So a few of you have asked, after reading Wednesday's post about my afternoon nap moving from an hour and a half to two hours, why? Why do I need more sleep? Why is the standard 1.5 hours suddenly not enough? Why did things change?
The short answer is I don't know. Nothing with lupus is set in stone. Sometimes your body just changes, and you can't pinpoint exactly what's going on. In fact, this is one of the biggest complaints lupus patients have about the disease - its unpredictability. I second the motion - not knowing what's coming stinks. But, in my opinion, and in my case of lupus, things actually might be more predictable than they first appear. What do I mean?
Take the example of my nap. I can't be sure why I need more sleep, but here's my hunch:
The need began after a busy, bustling, holiday season, during which I threw a big party at our house, traveled out of state, hosted overnight guests at our place, and shopped, wrapped, and assembled a ton of gifts for people I love. It was a fabulous month. But it was a packed month, too.
After that, I traveled abroad for a week and a half, came back for a week, and promptly left for a week at my parents to attend a family visitation, funeral, and another gathering a few days later. All of these were outside of my hometown, so again, I was on the road almost everyday that week. I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else during a time like that, but there was a lot of activity to fit in.
Emotionally speaking, in December, I had to put my best little doggie friend Henry to sleep. And in January, I had to say goodbye to my wonderful Uncle Bob (who finally lost his year-long battle with cancer at the young age of 65, hence the family funeral mentioned above), so to call the last two months emotionally challenging would be a big understatement.
I know stressful, emotionally taxing situations demand a lot of our bodies, and with lupus, I don't know that we have a whole lot of extra reserve to expend. Travel can be a drainer, too. Regardless of how much sleep you get or how much you watch your exertion levels, you're still taxing your body more than usual.
Now the great thing is that today, I feel super. I haven't had any swelling or joint pain, fevers or rashes, hair loss or chest pain during the time referenced above. So I consider the last few months a success. Life came at me, and I responded. And I'm still here, healthy, happy, and capable of blogging about it. Much to my dismay, I can't stop life and death from happening, but I feel that, provided I take care of myself, eat well, exercise, get my requisite rest, (and when the need arises, even more), I can prevent lupus from running rampant.
The most important factor for me is to be in the right frame of mind to make good, healthy, mindful decisions. To be cognizant of my body's demands, acknowledge that I'm not invincible, and be willing to tweak my lifestyle when and if the time comes. I'm ready to go. Are you?