Flare And Back Again

Healing My Rheumatoid Arthritis with Functional Medicine

I am a 32-year-old mother of three children (ages 12, 9, and 7).  I am happily married and a teacher by profession, although I don’t work in the system currently because I am educating my own children at home.   My mother and my paternal grandmother both have or have had rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.

My symptoms began when I was nine years old but were largely dismissed as “growing pains” by doctors.  By seventh grade, I was wrapping my joints in bandages and forging notes from home to get out of PE because I was in pain.  By 15 I was self medicating with prescription pain killers intended for menstrual cramps.  My mother suspected juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, but the doctors continued to just dismiss it.  I took a lot of pills, missed a lot of school, but was able to pretty much get by.  Honestly, I thought I was normal.  Besides, if I hurt, I could just pop some pills, sleep it off, and be fresh in the morning.  This was how I managed until one fateful day when I was 26.  While lifting chicken out of the oven, my wrist popped.  At the time, it was no big deal; I was used to my joints popping and causing pain.  This time however, the pain did not go away no matter what I did.

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Back To Work

CollegeSquareWinter break is over, and last Monday I returned to teaching at one of the local universities. Due to logistical issues with the campus, my course, which normally covers the span of four months, has been changed to a super-accelerated schedule. Instead of teaching an hour and  a half each day, I am now teaching four hours (straight) each day!

And last week, I covered for another professor who was out. Four hours for my class, followed by four hours for her class. Needless to say, at the end of the day my feet were not happy campers.

But I made it through the week. On a couple of evenings, I even made it to the gym.

This timing of returning to a busy schedule was quite nice in a way, because it prevented me from dwelling on the news that I recently received regarding my elevated liver enzymes. Sure, I had the whirlwind of different emotions in the days following, but then I’ve resolved to continue to do the best that I can to take care of myself.

And while I’ve had a few aches and pains here and there (isn’t it wonderful to be able to refer to rheumatoid arthritis in the way?), particularly in my hands and feet, the day after tomorrow will be exactly one month since my last full blown flare/extremely painful episode. My crutches and my canes have also been resting in the corner next to the entrance door since the beginning of June.

However long this lasts, I do not know. What I do know is that I will continue to make to most of every new day, no matter what level my pain might be at.

Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!