2017: Helping Lupus Through Healthy Lifestyle

It’s officially 2017: My house is quiet (which is a rare occurrence when living with a 2 year old and a 3 year old), and I’m enjoying ringing in the new year under a very cozy quilt. In fact, it’s the first quilt I ever made (circa junior high in the early 1990’s).

Thinking back on this past year, I realize it was a year filled with several endings and new beginnings. Some intentional and wanted, and others, not so much.

  • The most obvious was leaving Los Angeles and moving to Orange County. This was bittersweet as Jake and I started our married life in Los Angeles, and actually, started our life as a family there as well. We lived in a beautiful little neighborhood and loved that our area was actually walkable (which is rare in Los Angeles). However, things were just getting increasingly complicated as the kids started to grow, and our two bedroom unit was shrinking on us. We couldn’t commit to buying in a location that gave us more space but locked us into long commutes, so, in the end, we jumped ship. I had formed several close relationships with colleagues and quilting friends and it was hard to leave that behind. But luckily, I’m blessed with new, fun colleagues and a very social neighborhood with lots of families with young kids like us. Teegan has learned how to open the door by himself and has been known to run out of the house down the sidewalk to look for his friends.
  • The second major change for me is accepting that we are going to be a two kid family. It almost feels selfish to say that I’m sad we won’t be having anymore children (when we are completely blessed with two little miracles), but I can’t help but mourn the loss. We always wanted a third and were planning on another, but as I recovered from the first two pregnancies it started to sink in how sick I had actually been. I was hospitalized with both, had preterm labor with both, was on super high doses of medications causing me to have gestational diabetes and a tibial fracture. And thank goodness, my kidneys hung in through both. This past year I had another miscarriage and almost immediately my blood sugars were in the diabetic range which was shocking to me since I wasn’t even on steroids at the time. So, after some real soul searching we  decided it’s too risky for my health to carry another baby, so we’ve officially decided not to try/have another.  I know it’s the right choice because I need to be healthy for my two magical children (and amazing husband), but it’s still hard to close this chapter.
  • But that leads me to the beginning of the next chapter, the one that 2017 is about: my health.
    • I’ve learned that stress directly affects my lupus symptoms (and lab values), so focusing on decreasing my stress is vital to my health. Not all people have such an obvious barometer of their stress levels. My biggest “de-stressor” is sewing. So, there are two things that I am doing to promote this: 1) just sewing (aka the house doesn’t have to be clean and I don’t have to cross everything off my to-do list first– because let’s face it, I live with a 2 and 3 year old, so that’s an impossible feat), and 2) I moved the sewing machine out of the office and into our bedroom because it’s my favorite room to be in, and it’s cozy. I don’t care if it’s weird to have a sewing table in your bedroom.
    • I also know that I’m clearly prone to becoming diabetic at some point in my life– two bouts of gestational diabetes definitely tells me that the odds are stacked against me. I used to exercise regularly, and loved it, but since kids it’s literally been nonexistent. So, it’s time to get back into it. I also have 3 vertebral compression fractures that occasionally cause me some pain so I’m starting by becoming engaged in my physical therapy program and walking. Nothing earth shattering, but regular and non-stressful. Plus, I’ve discovered audio books and so walking becomes extra amazing.
    • And the last thing to really promote my health and wellbeing is to consistently eat clean. By this I mean a low inflammatory diet– no processed foods, no added sugars. I also avoid dairy and meat because they are known to be inflammatory in auto-immune diseases. I have a lot of food allergies which complicate things for me, so this also involves spending time researching and planning what will be best for me.

So, I’m excited to show you my new sewing finishes and update you on how thing are going. I only have one measly finish in 2016. I’m hoping for maybe 12 this year???

What are your new years resolutions?



I couldn’t resist a cute photo of the fam. Teegan is mad-dogging the camera and he normally smiles ALL the time.

16 thoughts on “2017: Helping Lupus Through Healthy Lifestyle

  1. Hi & Happy New Year!!!! I was beginning to think that my resolution for 2017 was a bit selfish but reading about how sewing relaxes u, I’m thinking of it as self care in the new year. I too find sewing very relaxing and I “need” to sew and be creative on a regular basis or I become stressed out and grumpy.

    So my new years resolution is to sew at least twice a week for an hour. This way I’ll get my creativity time and the relaxation of sewing in on a semi regular basis. Hopefully I can keep this up all year.

    I’m a Type one person with diabetes and my BG’s are much easier to control when I’m not stressing and freaking out all the time.

    1. De-stressing is totally a valid resolution! For some people it’s prayer, for some yoga, for some meditation…. and for some… sewing 🙂 Let’s make this a great 2017!

  2. Nice writing, Erica. Thank you for sharing. We love you and wish you and your family a happy, healthy and grateful new year!

  3. It’s good to hear about where you are in life. You are not alone in the clean eating. Both my 9 year old and I are in the same boat. It’s difficult to live this way because society is not. Luckily, more restaurants and stores are getting on board and offering foods that are allergy free. We both are dairy, gluten, egg and soy intolerant so it is definitely a challenge. Hang in there. You are amazing!

  4. I can relate to your story! I had to stop after two wonderful kids also. My love of sewing is my distressed also. I work in OC and live in Corona. It’s hard to find people who love our passion. If you know of any great clubs or sewing groups, please pass along! Happy New Year!

    1. There’s the Orange County Modern Quilt Guild. I haven’t been but I used to be a member in LA, and before that in Boston. Some of my closest friends are from quilting. Quilty friends are the best of friends.

  5. Beautiful photo and a beautiful post. It’s hard to make such huge life changes and decisions and bravo to you for not only coming through those changes and decisions with grace, but also for sharing them with your readers as well. Cheers to a very sew-y 2017!!

  6. Good to read these updates from you Erica. I feel sad for the weight /loss of not being able to have a third. I am so sorry. I know that was your desire for so long. I will pray throughout 2017 for you as you keep seeking the health and peace you need. Love you!

  7. Erica, it’s so nice to hear from you. You have great plans ahead and a beautiful family to support you. Best wishes for a “sewingful” 2017!

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