Winter + Rheumatoid Arthritis = My Annual Season of Sickness…

Rheumatoid arthritis (3)

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Every winter I find challenges in managing my RA and staying on my meds. I take Enbrel and Methotrexate shots weekly, which help control pain and inhibit joint damage. Every Spring, Summer & most of the Fall, keeping on my meds schedule is not too bad. But Winter… Winter time means sickness time, which in turn means skipping my shots more than I care to.

The number of times I caught illnesses last year led to many missed dosages. The result? Permanent damage to a thumb joint and a middle finger joint on my right hand, made worse by the fact that I am also right-handed. *sigh* So frustrating.

My children used to be homeschooled by me for five years. During that time, we were almost never sick. I was sick twice in 5 years (I got the flu both times I tried to attend church during the winter.) When it became necessary to send my children to public school, the illnesses hit us hard. They caught everything that first year back and so did I. Their immune systems are stronger now, probably due to the repeated exposure to sickness they deal with every day.

Last week, my youngest caught a stomach bug… And so did I. This week, my oldest daughter was diagnosed with strep (which we didn’t know she had because of no sore throat), I also caught strep and am still fighting it. If I have only strep, then I can continue my weekly shots. But then new symptoms are popping up… Sinus cold/infection & Chest cold is starting. Even if I had just strep & a sinus cold, I could have taken my meds. But alas, the chest cold stops me. This is what I call my winter obstacle.

It is a tough choice to decide between:
(a) Skipping the shots & risking joint damage & increased pain; or
(b) Taking the shots that suppress my immune system, allowing my chest cold to worsen, possibly sending me to the hospital with pneumonia.

No one should have to make a choice like this. I tried to think of an analogy so I can better explain the frustration this causes, but I can’t think of any words to explain it.

Okay, the frustrated and complaining part is over… Because I really don’t like to dwell on the negatives when there are oh-so-many blessings all around us!

Through my pain and sickness this week, here are the main blessings I was given this week:
1. My husband cleaned up the kitchen, washed dishes, kept the laundry routine going,  and even came home from work to make our dinner. I didn’t even have ask… It just gets done. 🙂
2. I was able to lay down and rest while the most of the time they were are today.
3. Laughter. The kids kept laughing & were having a good time laughing & giggling together

Try to find ways focus on the good times in some,way. No matter how you feeling, a little laughter goes a long way in brightening your