Creating Your Own Formula for Good Health

Carie ShermanBy Carie Sherman

People much smarter than me could tell you how everything in the universe follows a mathematical equation. And although this is likely a complete misapplication of the theory (math was never my best subject), I have a suggestion: Find better health by determining the right formula for you.

I’m a writer. As such, I enjoy studying the craft. If you look at uber-popular contemporary authors, you’ll see they tell stories using their own unique formula. Their readers pay good money to find out that the small-time lawyer will defy odds and expose the evil corporation. Love will conquer all for the impossibly good-looking 20-something widower and the beautiful yet damaged rich woman who just moved into the old family estate. These authors have found, and often stick with, a formula that works.

Finding My Formula

For more than a year, I had more bad days than good. Through the help of good doctors, my wonderful husband, and a whole lot of trial and error, my days started getting better. Moments of lucidity cleared a path for my inner nerd to re-emerge. I began a study of my good days.

It didn’t take long to see patterns.

I spent more than a year waiting for a doctor to fix me. It wasn’t until I began focusing on life beyond my bottles of pills that I started feeling better.

I’ll talk more about my own specific formula of wellness in a future post. Until then, give some thought to your days and what parts—no matter how small—make you feel good. I’m talking about any aspect (my formula includes half & half in my morning coffee and the three minutes of snuggling I steal before my toddler asks me to turn on cartoons).  

Do you have a “formula” for a happy day? Please share your comments below. Your insight might be exactly what another reader needs to hear today.

Food Intervention!

Carie ShermanBy Carie Sherman

This is my self-imposed INTERVENTION.

Over the last few years, my illness has forced me to make changes. Big ones.

Some were for the best—like going freelance, rediscovering yoga, and simplifying (pretty much) everything. Some changes were the worst, like no more running, becoming a social recluse, and needing more naps than my toddler.

Like it or not, these changes have kept me in relatively good health.

A health I’m very much enjoying, thanks—in NO part at all—to my terrible eating habits.

My brain and body know good food leads to good health. Yet I keep making bad choices.
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Paging Dr. Crane: Your Patient is Now Sulking in Room One

Carie ShermanBy Carie Sherman

I admit it. Some days I feel sorry for myself.

My most recent funk started at a family dinner. I went from being engaged and interested to being a spaced out, slightly crabby, vacuous lump.

Thankfully, Dr. Frasier Crane helped me snap out of it.

That evening I was flipping channels, trying to find something inane to capture my unreasonable mind, still mad as heck though not sure why. I had seen this black mood before. By now, my brain knows better than to launch into a state of Why Me.

So why was I again so mentally miserable?

Frasier had it all figured out.

It was really quite simple, he said. You aren’t mourning the fact that you may have lupus. You’re mourning the life you thought you would have.

Frasier paused. I started thinking about when my mood went south.

Perhaps it was during the excited talk of racing in one of those insane mud runs—an event I would have happily signed up for. Maybe it started when I was holding my sweet nephew, born around the time my doc told me It’s Best to Wait to get pregnant again. Or it could have been watching everyone enjoy my favorite ooey-gooey chocolate cake. Cake I couldn’t eat because I took another doc’s advice to try a gluten-free lifestyle.

YES, I told Frasier. That makes sense! Those happy conversations reminded me that my life has changed. And it’s okay to be sad about that.

The acknowledgement alone yanked me out of my pity-party for one. Why? I’m not entirely sure. The conversation with Dr. Crane was pretty one-sided.

Still, it was enough to convince me: It’s okay to mourn the life I had expected. And next time I’m feeling gloomy, I’ll try shifting my focus to the wonderful things the last few years have taught me.

My “new” life awaits. And I’m thrilled to explore it.

Does your illness affect your mental health? How do you cope?



Memorial Day Weekend: Avoid Flares and Enjoy the Sun

By Carie ShermanCarie Sherman

First things first—thank you for the gracious support you provided through Lupus Colorado’s Facebook page. (Have you been there? If not—GO. It’s awesome!) You’ve given me the confidence to keep going with this blog in the hope that together, we can help other Coloradans dealing with issues of the auto immune.

I love this holiday—a chance to remember and a chance to celebrate my favorite season. I’m a summer girl. Bleached hair, tanned skin, dirty feet—that’s who I am. Well, used to be. My days of sun-up to sun-down outdoor antics have become rare. But that’s okay. I’ll address the boo-hoos and emotional mind-messing in a later post.

Since I traveled last weekend and am beyond exhausted, I’ll spend most of the days resting. But I do plan to get outside. So today’s focus is an important practicality: protecting yourself from lupus flares that result from sun exposure.

  1. Sunscreen. I hate putting on sunscreen. Whether I’m sick, rushing to a meeting, or desperate to know why my dog is wet and my toddler is hysterical, I don’t need another “to do.” That’s why I LOVE Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration—a moisturizer and sunscreen in one. It sooths my dry skin and gives me 50 SPF. 50! It has a light coconut smell and a little bit of shimmer, which perks me up even on dark days. You can find it in any drug store.
  2. Hats. I spent much of my teens and twenties hiding behind a grimy ball cap. And while you can often still find me in a navy blue cap with half the visor eaten off (thanks, Farley-dog), some occasions require a refined look. Luckily, hats are back. You can find something that fits your style in nearly any store. I like Target.
  3. Clothing. Your average white tee has an SPF of 4. You should apply sunscreen everywhere, but a little protection from your clothes can’t hurt. Once a specialty store item, SPF clothing is showing up at retailers like REI, Athleta, and Lands End. Can’t afford a new wardrobe? The makers of RIT dye provide a sun guard rinse you can add to your laundry. I haven’t tried it (let me know if you have!).

Steve Martin once said: A day without sunshine is, you know, night. I’m sick of night. Even if it’s for 10 minutes and in the shade, I’ll be outside this summer. I hope you are too.

Do you have any sun protection tips? Share them below.