Originally posted 2011…
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) flares are not as fun as a “flare” might sound. If you aren’t familiar with RA, its an autoimmune disorder where the body’s immune system attacks joints throughout the body. I am on some very strong disease-altering medicines to give me a great quality of life, most of my joints are pain free most of the time (thank goodness for insurance!). My hands and feet have obvious permanent damage and adapting to using my misshapen hands and stiff feet have become my new “normal.” Sometimes I am so focused on being Supermom, that I forget I have this disease, even if for a moment.
During a flare, all my joints ache and stiffen, my body feels fatigued and just shuts down, zapping all my energy. I have trouble walking. I guess its hard to describe pain effectively but it affects what I can do and how I sleep (or really, don’t sleep). It’s not only hard physically but emotionally, my reality check that I am not “normal”.
Having this disease for the past 10 years, I have gotten better at figuring out what causes my flares….hormones, stress, rainy weather, and the cold.
I guess it should not have surprised me then today, when my monthly flare started as I walked into the grocery store after a rather full and frustrating work day. I think my amazement was how suddenly it came on. One minute I was driving home in no pain, motivated to cook dinner, I step out of the car to go to the grocery store and my hips and knees lock up and have that dull ache that signals a flare for me. I was tempted to give up and go home, that’s how suddenly the pain attacked me.
But I worked through the pain, finished shopping slower than usual and made my boys a simple, rather healthy dinner. Superhubby did the dishes, watched the kids and remembered to give me a fish oil pill to help fight the inflammation. For those simple and very valuable acts of love, I am grateful for my supportive Superhubby.
I write this with tears in my eyes from the pain and frustration of enduring this disease. Tears of thankfulness for my amazing family. So much for the gazillion things I planned to catch up on tonight, Supermom will just have to wait till this passes. Until then, my “small victories” get even smaller and I do the best I can. I rest up and focus on just being with my family and appreciating those smiling faces that I work so hard for. RA is forcing me to take a break and focus on what makes me most happy…my family.