Usually, the frequency of my blog posts is a pretty good indicator of how I am doing. When I write less regularly, I’m usually feeling better. When I write more regularly, I’m usually feeling worse. The reason for this is twofold. First, putting my challenging experiences down in words helps me process them and cope with them. Second, when I’m not doing so well I become much more bedridden, and am thus limited to certain activities which involve my computer, books, and an iPod.
Anyone who has been keeping tally over the past week would have noticed a considerable increase in my online presence, followed by an almost complete drop-off over the past couple of days. I’d love to associate this with a rapid improvement of my condition, but the exact opposite is true. Things have been so difficult that I have not even been able to blog. In my 60-Second Guide to Rheumatoid Arthritis, I liken the pain of RA to being run over by a Mack truck. Allow me to extend the metaphor by saying that yesterday was a multiple-vehicle collision on a Los Angeles expressway.
My worst episodes (and by episode I am referring to anything above and beyond the usual chronic pain and inflammation), which on average happen once a day, have now started occurring two to three times a day. On good days these episodes last about half an hour each, on bad days they can last up to three hours each. If you do the math, we’re talking about nine hours (three episodes times three hours) of extreme pain and disability. Add in the almost twelve hours that I’ve been sleeping (fortunately, I have been able to sleep), and that leaves me about three hours in the day.
I’m barely recovering, emotionally and physically, from my previous episode when the next episode already starts to approach. My ride on the rheumatoid arthritis roller coaster has once again become all too real.
But like I said, even though things are overwhelmingly difficult at the moment, not everything is bad. I am able to sleep, which is a good thing. I do have a few hours of each day to do stuff that I enjoy, like watch television, read, and surf the Internet. I have been able to bathe and dress myself without any help (when I can do this, I feel so…well, successful). And despite the endless nature of my illness, I remain bright-eyed.
Yes, I continue to get knocked down more that I might wish, but all this means is that I just have to pick myself right back up. True, I might not always be able to do so physically, but I will always be able to do so mentally and emotionally…and this counts for a lot.
Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!