Friday, December 2, 2011

6 Months of Living with Lupus




Wow, where did the time go? It has been 6 months since my lupus diagnosis. I had a doctor appointment Tuesday, and I was informed that I’m stable- not getting any worse, but thus far not any better. No reduction of the meds (bummer), next appointment Jan 4, 2012.

As I reflect on the past 6 months-it brings tears to my eyes. I’ve have several short stays in the hospital, many days/nights of pain, and depression. There were days when all I could do was cry.. ball up in my bed and cry. I see my doctor so often that I feel like we are dating. I know I’m a handful and I know I work his nerves. I’m always full of questions and comments. I just tell him straight- I can’t afford to do all of the things you want me to do! I know it sounds crazy that someone/anyone would say that they can’t afford to do something that may benefit them-BUT I can’t! I’ve made adjustment to my benefits at work (starting with getting the flexible spending account) in which I hope will help me financially with some of the things I need to incorporate. In the mean time, I’m doing the best I can with what I have. It has been extremely difficult for me to accept help. I’ve always been the care giver- not the one being cared for. I find myself ashamed of my appearance (because of the weight gain from the meds along with the scarring on my face). Ive had trouble with housekeeping and cooking meals sometimes-but THANKS to my children and my husband all of which have pitched in and got the job done when I couldn’t.

Some friends have hung in there with me and a lot have fallen by the wayside. That saying “out of sight out of mind “pops into my head. As long as I’m out of sight, I guess I don’t cross their mind(s). The other day my son’s step mother sent me a message on Facebook that said “you’re a fighter- I know firsthand” lol..lol.. That sentence made me laugh uncontrollably. The people that I least expect to hear from are the people that I’m in contact with. The people whom I thought didn’t care about me, have showed the most concern. For that I’m forever grateful.

November 20th my daughter turned 13 years old. Crazy me thought it would be a great idea to have a 3 day (weekend) celebration.



Pretty Girls Rock Party started Friday at 3:30pm and ended Sunday at 6:00pm. All I can say is a weekend of cupcakes, makeup, swimming, food, and dancing left me slaved to my bed for 5 days. I literally could not move. I had a conversation with my body and Lupus. I told them- “look I need for the both of you to cooperate and lean back this weekend. My mini me turns 13 once and I need to be there for her-if either of you act up, or show off there will be hell to pay!!!!!” My feet gave out Sunday afternoon, but all else was perfect!!!!! My daughter was so happy that I was able to participate and hang with the “girls” all weekend.

It’s been 6 months of living with Lupus. I’m determined to make the next 6 months much more enjoyable & pain free. I’m being forced to face one of my fears (water). It’s been demanded (by my doctor) that I begin an exercise regimen. It’s hard to imagine exercising when I’m in constant pain. I’m looking into water aerobics (to help with my joints) and yoga. I have an incredible fear of water (due to a childhood incident when I almost drowned).

I’m hoping that I can get back to wearing my stiletto’s shoes,walking without pain and leave the sneakers for workouts-not part of my daily uniform. I want to wear makeup when I want too-not because I feel like I have too (I’ve recently purchased the clarisonic brush-I’m already seeing results). I will also be doing a makeup over-a do over- a NEW ME!!!!!! So until next time Lupie Chicks-stay healthy and pain free!

** did you notice that my earrings match my jacket? I wrapped them myself using yarn**

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Recipe: Blueberry Stuffed French Toast

Blueberry Stuffed French Toast





INGREDIENTS
1 loaf Panera Bread Cinnamon Raisin Bread
8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese spread, at room temperature
4 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons grated orange zest
3/4 cup fresh blueberries
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Optional: powdered sugar for dusting, Maple Syrup, or Orange Syrup ( see recipe at bottom)

DIRECTIONS
1. Cut bread into 1 1/4-inch-thick slices (you should have about 8 slices). Cut a slit through the top crust of each slice to form a deep pocket.

2. In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and orange zest. Stir in blueberries and spoon filling equally into bread pockets. Lay stuffed slices of bread in a shallow 4-quart baking dish, such as a 15-inch-by-10-inch dish.

3. In medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, salt, and remaining the 1 tablespoon of sugar. Pour mixture evenly over bread, tilting the dish to completely coat the bread. Let sit until the liquid is absorbed, at least 30 minutes at room temperature or covered in the refrigerator overnight.

4. Coat a large skillet or griddle with cooking spray, oil, or butter, and heat over medium-high heat. Add the Panera Bread Cinnamon Raisin Bread and cook until nicely browned and crisp outside, about 5 minutes per side.

Makes 6 servings.
Prep: 15 minutes (plus 30 minutes or overnight soaking)
Cook: 10 minutes

Optional: Orange Syrup
1/2 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon orange zest
1 Tablespoon honey

In a small saucepan combine orange juice, orange zest, honey and cornstarch. Cook over medium-high heat - stirring often until syrup thickens. If it begins to boil, reduce heat slightly. This usually takes about 3 minutes to make.


Whether you're planning a simple brunch for a small group, or a meal to dazzle your family, the blueberry stuffed french toast is sure to be a hit

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Chick Interrupted!

Dear Lupus,

You coward did you think I would allow you steal my breath and render me helpless? How dare you again try to invade my body? I have had enough of your games and I will never allow you to access my body without a fight.

You think you are so slick. You try to attack me and take me down not realizing that I had my guard up and was ready for you. You are a spineless coward trying to attack me when you thought I was at my weakest. You tried to take over my body and just walk away. It doesn't work like that. Why wouldn't you show me your face? Oh that's right you are so hideous that a face would be too humanistic for you.

Countless times you have tried to take me out and suck me into your sick world. Well I refuse to be a part of it and I want you to know that no matter how hard you try, no matter what you throw at me I will not give in to you. I will not allow you to ruin what God has made in His image. I am not your ordinary gal I have the best backer there is and God will not allow you to ever take control of me and my body.

It is a shame you are so lonely and always try to harm others. You are trying to wreak havoc in too many people's lives. I hope you burn in hell for the problems you have caused. You punk! You thought you had me? There is no way I would let you get me down.

Stay out of my life! I despise you and your beat down will be 20 times worse if you show your nasty ass around here again!

Letter to Lupus written by Racquel Dozier

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Day 9: Younger Looking Skin plan

Reflect and Relax
By Amy Wechsler, MD

Reflect on Your Journey This is the final day of the Younger Looking Skin plan! Think about how the last 9 days have been for you. What's gone well? Do you feel physically and emotionally different than you did last weekend? What helped you most? Was it getting more sleep, connecting with friends, having more sex, or learning to meditate?

Take Two Just for You Pick the stress buster that you've liked doing best -- meditating, breathing, making love, having a worry session, whatever -- and do it twice today.
And don't forget to get your beauty sleep, be positive, foster friendships, move your body, eat clean, go green, relax, and simplify.

You've completed the 9-Day Mind-Beauty Makeover and tapped the power of The Mind-Beauty Connection to start reversing the effects of tension and time. You should be looking and feeling not only younger but also happier, healthier, and more whole; less stressed, more you.

By continuing even some of the new habits you've picked up in the last 9 days, you'll keep looking and feeling terrific, not just for now, but for life. Use these tips to nurture the beauty in you:
Stick to your newly formed habits as best you can over the next several weeks as your body continues to adjust and respond.

Feel free to add and subtract things that worked especially well for you, or didn't. The point is to discover what helps you, and that's going to be as individual as you and your life are. Use Dr. Amy's 7 Habits for Healthy Skin to stay on track.

Focus on making your daily activity something you look forward to. Get inspired with these videos.

Keep a handle on stress, don't skimp on sleep or healthy eats, and don't get lured in by the latest beauty products.

Tell someone else how the mind-beauty connection can reverse stress aging and bring out the best in her looks.

The information included on this blog is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Day 8: Sleep more for younger looking skin

Get Enough Beauty Sleep
By Amy Wechsler, MD

Get More Beauty Sleep If you don't have any early obligations today, sleep in as long as you like. If you have to get up early, take a nap later in the afternoon. The ideal time for a nap is about 8 hours after you get up -- that's when your body temperature naturally takes a little dip (a sleep inducer); it's part of your normal biological rhythm. So give in, and experience the beauty benefits of a little power nap.

How to Power Nap
Take off your shoes, and get comfy on a reclining chair, couch, or bed.

Close the blinds, or turn away from any direct sunlight.

Set an alarm for 30 minutes. That gives you 10 to fall asleep and 20 for your actual nap.

Avoid napping after 3 p.m. -- it can disrupt your nighttime sleep.

Here's a great reason to get more sleep.
Keep focusing on your inner beauty, fostering friendships, moving your body, eating well, going green, relaxing, and simplifying.

The information included on this blog is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Day 7: Be positive for younger looking skin

Focus on Your Inner Beauty
By Amy Wechsler, MD

Today is all about inner beauty. Use these inside-out beauty tips to get the radiant glow that comes with inner peace:

Focus on the Positive Try this tonight: Make a gratitude list for the day. Write down three great things that happened during your day. They don’t have to be out of this world. They can be as simple as the fact that you ate well all day, or that you hit a big deadline at work, or that the sky at sunset was beautiful. Just three good things, simple as that.
See how being positive can keep your heart young and help you avoid these.

Meditate Stress Away Stress takes its toll on your skin, your hair, and your natural good looks, so make sure to keep stress well under control. Meditation is a great way to work through stress, calm your mind, and keep your brain functioning at its peak. In the hour before your bedtime tonight, try this simple meditation.

Continue to foster friendships, move your body, eat well, go green, relax, and simplify.

The information included on this blog is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Day 6: Quality time for younger looking skin

Have Fun with Friends

Spend Quality Time with Friends or Family Spend time today with people you care about. If you love to cook, invite them over for a scrumptious meal. If you don't want to cook, go out. The point is to get together with people who are meaningful in your life -- who make you laugh or inspire you -- and share stories and time. Put together the perfect dinner-party menu with healthy recipes from the RealAge Recipe Finder.

Extend the Evening for Extra Value If you and your dinner mates live close to one another, invite them back to your place for dessert or an after-dinner drink. If it's winter, light up the fire; if it's summer, sit outside in candlelight (for more vitamin G). Just make sure you're not up past your bedtime. Keep moving your body, eating right, going green, relaxing, and simplifying.

The information included on this blog is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Reap the Benefits of Physical Activity

Day 5: Be active for younger looking skin

By Amy Wechsler, MD

Get Moving for Better Skin, Better Sleep
Do at least 30 minutes of physical activity today, and schedule some time for a few more active half hours over the next few days. Whether it's taking a class at your gym, going for a power walk with friends, taking a bike ride, or playing Frisbee in the park -- there are lots of options for doing your body good. Choose something you enjoy.

There's no point in being miserable.
Try one of these free workout videos -- there's something for everyone.
And get this: Exercise during the day helps you fall asleep at night and improves the quality of your beauty sleep. Just another one of the health benefits of physical activity.
Remember to eat well, go green, relax, and simplify.

Treat Yourself to Something Special
You've hit the halfway mark to better skin! Block out an hour today or tomorrow -- 1 full hour -- to do anything you'd like. Veg in front of the TV; go shopping for new makeup at a department store where you can get some TLC (check out Dr. Amy's Most-Worth-It Beauty Splurges); get a manicure and pedicure or the massage you still haven't had yet. Just make sure it’s fun and relaxing. This is quality you time.

The information included on this blog is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Eat Foods That Are Good for Your Skin

Day 4: Best foods for younger looking skin



By Amy Wechsler, MD



Avoid Food That's Bad for Your Skin Focus on eating as cleanly as possible today. Avoid fast food, fried food, and anything processed. That includes refined sugar, soda (diet and regular), and processed meats and cheeses. Why? They keep your body and your skin off balance. Instead, eat foods that are good for your skin. Here's a quick list of foods for healthy skin:
Oranges
Cantaloupe
Tomatoes
Leafy greens
Salmon
Tuna




Firm and Bright
You're probably up to your eyebrows (Botoxed or not) with the mantra "eat more fruits and vegetables." But if you've yet to take that advice to heart, maybe knowing that they prevent wrinkles will do the trick.



The skin doc's three top picks: sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and cantaloupe.



What they do: Replenish your skin's supply of antioxidants, so they're ready to scarf up free radicals whenever they make an appearance. Free rads are highly reactive oxygen molecules that damage cells and contribute to just about everything that can go wrong with skin, from dryness to wrinkles.



Fresh and Juicy
Your body can't store much wrinkle-fighting vitamin C, so you need to top up your supplies regularly. The easiest way: Have some citrus every day.



The skin doc's four top picks: oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit.
Ounce for ounce, oranges are the top citrus source of C, but you can only eat so many, right? For variety, make lemonade; squeeze limes on melon; add grapefruit to salad; and, instead of drinking soda, fizz OJ with sparkling water. It all adds up.



What they do: Keep skin's vitamin C levels high. While C is a nifty antioxidant, that's not the key reason it's here. It helps keep collagen -- the supportive protein fibers that stop skin from sagging -- strong and resilient. (Flimsy collagen means lines and wrinkles.) Since collagen breakdown really picks up in your mid-30s, eat citrus early and often to head off aging.



Smoothing and Soothing
There's a particularly potent antioxidant known as EGCG that does all kinds of good things for skin. The best place to find it? True teas: black, green, or white (not herbal). Brew a full teapot every morning so that sipping 4 to 6 cups throughout the day is a no-brainer.



The skin doc's #1 pick: green tea.
While all true teas contain EGCG (by the way, that stands for epigallocatechin-3-gallate), the various types of green tea have the most. Dr. Wechsler's personal favorite is hojicha green tea (available at www.adagio.com). "The roasting process that turns this green tea a brownish color also lowers its caffeine content," she says -- handy if you're caffeine sensitive or it's one of those days when you don't need another stimulant.



What it does: Gives your skin a healthy dose of EGCG, which is a great multitasker. EGCG puts a damper on inflammatory chemicals involved in acne and sun-related skin aging, it helps prevent skin cancer; and it has a lion-tamer effect on tumor cells. What's more, green tea contains L-theanine, a de-tensing amino acid -- and anything you can do to stanch the flow of the stress hormone cortisol helps keep collagen fibers intact.



Dark and Green
Certain dark green vegetables, whether they're fresh, frozen, raw, or steamed, really deliver on vitamin A, one of the most skin-essential vitamins going.



The skin doc's three top picks: spinach, turnip greens, and broccoli.



What they do: Deliver a hefty supply of vitamin A, which supports skin-cell turnover, the process that keeps cell growth and development humming along flawlessly. Without enough A, skin becomes dry, tough, and scaly.



Fish Faves
Several cold-water catches give your skin a double benefit: age-fighting omega-3 fatty acids and the restorative powers of protein.
The skin doc's seven top picks: salmon, trout, tuna, sardines, Atlantic mackerel, Pacific herring, and most shellfish.



Just don't, uh, go overboard. As good as omega-3s are for skin (and the rest of you, too), worries about the amount of mercury in many fish mean it's smart to limit seafood or freshwater fish to two meals a week. That's a must for young children and for women who are pregnant, who may become pregnant, or who are nursing. (Go here for the government's fish guidelines.)



What they do: Omega-3s fight inflammation, now considered one of the top skin agers, and they also help protect against sunburn, enhancing the effects of your sunscreen's SPF. Protein is required to build and repair skin cells and to make enzymes and hormones that help keep it glowing.



Fill your grocery cart with all of these foods and you won't just look younger, you'll be younger. Eating at least one serving of fish a week and getting the right amount of antioxidants through diet or supplements lowers your biological age.




Click here to find more food that is good for your skin




Curb Cravings


To curb cravings and make sure you're eating only the best foods for your skin, drink water or (green)tea throughout the day. Mix it up with sparkling water, a splash of natural (no sugar added) cranberry juice (rich in antioxidants), or a wedge of lemon, lime, cucumber, or melon.




The information included on this blog is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Go Green for Great Skin-Day 3

Day 3: Green tips for younger looking skin






Green is beautiful. So today, start nurturing the green goddess in you with these green tips for naturally glowing skin:

Drink Green Tea
Green tea keeps you hydrated, as does water, but here's the difference: Tea is brimming with good-for-you flavonoids. So fill a big thermos with green tea in the morning, and sip it all day -- hot at first, over ice later, if you like. Start today, and continue drinking green tea every day for the rest of the week.




Green tea's good for a lot more than your skin

1. Cut Your Cancer Risk Several polyphenols -- the potent antioxidants that green tea is famous for -- seem to help keep cancer cells from gaining a foothold in the body by discouraging growth and then suppressing the creation of new blood vessels that tumors need to thrive. Study after study has found that regularly drinking green tea reduces the risk of breast, stomach, esophagus, colon, and prostate cancer.

2. Soothe Your Skin Got a cut, scrape, or bite, and a little leftover green tea? Soak a cotton ball in it. The tea is a natural antiseptic that relieves itching and swelling. Try it on inflamed blemishes, sunburns, or puffy eyelids. But that's not all. Green tea has been shown to help block sun-triggered skin cancer, whether you drink it or apply it directly to the skin -- which is why you're seeing green tea in more and more sunscreens and moisturizers.

3. Steady Your Blood Pressure Having healthy blood pressure -- meaning below 120/80 -- is one thing. Keeping it that way is quite another. But people who sip just half a cup of green tea a day are almost 50% less likely to wind up with hypertension than nondrinkers. Credit goes to the polyphenols again (especially one known as ECGC); they help keep blood vessels from contracting and raising blood pressure.

4. Protect Your -- or Your Mom's -- MemoryGreen tea may also keep the brain from turning fuzzy. Getting-up-there adults who drink at least two cups a day are half as likely to develop cognitive problems as those who drink less. Why? It appears that the tea's big dose of antioxidants fights the free-radical damage to brain nerves seen in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

5. Stay Young The younger and healthier your arteries are, the younger and healthier you are. So fight plaque buildup in your blood vessels; the sticky stuff increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, adds years to your RealAge, and saps your energy. How much green tea does this vital job take? About 10 ounces a day, which also deters your body from absorbing artery-clogging fat and cholesterol.

6. Lose Weight Oh yeah, one more thing. Turns out that green tea speeds up your body's calorie-burning process. In the every-little-bit-counts department, that's good news!

Go Outside, Take In Nature

Spend at least 20 minutes outside today -- and over the next 6 days -- soaking in some "vitamin G" (for green). Mother Nature can be extremely therapeutic, and the fresh air will do you -- and your skin -- a world of good. Walk this way to chase away stress.

And remember to keep doing the activities from Day 1 and Day 2 -- relax and simplify.

Beauty Bonus: A Cleopatra Beauty Tip

Try a luxurious milk bath tonight as part of your unwind routine: Add 2 to 4 cups of whole milk to a warm bath, and soak for 20 minutes. Then, give your body a loofah or washcloth scrub. Follow that with a rinse, a gentle dry down, and an all-over moisturizer application. Ahhhh, that's better

The information included on this blog is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Did you know that October recognizes -Lupus Awareness| Domestic Violence Awareness|Breast Cancer Awareness

October is Lupus Awareness Month ( Canada)…




yet lupus remains under-recognized and under-funded






The first new treatment in 50 years has brought increased awareness across Canada of Lupus and its impact on patients and their families. This is great news for Lupus Canada and its provincial partners as we work towards a vision of life without Lupus. Known as ‘The Disease with 1000 Faces”, lupus affects tens of thousands of Canadian men, women and children. In October, lupus patients and supporters across Canada will recognize Lupus Awareness Month as a time to reflect on what all Canadians can do to increase awareness of this under-recognized and under-funded disease.








October marks Domestic Violence Awareness Month













Domestic violence is a serious problem that affects as many as 1 in 4 women in our country. It can happen to anyone at anytime at any point in their lives. Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of abusive behaviors by an intimate partner. The one and only purpose of domestic violence is to gain complete control over another person. This can be done in many forms such as physical abuse, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, and stalking.




The most dangerous point in an abusive relationship is leaving it, and the likelihood of violent assault may increase substantially during this time. Access to emergency services can be critical to a victim in transition. Even a cell phone without an active service plan can be used to call 911, meaning that help for these clients need never be far away.




The DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence accept working and non-working cell phones, cell phone batteries, and AC chargers. You can donate a phone without a charger as well. We cannot accept any cell phone accessories, such as car chargers, hands-free devices, or spare faceplates. You do not need to include your manual with your donation.




You may mail your cell phones to:
DCCADV Attn: Cell Phone Drive5 Thomas Circle NWWashington, DC 20005





October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month





Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast. It is considered a heterogeneous disease—differing by individual, age group, and even the kinds of cells within the tumors themselves. Obviously no woman wants to receive this diagnosis, but hearing the words “breast cancer” doesn’t always mean an end. It can be the beginning of learning how to fight, getting the facts, and finding hope.




Women in the United States get breast cancer more than any other type of cancer except for skin cancer. It is second only to lung cancer as a cause of cancer death in women.g a few minutes to do a breast self-exam a minimum of once a month can make a lifetime of difference.




Nearly 70% of all breast cancers are found through self-exams and with early detection the 5-year survival rate is 98%. If you find a lump, schedule an appointment with your doctor, but don't panic—8 out of 10 lumps are not cancerous. For additional peace of mind, call your doctor whenever you have concerns.




HOW TO DO A BREAST SELF-EXAM



In the Shower
Fingers flat, move gently over every part of each breast. Use your right hand to examine the left breast, left hand for the right breast. Check for any lump, hard knot, or thickening. Carefully observe any changes in your breasts.





Before a Mirror
Inspect your breasts with your arms at your sides. Next, raise your arms high overhead.
Look for any changes in the contour of each breast, a swelling, a dimpling of the skin, or changes in the nipples. Then rest your palms on your hips and press firmly to flex your chest muscles. Left and right breasts will not exactly match—few women's breasts do.


Lying Down
Place a pillow under your right shoulder and put your right arm behind your head. With the fingers of your left hand flat, press your right breast gently in small circular motions, moving vertically or in a circular pattern covering the entire breast. Use light, medium, and firm pressure. Squeeze the nipple; check for discharge and lumps. Repeat these steps for your left breast.


The information included on this blog is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

Day 2: Stress relief for younger looking skin

Soothe Stressed Skin-Day 2
by Dr. Amy Wechsler, MD

Relaxing never seems to make it onto the to-do list. But today, relaxing is your to-do list. Stressed skin looks stressed, so keep your psyche and your skin healthy, calm, and clear with these stress-relief tips:

Start Breathing
Try these three breathing exercises. Then, pick the one you like best, and do it at least twice a day for the next 8 days, preferably at around the same time each day. This will help establish a breathing routine that calms you, refocuses your energy, and changes your body chemistry to support well-being from the inside out. So long, stressed skin.

To experiment with these exercises, sit in a chair with your back comfortably upright, feet on the floor, shoulders down, chest open, and hands resting in your lap. Let your abdomen expand with each inhale and contract with every exhalation. You may want to close your eyes and really focus on your breaths.

Exercise #1 -- Let it all out.
Take a deep breath through your nose, and let it out easily through your mouth. At the end of the exhalation, silently repeat "la-lala-la-laaah," which effortlessly extends the exhalation, releasing more air from your lungs. Feel your abdomen inflate with the next inhale. Do 5 times.

Exercise #2 -- Take a pause.
Inhale and exhale through your nose, mentally counting "in-two-three, out-two-three," and then "pause-two-three." During the pause, don't breathe in or out; just rest comfortably. Do 5 times. Over time, increase the count to four ("in-two-three-four, out-two-three-four"), then to five, until you reach a number that's comfortable to you.

Exercise #3 -- Hold it.
This technique can help you dial down a stressful reaction to upsetting news and can help you fall asleep, too. It takes a little practice, but people who use the technique swear by it. It's the four-seven-eight breath, a favorite of health guru Andrew Weil, MD.

Place the tip of your tongue just behind your upper front teeth; let it rest there gently for the entire exercise.

Exhale completely through your mouth, letting the air make a whooshing sound as it passes out.

Close your mouth, and inhale through your nose as you mentally count to four. Let the breath fill and expand your abdomen as you inhale, and then hold your breath for a count of seven.


Exhale through your mouth with a whoosh to a count of eight. That's one complete four-seven-eight breath. Do four times. To keep stress in check, do at least one of these breathing exercises twice a day.

Relax and Unwind
Here are some ideas to help you destress:

Connect with friends. Pick up the phone and call someone who can make you laugh, take a load off your stress level, and help you put things into perspective. Later in the week, you'll have dinner with friends, so maybe call someone you want to invite.


Book a massage. If you can get in for a spa treatment today, great! If not, you have something nice to look forward to.

Have sex. Yep, sex (with a partner or on your own) can help relax you and get your skin glowing again
.

Continue to Simplify Wash your face morning and night using the tips from Day 1, and stick to your new beauty-sleep routine.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

9 Days to Younger Looking Skin- Day 1

If you follow my natural hair care blog (Au'Naturale By Mz Sixx) then you know all too well about my skin issues. I once had BEAUTIFUL, BUTTERY, BROWN skin. Over the years my skin has become scarred, problematic, and sensitive. I've recently discovered that alot of my issues are Lupus related. I've already begun a "simple" beauty routine, to help clear my skin of the acne outbreaks, rashes, redness, and scarring. I ran across this article and thought I would share. I will be posting tips by Amy Wechsler, MD 9 days to skin renewal plan.

Day 1 -Simplify Your Beauty Routine
Pare Down Your Beauty Products- Over treating your skin with multiple products is one of the most common problems dermatologist Amy Wechsler sees, so narrow your collection down to a few select items. Dr. Amy's must-haves:

One gentle everyday facial cleanser
Two good moisturizers -- one with sunscreen for day, and another for night
An exfoliate to use two or three times a week ( I make a natural sugar scrub that's gentle & moisturizing- I use it 3-4 times a week)

Simplify Your Skin Routine
In the morning, wash your face with your hands -- they're naturally thorough, but gentle. Apply your daytime moisturizer to still-damp skin; let it soak in before applying makeup.

Repeat at night, but spend a minute longer washing your face to be sure you remove all makeup, dirt, and residue from the day. Then, apply your nighttime moisturizer.
Recommended Skin Products
CLEANSERS
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash
Dove Sensitive Skin Foaming Facial Cleanser
Aveeno Ultra-Calming Foaming Cleanser



** I use Cetaphil Gentle skin Cleanser on the days when I wear makeup I do the OCM cleaning method**


For acne-prone skin, try one of these:
Clinique's Acne Solutions Cleansing Foam
Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Cleanser
Topix Benzoyl Peroxide 5% Wash

DAYTIME MOISTURIZERS
Eucerin Extra Protective Moisture Lotion with SPF 30
Kinerase Cream SPF 30
Topix Replenix CF Anti-Photoaging Complex SPF 45
Neutrogena Healthy Defense SPF 30
Aveeno Continuous Protection Sunblock Lotion for the Face SPF 30
** I use Neutrogena Healthy Defense SPF 30 **

NIGHTTIME MOISTURIZERS
Aveeno Ultra-Calming Moisturizing Cream
Topix Replenix Cream
Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion
Revale Skin Night Cream (contains coffee berry)
Two that contain retinol:
Philosophy Help Me Retinol Night Treatment
Topix Replenix Retinol Smoothing Serum 2X, 3X, and 10X (also contains green tea polyphenols)
** I use Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion **

EXFOLIATING TONERS
Clinique's Clarifying Lotions (or try their 7-Day Scrub Cream Rinse-Off Formula)
Kiehl's Ultra Facial Toner
Philosophy Microdelivery Peel Pads
Daily Microfoliant by Dermalogica
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Toner
** I use Rose Water or Homemade Green Tea Toner**

For acne-prone skin, try this:
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Toner Astringent Lotion

Get Ready for Beauty Sleep
Start by asking yourself: How many hours of sleep do I need to feel really refreshed? If the answer is 8, and you normally get up at 6 a.m., you should be in bed by 10 p.m. That means you need to call it a day by 9 p.m. to give yourself an hour to wind down and wash up. ** my doctor recommend this as well with help with insomnia**

Need extra inspiration?
Sometimes we jump into new routines without much thought, and then drift away from them after a few days. Keep that from happening this time by mentally stepping into your plan. Spend at least 15 minutes focusing on why you're doing this and what you're hoping to get out of it. Then, go for it. It's only 9 days, after all.

Monday, October 3, 2011

I walked for Lupus


On September 24th, I joined 1,000 walkers for the 4th Annual Walk for Lupus at Druid Hill park in Baltimore. MD. The walk was sponsored by The Lupus Foundation ( DC/MD/VA Chapter).

The day was filled with excitement, fun , and hope. Pulling up and seeing the massive crowds of people warmed my heart. Most were there walking for someone, but there were alot of Lupic Chicks walking for themselves. There were lots of teams, church's, businesses, and sororities & fraternities in attendance, along with a high school marching band that kicked off the walk.


I was informed about the walk, 2 weeks proior, therfore I wasnt afforded enough time to put together an official team. My family walked with me under the name " The Lupie Chick". I would like to extend and heartfelt thank you to them for walking with me- my husband, Anthony, my daughter, A'yianah, and my son, Amihr. Your support does not go unrecognized- I love you!

I would also like to thank my supporters for helping me go beyond my fundraising goal:

A’yianah Dugar
Amihr Dugar
Anthony Dugar
Angela Ellis
Crystal Fowler
Jarrell Fowler
Kayla Gant
Latosha Bell
Lisa Gant
Marquiz Fowler
Pamela Chase-Handon ( C.E.P.C)
Sharon Taylor
Women With Standard Social Club

This team below was one of the largest teams at the walk. They were walking for a loved one. They had team t-shirts, banners, pictures, and butterflies. They chanted as they walked and I noticed a few of them cried as they crossed the finish line.


The walk itself was 1.25 miles. The walk was more difficult that I imagined that it would be. It was a warm day, the sun was shinning, and I'm not in the best "shape". Half way through the walk my ankles and knees began to ache, however I was determined to finish. I would go between walking and running through the last few laps. There was signs posted along the route that were encouraging-but one is specific put the fire in me to FINISH the walk!

The "warning" t-shirt was FUNNY- said exactly what I'd wanted to say for a minute now..lol..lol.. As I walked and read her shirt, I chuckled. I had to get a picture..

Words cannot explain the feeling of accomplishment I felt as I crossed the finish line, slightly behind my son and husband. My mini me ( advised me later) that she fell back so that she could snap a pic of me as I crossed. As I went through she yelled for me and said " you did it" ( hence the smile on my face and arms up high victoriously).

Click Here to view additional pictures from the walk ( you'll see a few shots of me and my family too..lol....lol..)
Click Here to view the 2nd gallery of pictures

Stay tuned for The Lupie Chick Foundation Walk planned for summer 2012.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I AM TROY DAVIS


Despite widespread doubt, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles upheld the decision to execute Troy Davis this Wednesday.Still, Troy has refused to have a "last meal." He has faith his life will be spared.In the past, his tremendous faith has been rewarded.

The last time Troy faced execution, in 2008, the warden brought in what was to be his last meal. But Troy refused to eat. Looking the prison staff in their eyes, he explained this meal would not be his last. He was vindicated when he received a last minute stay.

Guards still remember this as a haunting moment, one rooted in Troy's deep faith. Still, there is every sign the state of Georgia intends to execute Troy this time--despite calls for them to stop by everyone from the former head of the FBI, William Sessions, to former US President Jimmy Carter. Troy has prepared himself, and to the extent anyone can, his family, for either outcome. As he has said many times "They can take my body but not my spirit, because I have given my spirit to God."Thus, even as we continue to call on the Board of Pardons and Parole and Savannah District Attorney Larry Chisolm to reconsider, we must be prepared for either outcome too.

Please stand with Troy and his family. Join NAACP activists around the country in an evening of solidarity, prayer, and fasting on Wednesday, September 21st.Ask friends to meet up. Ask your family to fast Wednesday evening in solidarity with Troy's family and use the dinner hour to talk. Ask your faith community, if they already have a Wednesday night fellowship planned, to make time for conversation about Troy's scheduled execution.

However you do it, please mark the 7 o'clock hour on that evening--the time of Troy's scheduled execution--as a moment to reflect on Troy's experience, to offer prayers for his family and that of Officer MacPhail, and to talk about what we can each do to ensure our nation never does this again.

This is a moment to rededicate ourselves to the struggle to end the death penalty and otherwise fix our nation's broken justice system.To honor Troy's courage, and rededicate ourselves to the cause of justice in America, NAACP activists are asked to fast Wednesday evening. While moments like this test the limits of our understanding, we do know the world will remember Troy's name, and the movement against the death penalty will grow. People who thought they supported capital punishment yesterday will realize they cannot today. Because people who thought they could stand on the sidelines will realize they no longer can.As the scorn of the world grows and the doubts within our nation grow as well, we will increasingly realize this barbarous tradition--practiced by virtually no other western nation--is inconsistent with our self image as a fair and freedom-loving society.

should the execution actually occur this time, Troy's life and the fight to save it will not have been in vain - we will move forward with more allies and an even wider consensus about the urgency of our cause. Please join your fellow activists Wednesday for an evening of prayers, fasting, reflection, and recommitment to the struggle for justice.With prayers and determination,Benjamin Todd Jealous, President and CEO, NAACP Click here to read more about Troy Davis This article courtesy of BSN ( Black Star News)

“The struggle for justice doesn’t end with me. This struggle is for all the Troy Davises who came before me and all the ones who will come after me. I’m in good spirits and I’m prayerful and at peace. But I will not stop fighting until I’ve taken my last breath.” Troy Davis

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Spiritual Disconnect



I knew something weird was going on with me, but I was having difficulty putting my finger on what exactly it was. I was wigging out over basic things, I would get anxious whenever I received emails, or messages and I was feeling as if I was having conversations with myself, but I wasn’t “involved” in the actual conversation ( I guess similar to an outer body experience). I’ve caught myself day dreaming and feeling as if I’m in a heavy dialogue with someone only to “snap” out of it moments later realizing that there is no one there.


I ran across a thread on one of the yahoo groups I belong too, where someone was asking about a church to visit. I found this to be very interesting because I’d been telling myself that I needed to go to church. Actually I’d wanted to go to church for a while but something (internal) has been preventing me. Small things would happen that has prevented me from attending.


1. Someone posted about a church that has Sat service, I said PERFECT- Im’a go. I get dressed- go outside- my car is GONE- hubby took the car as opposed to the truck, and my purse and keys were in the CAR!!!!!! I call him spazzing out, and he quickly reminds me that Im unable to drive (dr’s orders) so I mine as well go back in the house! **grumbling** I go back in the house, get undressed and lay down


2. 2nd occasion: All set to go (have transportation, keys, etc) - the address is in my phone.. the security code on the front won’t unlock- I draw the pattern, but what I’m drawing isn’t appearing. Phone is frozen, I take the battery out- nothing, I try and try to break in my phone and the only thing I could do was make an emergency call. Get on the internet to try and Google the address- hour glass is spinning- unable to connect ( what?? ), Pull out my work cell phone- DEAD and the charger is at work, get the GPS ( in the car) , unable to locate (???)


WHAT IN THE HEEZY IS GOING ON? What is preventing me from making it to church?

I instantly burst into tears, crying somewhat uncontrollably. I got on Twitter and the 1st thing I saw was a tweet from Rev Run that said P.U.S.H (Pray Until Something Happen). who are you talkin too? Pray?? {I’m starting to have a conversation with myself. }


Self: Pray- haven’t I been praying?
Spirit: P.U.S.H (Pray Until Something Happen).
Self: What else can happen?? I’ve already gotten my world rocked praying didn’t fix it or make it go away…
Spirit: P.U.S.H (Pray Until Something Happen).
Self: You know what- if you can’t say something other than that- THAN HUSH!
Spirit: P.U.S.H (Pray Until Something Happen).


This went on for 10 minutes, my daughter asks “mom who are you talking too?” I’m speechless, because at the time I didn’t realize I was speaking out loud. So I responded “nobody”. I now realize I had been talking to God and he was talking back. I was allowing the devil and his foolishness to invade my spirit and my mind space.


For me my spiritual disconnect involve the following:


Negative Thoughts
No matter how hard I try, negative thoughts about Lupus creep in. I realize that although this disease hasn’t completely taken over my body, but I also realize that it can and at some point-it will.
To Eliminate: Learn to become aware instantly when a negative thought arises. Remind yourself it is not good for you or others, and it is not spiritual. Create the mental habit to switch the negative thought with something else, immediately. The negative thought pattern needs to be broken, so even thinking of a pencil stops the process.


Anger
To be honest, I’m angry that I have this disease. Yes, I’ve heard a thousand times the I was chosen for this, I had no control , blah, blah, blah, - that’s NOT helping my anger AT ALL. Maybe I need therapy; maybe I just need to get it out one good time- but I’m angry!
To Eliminate: become aware of why you are angry and notice that it is not bringing any kind of benefit to you at all. As soon as you become aware that you are angry, the destructive cycle and pattern of anger ends. Remember, if you are angry do not control or suppress it, but express it. Communication when calm helps conflict.


Tension
The other day, someone looked at me and said “relax” . They said they could see the tension. Yes, I’m tense, my body hurt, I find my self sitting in somewhat uncomfortable positions to relieve my self of knee pain or back pain.
To Eliminate: In the moment, take a deep breath. In the long run, learn to stretch your body and meditate a few times a day. This will help you become more relaxed physically, mentally, and spiritually.


Starting today, I’m taking the appropriate measures to re connect spiritually and to make peace. Peace is what everyone wants. It includes being loved, being comfortable in your own skin, having a life filled with purpose and joy. I cannot connect with any of you, until I connect with myself , create balance, well being, and be at total peace.

Disclaimer: The information included on this blog is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

“Get thee behind me, Satan”

Tomorrow I’m scheduled for an MRI, CT scan, and Sonogram. To be quite honest, I’m scared I would rather not go to the appointment, but gangster boo (my dr’s nurse) is gonna fight me if I THINK about rescheduling.

I’m getting tired of feeling like my body is being invaded by some sought of instrument or medication. I clearly understand that these tests are necessary for my treatment plan but I don’t have to like it or pretend to like it. I’ve rescheduled these tests 2 x’s over the last 2 weeks. Each time I was previously scheduled, I would feel like a million bucks- no need in fixing something that ain't broke- right? WRONG……. the very next day after I would cancel the appointment(s), I would feel like negative .50 cents. My mind is playing tricks on me (in my Scarface voice), how can I feel like my ole self-{stepping up in the building like I paid the light bill} to the next day wanting to crawl under a rock. I felt so saucy one day- I actually went to work with a naked (face)-I didn’t wear any makeup. I prepped my face, caught a glimpse of myself and my alter ego said "Your Mz. Sixx Bish!"Rock OUT!!!

I put all the makeup away, pulled my hair up in a bun, whipped out my brand new pair of 5 inch stilettos’ and Naomi Campbell walked out of the house. On my way to work, the late mix was on the Russ Par Morning Show- and they played Biggie!!!! ** Ya’ll know I was wilding out in the car!!!!!- Diddy bopping and fist pumping down route 29.



Fast forward 4 hours

I looked and felt like Wanda

my feet were swollen and aching like I’d been stopping traffic with them, my face looked like I fell head first in a oil slick ( face was GREASY, and OILY) and my -oh -so -fly bun, looked like a busted ponytail done in the dark.

WTH?? Then to make me feel even worse- that gangster nurse at my doctors office called me and “set “me straight about the tests (I kept cancelling).

So, right now I’m (emotionally) eating everything under the sun, dropping a couple of tears, and attempting to pull it together. I’m scared, nauseous, and wish I could take a couple of ciroc shots.


I keep telling myself “Get thee behind me, Satan” as I make arrangements for transportation to/from my appointments tomorrow. I'm feeling weak & I dont want to go. I ask all of you to keep me prayed up and covered.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Lupus Diet



While surfing the web yesterday for my post Eat this... Dont eat that! I came across a site titled
"Can Lupus, and Lupus Hair Loss be Tamed with a Lupus Diet?". I found this to be very interesting (1.) I have Lupus and have never heard of a Lupus diet, and (2.) My hair is falling out :(

As I began to read the article, I was happy to see that a specific listing of foods was provided to help boost the immune system. I was never one to count calories nor could I rattle off the top of my head what food are enriched in specific vitamins (outside of the obvious- vitamin C- oranges, etc). So the list with specific foods, I found to be very helpful. After yesterdays posting, I was feeling like there werent anything I could eat- and I was hungry. With the list below I now feel like I have options!

Top 10 immune system boosters include, which supply the highest levels of these nutrients, are beets, shiitake mushrooms, avocado, curly kale, grapefruit, blueberry, brazil nuts, soy beans, green tea and garlic.

Other top immune boosters include sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, yams, red bell peppers, tomatoes, rhubarb, pumpkin, chili peppers, avocados.

Cruciferous vegetables, watercress, nettle, spinach, Belgian endive, globe artichokes, arugula, kiwi, pineapple, papayas, mangoes, guava, cantaloupe, passion fruits, citrus fruits, bananas, grapes, berries, rosehips, hazelnuts, apples.

Endive, walnuts, cashews, almonds, pistachio nuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, safflower oil, evening primrose oil, sesame seed and oil, aduki beans, oats, wheat germ, quinona, bulgur, rice, corn, kidney beans, lima beans, green beans, lentils, snow peas, turkey, pheasant, duck, chicken, fresh tuna, salmon, anchovy, mackerel.

Shrimp, yogurt, peppermint, chamomile, rosemary, ginger and turmeric. These foods all contain an abundance of nutrients with antioxidant, immune restoring or anti-inflammatory properties.


I realize I have to get serious about what I put in my body. What amounts are safe and just because I like it, dont mean it ok to eat it. I know all things in moderation is best- but my eating habits are CRAPPY- some things I have and will let go COLD TURKEY!



3 Objectives of The Lupus Diet

Proper diet is required not only for people with Lupus but there are some special considerations when it comes to Lupus dieting. There are three objectives of the diet and these are to counteract steroid therapy, to stock up on your potassium, and to replace the nutrients that you have lost. for you to be able to reach these objectives here are some information that you will have to keep in mind.

Control your fat Intake
For the Lupus diet, you have to control your fat intake. The omega-3 fatty acids that are found in fish oils are also proven to lessen your risk of encountering coronary artery diseases. this Lupus diet is very important to those who are high risk for these certain conditions such as women with Lupus, or those who have hereditary tendencies.

Recommended Vitamins And which to Avoid
Taking in supplements when you are in a Lupus diet should not be done without consulting with your physician. There are certain vitamins that are not recommended for you since these will worsen your condition such as Vitamin a which can exacerbate autoimmunity and Vitamin E which will induce the remission of Lupus. on the other hand, there are helpful vitamins too such as Vitamin D which helps in managing osteoporosis, Vitamin B12 and folic acid that treat some forms of anemia. Herbal supplements too should not be taken without a doctor’s prescription, since there are some that are totally restricted for you.

The food Avoid
Alfalfa is one of the foods that should be totally avoided in a Lupus diet since this one can trigger symptoms that are Lupus-like or more commonly referred to as Lupus flares. these Lupus flares induced by alfalfa can be fatigue and muscle pain, blood test result abnormalities, nephritic problems and changes with how the immune system functions. Researches have found out that L-canavanine, an amino acid that is found in alfalfa activates the immune system, and can aggravate inflammation. Not all Lupus symptoms can be eliminated but many symptoms can be controlled to at least have a normal live.

If you have tried the Lupus Diet- comment and let me know how it worked-or didnt work or you.

Related Articles:

Can Lupus, and Lupus Hair Loss be Tamed with a Lupus Diet?

Lupus Diet – How to Make Your Lupus Symptoms Better

Disclaimer: The information included on this blog is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Eat This... Don't Eat That!

As some of you know, I’m an F-O-O-D-I-E!!! I love all types of food. I'm accustomed to eating what I want, when I want it! My faves- buttery soft, mouth melting buttermilk red cupcake(s) topped with a dollop of cream cheese, a smooth rich, and dense NY Style Cheesecake topped with fresh berries, and extra crispy, golden brown SOUTHERN(deep)fried chicken (with all the fixings on the side). yes, I love food- #dontJudgeMe! Since being diagnosed with Lupus, I’ve been told to eat this.. don’t eat that.. Then of course everyone under the sun want to suggest what I should and should not eat. Overwhelming is an understatement- and I’m HUNGRY!

I dont enjoy my food or feel satisfied after I eat. I’m always worried that I ate the wrong thing, did the hubby put something in the food I wasn’t suppose to have[he cooks a lot of our meals during the week], what if I get sick, what if I get a flare up? With all of that swirling around my head, I can’t eat or enjoy my food.

I took to the Internet to see what other Lupies are eating- BIG MISTAKE! I’m more confused than ever. My doctor is suggesting that I do a gluten free eating plan. Others have suggested I do a vegetarian eating plan (the two conflicts with each other). I’m making an appointment with a nutritionist and hopefully will have a clear understanding what I should and should NOT be eating.

In the mean time, some of the common foods I’ve discovered that I Should Not Eat are:

Alfalfa seeds and sprouts should be avoided because they contain an amino acid called L-canavanine. This amino acid can aggravate the symptoms of lupus.

Animal meats, dairy, eggs, nori seaweed, and peanuts contain arachidonic acid. When used excessively, arachidonic acid can actually be destructive to the body.



Beans and mushrooms contain amines and hydrazines, which increase lupus symptoms.


Oils like corn, poppy seed, safflower, and sunflower, cured meats and hotdogs actually encourage lupus episodes because they contain components that have been proven to trigger lupus symptoms.

Eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, and white potatoes, called nightshade vegetables, should be avoided because they contain solanine, an agent that triggers inflammation and pain common to lupus sufferers.

Sulfur-containing veggies such as cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale and cauliflower. These may be difficult for many lupus sufferers to digest without upset.

Fats. It's suggested fat reduction can produce up to a 25% improvement in the aches and pains of a lupus patient.

Herbs like andrographis, echinacea, eleutherococcus, garlic, ginseng, and Panax should be taken with caution since they are known to increase autoimmunity.

Iron should come from food, not dietary supplements because it could promote joint destruction, pain, and swelling.

To Summarize-Don't Eat This!






  • Caffeine, dairy, foods high in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol




  • Red meats and high fat meats like organ meats, and dark meats.




  • Alcoholic beverages, salty foods, sugar sweetened beverages, candy, snacks, sweets, and alfalfa sprouts.




You should Eat THIS!




Foods high in iron. Eating leafy green vegetables, fish, and lean meat like liver can help offset your risk of anemia. Many breakfast cereals are also fortified with iron.




Fish. Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and herring, contain natural anti-inflammatory substances and may help reduce swelling and inflammation associated with systemic lupus. Your lupus diet should include plenty of fish.




Antioxidants. Many fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants, which are natural healers. Berries, apricots, and sweet potatoes are especially good sources.




Vitamins. Vitamin E, zinc, vitamin A, and the B vitamins are all beneficial in a lupus diet. Vitamin C can increase your ability to absorb iron and is a good source of antioxidants.




To summarize-Do the following!



  • Include: chicken breast, lean beef, wild salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, rainbow trout, tuna (canned light), crab, oysters, tilapia, cod, pacific oysters into your diet


  • Remove skin from poultry because that is where the most saturated fat is located


  • Look for lean meats around 99%



  • Broil and grill vs. pan fried with oil, deep fried, and breading.


  • It is important to incorporate fish into your diet around 3-4 times a week


  • Practice portion control - meat should not take up ½ of your plate, it should be more like ¼


  • Beneficial fish oils to consider include: evening primrose oil and flaxseed.


  • When you are thirsty, replace soda and tea with water

The Lupie Chick is H-U-N-G-R-Y! If any of you have any advice or any recipes please share.


Disclaimer: The information included on this blog is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I'm walking for Lupus!

The 4th Annual Baltimore Walk for Lupus

Druid Park in Baltimore

September 24, 2011

2:00pm-5:00pm


As you may know, lupus has a personal face for me. I was diagnosed earlier this summer and currently battle this disease on a daily basis. After hearing about a 19 year old young lady with a 4 month old child losing her battle to Lupus, it has driven me to stay healthy, bring awareness, and push for a cure. Living with my own personal struggle remind me that we have so far to go in battling this disease.

To do my part, I'm walking on September 24, 2011 to raise money. The money will go to the Lupus Foundation of America, DC, Maryland and Virginia Chapter (LFA-DMV). LFA-DMV provides free education and support services to lupus patients and their families. Money will also go to support research, because they believe, as I do, that one day this awful disease will have a cure.

To reach this year's goal, and my personal goal, I need your help. You can make a secure online donation through my personal website. Click here on this link to make a difference in the lives of as many as 320,000 people (80,000 patients and 4 of their closest friends/family members.) If you do not wish to make a donation online, simply click here, fill out this form, make a check payable to LFA - DMV Chapter, and mail the check and the form to our offices at: 2000 L St, NW suite 415 Washington, DC. When your donation is received, it will be credited to the total on the Walk's webpage.

Making a difference starts with just one step. So, walk with me in spirit as I walk through Druid Park to raise money and awareness.

Thank you in advance for taking that step with me.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Depression and Guilt


I was contacted on Twitter by a follower that told me she was thinking about me. Initially I thought- she had run across one of my tweets on her timeline about these migraines. She then went on to tell me about a young lady that lives in her county, 19 years old, has a 4 month old baby, recently diagnosed with Lupus and defective heart. As you know with Twitter you can only type 140 characters, so her message came over to me in 3 tweets. I told her to please give the young lady a hug for me (sometimes all I want is a hug- no words.. just a tight hug) and let her know that she isn’t alone- then 5 seconds later the 3rd part of her tweet came-the young lady-19 years old, lost her battle with Lupus- she died over the weekend. I literally burst into tears right then and there. Although I consistently tell myself that Lupus isn’t a death sentence- for some – it is. From the time of her diagnosis she was extremely sick, and the disease just took over.


According to my Twitter friend, her entire community is heartbroken over this- and I am also heartbroken. In one tweet I realize that I could have been the women she speaks of. I could be the women whose community is heartbroken over my death, instead of my children not remembering me- it would be my 6 month old grandson that wouldn’t remember me. I cried for 2 hours. I didn’t know the young lady however I was sad and I was feeling guilty. I didn’t understand the guilt part- WHY WOULD I FEEL GUILTY??? Is this a whole nother set of emotions I have to work through?

I realize that dealing with Lupus and the symptoms affect my emotional health and my family. I’ve begun to notice that my mini me ( daughter) is always checking on me ( more than usual), she is always saying “ mom are you ok”. She text me a lot and when we are home alone she lays beside me in the bed, as if she is watching over me. She even said to me the other day “why are you doing that- you know you’re going to make your head hurt”. All I could think about was the young lady’s child who is only 4 months old most likely won’t remember her, why did the disease have to attack her and take her away from her child, her family, and her friends? Why was she chosen as oppose to me or someone else? WHY? WHY? WHY?


I started surfing the web for help- I was an emotional wreck, and I needed some clarity. I ran across this statement: You may feel agitated or angry, and find it difficult to concentrate, relax or sleep. You may also feel guilty, as you realize your family is now going to have to take up the chores you normally do. This stage of emotional distress then gives way to bouts of depression, sadness, silence and withdrawal from family and friends. During this time, you may be prone to sudden outbursts of tears, set off by reminders of your inability to perform simple tasks, and memories of your old lifestyle. Over time, the pain, sadness and depression start to lessen. You begin to see your life in a more positive light again. The final phase of grieving is to let go of the thoughts of being able to return completely to your old lifestyle and move on with your new life. This helps any lingering depression to clear, and your sleeping patterns and energy levels improve.

Reading that made me understands that what I’m feeling is normal and it’s a process. I have to take one day at a time, work through the grief, pain, and the guilt. I will honor her (the lady that lost her battle) by NOT giving into depression, and not giving up on life.



"You never lose peace once you find it. Peace sometimes lies hidden beneath a veil of unkind thoughts, confusion, or pain. Shake loose the discontent from the veil and peace is readily accessible." ~ Rion ~ *my new favorite quote*


Follow me on Twitter @lupieeChick

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Venus Williams and Sjogren's Syndrome



Venus Williams a seven-time Grand Slam singles champion, pulled out of the U.S. Open yesterday and said she has Sjogren’s syndrome.


Venus said in a statement issued at the Open in New York and reiterated today on ABC’s “Good Morning America”
"I’m really disappointed to have to withdraw from this year’s U.S. Open. I have recently been diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disease which is an ongoing medical condition that affects my energy level and causes fatigue and joint pain.” She added: “I enjoyed playing my first match here and wish I could continue but right now I am unable to. I am thankful I finally have a diagnosis and am now focused on getting better and returning to the court soon.”

Sjogrens Syndrome- What is it?


Sjogren's (SHOW-grins) syndrome is a disorder of your immune system identified by its two most common symptoms — dry eyes and a dry mouth.


Sjogren's syndrome often accompanies other immune-system disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. In Sjogren's syndrome, the mucous membranes and moisture-secreting glands of your eyes and mouth are usually affected first — resulting in decreased production of tears and saliva.

Although Sjogren’s isn’t life-threatening, it is an incurable condition where the immune system starts attacking glands that produce tears and saliva instead of fighting infection, according to Arthritis Research U.K. Around a half- million people in the U.K. suffer from the condition, which is usually diagnosed in women between the ages of 40 and 60. The American College of Rheumatology’s website said between 400,000 and 3.1 million people are affected in the U.S.


The exact trigger of the disease isn't quite clear, Mizutani said {Wesley Mizutani, a rheumatologist on staff at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center}."That's the million-dollar question," he said. "We don't really know. There's probably a genetic component, certainly, but there's more than that."Certain antibodies are associated with Sjogren's, but it seems to need a trigger, like a viral or bacterial infection, for the immune system to go awry.

Once set off, the system can't really be fixed -- but certain steps can be taken to mitigate the symptoms for the vast majority of patients. Keeping eyedrops and a bottle of water nearby are two such easy measures. Brushing after every meal and otherwise good dental hygiene are a must.

More extreme measures can also be taken, from anti-malarial to autoimmune suppressant drugs.

But, Mizutani pointed out, it could be worse. "If I had to choose an autoimmune disease to get, Sjogren's would be one of the milder ones."

I'm sending prays and positivity to Venus Williams, like my friends and family have told me " God is Able"

Get well soon-

Love you Venus xoxoxoxoxoxo

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