Thankful Thursday

Wow, it's a hot one today! It definitely feels more like summer, just in time for the 4th of July. I really love the upcoming holiday - seeing the red, white, and blue buntings on front porches, the parades, and of course - the sparklers. It's the perfect day for grilling, hanging out with family, and biting into some juicy watermelon!


So it's Thursday, and time for a new list of things I'm thankful for, so here goes:
  • Vacations! I'm very thankful that Josh and I are able to take a vacation every summer, and I'm hoping we will have a relaxing (but fun) week away on our trip to NYC.
  • Spray tans. Superficial? Maybe - but since I'm relegated to the shade, spray tans are my new best friend in the summer.
  • 1 year warranties. We purchased a second 5d Mark II this spring and almost right away it was having some issues. Thank goodness for warranties, it's getting repaired for free!
  • Lunch dates with friends. This means I get sushi tomorrow (my fave)!
  • DVR's. Things tend to get kind of busy and I often miss some of my favorite TV shows (and I have a lot, I'm sort of an addict). We've been spending the evening catching up on all of the shows we missed this spring. To the person who invented the DVR - I heart you.
  • Weddings. I'm not kidding when I say I love weddings in my about me section, I really do. Now that it's wedding season, we have two to attend this month (the first being this Saturday) and I can't wait. I love getting to share in the happiness and excitement of two people beginning their lives together, and I also love getting to wear pretty dresses. :)
What are you grateful for this week?

Lupus [My Story]

It started out with a bug, just a little touch of the flu that only took me out of commission for a night. In fact, I didn't even miss a day of work. A day later, my fingers started swelling. Just one, but it was enough that I couldn't get my wedding rings past the first knuckle when I tried to put them on in the morning. The swelling only lasted a day or so, but then tingling started in another finger, and an elbow...pretty soon my feet were swollen too. Finally I'd had enough and made an appointment to see the doctor, apparently my awesome immune system that had kept me from missing a day of work in the past had been knocked down a peg or two by that random virus.

The doctor seemed perplexed. I hadn't been out of the country lately? (No, I'm pretty sure I'd have remembered that.) Well maybe I had a case of Fifth's Disease. Good news - it'll only last a couple of weeks, but we'll do a test to make sure that's what's wrong. The test came back positive, but because that could just mean that I've had it before, they ran the test again. Sure enough, it wasn't an active virus. Apparently I had Fifth's Disease in the past but probably never showed symptoms. Back to the doctor for some more blood tests - this time they tested for everything that can cause random joint pain and swelling...lyme disease, rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatic fever that may have gone untreated, or lupus.

As Dr. Gregory House (love that show) always says..."It's NEVER lupus". Except this time, it was.

The only test that came back positive was the ANA test for lupus, but since not everyone with a positive ANA has lupus, they sent me to the University to see a rheumatologist and they ran more tests. I'm pretty sure the Red Cross was insanely jealous of all the blood I was giving for testing on a weekly basis. Double stranded DNA test - also positive. That result, plus my symptoms, plus a myriad of other test results led to the diagnosis. I found out via a phone call from my doctor - "well, you have lupus," she said, "now you know". I thought I would feel immense relief knowing what was wrong with me, but instead I just felt sort of numb. I guess I had still hoped that it was something that I could take some pills for and after a week or two, it would go away. Instead, I was given a diagnosis of lupus - a disease that is (for the time being) incurable, although treatable.

I'm not gonna lie, I was upset. I wondered how it would affect my life, and more importantly - what did this mean for my photography business (which I had really just begun)? How would I be able to schedule sessions if I wasn't sure if my hands would swell up like balloons? Would I even be able to work my camera if that happened?

As it turns out, I shouldn't have worried so much. Not to say lupus hasn't affected my life, it definitely has, and will continue to until they (someday, hopefully) find a cure. However, photography has somehow been a bit of a haven from this annoying disease. Even on days when I wake up feeling stiff, sore, and swollen, the moment I pick up my camera for a session - I forget about it all. So for an hour (or 8 hours if it's a wedding), I get a break. I don't know if it's the adrenaline, or maybe just the fact that my brain is busy thinking about all of the technical aspects of taking a photo, but even on my worst days it's a reprieve from it all. I don't feel the pain so intensely, my fingers seem to work just the way they're supposed to despite a swollen joint or two, and for awhile...I forget.


The C Family

This photo is from a session that I did a couple of weeks ago, and it was different from most of my sessions because it was a large extended family (formal) photo. I was asked about doing it last fall, and although it's not something I normally do (other than at weddings), it was for a close family friend so I made an exception. :) Unfortunately it was requested that I not share the large family photo on my blog, but I also took a few photos for one of the smaller family groups so they would have a picture to use for their holiday card and they gave me permission to share.

The family below is basically part of my own family, as I've known them for my entire life. Sheryl is the daughter of my godparents (and we're cousins but I'm not sure which # - second, third??) and Randy is the son of very close family friends. Their three kids (from left to right: Will, Emma, and Alex) are really great and it's always fun to get together with the whole crew.

Anyways, I just wanted to share a quick photo - this is my favorite of the short little session.