Spring into…a Flare?
Here in the northern tundra of Minnesota, it looks like Spring has finally sprung. Or, it’s trying to anyway. The giant mounds of snow everywhere have been steadily melting down and today everyone is excited because the temperature is supposed to hit 67 degrees (Fahrenheit) by the end of the day. With this increase in temperature, I also foresee a surge in people parading around in ridiculous attire, such as sporting shorts and blinding us all with their lily-white Minnesotan legs. I’m already seeing kids walking the halls wearing sandals (no socks) in the middle and high schools where I substitute teach. We are READY for Spring!
Humid weather and flares
There is one aspect of warmer weather that I’m not ready for, however. I’m not ready for the increase in pain and swelling that warm and especially humid weather brings. My RA body does NOT like hot, humid weather. And here in Minnesota, “typical” Spring days consisting of sunshine and dry, cool breezes don’t last very long. We usually have a very short Spring and then jump into sticky, hot summery weather. I hate it, really. I should probably just move somewhere else during the summer.
Coincidentally (are there really coincidences?), my RA is flaring up pretty bad right now, and the flare started around the time the temperatures here began to warm up. Joints especially affected include: both feet and ankles, both hands and wrists, knees, elbows, and shoulders. But it’s my poor, swollen feet and ankles that are the worst (as usual). My right foot and ankle are especially swollen, puffed up like a misshapen marshmallow, and radiating a constant, stabbing pain. I feel like I have hundreds of little shards of glass embedded in my ankle, twisting and screwing themselves deeper into my tender flesh. It’s awful. And it’s not going away.
More prednisone to deal with my flare?
So, despite not wanting to do this, I recently contacted my rheumatologist’s nurse and told her what’s going on. She consulted with my doctor and then sent over a prednisone burst pack to my pharmacy to take in order to hopefully make this flare-up calm down. More prednisone? Noooooo! But I knew it was coming.
Prednisone, AKA “The Devil’s Tic Tacs” (I love that term, whoever came up with it), has been a constant source of frustration for me over the last five years or so. I’ve written and complained about this a lot already, but for those of you who don’t know, I basically haven’t been able to taper off this powerful drug for a long time. And I desperately want to! I despise the side effects: weight gain, water retention, difficulty losing weight, mood changes, moon face, humpback/neck, insomnia, agitation, increased hunger, and the list goes on.
Despite all of its nasty side effects, the thing about prednisone is that it actually works. And it works quickly, which is important when you’re in serious pain. So after work today, I will trudge over to my pharmacy and pick up this new prescription and choke down the little white pills that will hopefully make my pain and swelling get better. I’ll have to put my weight loss efforts and goals on a back burner while I fight to extinguish this agonizing flare-up with the only weapon that really does the trick. Those evil, beautiful Devil’s Tic Tacs.
While I’m fairly confident that increasing my prednisone right now will help, I am anxious about what’s going to happen to my body as the weather continues to grow warmer and more humid. When I should be excited for it, I’m really dreading the end of winter. I’d rather be cold than in worse pain, suffering more than I already am.
Where can I move to this Summer? Antarctica is nice, right?
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