An Apology Of Sorts

11:48 AM Posted In , , Edit This 0 Comments »
Instead of cleaning like I'm supposed to be doing, I'm sitting here and writing this blog. What can I say? It's a Saturday and as much as I love cleaning and the end result, I would rather be out having fun. Well I don't have money or anyone currently available to have fun with. So I have a feeling I'll be spending this Saturday alone with the wood polish and vacuum cleaner. Thrilling!

I need to apologize to my readers, here lately I've been down. And when I first started this blog people found my enthusiasm for life invigorating. People thought it was great that I was so bright and cheery about everything, despite what I'm going through. Most of you know that I've been going through a rough time. I'm not really depressed, I'm just so overwhelmed by life that I don't know where to start. I've been searching for jobs every single day and I feel like I'm not getting anywhere. I know I'm also not alone when it comes to finding a job. I feel that is what makes it so hard, everyone is fighting for the same jobs and yet there can only be one winner. And I certainly have not been the winner.

I also feel that the lupus has caused some of my mood changes. Apparently that can happen so in a way, it's completely normal or to be expected. I feel that I might feel better once I have a job, once I get a little bit of hope. But right now I feel kind of stuck, I don't know what to do or how to do it. I just want to lead a productive life where I'm able to help others and honestly, I don't know how to go about it. I hope once I get a job I'll be able to volunteer more because by that point, I'll have gas money to get to my destination. I know it will do everyone some good once I'm able to volunteer. If I'm still unhappy after I get a job and after I volunteer then I'll know that it's something that probably needs to be medicated.

You would think that I would be used to be sick by now? I've been sick for quite a few years and it took quite a few years to get a correct diagnosis. I don't know if ever I'll get used to feeling "under par" day in and day out? I have my good days and my bad days and I never feel quite normal like I used to. I always have a general achy feeling, like something isn't quite right and I can't put my finger on it. I'm pretty much always exhausted and I'm expected to function at a normal level. Most days I can handle it but some days I get so frustrated with others because they simply don't understand. And don't even get me started on really bad days because at that point, I probably won't be talking to anyone.

Oh and on a sort of fun note, with my Site Meter I can see where my readers are from. It's nothing specific, don't worry I don't know your names or anything like that. But I have readers from Europe and South America which I think is pretty snazzy. I of course have followers in the United States and a couple in Canada. I want to thank each and every one of you for stopping by and reading my blog. I would love to get some feedback from those of you who haven't commented. If you're shy, don't be! Even if you don't like some parts of my blog let me know why and I'll try to fix it. If you want to follow my blog it's easy to do, just scroll down while looking to the right and find "Followers." All you need is a Google account which is basically a Gmail email address. If you already have one, you're set!

If you haven't read my blog post from yesterday Hoping For Help please do. I know this may be asking for too much but I'm going to go out on a limb. If you have an email account would you considering emailing the link to your friends? These days so many junky emails get forwarded around, could you forward this for me? I know it's not a cute picture of a kitty sitting on top of a dog, or a funny story about an old married couple. But it's my life and I keep hoping that someone will be able to help. If you have Twitter or Facebook could you spread the news across there as well? I promise you that if ever any of you come to me asking for help, I will do everything in my power to help you. I know that doesn't mean very much but I'll do whatever I can to be of assistance.

I'll even make it easy for you, here's the direct link to Hoping For Help, perfect for an email: http://loverlylupieme.blogspot.com/2009/05/hoping-for-help.html
If you wanted to Tweet it or make it part of your Facebook status, here is the shortened URL:
http://bit.ly/2BiJ0c

Please, just take a minute out of your day and do this for me. The favor will be returned to you one of these days, I promise. One day I'll figure out a way to give back to every one of you. Thank you:-)

Bisous!
Erika

P.S.- Once I get a job and am able to volunteer these posts will get better. Expect to hear some exciting life changing adventures! Will you hear stories about my job, no because they probably won't be meant to be shared. But I'll be making my small start in changing the world. Just bear with me for the time being.

Hoping For Help

10:56 AM Posted In , Edit This 2 Comments »
I hate a hand out, I really do. I am the type of person who would rather work hard and earn what I want instead of it being given to me. Am I grateful if someone gives me something? Of course I am! I am usually so grateful words cannot describe how I feel. I also hate asking for help, I like to believe that I can do it all on my own when I really can't. I try hard though to make it work, even if it is challenging and exhausting. But now I'm going to ask for a big, big favor.

Remember a while back when I was talking about having to put a Kia in my mouth? Well, I still sort of need to. I still need gum grafts even though insurance won't cover them. My insurance company would rather wait until I have absolutely nothing left in my mouth to fix it. I have a feeling their solution would be to give me dentures. I'm 23 years old, I am too young to have to worry about losing my teeth. I have very soft enamel and some of it has eroded away and it hasn't even been my fault I need crowns and laminates to protect my teeth. I'm not like celebrities who get laminates to have a big, pearly white smile. I need them so I can protect my teeth because my body can't work to protect itself. Between genetics and lupus I have a not so happy mouth.

My oral care routine probably beats out one that I dentist does for them self. First I use a Waterpik dental water jet on a low setting to irrigate my mouth. Then I floss to get out any sort of excess debris that the Waterpik wasn't able to get. After that, I use antiseptic mouth wash to help prevent oral diseases. As if that wasn't enough, I use a Sonicare tooth brush to do the final cleaning of my mouth. And my whole routine usually takes between 15-20 minutes. I don't do this routine just once a day, it usually happens three times a day. I have to do it after I eat, every single time. Yeah, it takes a lot of time out of my day but it's that, or lose my teeth at a really young age. I also get to go to the dentist every three months to get my teeth cleaned. People really have no idea how much lupus can affect your oral health. It has impacted mine in unbelievable ways. I have to do everything in my power to preserve my oral health because my body won't do it for me.

I don't consume sugar, acidic foods and beverages, and abrasive foods and beverages. You know what that means? I can't have coffee at Starbucks or a ginger ale when my stomach is upset. I can't eat popcorn because the kernels can cut my gums. I allowed myself to eat cake at a wedding this past spring and I felt so guilty about it. But if it's not a really special occasion, I don't get cake or ice cream like every one else. You have no idea how much sugar is in stuff until you look at the labels. That makes my diet pretty limited. And I have to do it all because my mouth is in shambles at the lovely age of 23. The sad thing is, no matter what I do, unless it gets fixed and maintained, it will probably only get worse.

I need help. I've lived with this mouth for quite a while but I cannot bear to see it get worse. I'm afraid of what will happen if my gums recede even more. Would insurance cover grafts at that point? Probably. But for the sake of my teeth, I can't wait that long. My roots are exposed and that puts me at risk for losing my teeth. Yeah, it's no joke for me. My dentist even jokes saying that I should marry a rich dentist. I should have a frequent flyer card because I visit my dentist more than most. I need every single one of you to get the word out. I keep hoping that maybe someone with a lot of money will read this and be willing to help. I keep thinking a dentist in Richmond, Virginia will read this and say "Well I can donate a crown." I keep wishing a periodontist will say "I'll do a graft." I keep dreaming that a celebrity will say "Let me pay for your laminates."

I don't have a job and I'm trying to get one just like everyone else. My Mom can't afford all the dental work I need. I hate sounding like a sob story and I hate having to ask for help. I hate it even more because I know there are people out there who are worse off than me. But I figure that I have to take the chance, even if people think I'm not deserving. Honestly, I'm probably not deserving. I'm just another person in this world trying to do big things with barely anything and failing at it. One day though when I get back up on my feet, I promise I'll be an amazing person. And I promise that if I can help you in any way, I will. It's just taking me a while to become the person I know I can be.

Thank you for reading this. Thank you to all of my loyal followers, you know who you are. I'm thankful every day that I have a small audience who cares enough to read about my daily life.

Bisous!
Erika

Missing The Past While Trying To Find The Future

10:01 AM Posted In , , , Edit This 1 Comment »
I had a fabulous dream last night, it was a dream come true sort of dream. I dreamed that a friend of mine came into a lot of money, and I mean a lot! Now this friend came up to me and gave me a check for $7,000. Crazy, I know! The rule was that I had to pick a charity to give this money to. I was thrilled, ecstatic, overjoyed, I was feeling everything that could be wonderful. I felt in this dream, I remember feeling all of these emotions. The experience of that was just so amazing, it was a feeling that I doubt I will ever experience again.

Now in my dream I chose the Lupus Foundation of America for my charity. There wasn't even a doubt in my mind about it. Choosing the LFA felt so right to me in my heart and mind. The dream didn't last for too much longer though, I remember donating the $7,000 and feeling thrilled about it. I woke up thinking it was real but I quickly snapped back to reality.

Right now I'm missing my days of doing mission work. I wish I could just pack up my things and go to some far away land and work with the people. I wish I could go repair roofs, paint buildings, install screen windows, mix cement, I wish I could do it all! I miss hanging out with the locals and hearing their life stories. I loved every single moment of it, even though at times it was physically and emotionally tolling. How I wish I could go on another mission trip, I miss it all so much!

I believe that people go on mission trips to heal others and in the process they heal themselves. Maybe life has been a bit too unfair lately and I need to be healed? Could that be the reason why all of a sudden I want to hop on a plane and go to a far away location? Probably. I need to feel that I have a purpose in this life. I know once I'll feel better once I get a job. At that point I'll be feeling out the territory and finding my purpose.

For now I'll be residing in this small city, job searching day in and day out. I just keep hoping something works out for me. All I can do is to keep trying, learning, and living. It's hard though to wake up every day and think "Is today the day?" And at the end of the day you realize it wasn't. It's hard to keep hoping when you feel like you don't have much to hope for. I'm having to move into a new career path and it's difficult because I really don't have experience. But I can't work the same jobs I used to because my body won't allow it to happen. Because I have no experience, I can't get a job. So my optimistic self keeps hoping that someone is going to give me a chance. Someone will see my smile and instead of focusing on my resume, they'll focus on my heart. It's all going to work out though, probably not today, tomorrow, or next week, but one day it's going to work out.
Bisous!
Erika

Care For A Side of Random Ramblings?

1:38 PM Posted In , , Edit This 0 Comments »
I had a fabulous day yesterday, a much needed break. I spent the day hanging out with my sister Lindsay and our friend Michelle. We grilled out munching on delicious kabobs, attempted to swim even though it was way too cold, and sat outside constantly changing the conversation. I was then introduced to a lovely game on Play Station 3, Little Big Planet. At first I didn't understand the concept of the game but once I played, it all sort of made sense. Gaming time was much needed and appreciated, thanks Michelle! When I realized the price of LBP and the PS3 today I realized it is way out of my reach. Is the game fun? Of course! But can I justify the price? Nope. Not when I've got loads of stuff in me that needs to be fixed.

I'm still job hunting, calling places, sending in resumes. Whenever I sort of get a lead I get really excited. But when it doesn't work out, it just sends me down in the pit of despair. Do I stay there for very long? No. It just makes me temporarily feel like I'm not good enough and I can't do anything right. I'm sure every other unemployed person on the face of the earth feels the same way. Even though I try not to stay "down" for very long, it still affects me time after time.

Currently I'm debating on calling the doctor. Even though I was wearing sunscreen yesterday and I was in the shade, the sun really messed with me. I'm beginning to flare and I have some other issues that are not helping. But for the past few weeks I've had a sore throat that hasn't been excruciating, it just hasn't gone away. Now though it's become difficult to swallow, I feel like there is a small ball stuck in the back of my throat. I've had this feeling before and it's always gone away. It doesn't happen all the time either. So knowing my luck by the time I saw a doctor it wouldn't be bothering me at that moment. That's always my luck. I guess if it is still around next week I'll make an appointment. For now I'll grin and bear it.

I wish I had something fabulous and inspirational to say but I'm just exhausted. I feel like my brain has been fried with a side of eggs sunny side up (great mental image). I've been decoupaging a lot here lately when I haven't been job hunting. It's one of those mindless activities that is fun once you get into it. I've unfortunately run out of ordinary household objects to decoupage. I think there might be an old peanut butter jar somewhere? I haven't been exercising a lot here either. As much as I love walking, I just haven't been motivated. It's hard to do something especially when you aren't really seeing results. I guess I'll force myself to do it today if it doesn't start raining.

So here's what I need:
  1. The opportunity to change people's lives for the better.
  2. A job.
  3. A really nice dentist willing to donate free dental work (my mouth is a wreck, thanks genetics and Lupus, perfect oral hygiene has gotten me nowhere). Heck, I don't even consume sugar or eat foods that can cause erosion!
  4. A smidge more energy.
  5. This feeling of "something bad's gonna happen" to get rid of itself.
That's all for now! I think I'll feel better with a little bit of hope and a lot of rest.

Bisous!
Erika

What About Us?

10:40 AM Posted In , , Edit This 2 Comments »
"What about the normal people?" I often ask myself. What about those people like me who are just down on their luck and need a little help in life? What about us? Who is willing to help us? No one. That sometimes bothers me, the average person who needs a little help, can't get it. Their lives aren't bad enough, they haven't gone through enough, therefore they don't "deserve" help.

Don't get me wrong, I love the folks on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. I think it's fabulous that they get a new home, that is definitely well deserved. Most of them have been through "extreme" challenges, physically, emotionally, mentally, and financially. What bothers me though that we live in a society of such extravagance that they build these people massive homes. Are the homes beautiful? Of course. Do the folks deserve the home? They sure do! But who is going to help pay for the bills for the house once the house is built and the crew is gone? If they could barely afford the maintenance of their last home, how will they afford this home? No one really thinks about that when they build the house. The families have been through so much that they get a house that is way too expensive to keep up with.

I liked the good ol' days of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, where they actually remodeled the person's house. They would add on, repair, repaint, and throw in some appliances and furniture. And you know what, to me, I felt those houses had more love. Were there huge crews of hundreds of people? No. Were there massive bulldozers going down the street? No. But the house was taken apart and put back together with love. And at the end the families were so appreciative. They loved their "new" home and what it allowed them to do. Also, the way I think about it is that if they built smaller homes, they could build more houses. That means they could help more people!

I wish there was a show "Extreme Makeover: Maintenance Edition." You know, for the family who can't afford new pipes in their house? The person who needs a new stove because their other one tries to catch the house on fire? Yeah, a show to help out the normal people. For the family who needs a new roof or maybe a new floor? The families may not need a brand new house but they need repairs that they just can't afford to do. I'm sure the families would feel incredibly lucky and blessed for their new pipe, stove, roof, or floor. They may not be getting a new house, but they would get what they need. That would be a great show for normal people like me. Nothing big and extravagant, just a down to earth, back to basics kind of help.

It also bothers me when celebrities brag that they donate their money and occasionally time to certain causes. Most of the causes don't even affect the "normal" people. Why can't they take some of their big bucks and help out a good person down the street? I think the only celebrity who really cares about helping the average person is Ellen Degeneres. Some days I wish she could come help me and some of my friends. But why would she? I have a roof over my head, food to eat, and medicines to take. So when it comes to receiving help I don't really qualify. Does it matter that I can't get a job? No. Does it matter that my mouth is falling apart (stupid lupus) and I could really benefit from a couple of crowns? I'm really not looking forward to losing my teeth when I'm 30. No, it doesn't matter. I know I'm fortunate, I have more than some people could ever dream of having. I just wish that someone normal like me could get some help. I have friends who could really use some assistance, they could even be seen as worse off than me. But no one is willing to use their resources to help out someone "normal" like us.

Maybe if I were a better person someone would care? Maybe if I were able to do more someone would care? Maybe, just maybe, one day someone will care? Maybe it's the whole Natalie Cole situation that is bothering me? I'm happy for her that she got a kidney, that a dying fan loved her that much. All I can think about are the people who have been waiting, waiting, and waiting with their names on the UNOS list. The people who are sick and tired of being sick and tired and who would do anything for an organ. They have to keep waiting with their names on a list that only gets longer by the hour. Who cares about them? They are the "normal" people whose lives are on hold because their body is giving out on them. But Natalie Cole is a beloved celebrity with an amazing voice, surely she deserves life more than others.

One of these day I'm going to be something small. But if I just have faith, if I give it my all, I can take my something small and make it something big. And I promise you when I do, I'm going to help out the "normal" people. The people who just need a little bit of something to get by. That's what I'm going to do. I may not be able to save the world, but I'll give the people a little bit of hope that they didn't have before.

Bisous!
Erika

I'm A Stone In A River

9:57 AM Posted In , Edit This 1 Comment »

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." I think that quote is one of the most recognizable quotes in the world. Despite it being well known and sometimes over used, it holds such great meaning for me.

"Be the change" I can be that! All it takes is one person to put a ripple in a river, I am a stone that could cause that. My one action could cause a ripple. That ripple will travel down the river where it will meet with other rivers. I bet that each of those rivers will have positive ripples in them too! And eventually we'll make our way to an ocean, slowly but surely we will. When we meet with the force of the ocean we will become a wave! A giant wave that could truly change the world if we believed in it with all of our heart. One person can be the change because there are millions of other people working towards a positive change as well. We may not know each other, we may not even be in the same country, but we are all working towards positives changes. Together, we help each other, we may not even know it but we are.

I want to be the change. I hope that by the end of my life I will have caused positive change in this world. I hope that I will have motivated people to change their lives and the lives of those that surround them. And the change I'm working towards isn't much, it's nothing dramatic. I just ask that people look out for each other. Whether it is physically, emotionally, mentally, or financially, look out for each other.

I try to help others whenever I can. I may not have the money to go out and buy a person what they need. But if I already have it, I will share what I have with that person. If they are down on their luck, I'll paint them a picture with the supplies I already have. I believe that a little something can impact a person's life in a big way. That little something could completely change their life around! It could lift their spirits to the point that they feel like reaching out to others. It could empower them to go out and change the world in their own way. All you have to do is look out for those around you, do a little something for those you know (or don't know).

I believe that change will come to be through my words and actions. I would like to think that every time I smile, it causes someone else to smile. When they smile, it will make another person smile. It hopefully becomes a giant chain reaction full of smiles. One smile could lead to hundreds or thousands of smiles! And when you smile and really mean it, it makes you feel good. You feel warm, light hearted, sometimes filled with a giddy feeling. Why not share that feeling with someone else? All you have to do is smile, smile with your mouth, smile with your eyes, just smile.

I feel that one day people are going to look back on this blog and become inspired. I don't know what the world will be like 100 years from now. I'm hoping though that change will have come. I hope that people will do good for other people every day, not just during the holiday season. I hope that people smile for no other reason other than they are happy to be alive. I hope the world will be a very different place that always strives to move forward in positive ways.

Become the change you wish to see in the world if you haven't already. Imagine the impact 100 years from now. Let that inspire and push you to change your life and those of others. When you feel like you can't do it, just think of the possible change. Be the change.

Bisous!
Erika


But I Can Do This Instead

7:11 PM Posted In , , Edit This 3 Comments »
Often times when faced with a chronic illness you have to make choices. You choose which is more important, to go outside and get the paper or to pour yourself a bowl of cereal. You choose whether doing your hair is more important than putting on makeup or shaving your face. You choose whether or not to go from business to business dropping off applications or to sit at home and fax. Every day is filled with what feels like hundreds of choices. And most of the time when you have a chronic illness that depletes your energy, zaps your strength, and makes you feel like you can barely put one foot in front of the other, you choose the easy way. It's easier to pour a bowl of cereal, to brush your hair (unless you have my hair which breaks combs), and to fax resumes. I wake up with a limited amount of energy and strength and in order to make it last the whole day I have to make choices.

But I have figured out that life isn't about what I can't do, it's about what I can do. What are the things I can do you are asking? I decided to make a list and I'm asking you to do the same. You'll soon see why.
  1. I can get out of bed.
  2. I can put on my glasses.
  3. I can check my email and social networking sites.
  4. I can go down the stairs.
  5. I can make grits.
  6. I can make tea.
  7. I can go back up the stairs.
  8. I can watch the news.
  9. I can brush my teeth.
  10. I can grab the phone.
  11. I can research jobs online.
  12. I can call businesses.
  13. I can type on my laptop which ones are hiring.
  14. I can go downstairs.
  15. I can fax resumes.
  16. I can go back upstairs.
  17. I can clean my desk space.
  18. I can make my bed.
  19. I can take a shower.
  20. I can comb my hair.
  21. I can go downstairs.
  22. I can get a bottle of water out of the refrigerator.
  23. I can go back upstairs.
  24. I can drink my water.
  25. I can research jobs online again.
  26. I can call businesses again.
  27. I can type down on my laptop which ones are hiring again.
  28. I can go downstairs.
  29. I can fax resumes.
  30. I can wash my hands.
  31. I can put my lunch in the microwave.
  32. I can get my lunch out of the microwave.
  33. I can go upstairs.
  34. I can eat lunch.
  35. I can go brush my teeth.
  36. I can go downstairs.
  37. I can go out the door.
  38. I can lock the door.
  39. I can go on a walk (1-2 miles!).
  40. I can go in the door.
  41. I can lock the door.
  42. I can go upstairs.
  43. I can nap.
  44. I can lay in bed.
  45. I can watch the news.
  46. I can talk to my friends online.
  47. I can type my blog (exciting).
  48. I can talk to my Mom when she gets home.
  49. I can plan the next day.
  50. I can go into the other room!
  51. I can get out my art supplies (watercolors, yay!).
  52. I can go back into my room carrying my art supplies.
  53. I can paint.
  54. I can carry my art supplies to the other room.
  55. I can put them away.
  56. I can go back to my room.
  57. I can put my laptop, remote, and other needed electronics on my bed.
  58. I can get into bed.
  59. I can take my pills.
  60. I can watch TV.
  61. I can go downstairs.
  62. I can fix my rice cakes with homemade sugar free hazelnut spread and peanut butter.
  63. I can go back upstairs.
  64. I can eat my snack.
  65. I can brush my teeth (can you tell yet that I have impeccable oral hygiene, I floss and mouthwash too).
  66. I can go back in my room.
  67. I can get under the covers in my bed.
  68. I can take off my glasses.
  69. I can turn off my lamp.
  70. I can watch TV.
  71. I can go to sleep.
I can do 71 things in one day! Now to the average person, that doesn't seem like a lot. But to me, it takes a lot of work to get those 71 things done. And I'm proud of myself for being able to do those things. I'm hoping in the future, with strength, with energy, with better medications (hint hint happy scientists and pharmaceutical companies) I can do more things. Maybe in a month from now I will be up to 100 things? Possibly six months from now I could do 200 things? And there is hope that in a year from now I will be a crazy perfectionist multi-tasker who is saving the world!

So instead of thinking of all the things you can't do, think about what you can do. You can be a good person just by being you! Send someone a nice email if you are able to. Pick up the phone for a conversation or two if your voice will allow. Think of all the wonderful things you can do from home if leaving the house is a hassle. Be a smiling face to those who surround you. Be a source of strength and encouragement to those who need it. Give life your all, even if it's only ten things a day. If you do those ten things to the best of your ability, you are giving back. You are giving back to yourself and to those around you. That's what counts, you're sharing your gift of life. Remember, the next the time you're feeling down thinking "I can't do this." Think to yourself "But I can do this instead!"

In other news, I have a sort of second job interview tomorrow. I had a phone interview on Tuesday afternoon and it went really well. I go in tomorrow afternoon for "registration paperwork" and to meet the doctor. I hope it's not a long meet and greet with the doctor, I just hope he likes me. If he likes me, then there is a better chance I will be hired. Again, hope, pray, jump backwards, do what you got to do to make things work! I need this job and I'm beginning to feel quite nervous about it. But I can do this, I know I can! If anyone has any advice, let me know! It's a medical receptionist job if I haven't told you already:-)

Bisous!
Erika

I Think It's Finally Giving

6:10 PM Posted In , , Edit This 0 Comments »
Today has been a good day, a very good day indeed. Last week I applied for numerous positions for being a medical receptionist. Out of the blue this morning I received a phone call from a potential employer. I was asked if I was available to do a phone interview later in the day, it happened to be the same time I was supposed to volunteer. I of course said yes, a job is a job and this is only my second interview I have been granted. I tried to remain calm throughout the rest of the morning and afternoon but I felt like a giddy school girl on the inside!

The phone interview went well, really well. My potential employer said that my resume was one of the best she has seen. I was told the job is part time with the potential to become full time. I was asked numerous questions and I feel that I responded with well worded answers. I was then put on hold (a drop in my heart) but then I was asked if I could come in on Thursday. Thursday you say? Of course I can! I need to fill out some registration paperwork and meet the doctor of the practice. Does that mean I got the job? I'm staying positive but it could turn out the doctor doesn't like me. Or it could mean I will be officially offered the position. Right now everything feels up in the air and I'm really trying not to get my hopes up over it. I'm just hoping I get the job.

In other news I volunteered to set up for a social workers breakfast at my church tomorrow morning. I set up tables and made individual fruit salads. It was nice to see some of the people from my church, especially those who I don't often see at the service I attend. I ended up staying at church for a couple of hours, I didn't mind though. Volunteering kept my mind off of the interview which is a very good thing. I'm sure tomorrow will be long as I debate what could or could not happen. So if anyone in my area feels like getting together for a cup of tea or coffee, let me know! I'm still going to be on the look out for a job though, just in case. I've never had the best luck so I need to keep working towards having a job. Once everything is final, then I will be content!

I know one of the first things I am going to get once I get a job, a Wii and the EA Sports Active Trainer. Of course I have a few things I need to worry about before getting it. Like paying for car insurance, paying for medical stuff, and working towards getting enough money for my own car. I drive my Mom's car right now, she doesn't really mind but it seems like it bothers my Dad a bit. But the Wii and the trainer game would equal out to be a gym membership for me. I walk about two miles a day, but I feel like I need something extra. I feel that this would allow me to work out in the comfort of my own home and I would be motivated to do it. I want to be in good shape because I feel that will help with my lupus and energy levels. I wish I could afford the Wii now especially since it is on sale at Best Buy this week! Oh well, this is life and I'm just thankful that I might have a job!

My stomach has been acting up the past few days. Plus I've had some respiratory issues which I have chalked up to being allergies. If I had a killer fever, I'd have the swine flu! But right now I'm blaming it on lupus and allergies. I'm not completely miserable anyway. I still feel pretty good, nothing a little Tylenol, promethazine, and cough drops can't handle. I'm hoping that whatever this is doesn't get worse because on Thursday I might have the light at the end of the tunnel moment! Continue to hope, pray, jump backwards, do what you do to make it work. I feel like this little burst of hope was so unexpected and it was very, very welcome in my world. I again thank all of you who read this for your continued support. If I were to get this job, the first few weeks will probably be difficult as I learn and adjust. Not only will I be learning new information but my body will be learning how to deal with the extra stresses that work brings. I just hope my energy levels can stay up! But I'm ok with all the unknowns because I have known all along that something, somewhere had to give. And I think it's finally giving.

Bisous!
Erika

And I'm Ok With That

3:50 PM Posted In , , Edit This 2 Comments »
I had a great morning today. I have officially met my first person, in real life, who has lupus. I know many, many people online who have it. But it felt amazing to meet someone in person who I share a connection with. Not only do we share the common bond of lupus, but we also understand each other. We understand the weird twitches that we both get and yet other people stare at us thinking "Are you ok?" We know about the pain and swelling in the joints that lupus causes. We get those nights where you just can't sleep, no matter how hard you try. How all of a sudden you get boiling hot yet on the outside you feel cool as a cucumber. We get the headaches that feel your head is going to implode and Tylenol just doesn't cut it.

We understand each other. As simple as that sounds, it is an amazing feeling. I had the opportunity to meet one of the strongest people I have ever met. Despite all of her chronic conditions, she still keeps going. She loves her family, her friends, and even on the hardest days, she still loves her self. I admire her for that because on my hardest days, I sometimes don't love myself. Maybe that's why I get so grumpy on my worst days? Because I don't like who I am and what lupus has caused me to become? Now don't get me wrong, on most days I like who I am, I love who I am, most parts of course. I love my personality, I love my voice, I love that when I hear music I see music too. I love my eyes and how expressive they can be. I love my freakishly long tongue that I will stick out at the most random moments just to make others laugh. I love a lot of things about me on my good days. But on my bad days, I just don't see much to love.

Despite all of those things, I'm ok with that. I'm ok with the fact that I'm going to have my ups and downs as I live with lupus for the rest of my life. I'm ok with the fact that I'm at risk for developing other auto-immune disorders. I'm ok with the fact that my kidneys (Mr. and Mrs. Piddles as my sister and I call them) could give out when I least expect it. I'm ok with the fact that as I go through life, I'll be forced to take more and more prescriptions to keep going. Why am I ok with this? Because I have my life, a life filled with family who loves and friends who care. And a strong woman who gives me something to hope for, something to wish for, something to live for. You know who you are, thank you. In the last few days you have given me encouragement that I never could have foreseen. Thank you. I hope you too are ok with that.

Bisous!
Erika

The Slump Has Passed!

10:55 AM Posted In , , Edit This 4 Comments »
Well I think I might be back from the land of temporary sadness. I think all the stress from the past few weeks just came and dumped itself on me. Let's face it, we all have our bad days and yesterday felt beyond bad. You seriously cannot expect me to be peppy and optimistic every single day out of the year? I mean, of course you could but wouldn't that be a little bit unrealistic? I think we all should be allowed a bad day without having bad thoughts being thought about us. I think my bad day had been coming for a while and I just delayed giving into it. I'm still a little "off" feeling today, but life is getting better.

Recently, I've started talking to another woman whom I share a lot in common with. We met on Twitter, we both have lupus, and it turns out we have the same doctor! I know in this day in age one needs to be careful with online communication. But we've exchanged email addresses and shared our experiences, especially living with lupus. Because of her, I was sort of able to move through my slump yesterday. It seems as if she came into my life at the perfect time. I don't have many people in my life who truly understand what it's like to be me. I try to live my life as if I'm not dealing with a chronic illness. Sometimes though I have to talk to someone about it. So dear friend, if you are reading this, thank you. I know we have just initiated communication but it feels so great to have someone whom I can relate to.

Now Twitter friends, please don't be mad at me. I am also extremely thankful for your love and support. If some of you want to get to know me past the 140 characters that Twitter allows, send me a direct message. I love Twitter though because it can be so up to the minute. It's instant communication, with no delays for the most part (silly fail whale). When someone is doing great, you can share in their joy! When someone is feeling down, you can lift them up! It's a small support group in a way, especially if your fellow Tweeters are people who share your common interests. I'm also meeting more and more interesting people on Twitter with each passing day. And if you are following me on Twitter and we haven't chatted, I'm sorry! Feel free to @ me if you think I haven't talked to you in error.

It looks like it is about to rain here. I need to clean, can you tell, I clean every single day. I'm a neat freak, not OCD, I just prefer life to be organized. I then need to go on a walk, I was really bad this morning and had waffles, no syrup though, just a little bit of butter. I wish this weight I'm gaining would distribute itself. I think I am going to feel fat until it finally decides to make up it's mind where it's going to go. Oh and for those of you who are wondering how much I really weigh, I'm around 100 pounds, sometimes 98, sometimes 101. But I'm only 5'1 so it feels like a lot of weight for me.

I also think for a while there y'all weren't able to leave comments on here. I think I fixed it! A pop up box should come up and then you enter your information. So feel free to comment away!

Bisous,
Erika

P.S.- Things on the job hunting front might be looking up. Just keep praying, hoping, wishing, jumping backwards, do what you do to make it work!

Breaking Point

12:13 PM Posted In , Edit This 0 Comments »
I have spent the past three hours scouring the wide world of Google and dialing phone numbers asking if a business was hiring. I have come to the conclusion that Richmond is the worst place to try and find a job in. I would probably have better luck in Russia and I don't even speak Russian. If I find a job soon, a job that I can handle working at, a job that doesn't require me to be on my feet for six hours, it will be a miracle. All I can do is sit here and cry because I'm trying so hard. I keep making mistake, after mistake, after mistake. Whatever happened to the detail oriented person of yesteryear? Oh yes, lupus happened.

Now usually I am a bright and optimistic person, usually it takes a lot to get me down. But the past few weeks have been one struggle right on top of the next with no time to recover. The past few weeks have been so hard that I feel as if I've lost my mind. It's hard enough that the past 3 years of my life were spent being pretty dearn sick. Now that I'm starting to get better, I can't get a job because I've been out of commission. And no one in this economy wants to hire someone who hasn't worked in three years, it means they are rusty. Right now I hate myself because I feel like I'm doing everything wrong. I need something to go right. I need someone to give me a chance. I need a boost to my self esteem (which my Mom believes is made up mumbo jumbo). Well, I'm sorry but I'm feeling pretty low.

And the weird thing about it all is that I'm still trying. I'm trying my hardest to find a job. I'm trying my hardest to stay positive. It's really hard though to stay positive when no one, and I mean no one, will give you a chance. All I'm asking for is a chance, that's all I need is for someone to say "You can come work for me for two weeks and after two weeks I'll make a decision." I'm ok with that because I'm a really hard worker, I push myself even though I'm "not supposed to." I want a job so I can be a productive member of society. I know everyone is in my position but at this point, I think everyone has a better chance than me.

My head is killing me, my heart is breaking, my body is exhausted. I feel so low that I feel like I can't take it. I need a helping hand, I need a job, having a job will help me more than you can understand. I wish that someone would just come to me and say "Come work for me, please you would be wonderful." I've called hundreds of places and I'm having absolutely no luck. I must be the most despicable person on the face of the earth.

Blog readers, I'm trying to stay strong and positive. But I'm breaking as I type. I've been have cracks show up here and there recently. But now I'm really breaking. I need a bucket of super glue to fix this crack.

Bisous!
Erika

Calm, Considerate, and Caring

10:23 AM Posted In , Edit This 0 Comments »
I'm still trying to remain positive despite the fact that job hunting is not going as well as I hoped it would. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense for me to look for a job in the medical field. No, not being a doctor or a nurse, but being a receptionist or medical biller. The problem I seem to be having is that most of these jobs require you to have experience in the field. How am I supposed to gain experience in this area if no one will allow me to experience anything?

Here's why I want to be a receptionist in a doctor's office or hospital, because I've been on the other side of the desk. I've been on the side begging for an appointment when they are booked for 6 months. I've been on the side wondering "What's wrong with me?" and no one is willing to figure it out. I've been confused, overwhelmed, scared, and alone. I know what it feels like to be told that your life is basically over. But I also know what it feels like to hear that your life isn't over, not yet at least. I can sympathize with the patient, maybe that's a bad thing, maybe I shouldn't be able to show emotion? I feel though that because I've been through it, because I understand, the patient will have a positive experience.

I believe that the patient experience begins from the minute they pick up the phone and make the appointment. If the receptionist isn't warm, caring, and understanding, it can often leave the patient in misery. The patient will be thinking the month leading up to the appointment "If the receptionist was that rude, will the doctor be the same way?" The patient will dread the appointment and have even more fears, just because of the attitude of the receptionist. Sometimes there is an amazing doctor beyond the not so great receptionist, but the patient doesn't always know that. I think if someone were to hire me to be a medical receptionist, I might be able to eliminate some of that agony.

I also understand that I won't have but so much time for each phone call. I'm certainly not suggesting that I have a full therapy session with each patient. My goal is to be calm, considerate, and caring with each patient. When you're calm, the person on the other end of the line is calm as well, even if they started out agitated. I want to be considerate of their feelings as well, they are people too, not just a patient with an insurance card. I plan to care about whatever their problem is, will I become emotionally attached? No. But will I care enough to do my personal best for the patient? Yes, I will.

So, if there is a doctor out there reading this in the Richmond, Virginia area and you need a receptionist, let me know. I won't slow down your practice, I work quickly and efficiently and I can type 70-80 words per minute. I'm a sweet, hard working, compassionate young woman who is looking for a job and willing to give it her all. I'm trying to get my life in order and having a job would certainly help the situation.

I'll leave you with something funny that would be great in a religious greeting card. "If you need spiritual guidance, don't leave your priest at the Dairy Queen." That comes from a real life experience, got to love a mission trip!

Bisous!
Erika

21 Days

11:54 AM Posted In , , Edit This 0 Comments »
Thanks to the wide world of Twitter, I decided to hop on the band wagon of positive thinking. For the next 21 days (as of yesterday) I will not complain. That's right, complaining will go out the window and positive thinking will walk in through the door. I'm hoping this doesn't sound like a complaint, but I'm having a difficult time differentiating between a general statement and a complaint. If I were to say "I feel tired." Would that be a general statement or a complaint? I'm thinking instead of 21 days of not complaining, I will practice 21 days of positive thinking. That way, if someone asks me how I feel, and if I were to feel tired at that time, I could say "Right now I'm feeling tired, but I know that tomorrow will be better." Doing that allows me to be open and honest with others while staying optimistic.

I'm still on the hunt for a job and though I haven't found one yet, things are looking up. I knew that something, somewhere had to give. Now I feel like I might be getting somewhere. For those of you who know me, I want to work, I need to work. And you also know that 99.9% of the time I am a people person. I feel as if that is the one quality that will get me a job. I think that my personality will shine through and someone will be attracted to it like a moth to a flame. I'm excited about the possibilities that are to come. The chance to throw myself out there again and grow as a person. Who knows, once I save money and get my body adjusted to the rigors of having a job, I can try going back to school?

I keep telling myself over and over again that the following will happen.
  • I will get hired.
  • I will have a boss and fellow employees that like me.
  • I will have customers that find me warm (not feverish, tee hee hee), friendly, and helpful.
  • I will work to the best of my abilities.
  • I will expand my knowledge by learning everything I can about my job.
  • I will try hard even on my difficult days.
  • I will be around people who will be understanding of the fact that I have lupus and that sometimes I have limitations.
  • I will hold onto this job, even when times are tough, even if I feel like I am unable to carry on.
  • I will be the best person I can be, each and every day, always striving to reach a new personal goal.
I know that some of you may think those are unrealistic goals. But for me, I have to have goals and I have to believe in something. I am choosing to believe in the positive instead of the negative. I know that not everyone in this world will like me, but I can strive to be a person who is liked. I understand that some days I may not feel like working, but I can at least come in with a smile on my face and try my hardest. I know that there may be customers who are unfriendly and possibly rude, but I will remain calm, friendly, and understanding. I will remind myself when times are tough that I am lucky to have a job. I will recall how hard I worked to get the job and at that moment, I will feel better about the situation.

That's my plan, to stay positive, to reach my goals and then set new ones. And when my 21 days is finished, maybe it will have instilled a quality in me that can carry on for the rest of my life? Life is good and it's going to get better, I just know it will.

Bisous!
Erika

Five Million to One

9:52 AM Posted In Edit This 0 Comments »
Yesterday I blogged about how it was World Lupus Day. On my Twitter, I was wishing people Happy World Lupus Day! I was reading other people's tweets (messages for non tweeters), and some people didn't say Happy World Lupus Day. They would simply state that it was World Lupus Day and why it mattered to them. For me, World Lupus Day was a happy occasion, it was a day for me to be thankful for the fact that we have a day devoted to Lupus.

Lupus has a day! Now it seems like everyone and everything has a day, but we still have a day! One day out of the year where we can tweet, Facebook, MySpace, blog, call, text, email, and spread the word like the amazing people we are, that it is World Lupus Day. It's our one day where we can stand on our soap boxes and maybe someone will listen to us? We have a day, we actually have an entire month devoted to Lupus. So in reality, we could stand on our little boxes for the entire month of May, spreading the word about Lupus. Personally, I think we should try and spread the word about lupus every day.

I'm happy for World Lupus Day because it raises awareness for what lupus really is! Awareness is a big, big deal. What if there was a medical student who wasn't sure what they wanted their specialty to be. By now they already know what lupus is, but for a medical student, it's probably just another disease. Let's say this medical student came across a tweet or a blog describing World Lupus Day? What if this disease captivated the student's heart and mind? Maybe, just maybe this student would become a rheumatologist? Or maybe they would devote some of their time for researching lupus? Think of the impact! That one student could one day become the doctor who helps find a cure for lupus. Now many of you are probably thinking I'm dreaming big, honestly, I am. But where would the world be without dreams?

I'm glad we have World Lupus Day because on that day, people realize the severity of this disease. More than five million people in this world have lupus. Five million people live with a disease that is absolutely devastating to the tissues and organs in their body. Five million people live with the thought that lupus could kill them. Five million people live with a disease where there has not been a new medication for it in over fifty years.

Right now five million people are in some sort of pain physically, emotionally, or mentally because it seems as if lupus is a disease that doesn't deserve help. It feels as if most people don't understand how bad lupus can get. Lupus can debilitate you, just like other diseases can. And Lupus can kill you, just like diseases can. Sometimes, it doesn't feel like a fair fight because there are so many different options for treating various diseases, like cancer. Yet, there seems like there aren't enough options for treating lupus.

Sadly, as I type this, one person has probably lost hope, like the millions before us, that they may never have a life without lupus. One person may not seem like a huge number, but one person can cause waves in the water. I'm only one person, but I would like to think that my blog touches many people. And those people will go on to help other people. All it takes is one person to make change. One crazy "this may just work" thought, one spark of imagination, one dream that you can share with others. One person, with one dream, with one last breath of hope could one day change the lives of people who have lupus, forever.

I pray that I will never lose hope, I hope I will never lose faith in myself and others. And I hope and pray that one day, people won't have to live with this disease.

Bisous!
Erika

Happy World Lupus Day!

2:29 PM Posted In , Edit This 1 Comment »
Happy Mother's Day and World Lupus Day!

Bisous!
Erika

It's Not Thanksgiving, Is It?

10:00 AM Posted In , , Edit This 0 Comments »
For the past few days I've been a bit on the down side. I've got what feels like 9384934839 things on my plate and none of them are getting cleared off. It feels like no one is understanding me and honestly, I'm getting tired of explaining myself. It's hard because everyone thinks I'm trying to be mean when I'm really not. The impact of not having a job, feeling like a loser, and having an uncomfortable living situation is really taking it's toll on me. People keep trying to give me job suggestions, but half of them aren't thinking about the job. Half the people don't think about the impact a certain job would have on me. Half the people don't realize that whatever company it is won't have much tolerance for someone like me. But there have been a handful of people, practically complete strangers, who have been very helpful to me.

For now all I can do is to keep telling myself that something, somewhere, is going to give. Someone is going to call me in for an interview, someone is going to hire me on the spot. I'll have a job that I will learn to love. I will work hard, I will push my limits (even though that's a no no), and if I get sick, my employer will understand without making me get a doctor's note for a flare. I will have a job where the other employees will like me and supervisors will think I'm wonderful. Customers will think I'm attentive, friendly, and helpful. I'll work for a company that has excellent values and a sense of community. All I can do is keep trying, keep hoping, and keep wishing that something, somewhere is going to give.

Sometimes I think we all need to be reminded of the things we are thankful for. I think we all forget from time to time, how lucky we really are. In my family, we never went around the table at Thanksgiving saying what we were thankful for. Or if we did, I don't remember it ***smacks head*** silly brain. So pardon my incredibly long list as I remind myself what I am thankful for. Who knows, some of it may shock you (get your inhalers, defibrillators, and Epipens ready).
  1. Life.
  2. Most of my family...
  3. My "stand by me" friends, including but not limited to Ariel, Ashley, Leyna, Amy, M@, and especially Michele.
  4. Some very special people from my church such as Jodie, Thomas, Maria, Suzanne, Emma, Estelle, James, Lauren, and a few more who I'm probably forgetting.
  5. Bed, my cozy, comfy bed.
  6. Medications (thank you for promethazine,plaquenil, and reglan especially).
  7. Heavy curtains.
  8. Amazing doctors.
  9. Dark painted rooms.
  10. Laptop, which I am thinking of naming, any suggestions?
  11. My toothbrush.
  12. Sugar free wheat pasta.
  13. My old faithful, risen from dead 3948340384 times, precious pink iPod mini.
  14. My obsolete digital camera.
  15. Crocs.
  16. My kids size pink and gray Adidas sneakers (perfect walking shoes).
  17. Fruity teas.
  18. Deodorant (seriously, without it, we would all stink).
  19. CNN.
  20. For learning how to stand up to my Dad.
  21. My Mom's car which is slowly becoming mine (muahahahaha).
  22. Job applications.
  23. The ability to inspire others.
  24. Arts and crafts.
  25. Hand sanitizer.
  26. Cleaning products (I'm a neat freak).
  27. Penguins, enough said.
  28. Homemade sugar free choco-hazelnut spread (Nutella).
  29. My secret cookie recipes (but Mom knows some of the secrets, don't go holding her ransom, I'm broke, will only pay in cookies).
  30. Life is good hat and book.
  31. Transitions lenses.
  32. Clothing, yeah rocking the paper bag was so last year, just kidding, or am I?
  33. The Lupus Foundation of America.
  34. Air conditioning.
  35. Hope.
  36. Music, all sorts.
  37. My voice, for singing, for speaking, and how people miss it when it's silent.
  38. Sugar free chewing gum (I'm constantly chewing gum, apparently it's a stress reliever).
  39. Emergen-C.
  40. This blog.
  41. The people who follow this blog.
  42. All of my fellow Tweeters.
  43. Energy saving light bulbs.
  44. Clean water.
  45. Photographs
  46. My last $10 which I tried to give to my Mom to pay for gas for letting me use her car.
I'm sure I'm thankful for much more, but right now my brain isn't functioning at a prime level. Right now all I want to do is have a job so I won't feel like such a pathetic human being. Right now, I'm trying my best to stay optimistic but I feel like I'm not a very good person. Right now I wish someone could just tell me that they have a job and I would be perfect for it. I just want to be a good person and having a job would really help.

I know a celebrity would never read my blog, that's not pessimism speaking, that's realism. I wish though that one could come help me out a little bit. I don't want a car, or a new house, or lots of money, I just want a job where I can help people. I just wish that someone could see that I'm trying so hard, and I want nothing more than to be healthy and to work. I just feel like I need a big miracle right about now. Yet, I keep telling myself that life is good, that I have at least 45 things to be thankful for, and that I'm doing the best I can do. So if any of you out there have the ability to make miracles happen, please, I'm begging you, send one my way. I know I am the least deserving person on the face of the earth, but I need one. I just need some help and I just want to help others. I feel so selfish but I just need some help.

Me and the tears that are streaming down my face are going to sign off now. I very rarely cry and when I do, it's a big deal. I need a massive box of Kleenex too.

Bisous.
Erika

5 Things

6:51 PM Posted In , Edit This 0 Comments »
When most people are asked to describe me, I usually find out they say the following things about me:
  • Giving
  • Enthusiastic
  • Caring
  • Optimistic
  • Brave
When I think about those words, I begin to question them. Am I really that giving? Is my personality that enthusiastic? Do I really show a caring side? Am I always optimistic? And why do you think I'm brave? Sure, I love to paint pictures and give them away even though I could try to sell them. I spend time signing up for free samples and then donating them to my church. You could say I'm fairly peppy, I would describe myself as "alive." On a good day I'm like a chipmunk on a triple espresso who is preparing to run a marathon. I'm that wired once I get going, but those days are few and far between. I care, just as much as the next person, of course I care about things I can't fix, but dearly want to. I think up way too many plans on how to fix common (sad) problems like hunger, homelessness, and illiteracy.

I'm mostly a realist, I don't see myself as a super optimistic person. If something is real, on paper, in a chart, I can't dispute it, but I certainly cannot let it rule me. Will it affect me? Of course it will, but it won't control me. I control me, no one and nothing else ever will, I will always do my personal best. If I'm having a bad week all I can do is hope that it will get better. For example, right now I'm jobless like the tens of thousands of people out there. But all I can do is apply, apply, apply! All I can do is spread the word that I want to work. There are a few places that I would really love to work for, but I'm fairly open at this point. I just keep hoping that someone will read this and say "Wouldn't this gal be lovely at our business?" One day things are going to get better, I'm going to get a job, I'm going to love it, and I'm going to become the person I aspire to be.

Last night I watched the Michael J. Fox special on ABC, Adventures of an Incurable Optimist. He traveled the world for this show, constantly optimistic, finding new sources of strength and hope. It was an excellent show and I am hoping that ABC puts it on their website for people to watch. I wish I could be as inspiring as Michael J. Fox, of course he has earned his optimism. He has lived with Parkinson's disease, a cruel neurological disorder, for ten years now. Yet, has he let that stop him in his tracks? Has he stopped living, working, and hoping for a cure? No. Kind of like me I suppose, I'm living, working, and hoping for a cure for lupus. Yes, it can be controlled with some medications, but what happens when they stop working? I believe that with Michael J. Fox's help, stem cell research is going to explode in the next five years. Who knows, maybe in all the research they'll find a cure for lupus?

Do I deserve the title of an incurable optimist? No. But I'm doing the best I can do with what I've got. Maybe one day I can travel the world with my wisdom and wild spirit. And when I do, I'll share the hope that I have with every person I meet. For now, I'll just share my hope with y'all reading this, and with those who surround me.

Bisous!
Erika

My Poem

6:47 PM Posted In Edit This 0 Comments »


Hey everyone! Here are the links as promised:
Lupus Foundation of America main web page. If you need to know about lupus, go there!
Lupus Now Magazine Creative Corner. This is where you will find my poem! I have lots of poems about lupus, but this is the first one I wrote. I bet y'all didn't know that I secretly write poetry.
Lupus Foundation of America Blogspot. Or if you want just look to the right, scroll down, and under my blog list click On the Road to a Cure.

Bisous!
Erika

Have I been around coughing Mexican pigs?

1:00 PM Posted In , , Edit This 0 Comments »
No, I have not been around coughing Mexican pigs. But that's the question that my rheumatologist asked me upon finding out that I have had a fever and sore throat as of lately. I suppose it would have been more professional if he asked "Have you been around persons who have been diagnosed with the H1N1 virus?" My doctor has the oddest ways of phrasing questions and I can't help but to find them hilarious. A few months back I was having all sorts of heart problems. When we couldn't figure out why he asked me the following: "Have you been snorting copious amounts of cocaine and drinking a venti latte all while running a marathon?" Of course my answer was no. I love the word copious in that question, it made the sentence that much better.

So right now I am in the process of trying to figure out how I am going to keep my current insurance after I'm 25. Now I'm not positive but my Mom thinks all they might need is for my doctors to fax the company my records. For a while there, we thought I was going to have to go on disability and go through that hassle. I'm against disability for myself, let me tell you why. I may be dead dog tired most days, but I don't see myself as disabled. I may hurt so much that I can't get out of bed, but I don't see myself as disabled. I may have fevers that try and take me out for the count, but I don't see myself as disabled. I feel I would be abusing the system by going on disability. I don't deserve disability anymore than someone who has a paper cut.

I want to work, I want to be self sufficient, I want to be a decent, productive human being. But if attempting to get on disability is the only way I can stay on my Mom's insurance, I don't have a choice. I cannot afford my own insurance plan and there is no way my Mom could help with the financial side of it. Having my own plan also may cause me to switch doctors, which I don't want to do. I love my doctors and nurses. They have all been fabulous to me and done nothing but help me to feel better! So I need y'all to hope, pray, jump backwards, do what you got to do to make it work that I am able to stay on my Mom's plan without going on disability.

In other news, I'm absolutely enthralled that so many people are reading my blog. It makes me feel like I have a voice and that maybe my blog is helping someone? Or at least it gives those around me a glimpse into my life. I'm just thrilled to have an audience. Oh, and I've definitely gained weight, I'm up to 101 according to the lovely scale at the doctor's office. I know it's a good thing for me to weigh this much, but I feel fat. I feel really fat and dumpy. I think I need to upgrade my lazy walking to speed walking. I would love to take up yoga but I have no where to start. One of these days I'm going to get a Wii and a Wii Fit so I can have fun exercise time! But that's going to be a year or more from now, I have a lot of expenses I need to focus on for now.

I'm probably going to go job hunting again tomorrow, at least online. I am currently in the process of turning my sister's room into a craft room. It's taking some time and a lot of cleaning supplies. My sister's room hasn't exactly been known for it's cleanliness. No offense sissy, and you also have about 2 bags of stuff you need to pick up. Old computer stuff, APO junk, other randomness that you can stuff your apartment with. I would love to eventually paint Lindsay's room a darker color, just like my room. Of course that is up to my Mom but my sister's room needs it just like my room needed it.

Well, I just finished a lovely lunch of baked salmon, brown rice, and edamame. I need to brush my teeth and then continue with the cleaning festivities. And Gmail is acting screwy with me again!

Bisous,
Erika

P.S.- Life is good.

Medical musings

6:49 PM Posted In , Edit This 0 Comments »
Well I didn't get the job I applied for last week. It seems as if they were only hiring for temporary employment and I supposed I didn't fill those qualifications. I would have been thrilled to do a bit of temp work, something for some back up cash to hold me over. Apparently if someone on their permanent staff quits, I'm next up to be called in. I hope that's the truth and not a lie said to make me feel better. I've also applied for jobs with some banks in my area and some legitimate listings on Craiglist. I keep thinking that something, somewhere has to give. But of course there are thousands and thousands of people who are unemployed and thinking the same thing. I wish I could find a legitimate work from home business, but everything turns out to be a scam. Grr, frustrating.

Tomorrow I have an appointment with my rheumatologist. As pathetic as this sounds, I'm hoping if something has to go wrong, it goes wrong now, before I'm employed. I kind of want the bad stuff to go ahead and get out of the way before I move onto a better part of my life. Of course I know that life doesn't work like that, but wouldn't it be great if it did? Wouldn't it be lovely if people with chronic illnesses could just get the icky nasty stuff out of the way and then go on with life? It would be like cheating the system but wouldn't life be just a smidge better? We wouldn't have the thoughts hovering over us such as "Are my kidneys going to go kursplatt any time soon?" Well all of this is just a bunch of silly wishing. I'm of course hoping that all is well tomorrow and it continues to stay well. Hopefully y'all understand by now is that it never really is well, it's just as good as can be expected.

Today was the first day in a few days where I actually felt coherent enough to do something. I went out with my sister Lindsay and her friend Margot. We went to Target, Sally Beauty Supply, and The Olive Garden for lunch. My sister and I split the chicken alfredo pizza and Margot had the pasta pomadore. Afterwards we went to my sister's apartment where I went into hair stylist mode and did Margot and Lindsay's hair. I have fun playing around with people's hair but I could never be a stylist. I trust myself with scissors when it comes to paper, but with people's hair, I don't think so! I also managed to take a long walk today because I wasn't able to yesterday.

That's all I have to update for now. Oh, I forgot, my Dad started to chew me out today. But I nipped it in the bud. Way to go for me being assertive and not putting up with his bull hockey! I think I showed him that I'm not going to take it and if he wants to get rude, he can get rude with someone else.

Bisous!
Erika

Sometimes all I need is bed rest::-(

2:26 PM Posted In , Edit This 0 Comments »
I woke up this morning, hoping to be productive since I definitely was not productive yesterday. As soon as I got out of bed to make breakfast my body said "Excuse me, but I don't think so." Yes, my body talks to me and it can be quite rude! By the time I dragged my breakfast and myself up the stairs again, I knew I would have to give into my worst enemy. Bed rest. Ugh, the thought of it makes me feel like a lazy, worthless slug. So I flopped myself into bed and resigned myself to the fact that I would be spending the rest of my day under the covers. For most people this sounds like the most delightful day, relaxing in bed, watching TV, and basically doing nothing. It's hard for me because I'm trying to get my life back and for every step forward I take, I end up taking two steps back.

I'm assuming I'm in the middle of a flare, otherwise I have the dreaded swine flu. I seriously doubt that I do though because I haven't been to Mexico, nor have I been around people who have gone there. Between the fever and the body ache I have going on, I feel as if I've been run over by a tractor trailer. Thank goodness for the news. It's great to drift in and out of sleep to. Oh and you know I'm sick when I take naps, I don't take naps, I hate naps. But here lately all I've been able to do is nap. There has to be a solution to all of this other than laying in bed and sleeping.

I probably should have added a counter to my blog from the get go, but I didn't know I could. I just realized yesterday that it was something I could do. Earlier 12 people had viewed my blog since yesterday evening. It makes me happy knowing that 12 people have read my blog! OK, maybe not read, possibly skimmed, but still, it's a start! For a while there I felt like only one or two people actually read it because hardly anyone ever comments. If you don't comment, start commenting, you don't have to have an account to my knowledge. It will let me know who's reading it and maybe we can get to know each other?

Well I can barely balance my computer on my lap and keep my eyes open. Sleep is beckoning me, again. Goodnight even though it's mid afternoon. Oh and for those of you who watch House, wasn't last night's episode fantastic? I can't wait for the season finale!

Bisous,
Erika

No More Napping!

6:52 PM Posted In , Edit This 0 Comments »
Today was supposed to be a productive day, unfortunately, it really wasn't. I woke up this morning feeling exhausted, I knew I wouldn't be able to do everything I had planned. When these days happen, it makes me nervous about beginning to work again. Am I supposed to risk calling in sick just because I am exhausted beyond belief? Will I looked at as lazy and be fired? I'm definitely not expecting pay for sick days. I also understand in order for a business to be successful, they need all employees to be on deck.

This is something I need to bring up with my rheumatologist on Thursday. "So Dr. So and So I've been increasingly tired lately, and let me tell you, it stinks. I'm looking for a part time job with no luck. I want to work, I really do! Do you have any ideas on how I can combat the exhaustion I face on a day to day basis? Without excessive caffeine? Any thoughts? No? Oh well, thanks." That will probably be what happens. Have you ever been so tired you can't see straight? That's been me today. Or it could be the Plaquenil making me blind, oops! If my vision is still wonky tomorrow, I'll definitely call the eye doctor and say "Excuse me, something isn't right with my eyes, fix it, now!"

Did you know this month on the Martha Stewart she is going to have an Asian Noodle show, a Man Show, and a Mother's Day show. How exciting, an entire show devoted to noodles. I'll watch it though, only because I not so secretly wish to be perfect like Martha. The only thing that gets my goat is that sometimes she can be a bit on the rude side. Maybe the whole holier than thou complex makes her feel better at the end of the day? She sometimes acts like that everyone can afford everything that is on her show. That everyone should go to the best restaurants even if it means flying across the country. Um, hi Martha, have you noticed we are in the midst of an economic downturn? Oh, sorry, you were too busy planning designs for the packaging of your sheets which are the same ones from Kmart but you're selling at Macy's now.

I'm exhausted, a new House comes on in 58 minutes. Must try not to nap. OK, maybe just a baby nap?

Bisous,
Erika

Hmm what to blog about?

7:04 PM Posted In , Edit This 1 Comment »
I'm at a loss on what to blog about! For once, I don't have something to say. Job hunting is still going slow with not many leads. Tomorrow I am going to pursue some leads and forge the trails on my own. That is of course after I go to the dentist for a lovely cleaning. I'm lucky I get my teeth cleaned every three months. Yes, it's more expensive but because I have lupus I don't have a choice. It's just one of those things for me. Also tomorrow the conversation of crowns will be brought up and for now I can afford one crown on a payment plan. I have a horrible mouth, half is genetics and half is lupus. I'm just going to do everything I can to prevent it from getting worse. I think my dentist should start doing a "Buy one get one free" deal with me. I should at least have a frequent flyer card!

My sister just called the house, she always calls when I am in the middle of doing something. We actually had a productive conversation about job hunting. She is going to stay on the lookout for me. I told her my criteria because I am just getting back in the work world and I don't want to push my limitations.
  • I'm looking to work about four days a week.
  • Each day I want to work between four to five hours.
  • I would prefer to work in the mornings because as the afternoon progresses into evening, my lupus loves to misbehave.
  • I need to have a job where I can be sitting most of the time. Silly auto-immune disorder.
  • I would like to work for a smaller company because then I will become indispensable (hopefully) due to my cheery and optimistic disposition.
  • I need my employer to be OK with me having lupus, to understand that I may have to take a sick day every now and again. Believe me, I won't take a sick day unless I feeling like death on a stick.
If it turns out once I start working that I feel I can do more, than I will. But my rheumatologist has stressed, stressed, and stressed some more to be aware of my limitations. Sometimes I think he is more concerned about my conditions than I am. Does he know something I don't? Probably, but he's a pretty good doctor so I trust his judgment.

I went to church this morning. I love how everyone will talk to me for about five seconds and then go talk to my parents about me. Erm, hello! I'm 23 years old and I can talk for myself, I'm sorry if I don't divulge too many details. But that doesn't give you permission to go get it from my parents either. It especially bothers me when my Dad so freely gives out details about me to others and yet he barely says a word to me. He calls me the ghost, such as when he hears a rumbling in the kitchen "Is the ghost in the kitchen?" It's partially because I am so quiet and light on my feet that you can hardly hear me coming.

So wish me luck tomorrow. I'll be out begging for a job like every other person out there! What's even better is that is is going to be raining. Fabulous! Thank goodness for a raincoat.

Bisous!
Erika

Trying to find a job in the middle of a pandemic?

9:40 AM Posted In , , Edit This 0 Comments »
Well, the job hunting has been somewhat unsuccessful this week. If you've been wondering where I have been, I've been out walking the pavement. I've called hundreds of businesses, and very few are hiring. All I can do is throw my application in the heap and hope for the best. Now I'm usually fairly optimistic about these sort of things. I used to get hired right on the spot, but that isn't the case anymore.

Here are the reasons why I won't get hired:
  1. I'm being honest about having lupus. I try to put a positive spin on it but having a chronic illness is hardly seen as a positive in other people's eyes. It's better for me to tell them now rather than later. If I tell them later they will be mad at me for not being upfront and they will cut my hours until I'm down to zilch.
  2. I haven't worked in quite a while, but I haven't been well enough to work. I've wanted to work but it's kind of hard to when you can't put one foot in front of the other.
  3. Half of my past employers have closed down, that makes for a great phone call. ***Dials number "Ring, ring, ring... Doo doo doo... We're sorry but this number is no longer in service. If you feel you have reached this message in error, please hang up and dial 0 for your operator. Thank you." Click***
  4. I'm not really qualified to do much of anything, I can type fast, I'm great with customer service, but other than that, I've got nothing. I call myself a jack of all trades, master of none. I can do anything but I'm not "trained" for anything.
  5. I go to church on Sunday mornings. If a business is open 7 days a week, chances are they want you to work on a Sunday. Yes, I know they are not supposed to hold that against me, but they do. If they compare an applicant of equal credentials who can work on a Sunday against me, I guarantee the other applicant will get the job.
So now I am in the big stack of people who are unemployed. I was hoping to have a job by next week so when I went to my rheumatologist I could say "Hey I have a job." The reason for that is because my Mom wants me to go on disability. First of all, I don't think of myself as disabled, but I need disability for the insurance after I'm 25. I will never be able to get insurance on my own because of my 12,000 preexisting conditions. But I feel like I am such a lazy bum asking to go on disability. I totally doubt he will even want to fill out the paper work for it. I feel like I am going to have to go in there begging and pleading. I'm dreading the thought of it. I also feel I would have a better chance of getting disability if I have a part time job. I feel it shows that I am trying to be a productive member of society. I just don't want to sit around with a disability check from month to month. I want to be out there, working, volunteering, and being a productive member of society.

Anyone freaked out about the H1N1 virus? It is fondly known as the Oinky Oinkster virus to me. Yes, I know that one cannot catch the H1N1 virus from eating pork. Well, even if you could, it wouldn't affect me because I very rarely eat pork. I'm not too worried about it, there are only two cases in my area and both persons had recently traveled to Mexico.

Here's the minute where I might start to feel panicky. If a school in my area all of a sudden develops cases, that's the point where I'm going to be a little bit freaked. Why? Because children are walking petri dishes. Yes they are cute, adorable, and 98% of them are loving, but that doesn't excuse it. They touch everything and then they touch their faces without washing their hands. It doesn't matter how much you teach your child proper hygiene, it just isn't going to happen. In their opinion, playing video games is more important than washing their hands after going "potty." Therefore all these little children will be running around spreading the love of the H1N1 virus with each other. I know it seems like I don't like children, I'm quite good with children, I've earned the nickname of "The Baby Whisperer."

This is my plan of action if I get the H1N1 virus, either I'm going to live or I'm going to die (hopefully not). Plain and simple. If I live, YAY, it will be an amazing story to tell to someonesgrand kids who aren't my own sixty something years from now. Now some people are saying that Tamiflu won't help to get rid of the H1N1 virus. Does that matter for me? Nope! You want to know why? Because I cannot take Tamiflu or Relenza! Yay, if I get to experience the H1N1 virus and I get to have the full party experience. I will probably be one of the few people who actually needs to be hospitalized if I catch it. Will be able to be hospitalized? Nope! You want to know why again? Because the hospitals will be so overcrowded with people who don't actually need to be in there. Will they be miserable feeling? Probably. But 99% of them can be sent home with a script of Tamiflu or Relenza with the orders of bed rest, fluids, and antipyretics. Yay for the pandemic flu for taxing the already taxed health care system.

Here are my rules for the Oinky Oinkster virus (I know I'm just reiterating but maybe someone is reading this blog who has been living under a rock):
  1. Wash your hands, if you don't know how, here's how. Turn on the water, stick your hands under the water, rinse them well. Remove hands from water, add soap, lather vigorously while singing Happy Birthday twice in your head (or out loud if you think you're on American Idol). Rinse your hands thoroughly and dry preferably with a clean towel or paper towel. If leaving a public restroom, turn off the water with the paper towel, open the door to leave the restroom with the paper towel, find a trash can and place the paper towel in it when finished.
  2. Do not, under any circumstances touch your mouth, nose, eyes or general face area without washing your hands or using a hand sanitizer. Viruses are not immobile, if they are on your cheek, they will find their way to either your mouth, nose, or eyes.
  3. Take a moment and wipe down door knobs in your house with a disinfectant wipe. Also, wipe down your cell phone and even your computer key board (just not with the same wipe, otherwise you're just transferring germs).
  4. You can eat pork, it is perfectly safe. In this day in age we no longer have to worry about trichinosis because pigs no longer eat trash for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The only way you could possibly get it is if you eat raw or undercooked pork. Experts argue what the internal temperature of the pork product should be at the end of cooking. Some say 140 degrees Fahrenheit will kill the Trichinella worm, others say to cook until the product is 170 degrees Fahrenheit. I think about 150 degrees Fahrenheit should suffice especially if you don't want the pork to be dried up.
  5. If you're sick, stay home. If you have children, as obnoxious as it is to have children around when you are sick, keep them home too. Why? Because going they are to catch it and they can spread the virus around one day before they start exhibiting symptoms. So if little Johnny goes over to play at Billy's house when you are at home with the H1N1 virus, Johnny will get Billy sick. Then Billy will get his family sick, and then Billy's family will get someone else sick. I know it seems like overkill, but better to be safe than sorry, right? Do you really want to be the cause of getting your entire community sick? I don't think so.
  6. Please put your dirty tissues in a proper trash receptacle, if you can, wash your hands after dirtying a tissue. Of course when you have the flu this seems a bit extreme especially when you feel like you can't move. So every few tissues use some hand sanitizer to keep from reinfecting yourself.
  7. Don't flood the ER either. Call your primary care physician first. If you do not have insurance call your state's hot line for questions about the H1N1 virus. I think that every state has a hot line up and running by now. If you don't know your state's hot line number by now, Google it. When all else fails, call the CDC Pandemic Flu hot line at 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) or TTY: 888-232-6348. The reason for calling your physician before you come in is so they can take the proper precautions to limit the transmission of the virus to others.
Well, that's all I have to report right now. If anyone out there has a job opening available, please let me know. I'm willing to do just about anything. I'm a hard worker, extremely motivated, and when you get me around customers, I'm all smiles. I really wish Life is good was down where I live. I would love, love, love, love, love to work for them. I think it would be the perfect career path for me, even if I was stuck in the mail room. I need to go clean, cook, and clean some more, I'm a housewife without a husband. Oh and on a side note, Gmail isn't working for me today, how exciting!

Bisous!
Erika