Let me start off by telling you something that you most likely don’t know about me. Something that most people don’t know about me. I was born as a naturally athletic person. Not especially in the way that would have me saying I love a good workout, but I do indeed love a good bout of ‘fitness’. I have tendencies towards being an athlete, rather than a geek. Yes, I loves me some geek/nerd stuff. Yes it is possible to be a bookworm who wants to conquer the world on foot. None of these facts are being disputed.

I’m just saying.

I am one of those work out with a nose in my book people. In fact when I workout I want it to be to the tune of a Discovery Channel documentary on the solar system, or archaeological dig or the physiology of the brain. Not Rhianna or some African American guy who has made some sweet remixes to some funk tune electronica thingy then married a social media queen with wide hips. Whatev’s.

That’s my jam.

I used to play netball and hockey in school. I am not the personality that has ever gotten along too well with team sports however, so from middle school age I was more inclined to be the umpire than the player. Or the goalie.

Don’t look too deeply into it.

When I finished school and moved to Perth I had no clue how to get into a sport so I didn’t. Gyms scared me and the only time I tried a dance class the girls were already a clique so I didn’t return. I’m clearly a loner so I left it there. I tried running around the neighbourhood for a bit but my asthma played up and then the whole Lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE) saga began. From here I segued nicely into physiotherapy classes, Stott Pilates and finally physiotherapy yoga where I was once more reunited with my soul and every past life reincarnate.

I was at peace within myself once more. This was about 7 years ago. I slowly regained my physical aptitude and have never lost it since. If you ever have seen me lift anything and wondered why a girl who is in such physical distress from SLE is not physically deteriorated and crippled I can honestly tell you that a year of regular yoga has changed my body. This Lupus Life is not a disabled one or found lacking or held back by This Lupus Body. In fact up until the Lupus Cerebritis complications became an issue I can tell you I was on the precipice of abandoning half of my lupus medications entirely. In fact I had already managed to remove one permanently from my life (the anti-inflammatory Naproxen).


So I stayed on the yoga and I saw how beneficial it was to me. I don’t know if it was the unique position I was in that I was able to connect the dots of chronic illness, common complaints of common arthritic and chronic pain and autoimmune illnesses with the logistics and anatomical and physiological knowledge that comes with yoga and Pilates but it just made so much sense that as long as I retained some basic semblance of this practice my Lupus could be held, for the most part, in remission.

Unfortunately we all know what happened to me 4 years ago changed this. Only briefly after I started on the path to helping like-minded others I became unwell with Lupus Cerebritis complications and was fatefully steered away from that path. Teaching is my true calling and I am pleased with how it turned out but my fear for exercise grew. Slowly at first, I would fight so hard some days and weeks, insisting that I could still get back into it. Yet two years after the onset of the Cerebritis gone were the 6am starts and the healthy living habits and workouts. Daily was the routine of sleeping until lunch, wearing tracksuits all day and shuddering at the thought of getting wet, let alone sweating.

Heart rate? That’s something that goes up when you eat chili or ride a rollercoaster. You mean people like doing stuff with their body to make it go up? Ew.

I watched my bike rust in the garage. I ignored my yoga mat on the floor in the spare room. I pretended my CrossFit friends were so inspiring and not in the least making my heart break with jealousy. I deleted all the yoga accounts I followed on Instagram and hid all the photos of me doing it. I even hid the friends I had made through the wonderful, life-altering meditative practice. They knew someone else not this lazy excuse-making stutter monkey, always bumping into walls on her left side.

You know every time I go on steroids I gain weight. I have made no secret of the massive appetite increase that comes with the onerous medication. I hide my inability to resist the urge to eat during this period.

This time things are different than last time. I think I am more mindful. Yes. Mindfulness. It is a thing. Today mum and I walked along the Swan River and Matilda Bay Reserve, then we took a bus. Spontaneously jumping off when we saw a pretty waterfall at a duck pond. Partly the mindfulness is because I sleep well. That is due to a very good natural sleep remedy I take each evening. It balances my mood too.

Because my sleep is good my mood is good. I am happy when I go to bed each night and happy when I wake each morning. I am happy for long parts of the day. I have not been this happy on steroids at this dose ever before. So I will say it again.

Because my sleep is good my mood is good. I am happy when I go to bed each night and happy when I wake each morning. I am happy for long parts of the day. I have not been this happy on steroids at this dose ever before.

You may know that steroids make you into a super hero. It makes sense right? You have this energy and this fire inside to just keep going, you eat a lot. Why not fly, rescue children from burning buildings and run like Usain Bolt too? Workouts should be a breeze.

There is rarely ‘Lupus’ pain during the times I am taking this medication. Granted there is a wicked pain in my kidneys, but they are likely to go soon anyway because #lupus. So when you are on steroids you are suffering in so many ways but you can actually live like the Common People and do the typical things Common People do during this vicious part of your life. Like go to the gym. And do Cardio. I said earlier Gyms scared me but at Christmas I did try the gym and found I am not intrinsically motivated and so even though I got a regular workout in it failed. I lasted all of 2 months there. There was no real change in that time. I made more progress just walking around the streets during my #100daysofhealthychallenge with The Green Goodness Company.

Now, I know I eat well and when I go on steroids I always instigate my good eating mentality. I try. I really do. But then mum shows up and makes two orange cakes. And my housemate makes pasta bakes and a double batch of sausage rolls to freeze ‘just in case’ and it’s like “Bye self-control, it was nice you dropped by briefly”. So two weeks goes by and I think “I’ve got this in the bag”. Then one week of school holidays and Jessie suddenly gains 8 kilograms and none of her clothes fit and she wonders why she doesn’t own control panties and Muumuu’s and there is almost a screaming match because she can’t remember something she had told somebody two weeks ago and why do people even talk to her without caramel and chocolate in their hands BECAUSE I HAVE LUPUS AND GET AWAY FROM ME I JUST WANT A CAT AND SOMEBODY TO LOVE ME AND PANTS THAT FIT.

Okay, so last week got pretty intense.

And then I snapped at my mum.

And I knew instantly I was not going to be THAT GIRL every time I get sick. I can’t be. I keep getting sick, this doesn’t seem to be going away so I need to develop better coping plans and be proactive. Control needed to be taken and it needed to be me at the center. No more excuses.

A serendipitous moment occurred the very next morning. I was in bed in the morning browsing the internets top health feed tips for me and there was an advert for something called 28 By Sam Wood. The concept was simple. $50(ish) for 28 days of health. 28 minute workouts and a 3 meals a day regiment to suit for 28 days. I looked at some of the meals and they were basically what I already ate (mostly low carbohydrate, high protein, no preservatives, some organic, no added sugar, easy to make fresh groceries). 28 minutes is good as I loose attention at 15 minutes and am bored by 20 so the 1 hour things are hard to get into. It was cardio based (yuck) but I needed this. No excuses. And the cost didn’t include the food, but I would have had to buy the food regardless and had much of it anyway. Plus it was relatively affordable for me. I could justify trying it. Plus 28 days is nothing in the big scheme of things. It means I can bail after a month. The remainder of my steroid trip actually. Perfect.

So here I am. The first day I ‘forgot’ to do my workout. Really I was scared to start. This means I am a day behind. I regret it. I hated it. I sweated so much. But I’m a day behind now. I’ve had three days of it and I LOVE IT. The athletic Jessie has resurfaced properly for the first time since I trained in yoga teaching six years ago or even high school finished ten years ago. I would not if it was an hour. I would not if I had to leave the house. I would not if it were any harder. But Holy Moses people I just feel so full of energy in such a good an uplifting way I have not felt in six years. Even this afternoon, I went on a 10 kilometer walk with my mum, we were out all day. I was tired. And yet on the way home I was pumped to get changed into my exercise gear and lock myself in my room with the recording of today’s #workoutwithwoody.

So devastated I am a day behind. I will have to go 29 days? Maybe I will do November too? See how we go Jessie. Keep Calm and finish this first.

28 by Sam Wood

28 by Sam Wood

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