Flare Signals...Your greatest ally in this game!
Once your head is out of the sand (see my previous blog post if you haven't already before reading on...) you can start to appreciate the way your body is constantly trying to communicate with you.
Your body is not your enemy, its your greatest ally so listen to what it is trying to tell you. Listen consistently and carefully, not when it suits you best. Your body doesn't appreciate your need to go on that long hiking holiday, or that 10k you signed up or even your best friends wedding where you really want to wear those absolute dream high heel shoes. Some people may view this outlook as been prisoner to our bodies, constantly living as servant to our bodies needs. It may seem like that to start with, however the better relationship you build with your body the more in sync you will become, learning to live alongside your illness Gremlin and not in fear of it.
Now flare symptoms come in many variations depending on the condition you are living with, I can only talk about my personal experience with confidence. Having worked professionally with lots of other illness I also have an appreciation of these presentations, however I like to keep my blogs personal.
I have Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) and Hypermobility, 2 very different conditions however a typical cocktail mix for women. One condition would have me stiffen up with little chance of reversal and the other would have me lose so much muscle tone that my joints bend into the place of no return. These 2 conditions as you can imagine find it hard to live harmoniously.
Signs of an impending flare (48-24 hours prior) for me are as follows.....
- Sensitive teeth and sore gums
- Scalp sensitivity
- blurry eyes
- Itchy skin
- increase in body temperature
- Looming fatigue that increases by the hour
- Sense of dread for no reason
- Hair loss
- Sore Heels
- Brain fog
- Complete lack of motivation
Learning what YOUR flare signals are is a real game changer! Once you can do that, you can then retreat, adapt and move ahead with caution as to minimise the effect the flare has on your life.
It is also CRUCIAL that you get over yourself at this point! If a flare is coming you cannot ignore it, you cannot stop it completely, so don't waste precious energy pretending you can. So what if you cannot wear those shoes you desperately wanted to, as you know deep down come the end of the night you will be in crippling agony begging for any pain relief you can get your hands on! Good friends would understand that you had to cancel that walking trip, you wouldn't exactly be the life and soul if you forced your body through something like that. The gym will still be there next week, month or however long it takes. Practice gratitude, thank yourself for listening to your body and creating an environment where it can recover and move forwards.
I get it! I've been there, head fully wedged in the sand painting a smile on as I try my best to limp my way through a friends party, or a gym session. But, you owe nobody anything in this game. Makes friends with your greatest ally and keep a good circle of people around you that totally get it.
Thanks for reading and in the next weeks Blog article I will discuss ways to ride the flare storm.
Faye M xx