I broke one of the most important rules of living with an autoimmune disease – I overdid it yesterday. Anybody living with chronic illness knows that you have to set limits on how much you do in a day and against my better judgment, I had an entire day in town with my bestie. I did this after a short night of sleep and a battle with insomnia that I ultimately lost.
I had a great time yesterday. It was certainly a much-needed girl’s day out and I enjoyed every minute of it, but I am paying for it today. I have joint and muscle pain in every area of my body. My skin in burning and tingling. My head is foggy today – much more than usual. Now that I have thrown myself into a flare, I must declare this a rest day. Sadly I will probably have to rest for several days just to recover from one day in town. This is one of the coldest realities to face as a person suffering with chronic illness. The most difficult decision I ever have to make is whether or not the pain is worth the time spent with my loved ones… I always flare afterwards, but when you’re looking at a possibly short life, the time spent together is so much more precious.
In addition to pushing my body past my limitations, I ate food that was not good for me. Anytime that I eat greasy food or any type of fast food, my liver goes into a flare. A liver flare for me feels like someone is twisting a butcher knife into my stomach and twisting it around. The pain shoots through to my back and up into my shoulder. It makes it difficult to breathe. I can’t speak when it hurts like that and sometimes the pain causes me to vomit. This is another cold reality of my life. And these flares are the direct result of my decisions. I always kick myself in the butt after eating like this. I am my biggest enemy sometimes and I’m still working on that part.
My Raynaud’s is flaring today, too. For those of you that are new to the blog, I will explain Raynaud’s. Raynaud’s Disease is a condition that causes my body to think that it is freezing cold. The blood retreats from my hands and feet and my entire body goes ice cold. My fingers and toes turn white, then blue and sometimes even red. This happens to me every season of the year, regardless of whether or not it’s actually cold outside. My attacks are more frequent when I’m tired, in pain or having an anxiety attack. The whole world can see the color change and it’s mildly embarrassing at times!
When I’m having flare days like today, I still get up and get dressed, do my hair and put makeup on my face. I don’t really understand why I do it this way, but I feel like it helps. At the very least, it makes me feel mildly better about myself and that’s half the battle. On days like today, I try really hard not to whine or complain too much. Some days I am successful in this endeavor, and other days I give myself a moment of validation then I tuck it away and do the best that I can.
Writing, playing games, crocheting and Netflix all help me get through days like today. My boys like to play card games with me when I’m flaring and can’t be on my feet. My husband picks up the slack for me and never makes me feel bad about it, which is a huge blessing and I’ll be the first one to admit it. I recognize that a lot of autoimmune warriors aren’t as lucky as I am to have such a supportive family, and I try to make sure mine knows how grateful I am for them.
Stay safe out there fellow autoimmune warriors and loved ones! Love and light always!