Flares, Relapses, and a New Business Plan

flare be gone

As you can see, I have a new business proposition in mind. Look for my spray cans of Flare-Be-Gone, which will be available after the new year. GUARANTEED to reduce the length and intensity of your flare by half, or your money back. Will be hitting the market at a REDUCED PRICE of $99.99 per can!!!***

Ok, all joking aside. I’m flaring. And I’m feeling a bit strange about it all.

There is a part of this flare that feels too normal and unassuming for comfort. It feels normal to look at my activity tracking charts, see the ups and downs, and look at this most recent plunge. It feels normal because I know the drill. I know that the next few weeks will be hard. I know that slowly but surely I will get back into my exercises, slowly building up my activity level, and at some point, most likely, I will end up where I was before.

If this flare is like the past, and I think it will be, I will climb my way up to a stable plateau and stay there for a while. Perhaps for a few weeks, sometimes even for a few months. Then something will trigger another flare, and the same cycle will commence.

This is the pattern my life has followed for the past four or so years. Ups and downs. Slowly climbing up and swiftly falling down. So far the cycle hasn’t been broken. I still believe it would be possible for the cycle to be broken. I still believe it would be possible for me to slowly but surely climb my way out of and keep climbing and build strength and avoid triggers until my body was strong enough to sustain the triggers.

It feels possible, but not likely.

The thing is, I’m not ready to give up on climbing out of this thing. At the same time, I’m trying to accept being where I am while I am here. Yesterday I kept thinking about how I have done this before. It was like I have done this just the right number of times that I know I can do it. I don’t have any doubts that I can do it. I think about some of my worst weeks in the past, and this isn’t close to that.

I think about how many times I have gone to work in pain, stayed at work in pain, and come home in pain. And no one really knew or noticed. I just did because I had to. And I can do it again.

I’m sure I would feel more emotional if this was one of my horrible flares. I measure the past four or five years of pain by the four flare ups that were more than flare ups. These were the flares that were more like relapses or deteriorations because I never recovered from them.

The first was the time I walked for miles and miles touring DC and never recovered. The second was the time we moved apartments and I moved one to many light boxes and never recovered. There was the time I walked a mile and then did my exercises and then vacuumed the whole apartment without resting. I never recovered. And there was the time I went on vacation with my family, and I haven’t quite recovered after over a year and a half. I have come close, but not quite to where I was before that vacation.

And it is relapses like these that I am most terrified of. It is because of relapses like these that I religiously follow my activity tracking chart. It is because of relapses like these that I will be missing my sister-in-laws wedding and not traveling over Christmas. Because in all honesty, I will do just about anything to avoid one of these.

And it is because of relapses like these that this flare feels manageable. I have done it before, and I can do it again.

***Side effects include hair loss, nausea, diarrhea, migraines, joint and muscle pain, hallucinations, manic episodes, constipation, seizures, and in rare cases, death.


  1. I know what it’s like to live in fear of doing things that cause a severe flare. My big trigger is walking up hills that are too steep. I did that once and have never recovered. Anytime I have to go up a hill of any kind, I inevitably worry and then sometimes I flare.

    It makes me sad to read that you won’t be able to travel at Christmas or for your sister-in-law’s wedding. I’m really sorry. But I understand the reasoning behind your decision….as if it’s really your decision, no, chronic pain has already made it for you. I share your frustration. And I pray your current flare levels out soon.

    1. Thanks Kathy. I’m sad you have also have those flares that you never recover from 🙁 Walking in general is what does me in. I’m feeling pretty ok about the no traveling. It is partly an issue of my husband working over Christmas as well, so it wouldn’t feel right traveling without him anyway. Thanks for your prayers!

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