Ever since I can remember, summer has been a relief for my rheumatoid arthritis. I know that some folks like it cold for their RA, but I have never been that case. I like it hot! And I don’t care much whether it is humid or not, just as long as the heat comes.
In the winter it feels like I can rarely ever get warm, but I love that summer removes this problem (except for over air-conditioned spaces). I enjoy spending time sitting in the heat and my joints seems to soak it up like a sponge.
Perhaps this year, summer has been extra helpful because I’m dealing with a medication failure. The drug I am on for my RA is not working well, yet I’ve been able to cope because I can get my warm weather and do exercises in the pool daily (except when it rains!). Although I’m not feeling so great, these things help me to feel better and mitigate the fact that the medication is lackluster.
Summer also brings relief in the form of distractions or various fun activities that keep my mind off not feeling well. I can go see baseball, hang outdoors with friends, take trips to see family, go on walks in the neighborhood and just get out and about more easily than I am able in winter. I don’t think twice about going out because I know that I will be plenty warm and comfortable.
When my medication began to fail, I really worried that I would not be able to enjoy the summer. I feared that I would feel too bad and would instead have to rest and cope with fatigue and pain. While I have had some bad days, I’m happy that summer has actually helped and instead I am pretty much able to enjoy my time as I had planned.
Summer heat: A soothing balm for medication issues
While we are figuring out the next steps for my treatment, I have summer to help me through. I still am needing some extra rest, but a nap on the patio is a fine way to get it! And extra time sitting by the pool can’t hurt either. I am working in my leisure as I continue to enjoy the warm summer days.
My hope is that by the time the cooler fall days arrived, I will be on a new medication and ramping up to a more effective treatment. I’m thinking ahead to the winter when the aches and pains come more readily and strongly than they do in the summer. What can I do now to prepare me for that time? Like a squirrel, how can I stock up on nuts during the warm days that will hold me over during the deprivation of winter?
It’s always a relief when the RA lets up a little. I know that my inflammation is high, but I am feeling better as far as symptoms because of the warmth of summer. If it were any other time of year, I’d be struggling much worse.
I’ve had summers that have been much better—low inflammation, feeling great, full of energy. And it’s not going to happen this year (at least it’s not likely on my current treatment). But I’m actually OK with just doing fine. It’s because I know it could be a lot worse and also because I know that my medication is not helping me that much (if at all). If I can get by on a little summer relief, then I am glad for the good fortune of timing. Besides, there’s always next summer to look forward to!
This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The RheumatoidArthritis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.