Just keep breathing

Today is one of those bad days. Those days where I can hardly move without pain shooting through every part of my body. I haven’t had a bad pain day like this in a long time so immediately felt discouraged when I opened my eyes and realized every bit of me hurt. I had a list of house work I had planned to complete today. I still had to put away the clothes from the laundry I did yesterday, I wanted to straighten up and organize the corner of our game/living room, and planned to make Tom and myself a nice chicken dinner. However, all my plans for the day were suddenly halted and I knew I would be stuck in bed instead all day. 

This is the reality of living with a chronic illness. You never know how you will feel day to day or even hour by hour. You can make an entire plan but if you wake up that day sick and in pain, your plans are completely changed and there really isn’t anything you can do about it. Sure, sometimes you can push through but not without consequences. If you push your body when you’re already having a bad pain day, it will only end with additional days stuck in bed or even worse, a trip to the hospital. When you live with chronic illness, you must always be aware of your health and how to take care of yourself. Self care must be number 1. But this is easier said than done. 

When I got up and realized I would get nothing done today, the familiar feeling of failure and depression crept up and I just wanted to cry. At 23 I don’t want to admit I can’t do normal everyday things all the time. I’m not okay with not being able to do stuff. But no matter how strong those feelings are, I force myself to remember that if all I do today is survive, then that’s enough. On days like today, all that matters is that I took care of myself and did the things necessary for my health and well being. This is something crucial all people suffering with not only chronic but also mental illness need to remember. Healthy people don’t understand what it takes just to keep breathing in a body that wants to destroy you. If they knew what it took, I guarantee they would start looking at us all differently because they would realize we are constantly fighting just to survive.

So the point of all of this is that I know it can be frustrating and demoralizing when chronic and/or mental illness prevents you from doing normal everyday things. I know for me it not only makes me feel like a failure of a wife but of just a human being in general. But what’s important is knowing that you are doing the best you can with the life you have been given and on days where just walking up the stairs makes you cry out in pain, all that you need to do is take care of yourself and keep breathing. And if that’s all you can do, well, that’s more than enough. Tomorrow is a new day, that list can wait, but your health can not. Just keep staying strong and never lose hope that things will one day get better

Until next time my darlings, 

Kaylee D. ❤ 

Health Update

My physical health has been up and down these last few weeks. I have my good days where I can get work done and enjoy life, but I also have my really bad days where I can’t get out of bed without feeling faint and dizzy. My mental health, on the other hand, has been consistently rough. My anxiety has gotten severe and even though I didn’t realize it at first, so has my depression. This is heavily due to the fact my future has been on my mind a lot lately, especially one certain aspect of my future; having kids. For as long as I can remember, I dreamed about becoming a mother. Tom and I had always discussed having children in our early twenties, shortly after getting married. But being diagnosed with Lupus has turned our entire plan upside down.

The reality is that having Lupus does increase my chances of miscarriage, birth complications and even infertility all together. Yes, I know there are many women out there with Lupus who have children and had problem-free pregnancies but there are also many who have not. Just knowing that we could have problems getting/staying pregnant and there is a chance we may never become pregnant at all is a thought that honestly breaks my heart. Before this diagnosis, we had a plan. Shortly after our 1 year anniversary, we would begin to actively try for a baby as long as we felt we were in a financially good space to do so. But now, that can’t happen. I need my health to be in check before we even consider trying. But we are also still on a timeline because the older I get and the longer I’m on my medication, the harder pregnancy will be for me and the risk factor goes higher. It is so hard to hear friends and family ask me, “so when will you guys have a baby?” knowing that I don’t know that answer anymore. It hurts having to explain why we need to wait and even explaining how it may never happen biologically for us. I always feared infertility issues, always scared that my biggest dream wouldn’t be able to come true for me. I wish I could get testing done now, to know before we start to try and have to experience heartbreak over and over again if it turns out that I can’t become pregnant or hold a pregnancy. But doctors won’t run those tests unless it’s necessary.

I thought by 24, I would be pregnant with my first child or already have a child. I never thought by 24 I would be diagnosed with Lupus, uncertain if I ever would be able to become a mom. I’m trying my hardest to turn this diagnosis into something positive, to use my experiences to help others. But some days, it’s just so hard to look on the bright side. I feel like I’m grieving, I’m grieving the life I had and the life I thought I would have. The life that was robbed from me by this illness I never asked for. I still have big dreams, dreams that I want so badly to come true but I always fear that my mental and physical health will keep me from ever achieving them. I feel constantly trapped, having to rely on everyone for everything because I can’t do things myself anymore. I can’t drive, I can’t work, hell, some days I can’t even make it up the stairs without help! When I go out, I constantly have to monitor how I’m feeling, often going through periods of lightheadedness and just an overall underlying panic of something going wrong. I won’t even go anywhere if Tom, my mother or my grandmother are not with me because at least I know they understand and they know what to do if god forbid, I get really sick out of nowhere. It sucks having to live like that.

People keep telling me that “it could be worse” and that “I’m going to be okay” and though I know they are right, some days I don’t want to hear it! Because the truth is, yea, it could be worse but this freaking sucks too! And I have every right to be angry and sad about having my independence ripped away! Than on the other hand, I have people compare my illness to others with the same and that hurts worse because everyone deals with illnesses differently and everyone experiences different symptoms. Just because one person is able to work and drive with Lupus, doesn’t mean that I can. I’m trying my hardest but I also can’t risk my life and my health getting worse. I’m at my breaking point as is and basically being told I’m not trying my hardest, that I’m being lazy and using my Lupus and anxiety as an excuse, it’s just beyond heart wrenching and makes me want to cry. Because I am trying my hardest, I’m pushing myself as much as I can.

I’m not happy with my life but I refuse to just give up. I guess I just need to continue taking everything one day at a time, hold onto faith, and no matter what, stay strong. That’s the only way I’ll get through this challenging time. Friends and family tell me how strong I am and how well I have handled this. But the truth is, what other choice did I have? I either let this break me or grow from it. And even on days like today, where I’m deep in my head and am feeling so discouraged, I know I won’t let this shatter me. 

Until next time,

Kaylee D. ❤

What 2018 has taught me

Hello my darlings and Happy New Year!! I hope you all had a wonderful new year eve’s and new years day! Can you believe it’s already 2019!? Seems crazy right! 2018 has been one hell of year for me! From struggling with my physical and mental health, to saying “I do” to my best friend, and wrapping up the year with a truly once in a lifetime honeymoon trip, 2018 has been packed full of memories. Through the memories, this year has also taught me a lot so I thought for today, I would write a post about the lessons 2018 has given me. So here are 8 things this past year has taught me, hope you enjoy! 🙂

  1. Nothing is ever going to go exactly how you picture/planned, but that’s okay

After spending over a year planning our Disney themed wedding, I had a clear picture of how I wanted every detail of that day to go. No matter what other people told me, I couldn’t let go of that picture and kept saying, “Oh, I won’t be that bride.” Well..I was that bride. Our wedding was amazing but I would be lying if I said every detail went exactly how I wanted it to. But in the end, all those little details didn’t really matter. All that mattered was I got to marry my best friend and I wish I had enjoyed more of the planning process instead of obsessing over every detail. In the same way, I had this picture in my head that by the wedding, Tom and I would have our own place. This also never materialized and though that was tough to handle, I know now that at that time, it wasn’t the right time for us to have a home. 2018 has shown me that just because you have a picture in your mind of how you want something to go, it will more than likely, never go exactly like that but that is okay. Because in the end, even if we don’t know it, we are exactly where we are supposed to be and as long as you’re surrounded by loving friends and family, any event will be special. Even if every detail doesn’t go as planned.

  1. You’re not alone, remember to lean on your friends and family

There were many moments this year where I felt alone. Wedding planning stress mixed with trying to find a house mixed with just generic health issues had me at my breaking point numerous times. Being the stubborn person I am, I convinced myself I was alone in all of this but in reality, I wasn’t. I have some of the most amazing friends, family, and now husband around me and once I let down my guard and I let them help me, this weight was lifted off my shoulder and I could smile again. 2018 was a year full of memories with some of my best girlfriends and throughout all of it, I believe it really brought us closer together and I can not wait to see the memories we will make in 2019. It’s hard sometimes to believe we aren’t alone when we are going through difficult times. It’s even harder when you suffer from a mental illness that basically convinces you that you are alone in this but the truth is, you’re not. When your going through something stressful, don’t isolate yourself and hide but instead, lean on the ones closest to you, because I guarantee you, once you do, you’ll realize just how loved you are and whatever your dealing with, won’t seem so big anymore.

  1. Home is not always a place

Besides for planning a wedding, my main focus this entire year was trying to buy a house, a home. Our living situation is not the best but after constant disappointment and struggles, I realized something very important. Home isn’t always a place. You could have a huge, two-story house but if it’s not filled with love, all it is is a building. 2018 taught me that my home is with my husband and our two fur babies. It doesn’t matter if we are living in his mom’s house, my grandmas, or our own house, as long as we are together, I know i’m home.

  1. Change can be difficult but it’s inevitable

This year brought two major changes to my life. One good and one bad. Obviously, the good change is that I’m a wife now. Getting married is something I have dreamed about since I was a little girl and it’s still so unreal to me that I really am married. This was a welcomed change. I won’t say it wasn’t scary because it definitely was but it’s a change I am very happy to have happened in my life. On the other hand, losing a job I had been a part of since graduating high school, was a change that brought sadness and still affects me. Though at times my job was difficult, I really did enjoy working in student financial services at my local college. The best part was having so many supportive co-workers who became a second family to me. I knew my temporary position would come to an end in November but it didn’t hurt any less. I’m still struggling with this change. That job was all I’ve known for 4 years and having to now find a new job is beyond stressful to me. But 2018 showed me that you can’t stop change, it’s going to happen. The only thing you can control, is how you deal with that change. Though I am still very upset about my job ending, i’m trying to look at it as an open door and a chance to find a career that i’m meant to be in. A career that truly makes me happy. So even though I know it’s tough, next time a difficult change happens in your life, try to look at what the bright side could be. You never know, it could be the start of the best years of your life.

  1. It’s okay to splurge and treat yourself now and then but not everyone is going to agree with you

After planning and paying for a wedding basically on our own, Tom and I were ready to just get away. We were extremely blessed to be able to take a two and a half week honeymoon that including going to three, well 7 if you count the ports, places. We started our honeymoon in North Carolina, than Walt Disney World, and finally, an 8 day eastern Caribbean carnival cruise to Grand Turk, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts, and St. Maarten. This truly was a once-in-a-lifetime trip for us and I am so beyond grateful and happy that we got to experience all we did in those two and a half weeks as newlyweds. However, before going, we got some hate from family members. They believed we were wasting our money and going away for way to long. It was hard to block them out but in the end, we both knew we needed this honeymoon after such a stressful year. 2018 showed me that not everyone is going to agree with your decisions but you have to follow your heart and know that it’s okay to splurge now and then.

  1. Exercise and healthy eating is the best medicine

2018 was the year Tom and I finally joined our local gym. Both of us wanted to get more in shape for the wedding but more than just weight loss for me, the gym became a place where I felt at peace. I had always been told that exercise and eating healthy works wonders for anxiety and depression but I was always too stubborn and lazy to try. Once I got engaged though, I knew I wanted to be healthier before walking down that aisle so I let Tom convince me to join the gym and that was one of the best decisions I made this past year. Working out provides me with clarity,energy, and just a sense of happiness and purpose that I don’t always feel. I absolutely love going to the gym and even though I haven’t been in a while due to all the wedding, honeymoon,and holiday stress, I can not wait to return this week. 2018 showed me that exercise really does do wonders so next time someone suggests trying the gym to help with anxiety and/or depression, don’t just ignore them but try it. You never know how therapeutic it can be.

  1. Remember to document the memories, not just the place

As many of you know, I love to take pictures, videos, and write about memories I have made. Documenting my life is something that is both fun and therapeutic for me. This year, I have also got into vlogging more serious and hope by the end of 2019, will have a YouTube channel up and running to share that side of my life. Though I took probably over 1000 photos on my honeymoon, one thing I noticed was many of my photos were of the places or things around me. 2018 showed me that it’s not the place that is important, but the memory and the people you share these experiences with that is important to document. 20 years from now, I want to look in a photo album and see pictures of my husband and I on the beach in Grand Turk vs. just a plain beach picture. Though I took some like this, I really wish I took more. Especially when it comes to the videos I took. So next time your documenting a moment, remember that it’s the people who are most important to capture and the beauty of the place is just a bonus.

  1. But also know when to just savor the moment and put the camera down

As important as documenting may be, you also need to know when to just put the camera down and savor the moment. Though Tom loves to take pictures and video too, he is a heavy believer in just savoring certain moments. When we were in Disney, we got to witness the Happily Ever After Fireworks and also were given a wishing key to hold and make a wish on during the show. I was so determined to capture the fireworks on video, that even though we made a wish and I shed some tears because of how beautiful the display was, I feel in my heart I didn’t get to savor such a special moment with my husband because I was too focused on recording the show to watch later. 2018 has shown me that it’s okay to want to document everything, but just know that some things are only meant to be saved in a memory. Some moments will be 10x more special if they are just moments shared with the person or people around you and not photographed or videotaped to see in the future.

So there you have it, 8 things 2018 has taught me. Like I said in my last post, 2018 has been the happiest, yet, most difficult year of my life. It was filled with memories and laughter but also disappointment and tears, but through it all, 2018 was truly an unforgettable year and one that taught me so much. So now I ask you, what is something 2018 taught you this year? Drop a comment down below and as alway, I hope you enjoyed reading this!

Until next time,

Kaylee D. ❤