The Dreaded Flare

This invisible disease PSA has many twists and turns. It can lead us through more challenges than we care to go and having a flare is in the top ten…..for myself at least. There are a few things that set me off and I am not sure if I share these symptoms with many or am I an island.

There is the weather —it is a big factor in my life in the Northeast, so much so I contemplate moving. This past winter has been with us too long, time is up, Goodbye already. One day it was 30 degrees the next, 2 degrees. That 28 degree drop is my nemesis —- I am sure to get sick. This past February was one giant flare, I was a walking (if I was lucky) symptom of a flare. During the month one day It was 71 degrees, everyone is so happy — Spring is here…or is it? Two days later it was 25 degrees! This occurred all month long. All the complaints, I get it, it used to annoy me too, where is spring? I really didn’t care where it was, I would prefer one or the other – be cold or warm up because for me now it is so much more.

I go into a flare, another invisible, painful aspect of PSA. When this happens I awaken to what feels like hammers slamming my knees and my shins. Excruciating. The reason? Barometric pressure. My joints are expanding OR contracting, like a balloon. It is dreadful. On to the day of a typical flare for myself, which I do not know how many with PSA are experiencing this too. Hot flashes….constant followed by bone-chilling freezing. I honestly don’t know which is worse. This is not menopause either, that is what I used to believe was going on…..the hot flushes are a part of the inflammation inside our bodies coming through, our immune response. The joint pain is always worse than normal.

There is not much you can do, just pray it passes quickly. I want to eat right so I can feel better, however, how? Getting out of bed is a journey and with a dog, it is a necessity. So, usually, I have a Kind bar or the like. This is the part where you really miss having a mom to take care of you. Being this sick so many days in this psoriatic arthritis calendar is very challenging and having to endure a flare is no holiday.

There are many factors that can trigger a flare, I am one of the lucky ones that doesn’t have skin eruptions, my heart goes out to those with a skin condition too. I will get a small rash here and there but I know it could be so much worse.

Food can cause a flare, flying can cause one because if you experience the temperatures change of anything over or under 10 degrees can cause it. Alcohol, yes some will end up in a flare for having too good of a time. Dry skin—something so simple as flaky skin can cause a flare and of course, I saved the best for last — stress! Yes, stress will put you in a flare. How hard is this? It’s hard, I try to be calm, I try to be upbeat, I really am a glass half full person but defeat is around the corner all the time with this affliction.

Hopefully, Spring will emerge very soon and bring better days for us all and leave the flares behind.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Psoriatic-Arthritis.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (4)
  • bbthodges
    8 months ago

    Oh my Dear! I know exactly what you are saying. Here in North Carolina it had been the same way. We feel like we are on a rollercoaster! That barometric pressure is definitely your enemy. With the up and down temperature and even the tornado we had last week, our body and mind is unbelievably miserable. In addition to this weather problem I have a tremendous amount of stress. I am 70 years and live alone. My income is my Social Security only and I don’t have enough to pay all my monthly expenses. I cannot cancel my medicare supplement nor my my Part D drug plan insurances with so many medical problems so I stress all the time. The stress and depression never seem to go away. So for both of us hopefully Spring will emerge very soon!

  • AuntJana author
    8 months ago

    bbthodges:

    I am so sorry you are struggling. All the stress from this disease is too much already, I’m sorry.

    Do you belong to a church? There are a lot of programs and people that could help you— I’m sure, there’s a lot of kindness out there, however, it’s just hard to find when we’re in this situation because the depression could be overwhelming and I know with my self, I withdraw instead of reaching out. But, try to force yourself to ask.

    There are a lot of co-pay assistance programs that are associated with a lot of the drugs we take but with Medicare there are not as many options. You can ask your pharmacist, hopefully, he or she will have an answer.

    I am sorry to hear you live alone, this disease is already isolating, even if we don’t want to be alone-it is so much harder not having your health……going out, meeting up with friends, shopping—it is exhausting. I don’t get out much, I hope the weather will level out soon, I am just getting over a flare, caused by a combination of weather and stress❗️

    I think what our friends and family don’t understand is how this disease affects us, it encompasses everything, our minds, body, organs, skin —it isn’t just one thing to get over. We wish it was, huh?

    Please take care, I will pray for you.

    AuntJana

  • CathyD moderator
    8 months ago

    @auntjana, I know for sure that you’re not alone in these experiences. I have heard so many other people mention the weather being a huge issue for them. Especially the changeable weather, as opposed to it being constantly cold or constantly warmer. It’s incredibly difficult when triggers are things that you don’t have any control over.

    I am curious, during the spring/summer, or more stable weather, is your psoriatic arthritis much better? During the winter I get very swollen fingers and toes, but during the summer this never really happens, or hasn’t happened yet (I am kind of new to PsA).

    I find that stress is a really big one for me too. Do you have any tips for remaining calm? I try to breathe through things but when I’m stressed I find it difficult to remember to do this !

    Thanks so much for taking the time to share with us all. I hope that Spring rolls around soon for you <3

    - Catherine, Community Moderator

  • AuntJana author
    8 months ago

    Hi Cathy D

    I really think the winter is worse because of all the mild days that occur. In the summer there is humidity, of course but the barometric pressure isn’t so crazy . My symptoms never retreat, unfortunately. I haven’t found that magic pill or shot or infusion that makes it all better.
    Still searching.

    With stress, there are breathing techniques that I was taught but I just try to avoid people that want to argue and the really bid stressors, I push them out of my thoughts as much as I can‍♀️

    Take care

    AuntJana

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