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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Flare or no: do you have any tell tale signs?

So sometimes I can be stupid about my disease.  In fact, I think we all can.  We all learn what our first signs of a flare are, but I'm sure plenty of you, just like I did, try to ignore them and hope that it's something else. 
Mine is that my gums hurt.  They get super sensitive to hot and cold and ache all the time.  And a lot of times the muscles that move my eye (remember I work at an eye doctor's office so I notice every little thing) will become inflamed and hurt to move.  And I know this.  Yet every time I begin to feel those symptoms, I tell myself "its that new whitening toothpaste hurting your gums" or "your eyes must just be dry, don't be paranoid."
And that is always, always, ALWAYS a stupid move.  I know my body, and you know yours.  We should be able to admit to ourselves and call our doctor as soon as something fishy starts happening.  Because, if I had done that, I might have had a week of steroids and been done.  But now I'm looking at upping my MTX dose AND approximately 6 weeks on prednisone. 
The other problem is that, with this being my first spring in the Midwest, I can't help but wonder if it is related to the weather's mood swings instead. 
What are some of your first signs that a flare might be peaking its ugly head?  Do you tend to write it off to other causes or immediately call your doc for advise?  Have you learned over time how to tell the difference between one or the other?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Breaking into spring

They mowed the lawns of our apartment complex this weekend.  Where just a few weeks ago there were wide never-ending expanses of wheat colored grass, painfully reminding me that winter was holding a monster grip on the Midwest this year; now there are lush green swaths of color, making my heart skip a beat, knowing that my joints are coming out of a season of pain.  Joy at the thought of endless winter fatigue finally being cast out; Spring and summer days spent outside in nature.

Spring is a happy time for most people, but none so much as those in chronic pain; those that have spent months repeating to themselves that it's not forever, just for the season.  The pain will end.  It has to.  And then a freak snowstorm in April makes you want to cry because clearly it is never going to end, this is groundhog day and it will go on forever.  

But now there is a gorgeous emerald sea outside my porch and my heart swells with happiness that I now have several months of relative freedom ahead.  Sure, the changes in the pressure systems, the storm fronts, the occasional pains with no explanation at all; those will always be there.  But I can see a life not ruled by joint swelling and pain.

It's the most beautiful sight in the world.