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Erma Bombeck (for those of you too young to know who she was) was a terrific humorist, author, and person. She once said that life is what happens when you’re planning something else. Kind of like you plan to have a beautiful holiday dinner party and that’s when your four children all come down with the stomach flu.

That’s what my life has been like since I’ve gotten back from London. I knew it would be here waiting for me when I got home, but that’s sort of like saying that you know the sharp rocks at the bottom of the gorge are waiting for you when you jump off the cliff.

The problem is with RA and other health issues, that’s also what happens when you’re planning something else.

Yesterday morning I had an appointment with the endodontist. I THOUGHT it was to just finish up the two root canals I’ve been dealing with for the last month or so. You know — not even any numb shots, just take out the temporary filling, put in the permanent filling, and out the door. Boy was I wrong. I won’t go into the gory details, but suffice it to say, it was an hour and a half in the chair, and I had booked a full day of meetings. Plus we’re scrambling for deadlines, so I finally got home at 9:30 last night. I had a bowl of soup for dinner — which was the wrong thing — because the heat woke up the pain. Thank goodness I still have an arsenal of whacko-whamo pain medication left over from shoulder and hip surgeries.

I have no doubt that RA, as are other health issues, is exacerbated by stress. Stress weakens our natural defenses and that allows RA to rear its ugly head and lets other diseases (like colds and flu) invade. I’ve seen on other blogs that the one time someone really, really doesn’t want a flare, that’s when one shows up. I don’t think it’s coincidental that the stress of looking forward to some big event (yes, there is good stress as well as bad), helps trigger those episodes.

So during this busy, joyful, and stressful holiday season, let’s be aware that happy times are stressful — in a different way than bad times — but stressful just the same. Take some down time. Stop in the middle of shopping for a rest and a cup of calming tea. Do good things for your body to keep those stress levels down and maybe, just maybe, you can help keep the Flare Grinch at bay.

Thanks for checking in.