Those Days Before Your Next Treatment: 5 Tips to Help You Survive
There are very few predictable parts of living with psoriatic arthritis. However, one of the things that I have found to be the most predictable are those last few days before my next round of treatment. While we have little to no control over our dosing schedule (that is often dictated by insurance companies, doctors, and pharmacies) we can control what we do to make the best of those days before your next treatment.
If you choose to treat your psoriatic arthritis with traditional pharmaceutical medications in any form – pills, shots, or infusions – you are probably well aware of how those last few days usually play out. We become tired very easily. Joint pain and swelling can’t be avoided and for me, rashes pop up in random places. So, how do we survive those days before your next treatment?
We all have to eat, even when we don’t feel like cooking. The best thing to do when we know those days are coming is to prepare as many meals as possible ahead of time. Have easy foods on hand and be ready for those unavoidable “feeling crappy” cravings. Get your meals together ahead of time, pop them in the freezer, and maybe your family won’t starve.
Load your Netflix queue
You know your butt is going to be parked on the couch or holed up under your favorite comforter. Instead of aimlessly flipping through a million choices when you feel like garbage, pre-load your Netflix queue ahead of time. Be ready with shows that you might be interested in watching to take advantage of a little escape from reality instead of being frustrated that you can’t find anything good to watch.
Ask for help
This is by far one of the hardest things for me to do. It probably will come down to do as I say, not as I do. However, asking for help is definitely the most important tip to survive those days before your next treatment. Maybe friends can take your children on an outing. Family can drop by a few good books or magazines to read. Your spouse can pick up some of the daily chores to keep your home running smoothly in your absence. But no one will know what they can do to help unless you ask.
Knock-out chores and errands
Take the time to get caught up on your to-do list. Knock out a few loads of laundry, run your errands, and give the bathrooms a good wipe down. If you are “lucky” enough to work from home, prepare your office for you to be out a few days. If you get at least caught up with daily chores and errands, you will be less likely to feel the guilt of being out of commission for a few days.
Prep your stash
Everyone has their favorite things for when they are feeling crummy. I love my heated mattress pad, flannel pj’s, fresh sheets, and even though it seems contradictory, my ice pack. Take the time to wash the sheets, pj’s, and get that ice pack in the freezer.
What about work?
I know, we don’t all have the luxury of “checking out” those days before your next treatment. However, even if you continue to hold down your traditional 9-5 job, you know as well as I do that when you are off the clock, you will be basically useless. Use these tips I’ve given you to make the most of those days when your energy is even more limited than normal. When it really comes down to it, timing is everything. If you can plan treatments for early in the week, like Mondays, those few days before your treatment will fall on the weekends and hopefully won’t impact your work too much.
Those days are very difficult. Remember not to be too hard on yourself and just do the best you can with what you have. Lean on family and friends and don’t be afraid to ask for a little help.