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    RA Flare "Cycle" - dealing with the trauma and depression
    Pamela32 posted:
    I am 57 years old and only recently diagnosed with RA, though I have probably had it in some form since I was a teenager. I have had a seizure disorder of unknown origin since that time that could have been caused by inflammation from the RA. Also, I had the rashes as early as 18. That info aside, my question is this:

    On a pretty regular basis, every few months, I go through a flare that has an extremely predictable cycle. It begins with fatigue. I'm so tired, I just want to go to bed and sleep a whole day. I notice my palms are bright red. Then everything starts to hurt, particularly the parts that don't always hurt. That's on day 2. Then, by day 3, it's depression. Day 4, deeper depression and more pain. (My in-laws particularly don't want to hear it; they think everyone hurts; why should I moan about it?) Nobody understands, nobody wants to be around me, nobody loves me, I start thinking. By day 4 I'm wanting to hide under the bed until it's over. Then, suddenly, date 5, it's over, and I'm back to my normal RA self, normal pain levels (which, as we know, are always with us).

    I know we all go through these flares. What I want to know is, is this a normal cycle for most people? How do others deal with this? Does everyone want to hibernate through them??? I don't do pain meds, other than aspirin or naproxin. I take plaquenil and fish oil. I'm terrified on pain medications and of steroids. How can I help my wonderful husband survive these flares with his sanity intact?

    Any good advice or help would be very much appreciated. Any support welcomed, as I assure you, I don't get very much around here, except for from my husband.
    sfonseca7 responded:
    your story is my story and many other who suffer from RA. I've said in other discussion RA has no set rules...MY advise to you is ride out the hard times and enjoy the better times. You are not alone.
    sfonseca7 responded:
    Oh...I forgot to mention breathing......a doctor told me to breath from the really helps.
    Pamela32 replied to sfonseca7's response:
    Thank you ... and I will practice the breathing from the stomach. Riding it out is easier when you know you're not alone ...( and I do wish my in-laws would learn to be more supportive ... but I don't think that's going to happen ... ) Are your flares on a schedule? Mine are 2-3 months, almost can mark them on a calendar.
    Maxwell1965 replied to Pamela32's response:
    About a month ago my doc (who's a great guy) increased my MTX to ten pills a week, that's in addtion to the Humira of course. With that he told me to take Vicodin everyday. I guess I should've know what was to come.

    The last four or five weeks I have been sick almost every day. To include three of those days which were about the sickest I've ever been in my life. There's nothing like laying in bed and feeling like you got hit by a car.

    And basically nobody wants to hear about your RA after the first few months or so. I think they believe that since you're on the meds, you should be all healed up and normal.

    There's nobody to hold your hand and feel sorry for you when it's midnight and you feel like crap from head to toe.

    Oh well...suck it up I guess.
    Maxwell1965 replied to sfonseca7's response:
    It's too bad we can't talk to eachother when we're sick through the clockless hours of the night and nobody else gives a damn.
    Pamela32 replied to Maxwell1965's response:
    Know this: if we could, we would ... so at least you know that we're out there, we understand, and we care.
    sfonseca7 replied to Pamela32's response:
    they come in no predictable time frame...they just come in unpredictable waves. I will begin keeping a journal. Some times it helps to write things down. That will also allow me to see a pattern of flare ups. Many years ago my Dad told me "don't look for something that isn't there because if you do you are setting yourself up for disappointment". I fear you are doing this to yourself in looking to your in-laws for support. By now it seems obvious thqt;s something they don't have to give. We have no control over other people ....our control is in how we let it effect us. You say your husband is there for you. How great that is. Someone who doesn't know the pain of RA just can't understand. I'm assuming your husband does not have RA but sees it's effect on you daily. You have the support of your husband and so many who suffer with you. The RA Community is with you. You are not alone.
    sfonseca7 replied to Pamela32's response:
    I'm not sure of the frequency of flare-ups only that they come in waves. I will begin keeping a journal. Sometimes just pitting your feeling (physical & emotional) down on paper helps.

    My Dad told me many years ago "don't look for something that's not there. If you do..... you set yourself up for disappointment". We have no control over others...our control with over selves and how we allows the actions of others effect us. Your husband does support you. How great is that? The RA Community is there for you. You are not alone.
    sfonseca7 replied to Maxwell1965's response:
    sadly you're eight...we must suck it up and pray for a better day.
    xperky responded:
    Pamela, it's interesting how predictable your flares are. I think our bodies have cycles we aren't very aware of and some chemical changes are affecting you. Just a guess.

    I know how it is with the inlaws not being supportive. It can really hurt. When something nasty happens I try to distract myself with happy projects or something like music, so I don't dwell on it. I know from the past that it will seem less troublesome in the future, so I depend on that and try to move on. It's hard when we are sensitive types and also have physical illness that's not understood. Hugs to you.

    I'm glad your husband is supportive! If you are like me, you are tempted to complain to him about his relatives not being supportive. Try not to do too much of that, as this may cause a strain in your relationship. It's a balancing act, trying to tell him how his folks make you feel, while not pulling him away from them. Sigh.

    I hope you are doing OK most days and that you have the time to treat those awful flares you get.
    Pamela32 replied to xperky's response:
    Thanks, Xperky, and you're absolutely right ... and I guess that's why I came to this site ... trying to blow off some steam here ... rather than in his ear. We're all very close. I love his parents dearly, and I hate to see how it hurts him when I complain about that other thing.

    I'm doing fine now the flare has passed. Just the normal every day thing. LOL ... life between the flares. My sis has lupus, and she goes through the same thing, but in a slightly different form. Our mother also had something which was never diagnosed correctly or treated properly.

    You are wise to learn from the past to make a less troublesome future. Great words of advice.

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