Saturday, November 8, 2008

Autumn Autoimmunity

Image by  davdibiase

A comment by Maria, over at My Life Works Today!, made me think. Yes, for me, thinking is a rare occurrence, I admit. She was listing things that made her happy, and included autumn in that list, citing the colors, the cool temps, and the impending holidays that all lifted her spirits. 

Over the past month, I have noticed how much better I feel. I seem to have more energy and find myself bustling around getting out Thanksgiving decoration and planning holiday meals. Maria is right - fall is a happy time. 

Without summertime heat, I can tolerate being outdoors almost indefinitely. I love bundling up in a sweater, making a pot of coffee, and watching the rain clouds move through the Cascade mountains. Before long, Silver Star peak will have it's first snowfall. I have brought out the crock pot and am making homemade soups more often. Daughter number two has been paging through the Christmas cookie recipe books. John has dragged out the box of Christmas lights and has begun untangling, replacing bulbs, and imagining this year's configuration of lights. I have put in a request for John to illuminate my little greenhouse this year. I plan to hang some silk poinsettias inside, and with white twinkle lights, I think it would be a pretty thing to look at on dark winter nights. 

While my energy seems to have rebounded, during the cooler months other of my Sjogren's symptoms seem to worsen. There's the expected increase in dry eyes and skin once the furnace begins to kick in more often. John swears my snoring increases by at least three decibels in the wintertime, probably because the drier heated air takes away more moisture from my mouth and throat. I'm going to put a cool mist humidifier in our bedroom this year. 

My already crummy sense of smell seems to diminish even more once November rolls around. I'm not sure why this happens, but I have to be sure to have a surrogate sniffer around when I choose scented candles for our house or air fresheners, since my ability to discern pleasing aromas from really yucko ones completely goes away. 

I like to blame any weight that I gain on the fall and winter season. This excuse works really well for me, what with the onset of Halloween candy followed closely by pumpkin pie then Christmas cookies. Any remnants of self-control nurtured during the summer months disappear as soon as the cooler temperatures arrive. Of course, this must be related to Sjogren's syndrome. I am sure that I read a study somewhere that linked autoimmune disease with increased production of adipose tissue during the winter months. I'm sure of it, and if there isn't such a study, I think the NIH should get right on it. 

Come to think of it, isn't there a study somewhere linking grey hair, plantar warts, bunions, overgrown eyebrows, ugly toenails, and bellybutton lint  to autoimmune disease? 


Anonymous said...

That was a fun read, Julia ~ the humor you throw back in the 'face' of your Sjogren's not only made me appreciate another person who copes with C.I on the lighter side, but it also gave me some insight into what my mom is experiencing these days. It explains the increased amount of perfume that gags me, her red eyes after returning from the mall and the snoring during her afternoon naps that accompanies my working from home. ;D She has Sjogren's and lives with me out of financial necessity - neither of which are a big problem, but you can imagine that there are a few 'rough patches'.

Thank you for giving me a chuckle and a boost of patience in understanding her a little more.

Take care!

Julia Oleinik said...

Hi Maria!

I'm glad that you enjoyed my post. Your mom is lucky to have such an understanding daughter, and tell her hello from me, another Sjoggie!