October 16, 2018

Living with An Auto-Immune Disease As A Mama: My I Pink I Can Moment with Stage Stores

I pink I can…I pink I can…I know I can!

I’m partnering with Stage for their Pink October. Stage Stores wants to encourage people to share their own moments of strength and inspiration as they help raise money this month for Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

I pink I can is a mantra I know well as a mom of two kids who has battled an auto-immune disease since I was 11 years old.

Anyone living with a chronic disease faced the uncertainty of never knowing exactly when their symptoms may return. One day I may feel on top of the world, full of plans and intentions.

And the next day may bring the opposite, barely able to move, tired and lethargic.

It’s a vicious cycle, breaking free of the hamster wheel only to be pulled back again to a place you never really liked in the first place.

But what I’ve found is that the physical symptoms of illness can be mitigated with the right mental attitude. Being positive, focusing on the good and keeping a vibrant, upbeat spirit in the face of negative physical ailments goes a long way in helping your body heal and move forward.

The physical symptoms of Crohn’s Disease are difficult. Severe pain, nausea and vomiting, often rearing up with no warning in a “flare.” Or one of the many nasty side effects of living with Crohn’s Disease for years like ulcers, headaches, muscle and joint pains.

All of this can leave me feeling depleted and zapped of energy, which is difficult as a mom since you’re job is literally never ending. And unfortunately, kids don’t quite understand that “Mommy doesn’t feel so good today.”

So for me, it’s key to explain this to my children, in a way that they can understand. “Hey hunny, Mommy doesn’t feel so good today. I’m sick. Why don’t you go and get some toys and we can play together in bed.”


While I may not be able to get up and play with them in their playroom, I can still engage in my own way.

But just as my kids depend on me to take care of them, they also need me to take care of myself.

As a mom with an autoimmune disease that flares up from time to time, it’s crucial for me to slow down at times and focus on self-care. It can be so hard to do this as a mom.

But as flight attendants always remind you before you take off, you have to put on your own oxygen mask before that or anyone else. Taking care of yourself is NOT SELFISH.  It’s crucial for your own mental and emotional health as a person, and especially if you are a parent.

We all have needs.  We all need down time.  Time to relax, to unwind, engage in hobbies, hang out with friends and to just stop doing things for others.

 

No one else can give this to yourself but you.  As a parent, you are a better, happier and more attentive parent if you are able to take this time for yourself.

I often feel guilty taking care of myself, but I KNOW it’s important.  I often experience symptoms before a flare comes on, little things like tightness in my upper back, little pangs in my upper right quadrant of my stomach.

If I pay close attention to these physical signs, slow down, watch what I eat, my stress level and try to get extra sleep, I can prevent or lessen the impact of a flare.  But that little twinge can be easily overlooked or explained as eating too much or a busy day.

This is where I find it so crucially important to slow down, stop and really pay attention to my body during these moments to ensure that I feel better, so I can be a better parent, wife and caretaker.

This month, Stage is turning October into Pink October in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Throughout the month, Stage will be hosting activations and give back initiatives to raise money for Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Get involved at your local Stage Store or online:

 

We all have I Pink I Can moments as women, and I would love to hear yours!  Share yours in comments and join me and Stage Stores in sharing your #IPinkICan moments.

*This post is sponsored by Stage Stores.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Living with An  Auto-Immune Disease As A Mama

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