Pregnancy

I was recently pregnant- we found out at 4 weeks, and lost it at 6 weeks. I did not get to the ultrasound stage.

Fortunately, I grew up with nurses who were very open about their own experiences, and the people I told about the miscarriage all had their own (sometimes multiple) experiences to share before they had successful pregnancies. My husband and I are fine; we were bummed for a couple days, but we didn’t mourn and we aren’t concerned. We know most first pregnancies have issues, and I was high risk anyway with Lupus.

Now, about being pregnant and having lupus:

  1. You can’t take advil! Tylenol is useless for me. Midol was alright. Aleve was useless. I was so exhausted all the time, and my knees were terrrrrible. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do. I started taking turmeric pills (bought at walgreens in the vitamins/supplements section), but I suspect that has to build up to be effective. I’m still taking it.
  2. My OB/GYN put me on baby aspirins because clotting is a concern for pregnancies in general, and more so with Lupus. I did not know this. I do now. He suggested I keep taking them anyway, pregnant or not.
  3. I actually stayed hydrated while pregnant, because making a healthy baby was a huge motivation. Being well hydrated for probably the first time in my life was amazing! Such a simple thing had an enormous impact on my life! My toenails and fingernails had color from better circulation (might be because of the aspirin, too), I was more awake, I woke up easier in the mornings, I didn’t crash during the day (usually around 11, a half hour before lunch)…. for real, stay hydrated! It takes effort, and carrying around a huge Tervis cup of watered down juice or tea, but soooo worth it!

Everything else is normal pregnancy stuff- the constipation is for real- and I suggest getting the pregnancy bible, What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Maybe next time I can tell you more about lupus-pregnancy, but that’s all I have for as far as I got.

Also, please please please don’t hate on yourself or feel inadequate if you lose a pregnancy. It’s so common even for normal, healthy women, and it’s not your fault. Women with lupus still have babies, but yeah, you lose more babies too. It just means you have to keep trying, and there’s nothing wrong with that… ūüėČ

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Pills

Being healthy is so hard. I take a multivitamin/prenatal (folic acid whooooo, your hair and nails will thank me), fish oil for my ears (wax build up is a bummer), turmeric as a natural anti-inflammatory for my knees, a baby aspirin because we’re trying to get pregnant, and D3 because I have a recently-discovered vitamin D deficiency. Ugh. I have one of those days-of-the-week pill boxes like a retired person.

Oh, and if you take too many soft gels, you get acid. If you don’t eat before pills, you throw them up. Or I do, any way.

Staying hydrated is also a severe, conscious effort. A glass before work, three glasses at work, three glasses at home…. and I should be drinking 8-10. I keep stocked on juices to flavor my water.

All of these are over the counter, none of the meds I take are prescribed. I have been fortunate enough to live in an area that helps my inflammation (AZ, dry and mostly steady pressure) and I mostly don’t over-exert myself. I have been off prescription meds for about two years now, which is good because NSAIDs start messing with your kidneys and liver after a while.

At least I’m only high maintenance physically, right?

Right…?

Surreality – Ms. N. America Elegance Universal

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Just your typical poor country girl, nurse turned attorney from Mississippi wandering around Europe and France wearing a sash…. We were at Buckingham Palace on the 20th anniversary of the day Princess Diana died. Then two days later, we drove through that tunnel. We’ve been up in the London eye, seen the most glorious sites of London and Paris, and been waved/honked/whistled to/at by people of all ages and walks of life. One of my favorites was the firemen in a truck with the sirens on headed to an emergency who smiled and waved out the back window.

It’s surreal.

I am not what people think of when they picture a “beauty queen.” ¬†Heck, I’m not what I think of when I think of a beauty queen. I’m just me, looking for a larger forum to impact lives one person, one day at a time. I would not consider myself inspirational, but there is no doubt that my story, my life has inspired people. ¬†And they have gone on to do incredible things.

 

Me? ¬†I’m just being me. At times, that meant surviving one day at a time. At times, it meant fearing I was about to die. Or that I killed my kids (in a horrible vehicle accident we were in on a frozen bridge). And at times, it meant achieving a dream. My dream when I was about 25 was to be able to walk into the local superstop and buy a coke without balancing my checkbook first. True story.

 

Now my dream is to live a life that personifies authenticity, passion, and vibrancy.

and I’m in Europe, with a group of amazing women, experiencing surreality.

What is Your Dream? Dare. Dream. Believe.

Up

30 days until the official start! Some of you know me well – and know that my dream is helping others succeed, no matter their dream. In particular, those in a disadvantaged position have challenges to overcome and may well be in the position I was in – what is a dream when you’re just trying to get by a day at a time? ¬†So what is your dream? ¬†Tell us your story!

Did you have a dream that you accomplished?  Did you abandon a dream?  Small or large Рothers can learn from you.

My dream when I was a single mom back in MS was to have enough money to walk into the corner store (SuperStop back then and there) to buy a coke without having to balance my checkbook first. DONE. I took the long, winding, dark path to get there, but done. I have more dreams and more plans. and I’m thinking of starting a resource site for dreaming and succeeding. ¬†Specific dreams would be addressed, such as applying for college/grad school, getting a promotion at work, etc. Right now – it’s ¬†still just a dream.

I don’t want to do what I think people need. I want to do what people need and that only comes from them…you.

It’s also fabulous that I landed in a system whose motto is Dare. Dream. Believe.

One month – Ms Universal starts in London

20374421_489637154733906_2781906428927675516_nOh my. When I started competing in pageants (April of last year), I did not envision this. Ms.North America Universal Elegance. I mean, I wanted to win, that’s why I started competing. I needed motivation to lose weight (down 35 pounds) and the appeal of a larger public forum to reach people was very enticing – I want to help others! But now, I am headed to London to compete for the global title. Or is it the Universal title given the pageant name?¬†

Can you see me as Ms. Universal Elegance?

Kinda really cool. Seriously cool. Elegance means I’m over 45 and only compete against other women over 45 years old.

Do not get me wrong – the weight loss is not for vanity, it’s for health. Not all overweight people are unhealthy and not all skinny people are healthy. However, my weight was unhealthy and impacting my daily life. I am now off supposedly lifetime meds of plaquenil and methotrexate (for Lupus), building muscle, and frankly, able to walk down the boarding ramp to an airplane without assistance or pre-boarding time. Three years ago, that was not the case.

After the national competition, I came home and went off the healthy eating for a week – we’re talking whole, gluten free pies from Piefection, multiple servings of cheescake, and chocolate!! – then reality kicked in and I go back to healthy eating, which my body does so much better when I eat healthy. I am almost completely a non-processed food person.

So today, I have one month to go. Still working out. Still eating healthy. Still excited!

Birth Control

I used Implanon/Nexplanon for five years. I loved this BC so much I got a second round, after my first expired after three years. I removed my second round a year early because my husband and I want to expand the family. I am a huge fan of Nexplanon, and I share it with every woman who mentions birth control to me.

It was 100% free to me, under my insurance and with Obamacare’s free birth control deal.

No, it’s not comfortable having it inserted, but it’s brief and you don’t have to fuss with it for three years! No pills, rings, shots, forgetting it and causing irregularity… Nothing. No fuss, no muss. Just fifteen minutes of a numbing shot, a teensy incision, and clean up. No big deal.

I have four scars: two insertion polka dots, and two 1/8″ extraction lines. They’re all in a 2 inch square area on the inside of my left upper arm. I don’t consider it an issue, no one ever notices it, they don’t show up in pictures.

My first round, I had three period in three years. For me, this was excellent for multiple reasons including solving my pretty serious iron-deficient anemia. I got to keep my much-needed blood! Also, no periods, whoooooo.

My second round, I had a period every four months or so. I also had… well, boob soreness. I researched a ton, and it’s a normal side effect. I didn’t really like it, wasn’t a fan of it. Maybe my body got used to the hormones from the implant, I don’t know, but this was only an issue four and a half years into using this method. They didn’t hurt, but they were, you know, sore, heavy feeling.

I did not gain weight. I know many women have concerns with hormone deals like birth control, but my experience was zero weight gain.

I’ve had it out for three months now, and my period went immediately back to normal- better than normal. I’ve had three periods, all exactly 27 days apart, and all lasted two-ish days (two days plus one day of leftover sludge, you know the stuff). That’s better than my period was before birth control! So, no concerns there. Not pregnant yet, but my periods have been perfectly regular.

Five stars, two thumbs up, whatever method you prefer to rate things, I loved implanon/nexplanon (they changed the name, but like same thing). Highly recommend.

Bug Bites

So, right now sucks pretty seriously…. Monsoon season, whoooo! My right knee looks like The Blob, you can’t even see my knee cap at all, it’s so fluid-puffed. My left knee is more visible, you can see the top curve. Fingers are slow and fat, and I’m generally just very… bogged down right now.

An unexpected side effect of all this extra-over-active immune system BS: overreaction to ant bites.

I was out scooping poop in the back yard, since the temperature is only in the high 80s right now, and apparently there’s a bit of an ant problem. I have never, ever reacted badly to insect bites of any kind- they’re annoying, sure, but I’ve never swelled up or even really itched. Right now, with my little terrorists on hyperdrive, my three ant bites just blew up. I have one that is red and raised the size of a nickel and the other two are about dime-sized. Ridiculous.

Heaped on some hydrocortisone cream and mini-chugged some kids’ zyrtec, got an ice pack on the area. I’m sure it’ll be fine.

I am 26 and have been dealing with Lupus my entire life, from my mom to my sister and me, and it still manages to throw me little surprises. Keeps life interesting, I guess…

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