As some of my readers know, I suffer from lupus and fibromyalgia. I was officially diagnosed in 1995 after several mis-diagnoses, including being diagnosed with juvenile arthritis.

Ive spent the last 16 years educating myself, changing habits that encourage symptoms, and educating others. Ive also spent the last 16 years playing flare / remission / flare / remission. Ive been pretty ‘lucky’, in that Ive been able to go several years at a time in remission before hitting a flare up period.

Last week I read this article ( http://www.prohealth.com/library/showarticle.cfm?libid=16638 ) that, if Im correct in understanding, theres a link between stress and symptoms.

When I attended my lupus and FM support group, almost all of our stories seemed similar. We all sort of agree that stress ‘attacks’ us and makes our lupus flare. Not that there isnt other things that make our symptoms worse, but stress is definitely a factor in the length of a flare.

Ive had a rough couple of weeks. Truly a high stress period. I could feel my body aching more and more. It got harder and harder to convince myself to get out of bed – and then…..I started losing weight, having really bad back pains, my Reynauds got worse. The list goes on….and even tho I did get lab work done, I dont need any doctor to tell me that I am, indeed, flaring up.

Part of me doesnt even want to see the actual doctor (esp my kidney doctor) because I know what hes going to say. I dont want to make weekly visits, I dont want to have to take time away from my job and I DONT want to feel this horrible.

Last year I participated in a clinical trial during one of my worse flares (my kidneys were failing) and I STILL WENT TO WORK EVERY DAY! Yes, I probably COULD have quit my job and applied for disability. But, not working and being productive would have made me depressed and stressed, which would have made my symptoms worse….

I have people in my own family who could really care less about how I feel, but expect me to feel pity on them for their minor aches and pains. They want to justify their laziness when, in all reality, if anyone had a reason to make excuses, it would be me.

It makes me SO angry that I fight thru my symptoms and am still a productive member of society-paying my own way, when other people just take advantage of the system.

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