Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A brain dead lupie attempts chmistry

OK, so I have an idea of what I want to tell people about as far as the what I love posts I promised and have only done one installment of and some commentary on the whole health care reforms that have been passed and the complete idiocy of some of our representatives in Washington (starting with Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, of course!) but things have been so insane since Spring Break ended that I simple haven't actually put the things I want to say into coherent sentences yet. I am exhausted, insomniac, and having issues w/ weakness and brain fog....mostly due to stress and trying to overdo things, I think.
I am fairly used to the exhaustion where I feel literally drained of ever last drop of energy in my body and to the insomnia (hence the reason why when I manage to post it's usually 2 or 3am) but the mental blockage and brain fog I don't think I will ever get used to.
We have a take home quiz due tomorrow in chemistry. It's 5 questions. Shouldn't be TOO time consuming, right? Wrong. I have spent at least 8 hours on those 5 questions. Question 5 had 3 parts- write a balanced equation for the reaction, name the metal in the reaction, and tell how many mL of acid are needed to complete the reaction. The quiz gave us the products, the acid used, and how much of everything except the acid. I had no trouble writing an equation or figuring out how many mL of acid was needed....well, relatively little problem with that part....identifying what the metal was though took me about 2 hours...and there were only about 5 possible choices to start I said, brain fog. The brain fog creates mental blocks way to often that make it hard to do the easy stuff. How sad would it be if I turned in 5 pages of equations and solutions but couldn't come up with even a guess for the easiest thing we've done in weeks? (the metal was magnesium, in case you're wondering)
Never mind the 500 word essay I still need to come up's gonna be late BUT that will be OK since it's only worth like 50 points and I have somewhere around 280 extra credit points in that class right's for interpersonal communications and that is one thing I can definitely do. LOL
On the bright side of all of it though is that by continuing to try and work through all of my issues and illnesses I am making progress and even gaining a bit of notice. The nurse who is the research coordinator for my rheumatologist recommended me for a Lupus Patient Advisory Board that is being held in Washington D.C. next month. I won't know for sure if I am going to get to participate for a few days BUT it is nice to be recommended and considered.
If you were invited to participate in a project like this, what would you want to say about treatments, research, or your journey as a patient or in general? I'd LOVE to hear feedback from both lupies & non-lupies.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Things this lupie loves!

So I have been really, insanely, busy this semester & this winter plus we have had some really bad weather w/ alot more snow than usual. It has been super cold all winter on top of the snow so I have dedicated alot of time and energy to comfort. I have alot of problems w/ Reynaud's- it even hurts getting frozen food from the freezer at times it's so bad. So alot of this energy has been devoted to ways to combat the effects of the cold......perhaps even more of this energy has been put into things that help me feel more comftorable and things that make my skin feel better. I know alot of people who have been through the same experience with mixed success so I thought I would share the things I am loving and that have really helped me. I will spread this out over a few posts because there are so many things I love that help me feel better. The number one thing that interferes with both my health and school seems to be sleep, or lack there of so tonight I thought I would share a few things that help me sleep better.

I have chronic, severe insomnia & along w/ things to relax and certain medications- I LOVE YOU, Ambien!-I spent quite a bit of time and a bit of money on making my bed super comfy for me. Most important in making the bed extra comfy is my featherbed. I can't even explain how much of a lifesaver this is to me. It is fluffy & just soft enough to cushion me a to kind of mold to my sleep position as I move around. It is soft and cushy but also dense enough to relieve some of the pressure on my triggerpoints that would wake me up in pain so often. Especially my hips and shoulders. I have had mine awhile and will probably be getting a new one this summer or fall to make it easier on me when this one needs to go the I saw a new one that looked AMAZING- it is a layer of memory foam & a layer of feather down. The memory foam allows it to be a bight lighterweight so thinking that it would be great for summer into late fall then switch back to the one I have becase another great thing it does is help insulate and keep me warmer.

My next suggestion is actually more than one thing BUT they all go together in my opinion. GOOD pillows & several of them so that you can adjust them for different pain levels and different ways of sitting or laying in bed. I have 8 or 9 on my bed right now that I found at Marshall's pretty inexpensively- around $10 for feather/down eco pillows w/ quilted, unbleached cotton covers...firmer than a straight down but still very soft and fluffy and more than worth 10 dollars.

Lastly is EVERYBODY should have the best sheets and comforter they can. I have a mix of both bamboo & cotton sets that I mix and match together...they are all in the same color pallette so easy to mix together for a comftorable but luxurious bed.... my bamboo set is 350tc organic bamboo & so soft. I have cotton sets that range from 400-600 thread count and all are very soft and smooth. It helps having multiple sets b/c I can change them and throw the pair I just took off straight into the washer. My other love in this category is my comforter...I LOVE my down comforter that will prolly be in use another month or so then have it cleaned and pack it away while I use a super soft lighter weight comforter I found at TJMaxx (I am addicted to TJMaxx & Marshall' Many of us lupies get night sweats from time to time so to protect my comforters I have a couple of duvet covers which are like giant pillow cases but for your comforter. The duvet covers can be taken off & thrown in the washer just like a pillow case and are great b/c you can have a couple diff colors or textures which makes it easy to redecorate a bit in just a few minutes.

My last recomendation in this post is something else that helps w/ my sleep by relaxing me so perfectly. A hot bath is amazingly relaxing & if you give yourself a bathime treat such a conditioning mask for your hair or treat your whole body w/ a bath bomb, bath melt, or BUBBLES, and especially scrubs. My faves lately w/ the weather & meds taking a toll n my skin are from Lush, Bath & Body Works, and........................................Walmart. Yes, walmart. I know you might think I am crazy for listing Walmart there BUT their version of Gold Bond lotion is amazing and less expensive so you have more left for other goodies! At Bath & Body Works my fave is pretty much anything in True Blue Spa except the sunblock Haven't trie it so can't rec. I also LOVE their tarts because they come in such great scents and have more fragrance throw than alot of tarts I have tried. From Lush, I like all of their soaps I have tried so far and I can use them without them making me itch. My absolute fave in my world is the Butterball bath bomb which has lots of great oils and butters in it including a high percentage of shea and cocoa butters. Leaves skin so hydrated! Also has a nice relaxing scent to help you relax.

So these are just a few of my favorites and I will share some more in future posts. What are some of your favorites?