Living with Flare Ups

I have often commented on this blog about “Flare ups” and their effect they have on my running. One thing occurred to me today though as I hobbled through the lobby of my building after finishing up this mornings run – do the readers actually know what a “flare up” is? If you have Psoriatic Arthritis, then you definitely know what it is. If you however do not, here is a good snippet.

I have been dealing with “flare ups” over the past 14 years. At one point, the joints in my body were all on fire for long periods of times (weeks). Every time I tried to play hockey or sports, the recovery following these athletic events was days. My body was (and I still deal with it each day) in a constant state of pain and flaring. If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you already know my story but I have never really shared what a flare does to me. 


First, these flare ups get in the way of a good run. With the joints all stiff, getting up to a decent speed is a challenge at times. This morning for example, the first mile was a tough one as the arthritis in my knee was exploding (Ironically as I was listening to a Harry Potter book via audible and his scar was burning). It took me a whole mile to loosen up before I was able to drop the pace down into the 8:15 range – a whole 35 seconds per mile, due to being stiff.

Another effect of the flares is on the mind. This used to be a big problem for me as the flares basically had me curl up in a ball and sulk. I could not handle the pain and just wanted to sit still till it went away. Now, having got used to the pain, I deal with it and move on. That however is easier said than done because so many afflicted with this disease are unable to get out of bed to fight back. I have worked hard though and now treat theses flares as a fact of life. I realize that “pain happens” and life goes on and so shall I! 

Finally, Flares also do a number of my daily life. Bending up and down, typing on a keyboard or doing the same on my iPhones just leads to pain. The pain can be small, annoying or really painful. This pain can almost display one as being older than they are as people will constantly ask, “are you ok?” 


I realize that flare ups will always be a fact of life for me. Dealing with them appropriately is key! I do so by the following

  1. Keep a positive outlook on them. They come and go so look forward to them “going” away.
  2. Realize that pain is a part of life. When you come to this resolution in your mind, you are ready to beat back PsA. Till then, if you complain about pain, it is winning. 
  3. Run more and exercise more. These actions are why I am able to run 35 miles a week, coach hockey 2-3 times a week, play a game of hockey from time to time and venture outside in the spring, summer and fall to play some soccer in a league and with the kids. Keep active!

So that’s about it. Thank you for reading my story and happy holidays!

BM

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