Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Fighting the monster

Plaque Psoriasis, by definition, is a immunity disease that affects the skin. It is genetic, and though there are treatments, there is no known cure. It is irritating, painful, and highly embarrassing. Several things may contribute to an outbreak including physical or emotional stress, illness or dehydration. I have moderate Psoriasis, meaning it covers up to 50%-60% of my body surface at a time. Anywhere there is skin there is potential for an outbreak. The first real outbreak I remember having was my first summer away from home. I had no idea what it was, and it proved impossible for campus doctors to diagnose. I was treated with steroid cream (which did help for a small amount of time), anti-histamines, anti-fungal, and anti-mite cures. During this process, I had to tell my boyfriend at the time I couldn't touch him for fear of being contagious. There were, and still are, jokes flying around of my "Leprosy." The only thought I can respond with is, Leprosy has a cure. Needless to say none of the treatments or doctor advise worked. Finally, after a lot of research and comparison, I found my diagnosis and, with the help of my husband, have slowly been able to create a "system" (for lack of a better word) that reduced pain and irritation from current breakouts, and also reduced the frequency and severity of future ones. My skin was looking good.

About a month before Ethan was born the breakouts began again. They have increased in severity without slowing down in frequency, and nothing I have done has made any kind of difference. This, added with a postpartum body, not getting a shower every day and very little thought of natural beauty, has made my daily encounter with the mirror defeating. I do not tell you this to gain pity. I can provide too much of that for myself, though chocolate donations are more than welcome! Instead I tell you this as a very long way of getting to my real point, but you must indulge me my ramblings a little longer. Hopefully my point will become clear.

One thing you must understand is that I have a wonderful husband. He treats me better than a queen. He sincerely tells me, numerous times a day, how beautiful I am. This is kindness I have been surviving on. Not that I let my thoughts of my own personal appearance interfere with my responsibilities to my son or husband, but this kindness fights those thoughts when the work is done. There will always be that time of quiet and reflection in which we must face ourselves. You may say "Why isn't your husbands praise enough? After all, he has a better view point than you," and you would be right to a point. When we cannot see we must sometimes rely on the sight of others. But the monster will always rear its ugly head again; and though Derek's vision is truer and clearer than mine and may quiet the roaring, it cannot kill the threat. It cannot save me. This is an internal monster and cannot be slayed with an external weapon. I have survived on borrowed harmony for too long.

This post may have revealed vanity in me that has lessened respect for my rational mind, but I feel this is an evil shared widely, especially among women. There are too many weapons for the enemy. The influences that would strengthen us are often drowned in shallow glory. Each one must decide to fight this battle on their own. I have decided to fight. Our best weapon is ourselves. Those things that are good about us, those talents we have, the love that is given us, what we can do for others, and knowledge of personal worth. These are our internal weapons and without them we have little hope of success. Find them. Magnify and cultivate them. True beauty shines through sincere happiness. And remember, as it says on my grandmother's fridge, "God don't make junk."

Update: As you may have found out from my later posts, my skin condition may not be plaque psoriasis, thank goodness. I have been gluten-free for a while and my skin has completely cleared up, so it may be that I have DH instead. While the symptoms are very similar there is a major difference in treatment possibilities. I have yet to be diagnosed but this new development offers a new outlook for my skin's future. Yay!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Troubles of a Fashionista

Those who know me know that I have never been overly concerned with my appearance. Usually I'm content to look presentable enough no to embarrass whom ever I'm with . There are times when I become enthralled with ways to improve my appearance (blast those makeup models!). I'll buy different kinds of makeup, dye my hair or go for the at home spa treatments. Have you ever tried a banana honey face mask? All I have to say is, sticky. My most recent attempt at a drastic transformation has been to chop my hair off. I took some pictures into a local Paul Mitchell school and said, "Have at it!" The style, though fundamentally good, is hard to keep up at home owing to the recent demise of my straightener. Always a bad omen. So I've tried to improvise. I've done natural, wavy, a sad attempt at straight and curly styles much to my disappointment. Ethan must have felt some pity for my attempts because this morning he decided to help.
Ethan loves to fly. Whenever we pick him up and fly him around the room he has a wide-eyed look of wonder mixed with smiles. This morning Ethan was soaring, all smiles, through the air directly over my head. More specifically over my face. It's just so cute to see how gravity affects his chubby cheeks! Unfortunately he had just eaten. Without warning, not so much as a twitch from Ethan, some second-hand milk came gracefully flowing toward me. With a quick gasp I yanked my face down just in time to feel warmth spread through my hair and down my forehead. Attempts to clean my head resulted in matting my hair together until it stood straight up in huge clumps. Tyra Banks eat your heart out!

After a well deserved and much needed shower, inspiration struck! All this time I was blow drying my hair the wrong way! So, thank you Ethan. My hair now has new hope.


Today was a day for caution. By 10 a.m. I had already been pooped and spit-up on. I didn't want to make it a triad, so every time I changed Ethan's diaper i was especially careful to watch for the "ominous swelling" as Derek calls it. I'm glad to report, I escaped without further incident.

I'm not very photogenic so it looks better in person. What do you think?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Little Prince Ethan

Ethan is now 2 months old and I'm halfway back to my average physique. Is it bad if I compare how old he is to how big my belly still is? Anyway, Ethan is our firstborn and we adore him. He loves to smile and tries to laugh... until I point the camera at him. Its like he knows when its coming and as soon as he spies the little black box the smile flees and he replaces it with a look of earnest confusion. I tried my best to distract him, thus sounding kind of like a ridiculous momma, so that I could sneak in a smile or two on video. This is the result of my craftiness, or lack of.

Learning how to be Mom is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life! I still have the mindset of having my own mom to rely on. The person who will listen with interest no matter what you want to tell her; who will bake cookies and eat junk food while watching chick flicks; who will hug you and tell you its OK to cry, laugh, or be saucy sometimes. I'm not that person but I'm starting to realize I will be, and very soon. Before, as just me, I would think about what to do on a Saturday night and it would consist of a date with Ben & Jerry mixed with a little of Colin Firth. Then it became Derek and me and Saturday became the Bourne movies with popcorn, if we can afford it, and if Derek got his homework done. Now, its wondering if we already gave Ethan his bath for church Sunday morning, or what time he would actually go to sleep this time and let us do the same. Is there food in there somewhere? Not always. I love the change but it's an adjustment as large as...well...life. Instead of living for an idle moment with a book I live for one of Ethan's smiles, very willing to look like an idiot to get it. Amazing how someone so small and dependant can have so much power. So all mother's echo "Amen" and father's smile and nod; we are parents and would wish for nothing other.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Internet world here I come

I'm not sure what drives us to express our thoughts, no matter how mundane, to the outside world by any means possible. Is it a way of connecting without the threat of immediate response or face to face interaction? A way of feeling listened to without the responsibility of sharing the conversation? Whatever it may be I add my words, my thoughts and a small peek into my world to the pulsing highway of individual collectivity. It took me a while to catch up. Now lets see if I can keep up. I can't even keep my journal updated. Oh dear... I guess all that's left to say for this post is internet world here I come!