You Might Be Swollen If . . .
If one were to think of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis/rheumatoid disease (RA/RD) as a social clique, pain is usually the queen bee. However, fatigue and inflammation often vie for the number two spot, and can sometimes be even more prominent than pain. Like all RA/RD symptoms, inflammation can be mild, moderate or severe, and can vary from day to day and week to week. When my inflammation is mild, I often give it little notice (although over the years my rheumatologists have reminded me of the dangers inflammation poses to the body). However, when I’m really swollen, it becomes readily apparent and can be extremely uncomfortable.
Any of you who experience significant swelling will probably recognize some of this inflammation-indicators and have additional ones to add to the list.
You might be swollen if . . .
When you take your shoes off, their outlines are indented on your feet.
You look like you gained 10 pounds . . . since yesterday.
If you try to make a fist, you look less like a person about to land a punch and more like you’re about to do a mike drop.
When you straighten your leg your knee still feels as if it's bent.
Your elbows are squishy instead of bony.
The wrinkles on your fingers and wrists have disappeared.
The shoes that fit yesterday are unbearable to wear today.
Your rings are cutting into your fingers.
Your ankles are nearly the same size as the bottoms of your calves.
Your favorite bangle bracelets won't fit over your hand.
You have to significantly loosen the laces on your tennis shoes in order to get them on.
Your straight-leg jeans somehow became skinny-jeans overnight.
Your hands look like latex gloves someone’s filled with pudding.
The waistband of your underwear feels like a vise on your hips.
The skin on your knuckles and elbows has cracked.
You can’t curl your toes.
You can’t fully straighten your legs or your fingers.
Your body feels like a human jello mold.
Those are a few of my in-your-face inflammation indicators. Can you relate? Do you have any others to add to the list?
On a scale of 1(low) to 5(high), how difficult is it for you to talk about having RA?