Wednesday, 11 November 2009

"Change is the only constant"

Well, who would ever have believed it? This week I am 25 weeks pregnant, which means I’ll soon be entering the third and final trimester and as far as the pregnancy goes, so far I have been incredibly lucky. Of course with the hormone surge of the first trimester there was a flare and some of the inevitable winter colds have caused a bit of ‘lupus stir’ here and there, but, so far, with a dedicated effort to look after myself properly along with adjustments to my medication, these symptoms have been well contained. So, at the moment, all I can say is that at, least for now, I am feeling pretty OK overall.

My consultant explained that the probable explanation for this general improvement is because the immune system is naturally lowered slightly during pregnancy in order to stop the body from rejecting the unborn baby – (although I have been warned another flare is possible in the later stages and post-birth period) – and ‘less is definitely more’ for us ‘loopies’ when it comes to immune system action! I am also lucky enough not to have the lupus symptoms that make pregnancy particularly problematic e.g. sticky blood and renal involvement. Personally I suspect it may also be because I have probably been better at taking care of myself than usual because I now consider myself ‘doing it for the baby’ which, wrongly or rightly, seems to get top priority more easily. Anyway, whatever the reason I am delighted for the respite.

Now please don’t get me wrong. I am in no way complacent. Certainly news of my relative good health is likely to be of little consolation to any ‘loopy’ out there right now who is really going through the mill. I know from experience that tales of other people’s ‘releases’ from the worst confines of lupus is of little consolation when there seems no end to your own misery and you can see no light at the end of the tunnel. I understand this because I had what seemed like an eternal stretch of being incredibly poorly, where I was in and out of hospital and up and down the path to what felt like hell. Even after emerging from this, I never managed to return to full ‘wellness’ as I’d known it in the past but entered a phase of what can best be described as ‘containment’. I know there are always times of being very cynical about ever being ‘released’.

It was especially hard as having children was something I had started to feel could never happen. Tony and I had always planned to have a family of our own one day and had often discussed our hypothetical children, what we would do with them when they were born, and what we might call them, in the days long before we had even heard the word ‘lupus’. So after we were married and my health came crashing down; when things became so uncertain we were told that children might well be out the question; it was a bitter pill to swallow. Certainly both mine and Tony’s parents had long since written off their dreams of becoming grandparents (at least to any children of ours) and even now my longstanding (and favourite) consultant shows signs of being surprised, albeit pleasantly so, that I’ve come this far.

It is therefore only with all this very much in mind that I am reporting the recent improvement and getting real joy from the acrobatic lump affixed to my front. Still, I realise that there is a long way to go yet and that things could easily change. My experiences have taught me that never take anything for granted with lupus and that life is truly fragile and transient, so I make a conscious effort to try not to worry about what has happened in the past or what will happen in the future.

With all these lessons behind me I now find it helps me to remember that lupus is a fickle changeable disease. It rarely stays the same forever; in fact, not much does; feelings and moods constantly change as does medical-science; and all these things can impact on life with lupus. I now understand that there are likely to be bad times, better times and even good times when lupus is more of a shadow.

So the advice given to me by a number of inspiring ‘loopies’ out there - to ‘take each day as it comes’ - is spot on and vital to Living Well with Lupus and remember each day things change. This involves accepting the hard times with grace whilst trying to do everything possible within your power to improve things for yourself - and being incredibly grateful for the good times when they come, making sure you enjoy every minute as I am now ...


Soleilluna said...

I'm so glad to read that you're doing OK and you're enjoying every minute of it! Besides the Lupus, pregnancy is such an ever so changing experience and I'm glad you're managing the way you have been and I'm sure it's inspiring and encouraging to other lupus families that hope to become pregnant, myself included! Keep up the great job and I look forward to reading more updates in your 3rd trimester - I wish you the best of luck!


Daisy Seale-Barnes said...

Hey Toni

Great to hear from you again.

I'm glad to have inspired and given you hope about future pregnancy. Be patient, look after yourself and follow 'doctors orders' (within reason!) and you'll get there! I found that although the Cellcept held things up baby-wise, it DID do the trick in the end and once the lupus was better under control I could switch drugs and move on with family plans. I hope the same will happen for you.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that your story has given me inspiration too. It's shown me that you can be a wonderful Mum (as you clearly are) even when lupus is plaguing you. I hope your little lad is doing well.

Daisy x

Poodle Soup said...

Hi Daisy,
Just popping in to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas.
Thank you for your always insightful and inspiring posts. I wish you a wonderful 2010!!
Big hugs

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