I was doing so well. I have started running again, and I was slowly building up. I could feel my legs and lungs getting stronger little by little. I was being careful not to overdo it in my enthusiasm and joy at being able to run again after 18 months away from it.
And then on Friday morning I woke up hurting from my neck to my waist. My ribs felt like they’ve got a metal band around them, my sternum hurt to touch, my shoulders hurt to touch, the muscles in my back were tight and sore from protecting my shoulders all night (at least, I assume so). My scheduled morning run was off the cards.
It’s been weeks since I had a bad day. I was feeling really good and thinking maybe I’d turned some kind of corner. Then Friday happened.
This is one of the great frustrations of rheumatoid arthritis. It flares up without warning, leaving you feeling exhausted and in pain just when you had other plans. You lose control over your life to what seems like a cruelly arbitrary and capricious disease that makes it almost impossible to plan for anything.
I do know it will pass. Voltaren makesthe pain bearable, and staying in bed avoids taxing my reserves, hopefully resulting in a quicker bounce back.
But I can’t tell you how disappointed I am. I’ve been eating well and healthily, I’ve been exercising in what I thought was a really measured and considered way, and this is how my body repays me?
Perhaps I shouldn’t be so surprised, because for all my salads and running, I have been emotionally really taxed over the last few weeks. I’ve been absorbing the death of my colleague, and wrestling with some identity and self worth issues that have bubbled up again with a vengeance. It may just be that I have to have food, exercise and mental health all in good condition to fend off the RA outbursts. Maybe 2 out of 3 isn’t enough.
This is one of those enduring challenges of living alone. You have to act as your own minder, and monitor your state carefully. When you’re part of a couple, one usually notices when the other starts to overdo it in one area, and can alert to the need for a behavioural correction. When you’re on your own, you have to monitor yourself and alert yourself to the need for a course correction. That’s not always easy to do.
In my case, there appears to be very little time between the early warning and the arrival of the incoming. I might need to upgrade my early warning system.