So many of us are familiar with the vicious cycle that chronic illness presents. Overdoing things on the good days is part of that process and I overdid things. Now, no amount of sleep or rest can help. It is just a matter of waiting the flare up out. I still have a workweek to start and a final paper due in one week for my Family Law course.
The problem with autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis is that they strike people between ages 20 and 50 who have a lot of living left to do. I have so many responsibilities and people depending on me and RA does not fit into my crazy life. My kids have been bugging me to the park for days and today, I finally gave in and fifteen minutes after we go there, we had to leave because I was in so much pain. Needless to say, my kids were disappointed. The muscle and joint pain always win and not my kids or me.
Yes, this is the frustration of living life with chronic pain and the sad reality is that I don’t get better. In fact, I am lucky if my health does not get worse. Chronic illness definitely brings with it a new reality and we are not the only ones affected. Our loved ones are affected as well. My ten year old has numerous times gotten frustrated with me and asked me why I am not like other mothers. It is not that easy explaining to him that other mothers do not live with chronic illness. There are times where my toddler wants my attention I can’t give it to him and he becomes frustrated as well.
Today was definitely a frustrating day for all and as for me, I ache terribly and it hurts even to lie down. I wonder if remission actually exists. To me, remission from RA is like something to available for a lucky few. The percentage of people who actually go into RA remission is only 30% and I can’t imagine myself being one of those people, considering the craziness that is my life.
Clinical remission is an absence of the clinical signs of inflammation. However, RA patients are not able to discontinue their medications so they must remain taking medications to stay in remission. The American College of Rheumotology has a criteria to determination clinical remission. That criteria is a combination of the following: morning stiffness is less than 15 minutes, no fatigue, no joint pain, no joint tenderness or pain with motion, no soft tissue swelling in joints or tendons, and an erythrocyte sedimentation rate less than or equal to 30 in females and 20 in males. The good news is that the longer the disease stays in remission, the less likely it is to become active again.
I will probably call it an early night and pray that tomorrow will be better. Flare-ups are depressing and I am not good company.