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.

Diagnosed. by Carie Sherman

Carie ShermanIt was August of 2011. I had just returned from a weekend at the beach with my best girlfriends. We spent three days lounging like lizards with drinks in hand, carrying on as if we were 21 again.

I returned a hot mess. After a week of what I believed was worst hangover ever, I turned to my primary care doctor. After my exam, she suggested I see a rheumatologist. I can’t remember asking her why. I trusted her, so I went.

Man, rheumatologists take a LOT of blood.

By the time I went in for my follow-up, I’d convinced myself my diagnosis would be extreme laziness.

After all, I’d just changed careers. Moving from a relatively stressful corporate job to a lot less stressful “freelancer” status totally fit Diagnosis Lazy. My daughter had just turned one. Aren’t all new 35-year old moms tired?
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