Well, we tapered me off the prednisone and now I am dealing with a double flare. What's a double flare you ask? It means that both the RA and the Fibro are flaring. If you have two separate illnesses; believe me, you can tell the difference. The RA is affecting my hips, knees, ankles and feet. The pain started with extreme pressure in my knees (as if I really need to "crack" them) though when I do crack them, I get one moment of "Ahhhhhh, relief" and no sooner than I can think that, it's back. It ranges from there to a burning in the ankles, a cramping sensation in my toes to stabbing in the hips. The fibro is centered in my back for the most part. It started in the lower part- which always, always hurts when my hips hurt but has spread all the way to the shoulders. It's tight enough that I can't stand straight, and leaning back on it when sitting feels like it's been hit with a baseball bat. When I lean forward, my ribs hurt. When I try to straighten up, the pain radiates all the way down to the feet. Worst of all, the more I use my body, the more it hurts so by the end of the day even my combo of nigth time muscle relaxers and pain meds don't touch it. The pain wears me out and then it keeps me up. It's a real jerk that way.
While I am at work, I have been using my cane. I hate my cane. While my colleagues in the store know of my illness, I don't publicize it around campus and having to use my cane shouts it loud and clear. I am not weak. I work my tail off on a regular basis. The last thing I want is to be seen as "disabled." When I am truly disabled, I will stop working. Until then, I just don't want that picture in anyone's mind. What I will say about the cane is that it gives me stability. Without it, there is more than a chance of my falling. When I am at home I use furniture, the walls, the hand rail on the stairs, but out in the open- the cane is my only source of stability so whether I like it or not, I have to use it.
There are usually only two ways for me to deal with a flare. I can call my doc and she will give me prednisone (which we JUST took me off of) or I can ride it out. This time I get a combo of the two. I have to ride it out until Friday, at which time I have a regularly scheduled appointment with my doctor. I don't know what she will do about the flare- but I do know that this just cements it for me that the Orencia is not doing great things for me.
Now for the gratitude portion of this post. Having these flares serve as a reminder for me how lucky I have been to not have had a really bad flare in a long time. Yes, I live with pain every day, but it's the dull, throbbing, achy kind of pain. While I can live with this flare for a couple of weeks (this is week 2), I don't know where my state of mind would be if I had to live with this on a regular basis. I can really be grateful that I don't have to deal with this all of the time.
I don't know what this will bring- except maybe a weekend of rest and trying to relax. That sounds great but it's actually a little stressful. The house is a disaster and I really need to get some work done. I hope that I can get a little done- even if from a sitting position over the weekend but if not, I guess it will keep. Here's wishing you a pain free weekend!