Hope warrior- The Wolf and Me

Hi everyone!  Happy Warrior Wednesday. It’s invisible illness month. I wanted to bring attention to the lovely Cass, the person behind The Wolf and Me. If anyone knows what it’s like to have an invisible illness, it’s her. She battles each one with a fierce attitude, and is always sharing encouragement with anyone else fighting the same fight. Send some love her way and check out her blog, instagram or twitter! Happy March, hoping spring arrives quickly if you’re dealing with any of this crazy winter like we have been. Now read on to find out more about The Wolf and Me. She has some great insight on coping with a chronic illness.

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1. I have a lovely (sarcasm) variety of chronic illnesses 11 in total! My main culprits of hard times and pain are SLE Lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and connective tissue disease…The last is still under investigation. I have other things like Raynauds syndrome too but it’s not a naughty as the others.

2. My journey into the chronic illness world began when I was 20 although I’m sure it began at 15 however I was undiagnosed then! At 20 I became ill at university with the flu that seemingly never ended and it was here that I was diagnosed with CFS and fibromyalgia. Since then the other diagnosis have come in almost one a year.

Coping with diagnosis is tough but for me it was coping with what diagnosis meant that was tough more than coping with hearing what is wrong. Especially so young when I wanted to be going out and having fun but ended up staying in all the time sleeping….although I watched some great movies during this period.

3. Treatment for me is complicated due to the amount of different illnesses in play. My lupus is controlled through chemo currently methotrexate with cytoxan coming in and out of play….This treatment reduces my immune systems white blood cells and thus stops it focusing on destroying me. I am also on Hydroxy chloroquine for this and folic acid to help with the chemo.

For pain I take 900mg of Gabapentin a day and codeine. This helps with fibro and lupus pain.

For me though, the best thing I did was get creative again. I now paint and draw at times of extreme pain. I find that distracting myself this way keeps me active and positive. Along with this I have changed my diet cutting out dairy and introducing items like pineapple that are natural anti-inflamtories.

4. My diseases are triggered by many things, some I can control and some I can’t.

My biggest triggers are illness and stress. I can’t do much about getting sick especially when on chemo but the stress I’ve worked very hard to understand and try to control. I now know when I’m under too much stress and can pull back to find a happier place but this has left me unable to do certain things such as too much traveling.

Other triggers are certain foods like rice that cause me pain, lack of rest and the cold weather!

5.Advice for newly diagnosed : There wouldn’t be just one thing there would be an entire book full of things! But to pick one thing it would be “Don’t panic”. By this I mean don’t start Googling the diagnosis, don’t rush through the millions of questions, don’t lose sleep over it. Take it one step at a time and know that everything will be okay.

6. I have numerous quotes and songs I go to at times of trouble. I love to read certain books especially mainly any book with an internal struggle within it such as Lord of the Rings or even the Hunger Games books. I also love my vinyl collection and when I’m really struggling I turn to Fleetwood Mac as I find their songs to be the kind that reflect many emotions so there is always one that will lift you up.

7. Being hopeful really is a constant state of mind that I have worked hard on over the years. I find that by saying to myself the things I’ve achieved throughout the day I can be hopeful for tomorrow.

It’s very easy to focus on the things we’ve lost or the things we cannot do anymore, like my beloved swimming. So I find by focusing my energy on the things I can do I can be hopeful that tomorrow will be another day full of achievements.

8. To cope with stress I always head straight to arts and crafts. I find that many of them have meditative qualities, even doodling can be therapeutic.

Along with this I also find fresh air helps immensly. When I can I will go for a walk but that’s not always possible. On bad days just sitting by an open window and practising deep breathing really helps me to calm down.

9. Ohhhhhh I have a sweet tooth! When I feel really low I turn to carrot cake it is my ultimate treat! I don’t deny myself treats for fear of putting on weight etc. I think everyone deserves to have something they love every now and again if it’s going to bring a smile to their face!

10. What inspires you? This is a tough question as for me I believe hope comes from within yourself. I am constantly inspired by all of my friends and family everyday in reality. My partner for example is so head strong and grounded that this inspires me to remain in the now.

What inspires me the most are people who are positive in the face of adversity. Sometimes we become so involved on being ill that we forget that everyone on the planet is dealing with something we don’t know about or maybe understand. If you can get up and smile everyday then you are inspirational.

11. My picture would be a simple beach. The water would be clear and the sun would be shining. There would be calm colours all around me and tall trees in the distance with bird song. It would be a place I could sit and read a good book, feel no pain and maybe just watch the waves roll in and out.

12. My website all about chronic illness and positivity can be found at
http://thewolfandme.com

If you want to follow me then come say hi on instagram @thewolfandme or
on Facebook
https://m.facebook.com/pages/The-Wolf-and-Me/253558044825384

Lastly I just want everyone to know that time is a wonderful thing and however hard it maybe now it does get easier! Love to all

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Hope in Enemas?

Yeah. I said it. Enemas.It’s okay if your disgusted by the mention of the word, or the process. I was too. But in that full brown paper bag lies my months supply of hope. Hope for remission. Hope for something that works. I have 26 days for these little suckers to do their job before we move on to the big biological drugs. So let me hear you say it.. Enema’s for the win!

I started reading the book May Cause Miracles by Gabrielle Bernstein this morning. For those of you who haven’t heard of or read it, it is a 40 day journey to basically change your mindset and stop being set back by all your fears and instead choosing love and happiness. I’m a sucker for reflection and challenging myself to gain new perspective and I thought a book with that kind of title was pretty much calling my name. Day one was all about being conscious of when fear wins throughout your daily interactions and seeing when fear was chosen over love. Just observing.

Among other things, I was a little surprised by how scared I am of what people think. But looking back, and even in my current situation, my fears about others thoughts controls a lot of my life. And this blog is a huge step against that fear.

I’ll be honest. I was hesitant to post about enemas. It’s not really something that the general population wants to hear about. It might now be something that even my family or friends want to hear about.   But I’m not writing this blog for the general population. And I’m not necessarily writing it for my family or friends. When I first came up with the idea for it and started brainstorming, I began to worry about what people who are closer to me might think. Would they be repulsed, think I complain too much, would they be supportive? Would I be ashamed to put out the details of what I’m going through? The bowels of my thoughts? I’ve ruined dinners before when talking about my new normal, times where I thought the floor would melt away from how hot my face felt from embarrassment for giving a true answer to a question someone really didn’t want an answer to. I never want to see the look on that persons face again. I felt like a monster.

I talked with one of my friends that is also strong enough to kick her own ass (autoimmune disease joke). She has lupus and has been dealing with side effects of medications and flare ups for the past few years, but always kept her sense of humor. We discussed how hard it is to be judged and hurt by people you think would understand. She said screw those people. This is the way your life is now and not everyone is going to get that. It’s up to you now to accept them for who they are, even if they can’t understand you.

So, it’s OK if you’re grossed out about my colonoscopy, or blood, or when I make a weird face and wince because my insides are cramping up in indescribable pain.  It’s okay if you think going gluten-free and soy free is stupid.If enemas give you an “I just ate a lemon” face.  It’s okay if you don’t like what I’m writing. I understand. I’m not mad at you for it.  This just isn’t for you.

I’m writing it for people who are down in the dirty, disgusting, embarrassing and downright scary parts of life and are looking for a little something to pull them a couple of inches further away from sinking into the mucky darkness. Like me. Like my friend with lupus. Like anyone with a chronic illness. Or anyone else who finds themselves in a drab situation.

So, I’m going to continue laying on my left side for 30 minutes twice a day I’m supposed to, and hoping on enemas.