Monday, January 23, 2012

Curse #34 - Being Sick

I have been sick a lot lately, and by “a lot” I mean four times in the past four months. If you do the math, I’m averaging getting sick once a month.

This wouldn’t be so bad if I was a good sick person, the kind of person that can push through and keep going. However, I’m a terrible sick person…one of the world’s worst. When I am sick….

1. I sit on the couch most of the day unable to move.

2. I call my mom to inform her how bad I feel.

3. When Shad comes home, I greet him with the warm welcome of, “I feel like poop.”

4. When Shad gets tired of me saying how bad I feel, and my mom stops answering my calls, I resort to telling the world of facebook just how bad I feel.

5. When people stop liking my status of "I feel terrible", I move on to blog about how bad I feel. (Social networking can be scary in the wrong hands.)

When I’m sick it’s hard on me and everyone around me.

In December, my general doctor ran some basic blood work to see what could be causing me to get this sick all the time. She is a very cautious doctor, but I like that about her. Much to my surprise , I tested positive for lupus. She assured me that this test (ANA test) is known for giving false positives and she told me they would run it again. But the second time showed the same results.

Honestly, I didn’t know very much about lupus. In fact, I knew exactly three facts about lupus.

1. I have a friend on facebook that has it
2. It’s genetic
3. My parents knew a woman that passed away with it a long time ago.

That #3 fact wasn’t the most comforting fact to know. In fact, the #3 fact really was freaking me out!

When I called Shad (who was also sick at the time) to tell him, his response was, “Do you think that’s what me and the boys have.”

One thing you must know about my husband is that sometimes, he can be a hypochondriac. For example, every time his leg hurts he thinks it’s a blood clot because of an episode of Mythbusters he saw 6 years ago (that’s why he’s not allowed to watch the talk show The Doctors or see the movie Contagion).

As soon as he said that, I said, “Are you kidding me?” and hung up on him. (Why no? None of my friends have ever asked me for marriage advice. Why do you ask?)

Anyway, later (after I apologized for hanging up on him) I realized that he genuinely knew NOTHING about lupus. He thought you could catch it like mono. After I shared the facts that I knew about it (except for #3), he understood better.

Oh yeah! If I haven’t mentioned it yet, I got these results just a week or two before Christmas…”Merry Stinkin’ Christmas. You might have a chronic illness…Fa la la la la, la la la la “

I’ve tried to keep a level head about this because lupus is complicated to diagnose and is commonly misdiagnosed. A positive ANA test is only the first step in a diagnosis. Soon, I will be going to a rheumatologists to do more testing.

There are also many factors that could give the ANA test a misreading. I had a virus when I took the test and that can give you a false reading.

My pulmonary doctor (who I will have to blog about on another day) said that my chest x-ray and breathing tests do not look like someone with lupus. It looks more like asthma. I was actually excited when he told me this. I never thought I would say, “Yeah! I have asthma!” However, since then I’ve gotten sick two more times, and I’m losing confidence that it’s just asthma.

Lupus or not, I just need to figure out what’s going on with me. Being sick just isn’t working for me or my family.

If you would like to pray for me, please pray that I find a really smart, really great rheumatologist that can help me sort through all this. Oh, and I’m sure my mom and Shad would ask that you pray for them too.

update: several months later, I discovered I was allergic to milk.  This allergy affects my immune system which made the ANA test read so high.


  1. Love you much & you can call me anytime.  #3s#1

  2. Hey steph....just reading your post and I too get sick a lot...whenever the boys get sick which is often. If you DON'T have lupus and I pray you don't (which runs in my family too, by the way, so I empathize), you should try some herbal immune boosters...astragalus or mushrooms that, believe it or not, help your immune system. I take astragalus and although I do catch what the kids get (I don't take any precautions not too get it....I just wipe noses without washing my hands these days!), it barely feels like a cold at all and is over in a day or so. Just a praying for you!

  3. Roxi, That's sounds really interesting.  Once I find out more, I might do that.  What I can't figure out is that the test showed that my immune system was actually overworking and that was making me sick.  It's really all confusing to me. I'll definitely look into those herbs though.  Right now I'm open to anything that's going to help me feel better quicker. 

  4. Total stranger here. :) I actually found your blog looking for a photo of pounds lost/pounds to go jars and kept reading. I had a similar experience with being sick A LOT (mine is sinus related). Through some weird roundabout symptoms, my bloodwork showed extremely high ANA levels and I went through the whole Lupus, cancer and MS scares that can go with that. I have none of those, but do have a generalized autoimmune disease. Through a lot of bloodwork and some guesswork by my rheumatologist, it turns out I'm gluten intolerant. Not Celiac, just intolerant. A month off all gluten and the ANA levels dropped dramatically. Now, I really stink at living gluten-free, but the point is, it can be a lot of things and most of them are totally manageable. Hope you've already found your diagnosis and a perfect treatment plan.

  5. I will pray for you. Been thru the lupus scare and even though the Dr's still have no idea what is wrong me I don't worry anymore about that being what it is.
    I just came across your blog this morning and I have enjoyed what I read so far.