My recent flare, which started early, early Saturday morning and isn’t quite over yet (Tuesday) is, to say the least, quite unsettling.

In the world of RA sufferers, I count myself fortunate. Yes, I’ve had major joints replaced, but on a day-to-day basis, I’ve been pretty functional thanks, to a great part, to modern medicine and, to a lesser degree, sheer determination.

This past flare is the worst I’ve ever had, basically keeping me on bed rest for three days. I’d still be there today (or at least at home) except for some deadlines that require me to be at the office.

The really scary part, based on everything I’ve read, is that things don’t get better (with the possible exception of those people who achieve a remission). That is, now that I’ve had one of these major flares, there are probably more in my future. It may be 10 days or 10 months in the future, but the fact is my disease has progressed to the point that it can now take control of body.

I somehow feel like I’m back where I started. You know — when you were first diagnosed and read that at 5 years, 30% of RA patients are work disabled and at 10 years, 50% of them are. Those clinical statistics that strike fear into your heart. At three years out, I had fooled myself into thinking that my life could continue on with the disease controlled and with minor impact as long as I took my meds, watched my diet and got a reasonable amount of exercise. These last three days, I found out how wrong I could be.

I’m not predicting the future and I’m not throwing in the towel. But what I am saying is that, like Mr. Scrooge in The Christmas Carol, I saw a ghost of a possible future and, like Mr. Scrooge, I woke up shivering in my bed clothes, scared of that vision.

It also gave me a refreshed respect for those with RA that face these battles every day. It takes an untold amount of courage and perseverance.

I hope that whatever ghosts haunt your day today are no more troublesome than Casper. Thanks for checking in.