I live in the same place I grew up. I guess I love it, maybe? The biggest reason I love my city is the four distinct seasons. The Fall brings a beautiful breeze and a long transition of colors. The winter is rather moderate with lots of snow (until recent years) and the Spring, well, the Spring brings flowers (and pollen, ick) and the beginning of a hot, humid summer. Okay, so, three out of four isn’t bad. The end of Spring and Summer are my least favorite times of years, always. Let me tell you why.
Sinus infections due to humidity
Storytime: Around my sophomore year of high school I experienced debilitating sinus infections. They were extraordinary. I even missed multiple consecutive days of school. They were brought on mostly during the spring and summer when humidity was at its highest. I cursed the weather but I knew it wasn't going to change. Why? I live in a swamp. Not actually in a bayou or anything just an extremely swampy area. I eventually got sinus correction surgery and my problems all disappeared for a while. By "a while", I mean, two years until I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. After a lot of trial and error we settled on a biologic that controlled my symptoms by 80% (sometimes even 90%). Unfortunately, according to my doctor, this biologic also suppressed the part of my immune system that fights sinus infections. The freaking things came back and not in a subtle way either.
I had to decide: give up the one medication that took me from unable to work to living a somewhat normal life or get rid of the sinus infections. I’ll be honest, even now (four years after first starting this biologic) I still want to get off it. My doctor wants to as well but not until a new TNF inhibitor comes out.
But, this is only part of a very old story. So, why am I telling you now?
Humidity strikes again
I am currently sitting through a two-week rainstorm. Apparently, we are not meant to see the sun again for another seven? Eight days? Not that anyone can really predict the forecast nowadays. I recently wrote an article about how I loved the winter but the cold exacerbated my RA symptoms. It now seems the humidity affects me just as much. But, instead of pain and swelling, I feel ill. I have a low-grade fever, muscle aches, and an overall rundown feeling. My joints aren't ballooning but they certainly feel swollen!
It's a little ironic that I live in a swamp because I often describe RA as though my body is moving through mud puddle. Every action takes extra force and strength to push against the weight on me.
So, how do I deal with it? I take antibiotics for my infections. I stick my head inside a humidifier and hope my sinuses clear properly. As for the flare feeling, I use a heating pad and drink a lot of water. I'm not sure what my logic is behind those but they help. And, of course, my handy flare manager tasks because at the end of it all it’s still a flare or, elevation of symptoms.
Does weather affect your RA? Is it the temperature? Season? Humidity?
I know I should move and eliminate one of my symptom triggers. I curse the mobile ground I live on (my city continuously sinks) but those dang cherry blossoms keep reeling me back in!
On a scale of 1(low) to 5(high), how difficult is it for you to talk about having RA?