The RA Symptom Police, which is me 24/7, assesses any sensation, pain or other symptom I am experiencing to decide if it has anything to do with my rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This happens continuously. I have trained myself to listen as carefully as possible to what my body is trying to tell me. It is like I monitor how I’m doing and feeling all the time.
This all came to light for me earlier this week. If you have been reading my blog in the recent months you know it has been an intense time. My mother became ill and passed away and now we are selling her home. Living in the upper midwest puts a natural pressure on the process as winter is coming real fast! We have been as busy as can be uncovering keepsakes, remembering family events and just a lot of finding a new home for years of what my parents collected. So much physical and emotional work. Well, because I have moved so many things to my house, enough to make the dining room look like a antique shop, I must gingerly step around the stuff as I store it away. Doing so I wrenched my back.
Memories of years ago when the symptoms that led to my RA diagnosis first started flooded my mind. It concerned me that my disease had taken a turn for the worse, or something else may be happening. I was really paying attention to what I was feeling and how to remedy the problem. I was being the RA symptom police!
The pain in my back was so severe I sometimes had difficulty breathing. The more I favored my back, the more other pains started happening, just like years ago. My whole body was trying to compensate for the acute pain in my back.
I went point-by-point through my FRESH acronym to make sure I was doing the basics to help my body heal itself and took the physical therapist’s suggestion to keep moving as much as I could. I ate as healthy as I could with what I had in stock at home the first few days. I was too sore to shop. When stressful thoughts or situations came up, I dealt with what I could and took time to calm down and meditate to release what was beyond my control. I kept my Pilates schedule and did short walks with our dog. I did my best to get a good nights sleep, but did have to get up to stretch a few times in the middle of the night. I kept my water bottle close so I could stay hydrated. It is getting cooler, so we have had our furnace and fireplace going, which dries the air. I know I needed to keep drinking water.
During this time I had thoughts that perhaps my biologic wasn’t working anymore or that the wrenching of my back may cause my RA to flare-up. After my analysis, I tried to put those thoughts out of my mind so I wouldn’t dwell on them, as I know that would not be helpful. After about three days I was relieved when I could feel my pain was less severe and I could move without the pain causing breathing issues. I felt even better the next day.
Monitoring my body, or policing my symptoms, is now a part of my lifestyle. The disease is unpredictable and we know that the medications can work for years and then they don’t work. For that reason I know policing what is happening body wise is to my benefit. I actually do it without really thinking about it until I need to. It is not a hardship, but a way of living day-to-day.
I’d love to hear of ways you police your symptoms. The RA Symptom Police, yes, that is what I am!
And that is using Arthritis Wisdom!