My Story – Moving forward (2008-2011)

Food, Juicing & Exercise

Having returned from New York knowing things needed to change, I started going swimming as it would be great exercise and also low impact. I started eating a little better and feeling better, I can’t quite remember how I came across Jason Vale and his juicing way but this had a massive impact on me initially with weight loss but I don’t think I really discovered the true impact food had on my health until later, because of the significance of this I will write a more detailed post about this shortly.

Falling in Love

One evening at the last minute I felt well enough that I said yes to going out with my girlfriends – usually I would say no I’m too tired etc. That night in a bar just before leaving a handsome guy caught my eye and smiled. Next look and he had disappeared, I was more than happy though with just getting a smile to boost my confidence! The next thing I knew he was standing nearby and we started talking, dancing and exchanged numbers. Things went fast and within a few months we moved in together, only looking back now do I realise how crazy we were! But at the time I think I also needed a bit of independence and focusing on a new future. The following year we got a gorgeous golden retriever, and called her Sophie, this was great for me as a companion and also to get me out walking.

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The day we brought Sophie home.

Growing up

Shortly after moving in with John in the beginning of 2009 we both joined a gym, local to where I was now living. I began using this to walk on the treadmill and swimming. My weight began to drop which also helped pain levels and from exercising I was sleeping a bit better too. Being away from home for the first time in my life I began to shop and cook for myself. I learnt how to cook and importantly not using quick jars, I wanted to start from scratch and make home cooked meals like my Mum always did. As John was the only one earning while I was finishing my Accountancy course, we were tight on money and shopping and food was one thing we kept down by cooking from scratch. Again, without really realising it, this not only helped improve my health but John’s too. Even though I was on a bit of an emotional high (stress would often trigger my symptoms) I was keeping generally stable. Because of the flexibility of College I managed to balance rest, and from this I knew that working part-time would be the best way to remain balanced when finding a job.

Power & Knowledge

I remember one of the first things my consultant Dr K said to me was “Don’t let Lupus control you, you have to control it” so I always had this in my mind. One of the most important things I did for myself after leaving home was requesting a copy of all of my medical notes from the local hospital. This did have a fee to the local NHS administration but I felt it was worth it to gain any knowledge. I wanted to know what had gone on and understand everything. The day it got delivered I was blow away, the file was HUGE! But it had everything I wanted in it, this included all hand written notes by every doctor since day 1, procedures, test results, letters, A&E reports, list goes on. I spent hours combing through it and collating blood test results on the computer so I could see any variations. I researched their definitions and what everything meant. This helped so much when talking to doctors and preparing for appointments.

Finding a job

I passed my exams in 2009 and shortly after began working, the best fit I found was in a local company that I started at in 2010. The hours suited and was very local to me. It was a desk job so on days I wasn’t feeling good there wasn’t too much pressure to be on the go. When going for interview I was never quite sure whether to reveal my Lupus however I found that honesty was the best policy. I described that I was under consultant care and at the time stable and Lupus was being controlled by medication. This seemed to be the most important part to prospective employers. I’m sure I was very lucky in this situation as some other employers may have been skeptical to give me a chance.

Wedding bells

During this time John and I had become engaged and life seemed to fly by working and planning the wedding and in 2011 we got married. This was an exciting and stressful time and there were the occasional times when I felt things flaring but I became quite in tune to knowing my limits and could feel flares coming that I could get on top of them relatively quickly.

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Our wedding day

And as you can perhaps predict the next chapter was starting a family, and this is when Mr Lupus came knocking again with a vengeance…

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