So much for remission. It was good while it lasted. Swollen feet and stiff hands/wrists are not how I like starting my days. Recently my feet have been so sore that I’ve caught myself thinking that if I had one of those blue parking tags, I’d actually use it when I’m at the store. That’s not something I ever thought I’d say.
This flare is affecting basic activities. Tuesday night I went shopping and couldn’t even pick up my groceries normally. I felt like a two-year-old with one hand on each side of the boxes so that I could get them into my cart.
In trying to figure out what changed (did anything perhaps cause this flare), I realized that I am beat! With one child running track, and another playing baseball, it seems like I’ve been constantly on the go. These sports are in addition to the kids’ usual activities (violin, piano, lawn care job, scouts, youth group, getting ready for college…), but the two new sports seem to have pushed things over the edge. I’m exhausted.
I’ve tried to pace myself and let some things slide since life has gotten so hectic. That means there are dirty dishes in my kitchen sink and I’m sitting at the computer resting instead of cleaning the kitchen. All the laundry has been washed, but it has not been folded or put away (to tell the truth, I’m happy it’s not still in the dryer, and figure people will go find their clothes when they need them). Despite looking for ways to get some rest and not over do it, I’m exhausted. Maybe that’s why my joints are rebelling.
My kids are trying to help. Some people cringe at the thought of teenage drivers, but I have to say that I am thrilled to have assistance with transportation. Unlike God, I cannot be two places at the same time. Music lessons are 12:30-2:30, and track practice is 2:00-4:00. Track meets are 3:30-6:00, and baseball games are 5:30-8 (sometimes in cities an hour away from each other). My daughters have been fabulous in helping out with all the driving so their brothers can participate in team sports for the first time in their lives.
Honestly, if I have to deal with a flare so that my boys can play sports and have this happy memory to look back on, I can live with a flare. It’s worth it. It broke my heart, when my son asked about sports this year, to discover that my daughter had wanted to turn out for volleyball back when she was that age. She never even asked, and has felt deprived all this time, because that was the year I was diagnosed. RA affects entire families in ways we might not even know about until later. We had a couple pretty crummy years, and I have no idea how I could possibly have gotten any of the kids to any extra activities back then.
Despite the flare, things are way better than they were five years ago. I don’t yelp in pain when I roll out of bed in the morning. I’m able to sleep at night without waking in pain every time I roll onto a bursa (and my vocabulary now includes words like “trochanter”). I can (usually) lift my arms. Yes, I hurt. My hands, my feet, my shoulders… But this is just a flare.
Flares burn for a while warning that there’s a problem, and then they’re gone. Maybe, just maybe, this flare is warning me to pace myself better. With any luck, if I heed the warning, the flare will die out.