Lupus and the Benefits of Journaling

I’m excited to announce that my most recent New Life Outlook article is now online! As a journaling junkie of 23 years, I jumped at the opportunity to explore the benefits of journal writing for people with lupus.

How do you purge your lupus lamentations? Are you a journaling junkie like me? Click below to read my full article on the healing potential of journaling:

I hope you enjoy the article! I’ll be writing about managing/ combating morning stiffness in my next NLO contribution.

As a teaser for my next post, I’ll share that the 14 year span of being on Constant P (plaquenil) without any noticeable side effects has recently come to a surprising end. Nothing serious, but definitely worth sharing! My Constant P revelations are coming soon!

Happy weekend, everyone. I hope it’s filled with long naps, delicious treats, and the space and time to fill a journal page… or two!

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Goodbye, 2015!

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While writing my latest article for New Life Outlook on the benefits of journaling, I realized that when I reflect, I prefer the least amount of structure, and most often, I don’t journal at all. It’s just me, my cup of tea, and my random, scattered thoughts. So, I thought I would change it up and mark the end of 2015 with some structured contemplation. Yes, that’s right, the year-end questionnaire! After browsing a few sites, I decided to combine some of HubPages’ Year End Review health questions with their general review questions. Why? Because life isn’t just about managing lupus!

  1. What was your favorite exercise this year? Taking long walks in the park/forest (but not during peak sun hours, of course!)
  2. What medications are you currently taking? Plaquenil
  3. How did you manage your stress this year? Ginger tea, treats, a blanket, and a Netflix or reading binge
  4. What was your biggest health achievement this year? Discovering on December 23rd that due to my stable health, my next rheumatology appointment will be in ONE YEAR. It’s the longest I’ve gone between appointments!
  5. What do you wish you would have done differently in regards to your health this year? I wish I would have defeated my inner night owl more often, exercised more consistently, and said no to all that Halloween chocolate that led to two months of eating and feeling terrible.
  6. What did you do this year that you have never done before? I did a theatre performance in a moving elevator!
  7. What one word best sums up and describes your experience last year? Surrender
  8. What was the biggest risk you took? Quitting my job of over ten years.
  9. What are you most grateful for this past year? The fact that my lupus continues to be stable, the support and love of my family and friends, time with my nephews, the opportunities I’ve had to do what I love, and the freedoms I have living in Canada.
  10. What do you wish you had done more of? Writing
  11. What do you wish you had done less of? Procrastinating on the internet
  12. Knowing what you know now, if you could write a letter to yourself that would travel back in time so that you would receive exactly one year ago, what advice would you give yourself? Stop doing too many things at once! Don’t procrastinate. Be confident – you are on the right path. Don’t be afraid to let go.

What were you asking yourself as the year came to an end? Share your answer to your favourite question from the list above. I’d love to hear how you’ve been feeling about your triumphs and challenges from the last 365 days!

A quick update regarding the Make Great Light draw from last post. Unfortunately, there were no entries, which I assume is because you have the same problem as me and don’t have the right type of lighting to try out the filters! Regardless, I want to send out a big thank you to Make Great Light for generously offering a free filter and for offering a discount to people with UV-sensitive lupus.

Also, a head’s up that the New Life Outlook article I mentioned will be online in mid-January. As a huge journaling geek, I had a lot of fun writing this one. I can’t wait to share it with you!

There are also a few more additions to Face Forward’s Links page for you to check out. Are you writing about your lupus journey? Remember, getting your name added to the list is as simple as commenting on this post or emailing me at elena@lupusfacefoward.com!

Happy Day 1 of 2016, my friends. Wishing you all good health and happiness!

Voice From the Past

My first journal had a puffed, white, plastic cover.  A dancing bear stood frozen amidst cotton candy clouds, the body guard to my precious 11-year-old secrets: A list of what I got for Christmas that year,  musings on both the love and hate I felt for one boy, my favourable review of the squiggly slide in the McDonald’s down the street.  As I grew older, it took longer to finish each journal, the entries usually reserved for times of teen angst and heartbreak, but I continued to keep one even to this day, two decades later.

Last night, I wrote on the last of the pages of my most recent journal, one that I started almost exactly 4 years ago on April 8th, 2008, chronicling my struggle to regain my independence after two separate Lupus flares.  I was tempted many times during the last four years to start anew, to save myself from having to revisit the pages of the past.  At times, I could hardly go near it, but I knew it was important to finish, to see it through to the end.

I want to share something I wrote on October 14th, 2009 while recovering from Lupus Cerebritis in my parent’s home:

Don’t you dare give into fear. Don’t you dare.  Don’t let it take you.  Don’t let it break you. Hold on.  Hold on tight to who you know you are inside.  Don’t let go. You’ve heard the voice inside – your voice – your future self heralds you towards her.  She’s shining, remember?  Shining and healthy and YOU.  Don’t let the fear in.   Don’t let it come near. Don’t.

I continue to journal because I need to re-visit entries like this.  I need the reminder that you’re always your biggest ally, that there is always something on the other side of what you know, and that sometimes you need your past to help you realize there is a future.