People ask me the same question all the time; ‘why do you love baking so much?’ Well here’s my answer;
I was diagnosed with Lupus 6 years ago. At the time of been diagnosed, I remember struggling to get out of bed each day, been in pain through out the day. When I wasn’t at work I was in bed, and that was my life for a good half a year! It was awful! After having a healthy childhood, looking after myself throughout my teenager years; I did not smoke, take drugs, or drink excessive; I felt life was been very unfair to me! I was somebody who liked to live life to the full, and felt like somebody had taken this away from me, like I was been punished! My friends would go out on a Saturday night while I spent the night in, struggling to stay awake past 7pm! I remember been prescribed loads of different tablets to take. At first I remembered feeling embarrassed to take them in front of people. If I went out for tea I would sneakily take them out of the blister packs under the table and check no body was looking, then I would quickly put them into my mouth and swallow them! I felt like I shouldn’t be taking all these tablets at my age! I even felt quite embarrassed to talk to people about my illness. I felt ashamed to have it, felt that people would judge me and say, ‘she’s always poorly!’ I tried pretending to people I was ok even though I was feeling far from ok! If people ask how I’m feeling, I would reply back, ‘I’m ok thanks’ even though I would be in lots of pain! It’s an invisible illness so people can’t see your poorly! Despite been in pain everyday, the hardest part of my illness was coming to terms with the fatigue! You feel tired from the minute you get up to the minute you go to bed! There’s no magic pills witch can cure fatigue! It gets you down, you can’t be bothered to do anything, and can lead into depression!
After a year of been diagnosed with Lupus, I began settling down on my medication. I had started to come to terms with my illness, I started to expect I wasn’t going to get better, this is my life now! So with a positive attitude I decided to look at my illness with a different approach! Instead of comparing how my life was, what I use to be able to do, what I should be able to do at my age; I started to think ok when I’m poorly I must rest. What hobbies can I do when I’m poorly? I began to teach myself to knit and this did help to keep me happy on the days I had no energy to move off the sofa! Even though knitting did help, it wasn’t until I began baking, I truly found something which made me happy and took my mind away from all the pain and fatigue!
I use to bake as a child with my mom making flapjacks, apple crumble every Sunday, and chocolate cornflake buns as most children do! When I was at high school, cookery use to be my least favourite subject! I use to grumble every time I had a cookery lesson! Even though I didn’t seem to enjoy it at school, my mom use to comment on my baking, how nice it tasted! So not really sure what happened; how I went from hating cookery, to loving it?! I remember one weekend I wasn’t feeling very well and feeling fed up. My mom went to me, ‘Why don’t you do some baking?’ She most probably meant why don’t you bake something healthy or something we can have for tea! Ignoring that part, what daughters do best, hearing only what they want to hear; I baked some easter buns. Here’s my first attempt of cupcakes:
I enjoyed baking these that much, I then spent the rest of the year baking cakes for all my friends birthdays! Here’s a few of them:
My love and passion grew stronger for baking the more I baked! If I wasn’t feeling very well, but well enough to get out of bed, I would bake! Weather it was a cake for a friend, or cupcakes for work, it made me happy! Baking takes your mind away from the pain your in, helps your forget about it, and is rewarding when you see the end results!
After a few years my cakes became better after practice and learning new skills, and I decided to turn my hobby into a business! If I’m physically too poorly to bake, I watch youtube videos, and read up on baking tips and forums! Baking is always on my mind! It’s takes my mind off the pain and fatigue and keeps me happy. If I’m having a bad day, I try taking my mind off it with a new recipe I could try, or what design to do on my next cake order!
I believe baking had prevented me from going into depression. Depression is very high in Lupus patients as it’s an illness which can take over your life, if you let it! I’ve written this blog to help anyone who is suffering with Lupus, other long term illnesses, or even just suffering with depression alone. You don’t have to bake, but it’s about finding a hobby you can do when having flare up days; a hobby that can take your mind away from the pain your in, or problems you have on your mind! I can wake up one morning feeling poorly, have no motivation to get out of bed, never mind get dressed! My body may be hurting all over, but I know I have a cake order to do! I make myself get up, get dressed, feed myself some painkillers, and get myself in the kitchen. After an hour baking; I may still be in pain, but the pain has been pushed to the back of my mind as I’m now concentrating on what quantities of flour and butter I need, feeling happier as I see the cake coming together! If it wasn’t for that cake order I would of most properly been sat in front of the TV feeling sad and fed up!
I’ve decided to write this blog today after feeling a bit down and fed up about my illness! I still have days where I do get upset about my illness, when the pain gets too much, or I have to change my plans due to not feeling well! I’ve been too poorly to actually physically bake today! I went to doctors this morning with a painful chest and struggling to breathe. I have inflammation on my trachea. This is just one of many problems Lupus patients suffer with. Not everyday I’m well enough to bake, but there’s plenty of other things I can do baking related. I love blogging or reading baking tips because thats something I can do lying in bed on my really poorly days!
If your suffering with Lupus or another long term illness and thinking that baking or another hobby is not possible because you feeling too poorly all the time, you may just surprise yourself! My lupus is not under control, and not sure if it ever fully will be! I have flare up days, I frequently get infections, I do have to change plans due to feeling poorly on the day regularly, I’m not always smiling and happy, some nights I do go to bed dreading how I’m going to get through tomorrow, but the one thing that gets me through each day is a positive mind! Baking helps me keep this positive mind and takes my mind off actually how I feel!
Unsure what Lupus is:
Lupus is a latin word for wolf! It is an autoimmune disease which can affect any part of the body; from skin, to joint, to internal organs.
Some of the symptoms people with Lupus will suffer with are; fatigue, joint and muscle stiffness, rashes, fever, infections, sensitive to sunlight, hair loss, depression, ulcers, headaches, kidney problems, Raynaud’s, Sjogrens Syndrome, blindness, pleurisy, pericarditis, endocarditis, arthritis, liver and spleen enlargement, brain fog, and seizures.
Medication to treat Lupus can be just as horrible as the illness itself. Most common medicines used are: anti-inflammatory drugs, painkillers, anti-malarials, steroids, immunosuppressants, stomach protectors, and vitamin tablets i.e. vitamin D, Iron, Calcium.