The Waiting Room

This could take a while...

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Flare Time

Posted by Seeking Solace |

Flares are part of RA. A flare is when the illness rears it's ugly head, hell bent on making your life miserable. In the case of RA, it's the joint pain and inflammation, along with extreme fatigue. Basically, I go from feeling like I can conquer the world  to not wanting to get out of bed or move because my body feels like I played four quarters of the ball.

There are things that can trigger a flare. For me, it's usually weather or stress. Those flares do suck, but at least you know why it's happening. Sometimes, there is no reason for the flare, hence the reason RA and its cousins are called autoimmune diseases. In my case, my immune system just goes into overdrive and starts attacking my joints and body. These are the times when the flare happens because it can. Those are the worst, because even though you are doing everything right, a flare can just show up and f@#k things up.

This time, I can blame this flare on the weather. I don't think there is anyone who isn't battling the cold temperatures right now.  The cold seriously impacts RA symptoms. That's why Husband and I decided to leave Lake Effect Snow Central for Elsewhere. I just couldn't handle it anymore. Despite having been a life-long Northerner, it was not match for the RA. For the most part, the weather in Elsewhere has worked out well. Only a couple of weather related flares. Most of my flares are either stress related or the "I just want to mess up your life" flare.

 Normally, January temperatures are in the 50's in Elsewhere.  Although, some here find that chilly, it's pretty darn good for someone who lived in the North all of her life. People would break out the shorts in Lake Effect Snow Central if the temps hit 50 degrees in January. But, like the rest of the country, Elsewhere is struggling with cold temps. Here, we have been in the teens and 20's, sometimes making it into the 30's or 40's. Just not normal for this neck of the woods.

With this recent flare and cold snap, I have not left my house since last Tuesday morning. That was when Junior and I went for our walk. By the time Wednesday morning hit, I went from my usually 0-1/10 pain level to about an 8-9/10.  I went into my "flare-protocol" which consists of lots of rest, soaks in a warm tub and using heating pads or my electric blanket to keep the joints warm. Husband will make or bring home Indian food, which contains ginger. Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory.  Sometimes, he will make salmon, which is also great for inflammation.

If none of those things work, then I need to consider a steroid taper, which I try to only do as a last resort. The taper is kind of like jumper cables for a car. It gives the body a jump-start to running. But, steroids can cause some harmful effects over time and there is only so much the body can handle with them. So, I don't make the call to RA doctor unless I absolutely have to do so. I am one the fence right now of whether or not to make that call. Today, I am about 75%, not bad but not great either. It is much warmer today and my usual protocol appears to be working. But, we are in for another cold snap this week, so I worry that things could go downhill again rather quickly.  I may just call the RA doc and get a script for the taper, just in case. If I don't use it, I'll have a stash for later. If I need it, I'll have it.

I really hope I don't need it.


AliceAcademic said...

Hang in there. Hope things settle down soon.

Seeking Solace said...

Thanks! Day one of 12 days of steroids begins.

Shells said...

I hope it helps.