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Okay, let’s face it, we’ve all made bad decisions at some time or another. The fact that I’m married to my (count ‘em) fourth husband is pretty much direct evidence that I have, in fact, screwed up at least three times in my life. (In case there’s any doubt, I believe I’ve “finally” made the right decision on the fourth one!)

I want to believe that most of us make those decisions with the best intentions. Unfortunately, however, intentions don’t count for a lot when the consequences come rolling around.

I finished my physical therapy sessions for my new knee last week. (It’s working pretty well, thanks for asking.) I was due to switch to fitness sessions this past Monday. The difference being that physical therapy concentrates on my knee and is paid for by insurance whereas the fitness sessions are geared to an overall workout and I get to pay for them myself.

On Monday, my therapist wasn’t well and the center contacted me to see if I wanted to cancel or reschedule with a different therapist. Since this was the first session where we were to establish the workout routine, I really didn’t want to work with a different therapist, so I opted to skip Monday and pick up on the next session scheduled for the following Wednesday. (This is not the bad decision. This decision, in fact, was pretty good.)

Tuesday I wasn’t feeling great. I was kind of achy all over — sort of like you feel when you’re getting the flu or, in my case, when you’re headed for a flare. Like a lot of us, I occasionally get a tender, swollen joint here or there. I don’t really consider that a flare. When I flare, I get the “stay in bed because it hurts all over and even turning over will bring tears to your eyes” kind of flare.

Wednesday came and I wasn’t feeling much better. If anything, I was a bit worse. However, I didn’t want to lose the momentum of going to the fitness/rehab center twice a week, so I decided to keep the fitness appointment. (That was the bad decision.)

Yep, Wednesday night and all day Thursday I flared. Not only did I have the hurt-all-over flare, throughout the night and day, I experienced severe piercing pains in various joints. It was if the RA god (if there is one) was alternately sticking an ice pick in one random joint at a time. First it was the ankle, then the shoulder, then the wrist and joints of the right hand, then somewhere else.

I’m fortunate that I don’t flare often and usually don’t flare for long. It’s Friday and I am doing better after a day in bed taking pain medication and extra NSAIDs.

But the point is, I might have avoided the whole unpleasant situation if I had just listened to my body. True, a flare might have been inevitable, but going through a whole-body workout routine for the first time no doubt contributed to it happening and to its severity.

If you have been following this blog for very long, you know that it’s peppered with advice to listen to your body and be good to yourself. I did think that working out was being good to my body, but I certainly wasn’t listening to my body.

I am a bit concerned not only that I had a flare, but that my RA drugs (Orencia and Arava) don’t seem to be “kicking in” like they should after my knee surgery. I’ve had three surgeries in the past year and each one has required that I’ve been off the drugs for about a month each time — two weeks before surgery and two weeks after. There is some discussion in the RA community that drugs don’t seem to work as well after you’ve been off of them and then start them again. I will tell you that my symptoms seem to be getting worse rather than better and this flare — the first in many months — is just icing on the cake.

My next appointment with my rheumy isn’t until sometime in November. I think I will take my own advice and see if I can’t get an earlier appointment to discuss this with her. I really don’t want to change treatment plans, but there is no sense staying on something that doesn’t appear to be helping.

In the meantime, I will try (as you should) to listen to my body and be good to myself.

Thanks for checking in.

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