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Who let the RA back in the room?

Posted Sep 26 2012 12:00am

Despite dealing with a series of infections over the some months, my rheumatoid arthritis pain was, for the most part, staying away. With the weather cooling and with all the rain, it seems like my RA is back in full force.  Anyone else feeling it? It is likely we will have a bad winter since last winter was so pleasant.  If I had the money right about now, I would be driving down south so I could skip what havoc the damp and cold weather is about to bring to my life.

I have an appointment with my rheumatologist next month. I see her about four times a year. I was really excited to let her know that I was doing well with my pain symptoms. Unfortunately, I cannot share that information with her anymore because it is no longer true.  The minute the cooler and damp weather came in, my symptoms came back.  I have given in and turned on my heat because when I awake to a cold bedroom, it is harder for me to get up in the morning. I finally had developed a morning routine without pain or with minimal pain and now I am back to barely getting to work on time. The heat also poses an issue because I am back to dealing with dry eyes and skin.

I don’t really care what the researchers say about climate studies and arthritis. As arthritis patients, we all know that cold and damp weather affects us. In fact, there have been studies that show that people who live in warmer climates report fewer episodes of arthritis pain.  With the weather cooling down again, I would like to place a personal phone to the Johns Hopkins research team and make myself available for any future studies on the correlation between weather and arthritis.  Maybe if I am outspoken enough, something will change as far as the way the world views arthritis especially during the colder months when our arthritis symptoms are in full force.

Seriously, who left the door open just enough to let my RA slide right back into my life? I thought that letting it sleep in the doghouse all summer would continue on at least through the autumn months. Oddly enough, I am transferred back to a time four years ago when I learned that RA was my new reality. It was about this time that I was diagnosed. Obviously, I am not in as much pain as I was back then but I am in a lot more pain than I have been in a long time.  I can feel the cold in my bones and it just isn’t fair. I have so much that I am busy with right now and I just want to be able to live my life.

I felt pretty depressed yesterday about the returning pain especially when it occurred to me that Spring was so far away.  I got so used to getting up and going in the mornings that I forgot what that this was also part of my life. Yes, I was sick during the summer months but all that doesn’t compare to the returning pain and stiffness in the morning and throughout the day.  I really truly did not miss this.  I wish that I could just pick up and leave during the winter months or altogether but I can’t. Even if money was not an issue, I would still need to be here for my family.  I did what I always do when I find myself depressed, I told myself to get over it. First, my family needs me and second, I don’t really have time to feel sorry for myself.

You know you wanted to tell me to get over it and move on so I did it for myself. :-) After all, if I am busy feeling sorry for myself, who will pick up the slack? No one – the world does not stop because I want to have a lousy pity party. Besides (and I have said this before), pity is ugly on me.

The good news is that I have lost some weight in the past couple months. I have changed my eating habits, starting exercising and tried to reduce my stress (although that is not always easy).  Despite the RA pain, it gives me a reason to feel happy. I also recently purchased a treadmill so the winter months do not stop me from exercising. I am praying that the pain does not either.  Maybe I can visit my hairstylist, Peter, for a pick me up – that would definitely help my mood.

I hope everyone else’s RA is staying fairly quiet.  I would not wish this remaining pain on my worst enemy.  You know how we always say that if someone walked in our shoes, they could understand our pain? I am not sure if I would want anyone to feel this pain that I feel. I am not sure there is anyone I know that is strong enough to endure what I do.  But I noted earlier, no pity parties for me. I will continue to keep the course and take the weight off. I will take my medications and discuss any returning symptoms with my doctor. I will also continue to live my life and fulfill my responsibilities despite my RA pain. After all, life is too short and no one knows that better than I do.

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