Friday, May 30, 2014


So first, let me get this out of the way.

When you have a chronic illness/are immunosuppressed (lupus/kidney transplant, for example), it is absolutely a good idea to get your pap smears on an annual basis. Do as I say and not as I do, with the "as I do" being that it has been about 4-5 years since my last pap.

Well, I had one just a few weeks ago.

So, why did it take me so freaking long to get another pap??! Good question! I'll tell you.

Let me be clear when I say that my first 1-2 paps were the things nightmares are made of. They were the most uncomfortable experiences EVER.  I prepared myself well before going to see my gyenecologist to have my first and second paps done. I did everything that google told me to do-I took a tylenol or two about 45 minutes-an hour before my appointment. I practiced taking deep and calm breaths in the waiting room before I got called in. I did all of that. But, once I got called in, dis-robed from the waist down, and put my feet into those stirrups, I was a ball of tense-ness, and all of the relaxation techniques I did in the waiting room did absolutely nothing for me.

And this was BEFORE the pap even started. Once it did I got as tense as tense can be. And some advice-don't "get tense" while getting a pap. It's definitely one of the things you don't want to do. What should have lasted less than a minute lasted much longer through my screams and cries (so embarrassing). For my second pap, the doctor had to use the "mini callipers" to do my pap. Trust-it still hurt.

We're not even going to get into how uncomfortable a transvaginal ultrasound is. Google it. I'm afraid that the pain and discomfort might come back if I blog about it.

Anyhow, fast forward to two weeks ago. After having to cancel and reschedule my appointments a couple of times due to my knee surgery, I finally made it to my appointment to have my pap done.

I checked in with the receptionist, sat down, and began to do the crossword in my free newspaper. Then, about 20 minutes later, it hit me. I hadn't done ANY prep. No tylenol, no breathing exercises...nothing! I tossed my crossword aside in a panic and grabbed a tylenol from my purse and gobbled it down. Oh man, oh man...I've been sitting here for 20 minutes..they're going to call me any could I forget to PREPARE MYSELF!!?

After about 10 minutes, I was called in to see the doctor before the doctor. She was a pleasant doctor, and made me feel at ease. We went over my history, and she asked me why it had been so long since my last pap. I was honest.  "Searing pain" was my response.  Welp, speaking of searing pain...time for your pap!

I got prepared and got into the stirrups. I felt more comfortable this time-I'm not sure why. When the doctor came back, she told me what she was doing as she did it, and reassured me throughout. This time, what google told me was true. I felt pressure. Not pain per se, just a bit of pressure. No where near the nightmare I remembered from years back. When it was all over in about a minute or less, I was actually surprised at myself. What the heck was MY problem the last few times?!?

My "doctor after the doctor" came to talk to me and reiterate the importance of having a pap done once a year due to my condition. Based on my most recent experience, I will have no problem in maintaining this schedule for the good of my health.

So that was my most recent experience with having had my pap smear.

The moral of this story is this; stop being a baby and go get your damned pap done. It's important!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Wish Me Luck?

So as I've mentioned many times, I went back to school and took HR. Finding an HR role has been difficult to say the least, but I've certainly been looking.

Recently, a few entry level HR roles have come up within my current place of employment. I've applied for them and have put my best foot forward. So, I'd ask you to keep me in your thoughts. Cross your fingers, pray, whatever it is that you do...please do that for me!

You know, I've been here looking for a new role for a while now, as I really feel like it's time for me to get out of what I'm doing right now. I've been doing what I do now (CSR) for nearly 11 years...and I think it's time to move on.  But, at the same time, I feel almost...paralyzed with fear when it comes to moving to another department, or another job.

I'm afraid of getting sick. A day here and there isn't bad. But lupus is so unpredictable, and my hemoglobin levels have been less than stellar these days. I really, REALLY want to get out of what I'm doing right now, but, I know that if for whatever reason I had to take time off from my current role due to illness, my role would still be there for me when I return.

I know that It's not really a good idea to live in the "what ifs", and just go for what you want. But, when you have a chronic illness, it's always something that lingers in the back of your mind. The last thing I want to do is fail, or have to give up my role. All I can do it my best, I suppose, and hope that wherever I end up has management and colleagues as understanding as they are in my current role.

Wish me luck.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Ouch, my STOMACH!

Yes, I know-I've been slacking. Sue me!

Now that THAT is out of the way, let's get back to business.

First of all, my birthday was on May 11 *sings happy birthday to self*

Now, let's REALLY get back to business.

At the beginning of last year, after being diagnosed with c.diff, I began experiencing weird stomach pains that my specialists did not equate directly to the c.diff. These stomach pains were mainly activated by my eating pretty much anything.  It was awful, because I was so hungry, but I knew that once I ate to satisfy the hunger pains, these other, different pains would come about. I would eat my meals fast, as the pain would often begin before I could even finish my meal while eating at a normal rate/speed.

Now, I seem to be having similar pains again. They're not as severe, but they're close. I've decided that I should keep a food diary to see if any specific food triggers this response. What I know for sure is that the one meal that I can rely on that won't cause this response is my usual work breakfast- oatmeal with almond milk.  I wondered if it could be gluten related, but these pains seem to be triggered by almost anything. I can't even eat a salad, nor a green smoothie any more-it kills my stomach. Now, when I say "any more", I mean since having my knee surgery. I wondered if it was the raw greens that was affecting my stomach. At my desk at work, I have a small container of almonds. I ate maybe 3 or 4, and I was in absolute agony. One day after a post-op appointment with my ortho surgeon, I bought a small bag of almonds from the drug store. I ate a few.  AGONYYYY.  Like, what the heck?

What makes this difficult is the fact that it appears to be so random. I'm really going to have to make a good note of my meals for the next little while, including ingredients and spices. I need to figure this out because I'm really missing certain things...ESPECIALLY my raw greens/green smoothies.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Full day back to work

Today was my first 8 hour day back to work since my knee surgery. It was a long day because I had a lot of complicated and time consuming client problems to deal with, plus next week is casual dress week for those who donate money to a charity that my employer is working with. My manager is away, so it was my job to go around and get the donation money, create check lists, etc. All in all, I made it through, but I'm glad to be home to relax. In any other situation, I'd have been back to work at full capacity by now, but for some reason, my hemoglobin has been very stubborn! It's lingering in the 92-93 level (9.2-9.3 for my downstairs neighbour American friends). It's been like this for months, in spite of suffering through months of iron pills (iron pills are the devil when it comes to your stomach). Looks like it's more spinach and steak for me..!

This weekend will be a busy one; I'm doing birthday related activities with friends (my birthday/mother's day is on Sunday). I'll be meeting one set of friends tomorrow for lunch, and another set for dinner. With Sunday being mother's day, that day will likely be more geared towards mother stuff :)

Well, the very act of leaning on one arm to type this entry is making me lazy/tired, so I think I'll end it here. Let the birthday weekend festivities begin! (Can't wait to get my free starbucks-mmmm!)

Thursday, May 8, 2014


Ok, I know, I've (again) been slightly MIA these past few weeks- but I definitely had to hop on today to talk about a great book that's coming out soon.

It's called Fabulupus! What's better is that a friend of mine is one of the writers! I had the opportunity to read a few chapters from this book, and I was really impressed.  As a teenager, when I was diagnosed with lupus, so many different things ran through my mind. I had no idea what the future had in store! Would I be able to work? Would I be able to finish school? What about relationships and life in general? Of course, being the person that I am, I turned to and read different books focused on lupus in an attempt to gain some insight into these concerns of mine.  While there were many books out there with a great deal of information, not many were geared towards ME as a young person. There were books geared towards the very young (like children) and for adults (married with children). As a teenager, there's so much to worry about as it is, never mind adding lupus on top of it. I wish I could have found a book that was "written by us, for us", so to speak.

Well, look no further, as Fabulupus is exactly that! What's cool about this book is that it's written by people who have (and do) experience the same struggles as I (and many of you, I'm sure!) did back then. 

Fabulupus is an easy to read guide, both for people with and without lupus.  The information in Fabulupus is practical, useful, encouraging, and fun! It reinforces the fact that life does not end with lupus-you can have lupus and still go on to do great things in life and continue to fulfil your dreams.

This book touches on important subjects that are catered not only to teenagers, but to young people all the way up to those in their 30s+. It discusses topics like school, working/careers, travel, etc. I wish I had a resource like this when I was younger, as sometimes I just felt alone and didn't know what the future would hold for me. Even as a 30-something year old, I still have those moments and thoughts of uncertainty. Having the support of your family and friends while coping with lupus is absolutely great, but there's something comforting about having someone who has experienced your struggles first hand say "Hey-I've been there..and it's gonna be okay".

Keep your eyes peeled for this one!
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