Friday, January 13, 2012


It's a bit of a mystery, where and when my next swollen joint will appear. My knee? Left or right hand? Elbow? Wrist? Which one? The suspense is killing me. No, check that, it's the pain that is killing me, not the suspense.

Lately, I have had "classic" red, swollen joints which appear late in the day and sometimes disappear when I wake up. Sometimes not. In the past week, I've experienced, my left wrist, my 3rd and 4th MCP on both hands, my left knee and the list goes on. You just never know where RA is going to be when the music stops.

I know RA is characterized by swollen, red joints and I do have those, but mine are typically more of a slow burn, where there is enough inflammation and pain to make itself known, but not enough to cause a full-blown flare. I've had this for 20+ years.

I've always had a hard time at my Rheumatologist's office when they ask how I am feeling. I think so much of this answer is tied up to your personality and disposition. I tend to be happier and err on the side of positive, so I am usually "OK" which actually tells my health care team zilch.  But usually it's true.

I read fellow bloggers posts about an onset of a flare, or being in a flare. I've never really termed my RA in that manner. I have moderately active joints, that flare up one at a time every now and then. I could say I've been flaring for 20+ years, at a slow and steady rate - like good BBQ. I have some flare ups, but for the most part, my damage and pain comes from years of low-grade inflammation.

Wow, did I just compare RA and BBQ? Hmm, well its one of the better analogies that I've used to illustrate a patient's perspective. And it's -24 C with the windchill with 10 cm of snow falling today here in Ottawa, so Summer sounds good right about now.

Along these crazy lines - BBQ, summer, music. Well, one can only refer to the Canadian Icon Brian Adam and the Summer of 69. One of the best Canadian rock songs ever. You can't help but smile and rock right along.


Deb aka AbcsOfra said...

Well that is a first! RA barbeque style. Do you think yours is a rub type of BBQ or a sauce type :-) Just kidding of course. I say roll us all off the grill all together.

Wren said...

Hi, Megan! Like you, I've had RA for more than 20 years, and I've never really had a full-body flare. For the first 10 years or so the pain was severe and debilitating, but it was always in a single joint--a knee here, a shoulder there, a finger here again. The joints were sometimes red and swollen, sometimes not. The flare could last from four hours to four days, rarely longer. And like you, I never knew which joint it would be next.

I love your BBQ analogy. By this time, I think we're pretty well-done.

Best wishes to you. It sounds just brutally cold up there. I hope your spring is both early and warm.

Anonymous said...

Love ya and wont ever stop sending healing energy your way. What A Woman!

Love and Hugs
Aunt Sandra