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View Full Version : What is going on?! (Or, What is a flare?)



Derrie
11-20-2012, 10:35 AM
Hey all,

So for the year and a half I've had my autoimmune disease, my symptoms have remained pretty constant, some days a little better, some days a little worse. Nothing ever happened that I could identify as a "flare."

But yesterday and today... It's like a lead blanket has descended upon me. And all my joints are cracking and popping (weird?), and one shoulder hurts, and my lower back aches, and my leg pain (an old friend) is worse, and my rear end (hip?) hurts when I walk, and my wrists and fingers hurt, and my abdominal pain (also an old friend) is much worse than it's ever been. And my morning stiffness hasn't gone away yet, and usually that'll shove off after an hour or two.

But none of the symptoms are terribly specific. Is this a flare? Or just a bad day? Should I call my doctor? Is there anything he'd even do? Or do I just suck it up and wrap myself in a human-sized heating pad?

Ughhh.

jmail
11-20-2012, 01:47 PM
How 'bout brain fog? Head feel "crowded", or maybe you have a confused feeling, like maybe you forgot something, even if you didn't (but who'd know anyway)? For me, the flare almost always involves the head/neck area, sometimes almost a frantic feeling, along with worse joint aches and pains, and my spine will feel like it's about to explode. I'll usually break-out with some kind of rash somewhere, almost always with mouth sores, scratchy, gooey, blurry eyes, etc. An overall just plain old "rotten" feeling. Unable to get comfortable. The worse the flair, the worse the symptoms. What you describe almost sounds like the beginning of one, with that "lead blanket" description. I've been told by the rheumy to bump-up the pred, and give them a call when I do it again. He doesn't want to rely upon my recollection and pictures again... It seems each go-round is different from the others for me, no two "incidents" being alike. Sort of like the lupus is feeling its way around in me, seeing where my weak spots are... I've got quite a few of those. |;^)

tgal
11-20-2012, 04:38 PM
I too would say you may be in a small flare or at the beginning of one but I am not your doctor. Since this is all rather new to you I would usually suggest resting a day or two and seeing what happens and if it wasn't better in 48 hours, or if you began having trouble with organs (lungs, heart, etc) to call your doctor. However, with it being a holiday week here in the states you might want to go ahead and call the doc tomorrow to see if he wants to start you on or up your steroids for a little while. Would be better to do it now then end up in the ER on Thanksgiving if you have another option.

just my 2 cents worth

rob
11-21-2012, 04:05 AM
This sounds very much like what a typical Lupus flare is like for me. I get these same basic symptoms, as well as brainfog. And I get the lead blanket fatigue as well as the morning aches and pains that stick around the whole day. Old injuries often become painful again.

My personal rule for calling the doctor is that I'll make an appointment only if I'm having something new going on that is really painful or otherwise distressing. I'm more or less in a constant cycle of flares that peak and then taper off every 3-4 days. Basically, I double up on my anti-inflammatories and do what I can to be at least semi-comfortable until the worst passes. With the frequency of my symptoms, if I went to see the doctor each time I have a flare up, I'd be in the doctor's office pretty much all the time.

Rob

debbie-b
11-21-2012, 05:30 AM
I am with Rob, mine is the same, but it always starts with diarrhea, after that the fatigue starts, pain gets much worse, brainfog, morning stiffness takes longer to subside. The rheumy gave me an emergency supply of Prednisone, to take for 5 days, tapering every day. That way, I don't have to go to his office, every time I have a flare.

Debbie

tgal
11-21-2012, 06:53 AM
I want to be clear, in your situation I wouldn't go to the doctor either. Heck, as I mentioned in another post, I almost live in a flare and I am not going to live at the doc (Rob put that well). My point with you, and for all new people, is that until you learn what your flare actually is you really are not in a position to know when an upping of the steroids is what you need to do. I am sure the doctor will tell you what to do in these instances when you go visit and, as time go on, you will get to the point where you handle basic flares like most people do the common cold (IE no doctor needed).

I just believe the doctor is the best idea in this instance because this whole situation is new for you. Sadly you will become an old pro one day and my advice would have been very different

debbie-b
11-21-2012, 07:28 AM
I second, what tgal said, until you know, what a flare is, you should go and see the doc.

Debbie

Derrie
11-21-2012, 07:30 AM
Thanks, y'all. I have an appointment with my doctor this morning, and if my stiffness and creakiness doesn't wear off in a couple hours like it normally does, I'm going to go in for a check in and maybe some extra pain meds and/or prednison (I don't take pred regularly). My biggest worry is feeling much worse over the holiday weekend.

All your input is great! It's helping me get an idea of what to expect and how to handle it. I like the idea of having an emergency stash of prednisone -- especially for things like holiday weekends -- so maybe I'll talk to him about that.

I can't believe this is happening the week of Thanksgiving. I have so much cooking I was to do! I had plans to make a dairy-free pumpkin pie from scratch! Now that sounds impossibly taxing. Boo.

magistramarla
11-21-2012, 03:58 PM
Hi Derrie,
I wonder if your flare is sort of a delayed-reaction from going off of your meds for your recent trip to the teaching hospital?
Hopefully, once your body is used to your meds again, you'll go back to having it all under control.
Have a great holiday - I hope that you get to make that pie!
Hugs,
Marla

The Survivor
11-21-2012, 04:12 PM
Derrie,

I'm sure that if you follow with your doctor's instructions, you'll be just fine. Just stay positive and do your best to enjoy the upcoming holiday.

tgal
11-21-2012, 07:35 PM
Holidays often bring about a lot of stress (cooking, cleaning, company). Remember that stress is one of the things that will bring on a flare the fastest. Add that to what Marla said, about the possible delayed reaction, and you had the perfect set up for a flare. In time you will figure this all out ( ok, not all). Just always remember that stress is never our friend