I’ll do my usual Friday Fill-Ins later on. But it’s my blog and I’ll whine if I want to (whine if I want to, whine if I want tooooooooo….you know that song, right?).
I’ve been a little in denial about it, but it’s time to admit: the icky, bane-of-my-existence autoimmune crud is flaring up again.
You know, I wish I had a name for it. I’ve been tested for so many things: rheumatoid arthritis, Behcet’s disease, ankylosing spondylitis. I was told for a couple of years that I had lupus, but my most recent rheumatologist is reluctant to label it as such. All we know is that my blood work is off and something is wrong with me. It has been for six years now, and we still don’t have a clear diagnosis.
My symptoms include joint pain and stiffness, especially in my hands, mouth sores, and exhaustion (like early pregnancy or coming-down-with-the-flu exhaustion where you have to rest—it’s not optional when you feel like that). I’ve had pleurisy (a lung inflammation) a few times, and one awful half-year when my immune system completely overreacted to a simple respiratory infection. It led to a muscle inflammation that left me needing months of physical therapy to regain pain-free use of my shoulders and hips. And when I catch these random bugs my little ones bring home, I’m usually sicker and it takes longer to get over it than it should. (Which is why I am totally anal about avoiding sick people, hand-washing and using hand sanitizer.)
Blessedly, pregnancy put all of my issues into remission, and besides some weird postpartum stuff that might’ve been autoimmune-related, I’ve had a heavenly, symptom-free year and a half.
I haven’t needed to see my rheumatologist for that long. She doesn’t even know I had a baby. I really like her, but it was quite nice not having to see her for a while.
I know I need to call her. I probably need to go back on the medication I was on before that helped keep it subdued. I don’t have time to feel bad, which is one reason I keep dismissing the slow re-encroachment of these symptoms. I’ve so totally enjoyed this season of not feeling badly. I had forgotten what that was like, and it was wonderful to not be in pain every day, to not have to think about it every day.
There were actually times that I forgot there was anything wrong with me.
And frankly, I’m angry that it’s back.
It could be worse. It could be much worse—I don’t let myself forget how blessed I am that it’s not cancer or anything more serious. I remind myself of this when I get mad about having a chronic illness. Praise God it’s me that’s dealing with it, and I’m not having to watch one of my children suffer, as so many parents have to do. That would be a million times more difficult than this.
If you pray, please join me in prayer for healing. And for grace to cover me until then.
Kari Apted is a writer and speaker residing in Georgia with her husband, three sons, and an ever-changing menagerie of pets. She writes a humorous weekly parenting column for The Covington News and freelances for various publications.more»