Baby, It's Cold Outside
Last year I wrote an article (one of my first for this site!) about how much I missed winter. It was always my favorite time of year. I loved the snow, the festivities, the good mood, the generosity, and the pure genuine happiness. Or maybe, I just loved the nice long winter break from school.
I loved buying gifts enveloped by Christmas decorations at the mall, running errands with holiday music blasting from speakers and sipping my favorite holiday beverages only available for a couple of months. I absolutely LOVED winter clothing and bundling up in cute hats, scarves, and jackets. (My favorite this year is neon green fleece pajama pants with penguins wearing Santa hats--why yes, I am the coolest person you'll ever meet!) I loved spending time with friends and family as this was the only time of year everyone made an effort to be together. I loved it all.
RA and winter: not a good combination
What’s wrong with me? I sound all happy and gushy and it’s weird, I know!! So let me bring myself back down to reality. There is one thing I dislike about winter and it will never change. I
hate (edit: strongly dislike) the cold. I detested it before and I'm not too fond of it now.
As we have established in previous articles, I am quite the petite person. I am also skin and bones which means as a rule of thumb I am always cold (I am that person who wears sweatshirts during the summer). As I write this I am in a hat and scarf, indoors, with my space heater on.
Put me outside and I suffer. Just stepping outside to take the dogs out for a pee is dreadful. I wish I were exaggerating. I do not look forward to leaving my home during the winter.
RA's impact on RA: Infections and flares
Before my Rheumatoid Disease, I worried about sinus infections. Now, I worry about flares. Cold is a major trigger for me (even when I bundle up). Every time I go outside my joints become a little stiffer and a little more painful.
Last January, during the polar vortex on the East Coast, my father’s osteoporosis and knee injuries flared up. I walked Mocha twice daily during the polar vortex for a week. It was so cold and my RA so flared my hands actually froze to the leash. My dad had to boil water and peel my little digits off one by one.
In order to enjoy those lovely activities, I mentioned at the beginning of the article I need to brave the freezing (okay, now that’s an exaggeration!) temperatures to go anywhere. Whether it be the mall, the coffee shop or even just the grocery store for supplies. And forget about those great social events like walking through the city’s beautiful architectures decked out in twinkling lights and other holiday decorations. I can barely walk to my car let alone a couple of hours outside!
Winter takes up too many of my spoons
In theory, events like cookie decorating and sipping holiday cocoas in gorgeously decorated hotel lobbies are feasible but I have to consider the number of spoons I’d use in braving this cold new world. But, at the same time, it is probably 100% worth the inevitable downtime that follows because the most wonderful time of the year only happens for a few weeks and I want to enjoy it!
Are you like me? Do you enjoy the holiday season but worry about triggers and flares? Let me know in the comments!
Quiz: Which is NOT a common risk factor for osteoporosis?