Flare or No Flare, Life Still Goes On
There was a time when I thought just getting through a severe flare with my sanity was enough. But it wasn’t!
Throughout my chronic life I have experienced flares that required days, weeks, and occasionally months in bed. Whether psoriatic arthritis or a combination of my other chronic illnesses were to blame doesn’t matter. What does matter, is what they have taught me.
Life goes on
The first thing my severe flares or extended periods of bed rest taught me was that life doesn’t stop just because my body has. Kids still need to be driven places. The family still needs to eat and the house isn’t going to clean itself.
Always have a backup plan
When my kids were younger, they relied on me to take them to band rehearsal and dance classes. New to flares and not understanding how dangerous it was to push my body past its limits, I would do just that. Pushing to the point where my body began mimicking signs of a stroke and being hospitalized for several days made me realize that pushing that far was not in anyone’s best interest.
Early on my flares would hit hard and often. It would take several years before I learned the value of pacing and listening to my body. Not wanting my kids to miss out on their activities I began creating backup plans. For rides, I contacted other parents that also drove their kids and asked if they would be okay with driving mine when my illnesses made it unsafe for me to drive. In addition, I also had a few family members and friends who were willing to take over when necessary.
Riding out the storm
Through a lot of trial and error, my family has finally found our groove. I learned to let go of the guilt that consumed me whenever I had to ask for help. My family learned to not complain when they have to take over my chores for a few days.
Whether a flare lasts a few days or several weeks, my family and I are prepared. Gone are the days of my entire household falling apart while I ride out my flare. Once I announce that I am down, everyone takes over their assigned tasks.
Lessons I've learned from my severe flares
One of the more important things I have learned from my severe flares is to chill out. My husband isn’t going to wash the dishes the same as I do. The kids aren’t going to put everything where I would. How they do things doesn’t matter as long as it gets done.
Another thing is that it helps no one if I wait a few days before deciding that I needed help. Putting the backup plan into action as quickly as possible helps me pick up where I left off before the flare hit.
The most important lesson learned was that having an illness that weakens my body without notice does not mean that I lose my authority as a parent or my worth as a wife.
Do you regularly track your psoriatic arthritis symptoms?