I'm getting a bit concerned about myself - I've noted it before... I have rheumatoid arthritis. It's been my uninvited companion through life since I was 19 years old, so I have no clue what it feels like to be a healthy adult. Now, at nearly 50 years old, it's classified as 'severe', which means my hands are gnarled like an old oak, I walk with a cane, and there are days when I feel like the Tin Man before he got his oil. These days, I've also got osteo-arthritis, the result of age and side effects from RA treatments. (It's that a delightful joke??)
The less visible symptom of active RA is exhaustion - the kind you feel when you've worked out to the point where your muscles are just done. It's not 'sleepiness' - in fact, insomnia is an occasional issue, too. It's flat out physical and mental exhaustion, that's it, I'm done, leave me alone while I stare at the wall a bit.
A couple years ago, I spent the entire winter in that state of being - intense crushing pain, brain fog, exhaustion that had me needing a nap everytime I got up to cross the room. I quite literally thought I might be dying.
Now, nothing like that is happening right now - but the weather is turning, and with it, I'm feeling that creeping sensation of an incoming flare, and all I can think is, NO, not now! I have a list of things I want to do before Christmas, and I've got time enough to do it in without overdoing... but only if I don't lose days to RA.
Time management is such an issue for me - it's always a gamble to plan ahead for anything, because I don't know how functional I'm going to be on any given day. On the other hand, precisely because my own energy and capability levels are so variable, I have to plan and set deadlines for just about anything I actually want to get done, just so I can pad the time with unscheduled down time and have some hope of doing what I intended when I intended.
Can you guess how crazy that makes people around me... I need to know what my plans are, so I know how much I can let RA modify the plan without feeling bad about it... otherwise, every flare makes me feel like I'm letting down the world. Hah, never thought of it like that but that's what this is... guilt management.
Right now, all that I want to get done has to do with things I want to do for others. The baking is so that Deanna and I have gifts to give to a few people around us that have been wonderful to us both... it's non-negotiable, and as long as I do a bit each day, there will be enough to pass around even if I have to let go of a couple planned items. I'm shopping this afternoon for the rest of what I need to do about that, so I'll feel better once it's all on hand to let me work.
The rest involves stitching... I have to make progress on Michaels (mumble) and Deanna's blanket - I know they'll both understand if RA keeps me from finishing, but I want to finish. I'm excited to see their faces.
So while yesterday and today, I just felt a little extra tiredness and overall sense of blah, and today, my hands are complaining a bit more loudly than normal, I'm watching the weather settle into winter bonecrushing weariness, and I worry.
Next month, RA - just leave me be for now, ok?