I feel like the more I have going on, the fewer RA symptoms I experience. Let me explain.
A couple of weeks ago, my cat, Marmalade deteriorated rather quickly and I provided her with 24/7 urgent care. The stress from the situation itself should have unraveled any good I’ve done thus far (RA-wise), but I managed to stay even-keeled throughout the entire experience.
Does adrenaline impact my RA symptoms?
I have noticed this in the past. During the summers, I donned my full-time work hat and acted as a summer camp instructor. I spent the entire day outdoors, transitioning kids from one end of the school to the other, and I managed to get through weeks upon weeks of this. Of course, once my day was done and I unraveled: I was flared beyond measure.
Pushing through while running on empty
I think it’s pure adrenaline. I become numb to everything and just go-go-go. I am no stranger to this type of lifestyle. I went to a school where the more we had on, the more successful we were. So, we constantly ran on empty and rarely had chances to catch our breath; but, we pushed through and thrived. Of course, at some point, we did crash; but, we managed to get through full school years on that pure energy.
My junior year was a particularly good example of this.
I woke up at 4 am, finished any work that still needed doing, went to school, did sports, went to play practice until 9 or 10 pm, worked until 2 am, slept, woke up, and did it all over again.
This was the time when I was young and fit and not plagued by illness, but it’s interesting how pure adrenaline motivated me.
Adrenaline during a tough time
Similarly, even with glorious rheumatoid disease at my side, I provided the care my beautiful girl needed.
When Marmalade was ill, I hand-fed her every one to two hours. I gave her subcutaneous fluids. I warmed her up and maintained her temperature. I helped her to the litter box, etc. We slept a few hours here and there. There was no structure and there was no day or night. We were in survival mode.
I didn't flare during this stressful time
Usually, stress is a major trigger for my RA, and my first pet, my gorgeous girl was dying. If this wasn’t stressful, I don’t know what was. But, I didn’t flare. I was pushed by pure force of will to keep going.
Three days was all she could take with her severe anemia and, a couple months short of her nineteenth birthday, Marmalade passed away.
Soon after, I crashed
I was still working on high energy when I took her to the vets but, after I left the clinic, I crashed.
I felt exhausted. I have never felt this type of fatigue in all my life. I was completely numb and almost incapable of doing anything. I don’t know if this was grief or just the dip after the spike but I was done.
Does adrenaline impact functionality?
Which makes me wonder if there is a way to maintain a certain level of adrenaline to boost functionality. I’m not talking junior year of high school adrenaline (nobody got out unscathed from that though, honestly, Marmalade was the reason I made it out alive), but just enough that I don’t crash or flare afterward. I could be productive, feel like myself, and not flare.
That probably doesn’t exist. I guess I just have to hope that I can manage my symptoms so I can go back to my previous life.
Was there a time that adrenaline motivated you past your RA limits?
How does your pet support your RA journey?