Tag Archives: weather

Winter Has Cometh. And A Flare, Too

It has not been an easy past few days.

My beloved PACNW finally got a bit of winter. Which would normally be cause for happiness, since I often miss the snow of my youth. However, for a valley only used to rainy winters with splatterings of snow once in a while, we were ill-equipped for the foot of snow that fell, the freezing rain that came on top of it, or the dense fog that followed it.

I spent the storm huddled under blankets on my couch at times enthralled with watching the snow fall, at others itching with cabin fever. Since my apartment complex doesn’t have maintenance available on the weekends, the parking lot and walkways stayed buried under piles of snow and ice. Knowing how unstable my walking can be on a clear, summer day, my going out in the snow was never an option. We couldn’t risk a fall or injury.

By Saturday evening, I was feeling the tight confines of being locked away at home. Just when I thought I had gathered the courage (or recklessness) to brave the outside, a wave of pain came to knock me down. I spent all of Sunday in a ball, pain radiating from my neck to the tips of my toes. Every movement made me want to scream. Making it to the bathroom and back without my legs giving out was considered a great accomplishment.

Though I had expected a flare to accompany the wildly changing weather, I was not prepared for the intensity of what arrived. I contemplated a trip to the ER if only to find some sort of relief, but I ultimately decided it wasn’t worth it. I know the Emergency Room isn’t to be used to help manage my pain, no matter how badly I’m wanting that relief.

This morning I called my regular doctor and left a message that I need to be seen. Now that I’m insured, I need to be referred to a new rheumatologist to look at new treatment options. The frequency and intensity of my last few flares has me concerned that my current treatment plan may no longer be working for me. I hope that we can get something scheduled soon.

I’m trying to keep my mood up, but I’m still hurting today. I’m keeping my interactions on social media to a minimum, I don’t want to flood my friends with my whining. And that’s exactly how I feel right now. Whiney and ouchy. Not my best.

What do you do when the pain becomes unbearable? Do you have any tips for keeping your mood light when you’re hurting?

Fall Is Mine

For as long as I can remember, Fall has been one of my favorite times of year.

As a child, I loved jumping in the piles of leaves, the smell of rain in the air. Fall meant Back to School, new clothes and snazzy new boots. It heralded the coming of one of the best holidays, Halloween. I loved the idea of dressing up as someone new for a day.

My love for Fall hasn’t waned with age, instead it’s grown into a deep passion. Fall in the Pacific Northwest is a variety of greens, golds, reds, oranges, and browns. There is a collective sigh as the heat of Summer is driven off by drizzly rains. The world smells of earth, storms, and harvests. The lighter fare of Summer gives way to comfort food that warms us from the inside out.

When I was first diagnosed with RA, I was warned that the weather would play a part in my flares. I remember that first Fall with a mix of dread and sadness. While I reveled in my season coming, my body rebelled with one painful flare after another. I despaired at the the thought that my favorite time of year would forever be a source of pain. Determined not to be miserable, I searched for ways to make Fall mine again.

This year I’m prepared. I have extra blankets set out, fluffy socks for my swollen feet, and comfy sweats in varying levels of thickness. We’re stocked up on apple cider, hot cocoa, and tea to warm me from the inside. And my crockpot is prepared to get a work out as it fills my freezer and refrigerator with comfort food and easy meals to be prepared on days when my spoons are sapped.

Yesterday brought Fall with blustery gusts of wind and drizzly rain. My fiance and I curled up with our blankets and watched football while chicken soup simmered away on the stove. Yes, I hurt. Yes, my joints screamed in protest with movement. But I fought back with warmth and comfort. I napped when I needed to and was greeted with the smell of home cooking and rain when I woke.

I’ve made Fall mine again.

What do you do to feel more comfortable as the seasons change?