Winter has arrived


I must confess that I have thoroughly enjoyed our Indian Summer this year. Now that it is December, the cold arctic air has arrived and snow along with it. The beautiful white fluffy flakes have been falling off and on for two days now. The roads have not been bad, considering it is the first snowfall of the season.

I ventured out yesterday to pick up a few groceries. Most normal people do not think twice about getting ready and heading out, even in bad weather. I got dressed and put my coat on and headed out. I got to the grocery and while I was shopping, I began to experience pain in my legs, specifically in my knees, ankles and feet. After checking out quickly, I headed back home.

I arrived home and immediately took my pain medication (the one that really does not much). I was a total grouch too. I seem to be a grouch when I am in pain. At least, that is what my family tells me. I recognize it as well. After what seemed like a long time, the pain began to subside somewhat.

I posting this because it shows how I can feel decent one moment and in a short time, feel intense pain in my joints. The pain was triggered in part by the cold air I had been in. I have found when it gets cold, my body rebels and causes pain to occur.

My story is not unique. Most of us lupies experience more pain and flares in the winter, and it seems that the colder weather does trigger the flares and pain. This is the time of the year I call my hibernation period. I call it that because I do not get out much, and actually go out of my way NOT to go out. It is the only way I can feel like I can control my pain.

On the plus side, this last week I had my yearly eye exam and it went well. I have a new rx for glasses so I have to get them soon. The cataracts are still growing, but they are not as invasive as they could have been. Whew! Unless they get worse, I do not have to go back for one year! I go once a year because of the medication I am on, called plaquenil. It is an anti malarial drug which can affect the eyes when used long term. I have been on this medication for ten years or more now. To prevent the possible side effects, I have to go once a year and do several tests just to make sure all is well.

Next appointment is with the pain clinic for my first visit and then I also have an appointment to see the orthopedic surgeon about my knees. Finally, I will see my surgeon that takes care of my stomach. This month is the month of doctors. The good news is that once it is over, I should be cleared again for a few months at least.

When you have a chronic disease like lupus, you develop a “team” of doctors who take care of various aspects of the manifestations of the disease. I personally see my family doctor, a neurologist, a rheumatologist, a surgeon, an orthopedic surgeon, and my opthalmalogist. On the periphery are my other doctors, which I see as needed. One is my cardiologist and another is the gastroenterologist.

Well, in the meantime, I will update as I go through all of these. I am hoping to have more survivor stories soon from some of my friends. It is my hope that even if it helps and encourages one person, it will be worth it!