Friday, March 23, 2012

How Lupus is Like 'The Hunger Games'

Lupus is a good thing. The people who get Lupus are the lucky ones, as is anyone who has a chronic illness. There should be parties held for people who are diagnosed. There should be nothing but smiles and laughter and celebration. None of this fear or crying. There's no need.

I haven't seen The Hunger Games in theater, yet. I've read the books, though; they're addictive and exhilarating. Everyone diagnosed with a chronic illness is like the tributes. Some of us are like Katniss and Peeta, some are like Rue, and the rest make up the rest of the tributes.

The people who are like Katniss and Peeta are the ones who fight tooth and nail to succeed. They want to survive and they use whatever tools they can to do so. They don't just sit around waiting for a cure to happen. They go searching for their own cures. They read books and articles and scour the internet for anything that might help them along the way. They don't let naysayers get them down. And the phrase "there is no cure" holds no meaning for them. In the end, they will be helping the tributes after them succeed. They will be giving advice to those new to the game and people will look up to them.

Some are like Rue. These people fight hard. They use whatever skills they have to stay ahead of the game, but in the end they succumb to their disease. They may not die like Rue does (sorry, spoiler alert), but they stop trying to beat their disease and instead let it control them. They start out fighting, looking for ways to make themselves better. They start off like Katniss and Peeta. No book or article goes untouched. But when they can't find a cure, they give up. They accept their "fate" and live in pain and suffering.

And the rest are like the other tributes. They'd like to survive, but they just don't have the same hunger that Katniss and Peeta have, or even Rue. They succumb to the disease pretty quickly. They let things happen to them instead of them taking control of their destiny. They might follow their doctor's advice blindly. They might just say "Well this is how my life is going to be, I might as well get used to it". They give up when they should be digging their heels in and saying "This is not how I want to live my life".

Who are you? Are you going to defeat your illness? Or will you let it defeat you? It's your choice. You choose how hard you will fight.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Decorating Your Re-purposed Pill Bottles

If you've taken some of my examples from my post 16 Ways To Re-Use Prescription Bottles, you now have a lot ugly bottles serving useful purposes. But they don't have to stay ugly.

I'm going to show you a few easy steps to turn your boring pill bottle into something you won't mind showing off.

What you'll need:

Example of paintbrush size.
  • Medicine bottles (of course)
  • 2 different acrylic paint colors 
  • 2 paintbrushes- one small and thin; the other small but flat
  • Anything else you'd like to decorate your bottles with

How to do it:

First you need to peel off the stickers on your medicine bottles. You can either use hot water and soak it, WD-40, or some other safe and non toxic removal method. You want to get off the glue, too. You can leave a little of it on, but it won't look as good (Trust me, I left some on and my bottle looks lumpy).
A clean bottle and the two chosen colors.
Then you need to pick your colors. I chose High Gloss Obsidian acrylic paint. You can use any acrylic paint, but this said multi-surface so I thought it would stick better. I also chose a Glitter acrylic paint called Purple Sapphire. As you can see, both of those were Martha Stewart crafts paint. Not that I like Martha Stewart. After her little jail episode I lost all respect for her. But that's a completely different matter.

You can see the streaky parts by looking on the inside.
It's a good way to get full coverage.
You need to paint the outside of the bottle in your base color (mine was black). Use a thin coat so it dries faster. It will probable look a little streaky, but that's okay because we're just going to put on a second coat. Also, a thin coat will prevent the paint from cracking.

If you get tired of waiting for the paint to dry, you can use your hairdryer to lightly blow cold or cool air. Heat and acrylics don't mix well. Mainly because acrylics are just pigment floating around in plastic. If you want to see where your streaky parts are after you've covered the entire bottle (it gets a little difficult to see after a while) look on the inside of the bottle and hold it up to the light. You'll be able to see the spots you miss.

The best way to hold the bottle.
After the first coat is dry apply the second. It's easy to paint if you have two fingers on the inside. It will keep you from making an enormous mess. If you look at the picture, you can see how nice and clean the piece of paper I set down is. It didn't stay that way, but I got lazy.

Oh and a little tip in case you don't have a palette or don't feel like using one, gum wrappers make excellent paint palettes for small projects like this. Once you're done, just wrap it up gently and throw it away.
Don't forget to paint the bottoms...
After you have finished all that painting, you can move on to the caps.

The finished bottom half.
Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of that step. But let me tell you, it took about ten coats of the sparkly glitter paint to get any decent coverage. I wanted something really sparkly that would blind people but, it didn't come out the way I wanted. I was really disappointed. Another reason why I don't like Martha Stewart. Her products don't deliver they way her advertisements make it seem. Damn, those advertisements. They worked on me a little too well....

It didn't end there for me. I decided I wanted to make it look prettier, so I attempted to write my first initial with my glitter paint. But yet again, it failed me. I had to glob it on to make any glitter show up. Which is the whole purpose of buying glitter paint.
At least I got it pretty darn sparkly.

I have some glittery ribbon I'd like to adhere to these, but I can't find the hot glue gun. Plus, I think they look pretty good as is.

You can add stickers or self adhesive jewels. Or get out your hot glue gun and stick on random stuff. It's up to you. You can even use more than one color on the bottom. Maybe draw some little characters on there.

There you have it. You now know how to revamp your pill bottles. If this is what I get to do when I finish a bottle of pills, then I don't think I'll mind taking my medicine diligently.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

16 Ways To Re-Use Prescription Bottles

Over the past year, I have come up with quite a large collection of prescription bottles. It is a hassle to throw  them away. I could be a good citizen and recycle them. But I had to pay for my medicine. And indirectly the bottle it came in. So why not do something useful with them?

I've come up with a list of 16 things you can do with Prescription bottles.
  1. Leftover paint: I love this one. When I paint, I usually will have some colors left over. And when I put my paint supplies down to go to bed, I don't want to leave my paint out to dry. It's expensive! Pill bottles are air-tight, so the paint stays wet. Which means you don't have to mix things all over again the next morning. And you won't have to stick your palette in the fridge.
  2. Crafting stuff: You can fill your prescription bottles with clasps and buttons and whatever else you crafty people use. Beads.
  3. Safety Pins
  4. Glitter
  5. Miniature sewing kit: Stick a needle, some safety pins, and some thread a bottle and you have your very own miniature sewing kit!
  6. Screws and stuff: You know, nails, hooks, screws, nuts, bolts, etc. You can either lazily throw them all in one bottle (especially if you aren't very DIY) or you can nicely separate them by type. If you're like me, you'll have plenty of bottles for this.
  7. Cotton balls/swabs: Stick these bad boys in a pill bottle to keep them sanitary and close at hand.
  8. Bobby pins/ Hair clips: It's a great place to store all of your hair accessories (except for bows).
  9. Mini First-Aide: Use as a mini first-aid kit: Put a couple band-aids, cough drops, and your medical information inside and stick it in your purse or your car.
  10. Office Supplies: It's great for paper clips, tacks, postage, etc.
  11. Coins: Fill it with your change so you'll never have to go digging in your purse for that 67 cents you need. Or if you live in an apartment and need change for laundry, this is a good place to put it.
  12. Travel Containers: Fill with matches, tiny tubes of ointment, or other camping/vacationing necessities. 
  13. Rubber Bands: I mean, really, where are you supposed to put these? Now you have a place to put them!
  14. Seed Starters: If you have a green thumb, you can use your pill bottles to start your seeds before transplanting them.
  15. Ice Packs: Fill with water and then stick in the freezer. Voila!
  16. Tampons: You know those U by Kotex tampons? Well they're so tiny they'll fit in most pill bottles. And they won't get dirty in your purse. Plus, in my next post, I'm gonna show you how to decorate the bottles.
What do you use your pill bottles for? Or do you let them just pile up somewhere? I would love to hear your suggestions!

And don't forget to follow me here and on twitter!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Undeniable Truths for Those With a Chronic Illness

Today my exercise group had a potluck to celebrate people's birthdays for January, February, and March. I got the chance to talk with one of the ladies there who is (somewhat) close to my age. I'll call her S. S and I discussed the difficulties of being young and dealing with our illnesses.

There were so many topics where we were like "Oh, that's exactly how I feel!". I thought that I would share my thoughts on some of those topics and see what you have to say about them.

I always have to think about my health and my illness. S. and I both agreed that it's pretty much impossible not to think about our illnesses and our health. She has a very strict diet she has to adhere to, and I'm always trying to maintain my health by eating healthier and avoiding germs.

People have a hard time understanding what I am going through. Family is the hardest to deal with. They aren't always sympathetic or understanding. Most of them have been very healthy their entire lives and can't understand what it's like to never be at optimal health. And we've both heard too many times "But you don't look sick".

People (especially my family) assume that because I'm taking medicine, I should be fine. Medicine is the magical cure-all. A doctor will prescribe you a pill, and a few weeks later, you will be all better. That's how it works. At least that's how it works in my parents' minds.

I'm always getting compared to other people who have Lupus. "I know a person with Lupus, and she goes through many years of remission" Good for her, I haven't really reached a point of remission, yet, but I'm looking forward to it. "My friend has Lupus, but she loses her hair. You have a nice head of hair." Yes, I have a full head of hair. Lupus is different for everybody. Just because your friend is one way doesn't make what I'm going through any less valid.

Dealing with the fact that I am so young and should be healthy is hard. S. was young when she was diagnosed. I was 19. People my age are supposed to be healthy. A stereotypical person my age would be going out and wearing out their bodies. Sunbathing, drinking excessively, staying out all night, partying, eating disgusting junk food... I'm a little sad that I won't get to take part in that.

Work...It's almost impossible. Joint pain, fatigue, frequent need for bathroom breaks, and the timing of breaks and lunches are just a few of the problems we face in the working world.

And a statement from S. that I thought was undeniably true: "I live with my boyfriend. There's already enough trouble dividing up chores. And since I'm always sick, it's hard to do my share. I don't want him to feel like I'm taking advantage of him, but I have barely any energy. I'm very lucky that he's understanding and will help me out."

Monday, March 5, 2012

Quotes For A Lupus Sufferer

When you can't say something as well as someone else already has, blurt out a quote. Here are some quotes that are relevant to all patients dealing with a chronic illness. And anyone else who needs some words of wisdom. These are truly great quotes from incredible people.
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"To wish to be well is a part of becoming well" -Seneca

"Life is a sexually transmitted disease" -R. D. Laing

"The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage" -Thucydides

"Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it." -Bill Cosby

"Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless." -Jamie Paolinetti

"I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do." -Leonardo da Vinci

"Your lifestyle- how you live, eat, emote, and think- determines your health. To prevent disease, you may have to change how you live." -Brian Carter

"A hospital is no place to be sick." -Samuel Goldwyn

I believe that we can conquer Lupus in all of its forms. Mind over matter and sheer force of will are our only tools. Lupus is a war that we will win. We have everything we need to kill this thing. Sitting around waiting for things to happen to us is no way to go about getting better. We need eat like a health nut, exercise, laugh until we cry, and believe that we will be better soon. And we must remember that we aren't alone. There are millions of people who have a chronic illness, like Lupus. And there are millions more who know someone with Lupus or another chronic illness. An endless supply of support is there if we just reach out. -Megan McCarthy
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