Tomorrow is POP 

Tomorrow is POP (Put on Purple) day!!! In honor of Lupus Awareness Month I will be rocking my Purple! Be sure to send me any pictures you may have! 


Xoxo,

UD

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Day’s Like Today

Being able to walk pain-free is a blessing. Being able to walk without showing the pain is a skill.

Kylie McPherson

 

The pain can be excruciating, mood altering, and downright unbearable. Day’s like today, I get it. I get how someone is pushed to the brink. I get how someone normally so sane and logical can be pushed far beyond their limits and be anything but. Day’s like today, there are only minutes. I count the day in minutes. I made it through another 30 minutes without going home or without giving up. At the end of the day I am proud of myself, but to get there is no easy feat.

Life has been an interesting ride as of late. Diagnosed with steroid induced diabetes a couple of weeks back, I have been fending off sugar drops and rises like the most seasoned tennis player. Add to this insomnia and pure exhaustion, I have a pretty good idea of what induced this onslaught of body pain. None of that makes it any easier. Opening my eyes this morning the pain I felt, felt as though I was in a car accident. The exhaustion I felt, felt as though I had taken some form of sedative. Neither of which actually happened. Like us chronic illness warriors always seem to do, I pulled myself together as much as humanly possible and off to work.

One that does not live with a chronic illness may not understand what it takes. To walk to the copier, to type an email, to even sit for more than a few moments. It is all excruciating. Better yet, to wear clothing that is not loose is a mission. Day’s like today, I am proud of my chronic illness sisters and brothers on a different level. Day’s like today take more skill and determination than normal days. Unfortunately day’s like today often outweigh the “normal”.

So my fellow sisters and brothers on days like today and every day I am with you. I stand strong for you. Above all I wish we were all together to hug and hold one another. Because let’s be honest on days like today what I really need is a hug.

 

XOXO,

Undefeated Diva…

Hydroxychloroquine/ Plaquenil Update!

Article below derived from Lupus Foundation of America’s Blog.

http://www.lupus.org/blog/entry/hydroxychloroquine-shortage-update-october-2015

Oct. 05, 2015

Hydroxychloroquine Update – October 2015

by Sarah Stothers, RN, BS, Lupus Foundation of America Health Educator

Recently, there’s been growing concern over generic drug price increases in the news and on social media. We at the Lupus Foundation of America have felt and been enveloped in this wave of concern. Our organization has been tracking the cost and availability of hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil®) since June 2014. Initially, there were widespread reports of shortages and difficulty accessing the drug, but now the primary issue is the spike in price.

The Lupus Foundation of America is aware that many of our constituents are unable to afford the high cost of the generic form of the drug, hydroxychloroquine. We are concerned that constituents may stop taking the drug or ration the drug without their doctor’s knowledge. This is can be very dangerous.

It is extremely important that lupus patients take hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil®) as prescribed. Medication adherence prevents disease flares and other complications.

“Hydroxychloroquine is the mainstay of lupus therapy,” according to Michelle Petri, MD, MPH. “It prevents half of lupus flares, reduces renal and CNS lupus, reduces blood clots in half, reduces future seizures, diabetes and LDL cholesterol, and improves survival. I call it ‘lupus health insurance.’”

Currently, there is one brand name drug manufacturer producing Plaquenil® and four generic drug manufacturers that are producing hydroxychloroquine.  All four generic drug manufacturers are no longer reporting a shortage and are meeting demand.  However, we have had several reports from people who are unable to pay the high cost of the drug. As a result, some individuals are no longer taking it or rationing their medication. We urge all people with lupus to speak with their physician if they are having difficulty accessing the drug.

Here are some actions people with lupus can take to obtain the drug at a more affordable price:

  1. Speak to the prescribing physician about possibly finding a lower-cost alternative treatment option.
  2. File an appeal with your insurance company if the drug has increased in price from last year’s plan. This usually has to do with moving the drug up a tier in the formularies. The insurance company may agree to move the drug back down to its previous plan year’s tier, which can drop the cost. You can also speak to your insurance company to see if switching to a different plan is possible.
  3. Compare prices. Some people have noted that the brand name drug, Plaquenil®, is cheaper than the generic form of the drug, hydroxychloroquine, with their insurance. In addition, constituents can compare the prices at various retail pharmacies to find their drug at a lower cost. There are a few websites, like GoodRx, that can assist with this.
  4. A few websites with resources may also be of assistance:

The Lupus Foundation of America is sharing this information because we want to ensure that our constituents can access and afford the medications that they need. We are in the process of contacting the generic manufacturers that produce hydroxychloroquine to better understand why there was a shortage and now a significant price increase. Our Advocacy and Government Relations department is pursuing several avenues to address the problem.

We believe it is important for us to represent the lupus community and ensure that everyone understands why the prices of their drugs have increased so dramatically. If you have questions or need any information, please contact our health educators through this form, or by calling 1-800-558-0121

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

An original made out of anger!

I present to you…. My future t-shirt for Team Undefeated Divas!

I have decided to trademark it for the future use of Lupus Awareness!

I present… AINT NOBODY GOT SPOONS FOR THAT!

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Have to admit, this hysterical creation was manifested out of a heated moment. I was feeling very overwhelmed by what I call a “lupus moment” and I yelled…. Shut up, AIN’T NO BODY GOT SPOONS FOR THAT RIGHT NOW!!!! In the moment I was angry and very serious… but all it took was 30 seconds to realize what I said and burst out in immense laughter.

It seems that all of my best creations are created out of madness :). So here you go.

Xoxo,
Undefeated Diva