The Gift Of A Flare
Written by Erin Groth on Oct. 9, 2021
The family I received through marriage is an extra awesome social bunch. They asked us over for dinner in the late September to celebrate of my 44th birthday earlier in the month. It had been a year since my last RA flare and I was in the middle a flare on this night with the family. I had been feeling ragged all week and looked forward to having dinner made for us.

At the party my lovely Mother-In-Law asked me, “why are you passing on the wine?” She gave me a cute wink.  

I said, “I’m taking a little break.” 

“Oooh, are you going to be giving us some good news?” She practically did a jig.

Although I appreciated the thought, I brushed off the implication of pregnancy. I tried to be casual and laughed, “Hehe, actually, I’m just not in the mood.”

The simple truth was that I started taking my RA medicine again. The label warns that taking it with alcohol harms the liver.

Back in August, I stubbed my toe which gave me instant concern it might trigger my RA. The toe healed from the black and blue but then blew up like a balloon for my birthday. On this particular day, it was red-hot and peeling from inflammation. I wondered what else had led to this situation. “It must have been the game of 1-on-1 at the park,” I thought. “We also went comedy that night and stayed up late. It must have been those two beers.” 

My self doubt doubles during flares. Normally, I’m a self-loving, happy person and my friends think I’m very sunny. Yet, RA brings out my shame, defeating thoughts, and worry.

Here is how this flare went. My brain taunted me, “Great way to commemorate your 44th. You can’t do what you did in your 20s let alone get pregnant”  

At the dinner table, my back ached and I had to fain eating the delicious food I’d normally devour. My son asked for the apple slices but my shoulder stung and restricted me from passing to the right. The little plate felt so heavy. It begged for help from my other hand. “This is bad if I can’t even lift a little plate,” I told myself. “Stupid arthritis. Why am I’m so tired?”  

As had happened with other flares, I felt noticeably disconnected from my body that evening. My busy mind was having trouble staying engaged in the conversation. I was judging and chastising myself inwardly. I felt a nagging ache in my right 4th finger. “That's the one I jammed playing basketball in the spring. I can’t believe I can still feel that! WTF? Sigh. Maybe I shouldn’t play basketball. Is it even worth it?”  

As I sighed out loud, I noticed my family’s concern. Returning home, the kids ask me if I would read them a book before bed. I really didn’t feel up for it. “I should want to read…” I shamed myself.

Husband to the rescue, “Leave your mom alone, she needs to go to bed.”

My flare only lasted a week—Thank God! These are my thoughts today, “The medication did it’s job. My lifestyle supports me. I have a great family. I’m so grateful. Stubbed toes happen. The birthday flare was a reminder that life is full of twists and turns. I have a great RA tool kit which includes everything from pharmaceudicals to lifestyle medicine and I know how to use it. I will continue to pay attention to my emotions and practice self love. I’m not meant to live in pain. My body recovers easily. I am resilient. I have much to share and do in this life…especially now."  RA pain comes and goes AND it sure feels good to return to oneself.

Erin Groth

Erin's professional goal is to help as many people as are ready for change get through their initial arthritis flares and learn how to apply simple tools to use throughout the whole arthritis journey.
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Any information contained in this website is based on the author’s personal experiences and should not be construed as medical or nutritional advice from a licensed physician or dietician. Please consult your medical professional prior to utilizing any of the information contained on this website to determine how the information may be best utilized in your situation.
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