother did what so many grandmothers do not get the chance to do. She cut the cord and held her grandson for the first time. Bringing him over to me for the first time, all three of us cried. I had my first very real moment as a mother. As my son cried, I spoke to him. I could not sit up and hold him. I could not hold him in my arms. I could not walk around with him at that moment. Nevertheless in that moment I spoke to him and offered him comfort. I said words to him that only he, my mother, and I will ever know. A moment shared by the three of us that no one can ever take. In that moment he touched my face and calmed and I vowed that I would be his fiercest protector, his safety net, his first love, and above all the best mother I can be.  
On May 7, 2015 at 5:51PM Enzo Elijah graced the world with his presence.

It has taken me 2 months to introduce him to all of you, because I could not find the right words to express it all. Instead I resolved that I would never find just the right words to introduce him. So here he is, in all his glory. My world and my legacy!
I waited 10 long years for the honor of being a mother. The wait was worth it all. He hangs the moon and the stars for me. Motherhood is everything I imagined and more. It does not come without its difficulties but when I see that face in the low light of the darkness, I resolve in knowing there is nothing more pure in the world.
Here he is, isn’t he CUTE! 🙂


Spotlight on Lupus

Last week reached out to me about the possibility of doing a spotlight interview. With a beaming warrior heart, I am happy to share my spotlight interview!
If you have a moment, please go on over and check it out!
If you have Facebook, please take a moment and head over and like their page.
Thank you to Lupus Chick for reaching out to a fellow Lupus Warrior and showing support. I could not be more excited to spread love and awareness.
Happy Thursday my people!
Undefeated Diva!