Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 In review and a year of not writing.

Where do I begin to explain why I did not share any stories, photos, and somewhat inspirational stuff. Like blogs that just disappear that is exactly what happened to mine in 2014. I got married, focused on my schooling (did you know that) and really worked on getting my feet placed solid on the ground with my health. What I learned in 2014 is that I am the most important person when it comes to what I think and others think. I am the one who has to look at herself everyday and like what I see. I think this is something that comes with age. I am not the most confident and this past year I did have some moments where I did not like what I saw in the mirror. I think we all have those days. BUT with that being said I am so proud I kicked ass in my night school, I am so GRATEFUL I created a wedding that made for a happy day, and I am mostly grateful that I feel like I am on the right path. it is interesting going back and reading all the past posts. I can defiantly see my journey. I can see my hard times, lonely times and I can see my great times!!!

You can not feel good if you are in pain everyday, and this past year I switched biologics and although there was a few minor hick-ups I was able to box, run, walk and sleep through the night. I was able to feel NORMAL. I was able to pick up my niece and nephews without any issues. I was able to walk down the isle without limping or worrying about the size of my dress. I felt like I was normal. It truly made for a better year. I only had to do it every month which was great. Instead of every 10 days. Plain and simple it changed my life. I started juicing everyday, some days my juices was horrific....LOL but started to make small changes in my eating and I feel like that also helped.

NOW for 2015.....I have a lot of goals. I strongly suggest writing any out that you may have and placing this list on the back of a door so you can be reminded of any resolutions, goals, and dreams for the new year. I seem to have so many this year!!! This is not even all of them.....

Here is a bit of my list:
1. Be kind to myself, be happy.
2. Get really healthy run another half marathon.
3. Finish School, maybe take more school.
4. Pay off my debt, or at least half of it.
5. Work on making a family.
6.Travel plans, make a map with a list of places I want to go.
7. Move.
8. Read a couple books.

Well I am keeping this short and sweet for this post, but I wish you all an amazing 2015 filled with love, happiness, and health.

Love Erin van Veen

Friday, March 14, 2014

Inspiration "Best Health Magazine"

INSPIRATION- Something that makes someone want to do something or that gives someone an idea about what to do or create; a force or influence that INSPIRES someone.

I was recently asked to write a small blurb for Best Health Magazine for April/March issue. Not only was I completely excited, I felt so honored to be able to share a bit of my story with the world. I have been so fortunate in the past years to have news papers cover my fundraising and now a magazine. I know I am not going to solve all the worlds issues but at least I can start by inspiring others to make a change. Today I wanted to share a bit of an email that I received from one of my bosses. I was so very touched. I must say the amount of support has been amazing. I have a very hard time accepting that I could be inspiring to people. I think this has a lot to do with my own self confidence and the fact that I am not trying to inspire, but just doing what I know to be the right thing for me. I feel by writing, sharing and expressing my challenges allow others to talk about theirs. It opens up lines of communication which is good for everyone. Todays post is very small. I do not want to get to deep into something that is simple. If you help others in return they will help you, if you are nice to people in return they will be nice to you, if you spend more time counting your blessings doing good it will become a ripple effect and others will follow. One of the reasons I do so well everyday is because of the extreme amounts of support. Receiving an email like I did today, made me feel stronger, braver, and ready for my next challenge. My message today is allow yourself to be inspired and inspire others to do good things!

It is people like you who inspire all of us.
They fight back when challenges come into their lives and do not allow the challenge to define who they are.

Instead they have the tenacity and drive to take the challenge and turn it into victory.

They are the eagles of life whose  flight should be an inspiration to all of us.

Live is not defined by what we endure but rather by how we respond.

You truly are an inspiration to me and I am privileged to witness you flight.

Keep flying, others are watching.

Sincerely, Tony

  • Erin Milliard, 35; North Vancouver

    My achievement: Various runs (a 5K, 8K and half-marathon)
    The cause: The Arthritis Society
    What I raised: $5,000

    I’m passionate about doing these runs to raise money for, and awareness of, arthritis. I was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis eight years ago, when I was in my 20s; it was very difficult to wrap my head around it. I had always been active, but now running seemed to be so hard. So I made it a goal to do one run at a time and help raise money to help others. My mentor from the Arthritis Society gave me hope and support. When I crossed the finish line on my half-marathon, I cannot explain to you the feeling of pure joy I felt like nothing could stop me.

    My running helps me stay positive and inspire others that anything is possible, and it helps change the perception that arthritis affects only older people. It has helped motivate me to fight my own battle, and in return help others.

    I have great days, and bad days. I try to balance exercise with a positive attitude, and always have a goal in sight. I’ve achieved more from my diagnosis than I ever expected, and have decided to go back to school part-time in the medical field in hopes of one day becoming a mentor to someone like myself.


    Thursday, February 6, 2014

    And so.....

    Let me start again .......My name is Erin Lynn Milliard and I have Ankylosing Spondylitis. This chronic debilitating disease has tested all my limits. It has tested my strength, my weakness, my body, my soul, and my mental state. It has tried to trick me to giving in to it over and has cause so many tears that I could have a river named after me. In 2009 decided to start writing a blog to help me cope with all the information I was getting, to have a voice and to help others. Somewhere along the line I got lost. I have so much to be grateful for yet everyday this damn disease takes control. Everyone has their opinions maybe I should do this, or maybe I should do that....I need to be clean eating, I need to go on the anti-inflammatory diet, I need to do yoga.........Today I walked into my Specialist office and said I WANT YOU TO FIX ME......I want you to make me better. The first time in 7 or 8 years that I actually started to cry. I generally find that letting them see that I am positive and happy means maybe better results. What I have found is that today I finally was able to show how truly scared I am. I am 35 years old and I all I want is to get up every morning and be able to function normally, I want people to look at me at work and see that I am doing my very best. I want to look at a mom and her baby and see that I will be able to get through this hard time and be a mom as well. I want to be that pillar of motivation for others but in order for all this to happen I need to break into a million pieces first. How is it possible on paper to show that I have this, genetic testing shows it's in my blood line and that the findings are true, yet in my heart I believe there must be another reason.......I have never said I would settle for this diagnosis and as the years go by and I am faced with sending off more paperwork to get approved for yet again another drug because the paperwork tells them this is what I need. In my heart what I wish for is that day when someone says we found a cure. As my million pieces are sitting on the doctor floor he looks at me and says that he is going to do everything to try and fix me.....The one goal is to stay positive. I don't feel strong today I feel mildly defeated. As I embark on my next new drug I have high hopes that will help me function better, be happy, and help me have the energy to keep on keeping on. If you were to ask me what I have learned this far on my journey it might go something like this..........

    I have learned that "quitting" and "giving up" are only words used in times of frustration, I have learned that those words motivate me not give up. I have learned that by letting people in my chances of staying sane are much better lol. I have learned that although I may feel some days like I am defective, these defects are what makes me. This disease had taken me places that I would have never imagined, met people who truly inspire me, help others, and be compassionate. I have gained friends because of it, and have also lost friends to this disease. I have learned that I am smart, and beautiful in my own way even with a limp!! I mean I went back to school because of this disease. As I look back on my first ambitious post 5 years ago, I never thought I would be back at square one with my disease. I guess I thought I would be cured. I am going to work on picking up my million pieces and I am going to dig very deep to find out how I can manage this better for my future. |I am going to cry and I am going to embrace my arthritis in a new way........I want to thank you for reading my poor grammar for this long and I want to thank those who remind me constantly (MOM) that I am good enough and that good things will happen. Til next time xxoo E

    Tuesday, September 24, 2013

    Time passes

     Time passes very fast these days. Seem like since I started school I have not spent much time writing. Where do I begin........Summer came quickly then left just as fast. I started back in school on my third semester and still loving learning all about my body. I am always apologizing when I do not write, but to be honest I had so much going on that it has been difficult to find the time.

     My health has been not great. I have now been off humira for 8 months and feeling great not to have these drugs in my system but I am suffering super high inflammation levels and stiffness beyond anything I could remember. I trying to stay positive. Arthrtitis just has mind of it's own. I can not figure out what triggers the off and on again symptoms. I will say although being on the humira made me feel like I could be gummby on a daily basis, it also gave me a false preception of my body. Not being on any meds has been very hard. I noticed almost right away a change in my attitude, how depressed I feel and how I need to learn how to find a balance. When I was on the meds it's like I never was diagnosed with anything because I always felt better after my shot. My biggest struggle is sleeping, and getting through the night without being uncomfortable.Things like tieing my hair up, and getting in and out of a car is also an issue again. It is so hard to dig deep put on a happy face when all I want to do is scream at the top of my lungs. Mentally I am having a hard time thinking about the future. How does one not let this determine their path........What I do know is I am willing to accept that recently I discovered that I make my happiness by spending money, by eating whatever, drinking whenever....I do all these things to give me some form of happiness. I finally hit a wall this past week when I decided that doing all those things does not really make me happy. It just gets me into debt, over weight and with a headache. I have been dealing with my depresssion in such a manor yet asking no one for help. So with that all being said this week in a new week for me. eating better, cut up the credit card and promised myself to make positive changes for my health. I am using the people around me to keep me on tract. Staying positive is the biggest battle and I am not going to give up. Hey at least I  can look in the mirror everyday and be honest with what I am doing instead of trying to hide under a rock. Right??? I came across this quote and felt it was fitting.

    Staying positive,

    With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose.” – Dr. Wayne W Dyer

    Friday, April 5, 2013

    Finding the balance.

     Between early early mornings with my full time job, school, running a household, family and friends I have been having a hard time finding a balance. I study everyday and now with taking on two courses I have to study more which leaves less time for the other 50 million things I need to do. I ALMOST forgot I also need to find time to deal with the on going Arthritis situation. I have not shaved my legs in 2 weeks (sorry) I just figure it takes to much time and I need that time to make dinner, do laundry, walk the dog, walk Roger ( just kidding) but really I am really trying to figure if living on scheduled time is the best solution. Also I am trying to decide if I should go get my legs waxed.........Did I mention I am also training for my half marathon.......YUP!

    Currently my schedule starts at 3:30am then I work from 5am til 1:30pm. I then drive home walk in the door, take hutch for a long walk, shower, make dinner, clean up, study for a couple hours and try to go to bed at 8:30.....which honestly is more like 9pm. It is damn hard. I am constantly on the go and barely have time to do my hair anymore, or I am to tired to put myself together. My type of Arthritis makes me extremely tired all the time, everyday. I try not to drink coffee but some time I have too. I make lists so I do not miss out on something.

    What I am finding is the perfect balance is very hard to find. I don't have much time for relationship nights out or sitting down to watch a movie, but I must trust that everything I put in now will reward me later.  I do stick to my routine and so far it is working but it is not easy. I think maybe it is the Aries in me. I am not one for order, or to much organization but I am learning. I was looking at the next two months and realized there is weddings, (3) birthdays, weekends away and was wondering how I will fit it all in. I know I can it is just time management......or win the lottery hire someone to organize my life...hmmm

    Oh yeah the arthritis I almost forgot. I have no time for it yet it stays with me everyday, I put it to the back of my mind and accept that this is something I don't need to schedule, because it comes and goes as it likes. It is unpredictable and can flare up when it wants and for however long it feels it wants to. I do feel like when I am less stressed it tends to not bother me as much, when I have the balance in the rest of my life it seems to be better. I have currently been going to all measures to make sure I am healthy and inflammation free but that is a whole other post.....

    I could spend my whole life trying to fit it all in and trying to find the perfect recipe to the perfect balance, but the truth is I don't think life would be as interesting if I followed a perfect schedule.....So for now I will cram everything in. At least i am making the most of my time on earth right??? Never a dull moment in my life.

    Wednesday, March 13, 2013

    Why are you limping....

     It still amazes me when after I had done so well for so long that I am back in pain mode. Yesterday someone at work asked me if I had hurt myself because I am limping around. When I reminded them that it was my arthritis, they were shocked that they completely forgot about it because I "seemed" normal. I am normal there is nothing wrong with me except this one large road block that seems to impair my movement. I mean I even forgot about it until the past couple weeks. I will not lie to you but this morning I cried for the first time in a long time my condition. I could not get my pants on without sitting on a chair. I held the railing walking up the stairs. So frustrating. I go back in forth in my mind wondering if I was diagnosed wrong. I think that is normal thing to do when you have been diagnosed with a disease with no cure. I just wish there was a solid way to feel great without the medications. This week I have cut out the salts, sugar and have been diligent about staying gluten free and clean eating. Seems to me these things are not helping.....I have been trying for so long to get a good handle on this and today I am just frustrated. This chronic disease bullshit is really getting to me....the fact I wrote bullshit clearly shows you my frustration. I now am faced with the financial part of medication. If I want to go back on the biologic I have a hefty deductible that I need to pay out and that is so stressful. Anyway that's a whole other post.....My goal was NOT to go back on meds and try to live with this and get better and be positive. I can not tell you how much this weighs on me on days like today. It is so very hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I want so many GREAT things for my life, like a family and right now the thought of lifting a child scares me.....because I couldn't do it. I can barely walk normal these days. I guess also with my birthday around the corner, the pressures of getting older are really weigh heavy. I honestly would give up everything (except my family and Friends) if I knew tomorrow I could wake up and live pain free. So with all that said I want to reach out to my followers and get you to send me all your positive energy today....I am in need. Emotionally it is hard to be vulnerable and let others see you having a hard time, but not everyday can be GREAT!!

    I am thinking tonight I may eat chips and drink wine.....seems like a short term solution??? LOL

    Wednesday, March 6, 2013

    6 months fly's by...........

    Good morning

    I decided that after putting this off for so long it was time for me to catch you all up on my recent progress, life, and fun stuff. This time I am not apologizing for not writing lol I was just not feeling like writing and sharing. I also have been so busy it's nuts! The last time I wrote was in August. So to sum up quickly without boring you to much I have decided bullet points will have to do.....

    • November we went on our annual Mexico trip and visited some really beautiful beaches. We drank and danced and ate so much great food. This was our 6th trip to the Mayan Rivera and every time we love it more. We found this beautiful beach that had a bar located right at the water. It was GORGEOUS!!! 
    • December came and I spent a good portion of this month very sick. I got really sick just after Mexico. It started with fever then I broke out in a rash, then had all the symptoms of cold and flu. I then decided to STOP my injections. You are not suppose to take them when you have an infection and I was INFECTED lol.....after Christmas I still was not 100 percent so I tried very hard to eat right and get better.
    • January came and I felt really great so I decided to NOT go back on the Humira. I figured I had no pain, was able to run, walk and feel 50 percent better so why stay on it. I did not tell anyone and decided I would wait to see if I was in remission. I also started school!!! I registered for my MOA at BCIT and decided I wanted to get into the medical end of things. I have had to learn so much already that hopefully this would be the first steps to a proper medical background helping others with Arthritis. I am starting with my MOA and then from there the possibilities are endless.
    • February came and I still had not gone back on the Humira. Work clearly was busy with Valentines but I seemed to manage my minimal symptoms well. I decided that I wanted to stay off the Humira and try to get my body ready for a baby......I felt ready and willing to try, although not married, I was feeling a lot of pressure with the time limit at my age also I felt so good that the timing seemed right. By the end of February I decided to celebrate not being on the medication by telling friends and family. I was thrilled to "think" I was in a remission state. I received so many great messages and I in the back of my mind I felt it was to good to be true..........
    MARCH........well I spoke to soon, Although a bit discouraged I am thinking about going back on the Humira. This past week was a reminder for me that my Arthritis is not gone, that it still exists in this body. I understand there is no cure but remission sounds so nice. My mood has changed, I feel stressed, upset and frustrated. No one can imagine unless you are in these shoes. It amazes me that life seemed that much easier when I felt good. My life was still that same minus the chronic pain. Not only has the arthritis decided to flare up again it also comes along with the reality that I have it. Which then comes with the thinking, worrying and wondering what each day will have in store. I am not worried as much as I feel scared again. It is hard to express this to friends and family in a manner that will make them totally understand, but I know that they get the jyst of it. The funny thing is I don't remember how bad I was before the Humira. Was I worse then this? I mean how did I function and not fly off the deep end.....LOL I  so badly want to be able to care for a child, to run another half marathon ( which I am registered for) and wake up one day in full remission. For now I try and stay positive and decide if I will go back on the biologics. This by no means is a negative thing, sometimes I need to live in the reality of living with arthritis because it helps me connect with others. I read a quote once and I really liked it because of the meaning behind it. We never know how tough our road might be, but as long as we stay positive and keep trying anything is possible. THAT IS A FACT!!1

    "I set my sights on making an Olympic Team, not realizing how tough it was going to be" 

    LOVE E