We have a super cool name for the monthly interview series featuring other chronic illness bloggers talking about what it’s really like to walk a mile in their shoes.
It’s…wait for it…Say “Hi!” to [Insert Name]!
Yup, that’s right, the flippant yet quirky title that was used to introduce the series kick-off interview with Jay Armstrong has stuck. It just seems to fit, ya know?
Anyway, enough of the chitty chat about naming conventions. Time for the good stuff!
A bit about Darci
Darci Lopez wants to live in a world where her closets are organised, she is on time everywhere she goes, and love is abundant.
As a mommy blogger who writes about parenting, lifestyle, and chronic illness at Life Unplanned, she’s been honoured with the Liebster Award for Bloggers.
When she’s not running around chasing her kids or writing, you can find Darci behind her sewing machine creating beautiful pieces of clothing, household items, and accessories.
Darci’s first eBook, “How to be Less of a Hot Mess: Inspiration for Stay-at-Home-Moms,” hits the internet June 2016.
At the inception of chronic illness there is a lot of fear and confusion. Can you describe the time you felt the most scared?
Seven years after my first symptoms, just after being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and learning that there is no cure, a pain specialist prescribed a strong medication cocktail which included mega doses of OxyContin.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with this drug, it is a highly addictive narcotic pain medication. This drug, in the quantities prescribed along with the other meds the doctor had put me on, left me strung out and feeling like a zombie.
Every day I was going to work high as a kite and hiding my condition from others. I was confused, weak, and didn’t feel like I could live the rest of my life this way.
So I quit all my meds cold turkey. Granted it was a stupid, stupid thing to do, but I did it. I went through withdrawals from the OxyContin but luckily did not suffer any serious repercussions.
At this point, I felt lost, scared, and alone with my illness.
Have you experienced a major turning point with your illness? If so, what was it and how did your life change?
Because I’d resisted surrender to my illness for so long, the turning point in my journey was gradual.
Real change came when I reached acceptance and concluded that there would be no magic pill for me. I adopted a holistic health practice that includes lots of yoga and self-care. The emphasis has changed from combating my condition to working through it.
Anyone living with a chronic illness know it can be a roller coaster of a ride; oftentimes more heavily weighted towards the lows than the highs. What have you done to overcome the low points in your journey?
The low points in my journey look a lot different now than they did 10-20 years ago.
It used to be that my illness took me to a very dark place and affected my mental health so negatively, but since developing a relationship of acceptance with my diagnosis, the lows are more manageable. I can see them for what they are, points in time. My symptoms are a part of me, and I try to roll with them.
Now I aim to manage my symptoms, to ease through them. I’ve adopted a yoga regimen, I only take a minimum of medication and I’m gentler with myself. I pace myself and know that it will get better.
The hardest part is knowing that it will get worse again.
How do you make the most of the high points?
I get as much done and am as productive as possible while still pacing myself.
My good days are very sporadic, so when I have one I run errands, see friends, participate in my hobbies.
You are a wife, mumma to two kiddies, blogger, chronic illness warrior and lover of life. How do you balance it all?
It’s less about balance than it is about being present in the moment.
Since I never know when I will have a bad day, week, month, I must take advantage of the now.
There’s a time to be super mommy, a time to be a domestic diva, and a time to be chronic illness warrior… even if at that moment it means being in bed recovering.
Pacing myself has been key in learning to juggle life.
On your blog, Life Unplanned, you talk about spending most of your free time devoted to the things that inspire you and make you happy. What does this look like for you?
Oh, how I love my hobbies!
Currently I am doing a lot of creating. I love to sew and craft beautiful clothes, bags, accessories.
Eventually I hope to open an Etsy shop or sell some items via my blog, which I’ve also been hard at work developing. It is a labor of love and a lot of work, but I love being able to help people through the sharing of my story or through the sharing of my knowledge and experiences.
What prompted you to write about your experiences and start to share your story with others in the online space?
Before I started blogging, I’d always kept my illness to myself, my cross to bear so to speak.
But having a platform on which to reach a number of people and possibly inspire them through my words is an awesome opportunity that I just can’t pass up. There is so much positivity in the online world surrounding chronic illness and I’m blessed to be a part of it!
Specifically, I saw a post in one of the Facebook groups that I belong to. It was another blogger requesting guest post submissions for her site that focused on chronic illness. I immediately felt I needed to share my experience with others to educate and build awareness.
If you could offer one piece of advice to someone who has recently had their world rocked by a chronic illness diagnosis, what would you say?
Don’t freak out. Really. Take your time to process.
Also, empower yourself with information and knowledge so that you can be your best advocate. The best thing I ever did for myself was to devour everything I could about my condition. I know more about it now than many doctors do. And because of my knowledge I feel comfortable advocating for myself and being assertive and proactive in regards to my care.
I encourage you to do the same.
Where can we find you?
And that’s a wrap! Thanks Darci!
Remember, if you would like to participate (be interviewed!) and have your voice heard and your blog featured, please drop me an email at bree[at]starbritewarrior.com and we’ll have a chat!
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Photo Credit (Featured Image): Pixabay
Photo Credit (Bio Photo): Darci Lopez
All photos and content the property of Starbrite Warrior and Bree Hogan. Not to be reproduced without permission.