Selfish Mitch Starts Vegan Week with Hungryroot

I got my Hungryroot order today and did a quick unboxing for you to see. I’ll be posting some of the meals at @akmitch1975 and @mvdiz on Instagram as I go, mostly so I’ll remember what the hell I ate and how I liked it when I come back and do a review in a week.

Pardon my voice and my face. I’m sick (I think it’s just Muggle sick and not autoimmune related, so that’s good) but it’s not like one can put off an unboxing of temperature sensitive food. You get what you get.

However, this timing is really good, because I need to shock my body back to health and veganism will certainly switch things up. I got tired and sweaty (fever, I’m not that out of shape) just doing this unboxing video. That means pre-chopped, pre-cooked healthy food is exactly what I need right now. I keep saying I’m going to make tabouleh, which I intend to, but I’m hoping I can convince Mr. V to chop up my vegetable for me because I’m pathetic right now.

So here’s what’s in the box, as well as my word vomit that may or not apply to the topic at hand. As I’m sure you’ve come to expect if you’re not brand new here.

Love, light, health, and sorry you have to look at my face in this video,

-Sick Mitch

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Lupus Is a Bitch but So Am I

Lupus. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. SLE.

If you’ve been reading my blog entries, you know that I’m a Lupus Warrior, but do you know what that means? Do you know what Lupus is? I’ve written about how I manage it, but most people don’t have any idea what it is, what it is, and what it can do to me, or to anyone living with it.

First of all, in layman’s terms, Lupus is a disorder of the immune system. In a healthy person, your immune system is your best line of defense against a virus or an infection. It’s a pretty neat thing. It just kind of hangs out in your body until you need it. When you get a virus, for example, your immune system says, “Wait, what the hell is this? This isn’t supposed to be here!” It cranks up and those white blood cells go to work to chase that shit out of your body. When you get a cold or the flu, you feel like crap for a few days while your immune system does its job. Hopefully, whatever bug you’ve contracted is weak enough that your body can just drop kick it out, but sometimes you need antibiotics or other medical intervention to speed it along and not make you suffer too long. It’s really cool that your body knows what to do with foreign invaders. A little chicken soup, a bunch of vitamin C and echinacea to boost that immune system up, and a healthy person should be up and at ’em again pretty quickly.

Well, I’ve never been normal, but I’d give up most of my fun quirks that make me unique if I could have a normal ass immune system. In a person with Lupus (or other autoimmune disorder), our immune systems are confused assholes who cannot tell a cold or a flu from normal healthy tissue. Your immune system says, “Hey, look, a kidney! Let’s protect that!” Mine looks at my kidney and can say, “Fuck yeah! Dinner!” and attack it. You may have heard that Selena Gomez, who is not only pretty and talented like me, but also has Lupus like me, just had a kidney transplant. This is serious shit.

People with Lupus take immunosuppressant drugs regularly to weaken our immune systems. I’m lucky so far in that with a proper diet and a healthy lifestyle, I get by with taking only one mild immunosuppressant, but that leaves me very susceptible to any kind of gunk that’s going around. Most of my mom friends stock up on Vitamin C and other immune system boosters when their kids get sick, in the hopes that they won’t catch it too. I can’t do that. Since my immune system is already working overtime since it shouldn’t, we don’t want to give it any extra ammo. My best defense is to rest and cross my fingers and bargain with the universe to just let this be a cold. Just let this be a flu. I have a much higher chance of a cold or flu turning into a serious sinus infection, or bronchitis, or pneumonia, or something even more serious. In fact, many people are moved further towards the diagnosis of autoimmune disorder when downing Emergen-C makes them worse.

When I tell you to cancel our plans if you or your children have minor illnesses, it’s not because I’m feeling overdramatic. It’s because your cold could become my cold, and that cold could easily turn into a hospitalization because of a nasty turn. When I tell you that I’m under the weather and need to rest, it’s because I’m trying to protect myself from being out of commission (since I’m in sales that’s literal and figurative) for weeks. I’m not avoiding you, I’m not trying to stay home with my dogs and read a book instead of what we were going to do (OK so I admit that the dogs and books are really the only perks here.)

There’s self care for the body and self care for the mind, and preventing Lupus flares is both. It’s really my first priority in my life, because like I’ve said, when I go down, everything around me goes down with me.

Have questions? ASK THEM. I’m clearly not shy. In fact, it kind of pisses me off that people who are rather close to me know I have Lupus and they don’t do so much as a cursory google to figure out what I’m dealing with. Lupus isn’t what I call a “Casserole Disease.” It knocks us out for weeks at a time or longer, but since we don’t get scary skeletally thin or lose our hair or anything, and in fact, LOOK FINE, people assume we are fine. In fact, the thing many autoimmune patients report hating the most is the refrain, “BUT YOU LOOK GREAT!” Like, sorry that I’m pretty and you can’t tell by looking at me that what I am telling you about a well documented disease is doing to my entire body, but it’s a true story. Nobody asks if they can come by and bring a meal or run an errand for us. Almost nobody asks me how I’m feeling unless I bring it up. Obviously I don’t want to be treated like I’m fragile, but maybe an ounce of compassion would be cool.

Signed,

Selfish Mitch, who thinks people could at least spend a 4 minutes on Google before they pretend to know my life.

Work Sick

I have a few chronic illnesses. I have Lupus, RA, and degenerative disc disease. Due to a few failed back surgeries, I have been diagnosed with “failed back syndrome.” I also have ADHD, and most of these diagnoses happened prior to my 40th birthday. In fact, I spent #39 in post op from the spinal fusion surgery that ultimately failed to fuse, leaving me in more pain than before. The surgeon said that if he went in to try to fix it or remove the hardware, or to try to fuse it again, I’d have a 50% chance of some pain relief and a 50% chance that it would get worse or stay the same. I sure don’t like those odds. I later had a spinal fusion surgery, but that, too, failed to work. So what’s a girl to do?

Well, at first, I considered filing for disability, as a couple of doctors recommended. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around simply giving up at such a young age. I know that people younger than me have had to file for disability, and their reasons are sound. I’m not judging anyone for that choice, but I just KNEW it wasn’t for me.

I’ve always worked really hard and had big goals. I started babysitting at eight. That sounds ridiculous in today’s world, but I guess in small town Montana in 1983, when people knew my teacher parents (and the parents of the kids) were less than a mile away at all times, it wasn’t that big of a deal. I lied about my age on a job application to get a job waitressing at the age of 14. I worked 1 or 2 jobs at a time while going to college full time, which might be the reason I never finished a degree. I have about 170 credits that don’t form a degree, though, so that’s something. (ADHD was real in the 90s, even if we didn’t really know what it was or how to treat it, especially in adults.)

When I started in real estate in 2005, I knew I’d found IT. My career path, what I was supposed to do. It was all so clear. I’d start as a buyer’s agent on a team at Keller Williams to learn all I could. From there, I’d try to move up to the listing agent on a team, and then go out on my own, and then I’d build my own team. The path laid in front of me was so clear, that about a year into my career, I had my team name and logo designed in my head, and I was certain that nothing could stop me. Hahaha. Doesn’t life always have other plans?

First, the market crashed, and it crashed HARD. Luckily, I’d been recruited over to another, larger team that allowed agents to handle buyers and sellers, and continuously found ways to be successful, even with the median price of homes dropping about $200,000 over a couple of years. However, there was stress all around at that time in my life. My husband’s job changed, making him unhappy. It seemed like we were working harder and harder and making less money. I think just about everyone felt that way during that time, but as a married couple who both worked on commission, it was a BAD TIME.

I started feeling terrible. I have had issues with my shoulders ever since I worked my ass off in restaurants and bars, but this was all over my body. The exhaustion was horrible. The foggy mind and the unpredictable symptoms made working a serious hell on earth. It made LIVING a serious hell on earth. All along, I looked fine. That’s what everyone told me. My weight ballooned due to medications for what they diagnosed as fibromyalgia, and from the emotional eating I reverted to when I had no other way to cope with what was happening to me. I’d never learned healthy coping skills. It was food or booze for me, and at that time, I turned to both.

In 2012, my husband got a great job out of state and we moved. I didn’t work for a while and I focused on my health. I worked out as much as I could, ate well, and got my weight down from 230 something to 184, and I felt better.  Still, mystery symptoms reared their head. Finally, finally, I got a diagnosis. It’s autoimmune disease. It’s here forever, but it can be managed. My doctor gave me an antidepressant for pain, even though I was not depressed at the time. Turns out, my brain processes antidepressants as depressants. I was sunk into depression, anxiety, and misery like I’d never felt, but was assured that it was the result of a scary diagnosis and the realization my life would never be the same. I tried working part time from 2012-2015 but, honestly, that depression and the wacky medications made it nearly impossible. Steroids, low does chemo, biologics, etc. I felt like a chemical shitstorm and felt worse. We moved back to Arizona, which greatly helped my joint pain, but I was still depressed, and still taking Effexor. If I missed a dose by about 3 hours, Effexor withdrawal happened. It was like nothing I’d ever felt. It’s like you have electric shocks from your brains to your limbs. Still, I didn’t connect my depresseion with Effexor until I had what was basically a manic breakdown and started researching.

happy

 

I weaned myself off of it, so a lot of the cloud of misery disappeared, but it left my life in chaos anyway. I was back up to over 240 lbs at that point, and in a great deal of pain still. What in the hell was I going to do? Plus, I needed to contribute to my family, and as someone who has ALWAYS worked, except for a dismal failure of a stint as a housewife when my husband and I got together, and I needed the mental stimulation.

Then came the back surgeries and the recoveries, and an office job that I really liked, but was constantly taking time off from for doctor’s appointments and pain. It really didn’t pay enough to make a huge difference in our finances either. So. What now?

 

TO BE CONTINUED….

 

Love and Health

-Mitch