Flare Ups and Downs

It is raining outside and the temperature is dropping. But, if you have spondyloarthritis you probably already knew about the weather without looking. It amazes me the things that cause a flare. Stress, surgery, weather changes, lack of sleep, and even certain things we eat.

I must admit staying positive in a flare has gotten easier but it is still not easy to go about your day acting like all is well. I have failed to mention some of the great things that have blessed my life and got me through some of these hard times. They take my mind away from pain. They help me feel like the “old me”. My husband and family have stood by my side from day one. They never doubted me. They stepped up to help out when I couldn’t move. They taught me love that was unconditional. Beyond my solid family, my 2 best friends have provided me stop in visits, a Starbucks brought over, a movie day, and helping me carpool my kids around. I am so lucky to have the support system I do.

I also must explain something that me going when I couldn’t go anymore. My faith. I couldn’t be where I am with out my Saviour. When things were falling apart, and money was so tight we still gave back to Him. I had days where I would pray myself to sleep just to ease the pain. My church family, Crosspoint Church, has been amazing as well. I can’t believe the amount of time, love, and sacrifice they have shown. Friends I once passed in the halls there were bringing food to my home. They showed me that they believed in me. They taught me what it is like to be a friend to someone who feels like they have lost their world.

Imagine yourself going from working full time, running kids all evening to sporting events, making dinner, cleaning a little on the house; then finally hitting the bed. Then, slowly over a couple months you can’t move, your body is stiff. You feel like you worked out way too hard because your body aches in every muscle you move. I went from trying to manage all of the things I normally did but couldn’t keep up. Slowly, I was getting behind. My house was getting messier, my kids were too loud, I couldn’t handle certain noises, driving was difficult, and I just hated going out.

How does an extrovert that at one time in High School got “Most Likely to Succeed”just throw it all away and lay down on the couch? My heart broke for so many losses. Loss of my health I once had, loss of my energy, loss of sleep from pain, and the loss of all the things I knew. I used to feel like the life of the party and now…well…now I am just there. Or was! I am so thankful for the storm before the calm. Sometimes we have to go to dark places to understand there is light to be found.

After days of a flare, I usually have some energy. In the beginning, I would over do it on my days with energy when I felt decent. Then, I would be back in the bed or on the couch for another couple days. Learning balance was no longer about work, kids, sports, husband, and church. It was how much can I do in one day before I have a set back.

Growth. Yes growth is what I learned about. Personal growth, spiritual growth, and of course marital growth. Maybe that is one of the best things that have come from this disease.