Fatigue, Stress, Pain and the Realms of Autoimmune Illnesses bringing on more or worsened flares

I had just read and article about how many of the medications used for RA; along with Lupus, Sjogren's and many of the other autoimmune illnesses can possibly lessen the disease progression, when it comes to the joints, organs, and body. Yet, there is still a huge issue, that seems is not often controlled, or controlled enough with these. That is fatigue.

Fatigue, and I am speaking of the bone-tired, extremely weary, almost daily type of severe fatigue, that sleep, rest, nor many of the medications we use help or help enough. Those of us with Autoimmune illnesses know this so well. Even though our "minds" want to give us that extra "push" of energy, just like the "spoons" theory, or any type of "idea" such as comparing how many "units" of energy we have, it at times seems to never be enough. We run out of physical "steam" long before we complete all of the tasks we wish to.

It can bring a spiral of feelings and emotions when this happens. Guilt, hopelessness, feeling "less than", or as if you are letting a spouse, job, family, friends and yourself "down" because you just cannot shake that bone tiredness.

Even though we have many things that are out there to help try to battle the bone tired fatigue, and the almost unbearable pain at times, we still are never quite "over" it... or have total relief from any of it.

I've tried to envision having a period of "remission" since day one of finding out about the autoimmune illnesses/syndromes. I really can't think of any "long period of time" that "all" symptoms were gone. It just has not happened. I feel I battle 1,2,3 or more symptoms all the time. They are there underlying, waiting on the time when I am most vulnerable, and then come on with a stronghold.

It matters not, if it is Lupus, RA, Sjogren's, Raynaud's, Pernicious Anemia, MS... and the list goes on for 100's of different AI illnesses, one of them are always right in my face, setting on my shoulders, making my body scream out... I may not "scream" out loud, but my BODY is begging for a "vacation", a time of NO symptoms, to be let off the hook, to take a sabatical from the aches, pains, mental fog, fatigue, rashes, mouth ulcers, skin problems... all of them or even one of them feel like I could just lose it at any given moment. The old adage that we are never given more than we can bear... some of that maybe true... but when you are truly suffering from a daily, moment, hour, minute, breaths space, or with each step you take, something feels wrong. You "feel" whether physically, mentally, emotionally, or any of the combination of those may just push you right over the cliff! I went through that with the most horrid migraine headaches for many, many years. From the time I turned 17 until about 7 years ago, those headaches ruled my life for the most part.

I might be out headache free, whether working, dancing, out shopping, cleaning house, or whatever, and be hit with such a vengance of pain and nausea, that all I could think of, is whatever it takes - GET RID of this FREAKING HEADACHE!!!! Anyone who has any types of these headaches, or those that deal with chronic pain and/or illness(es) can totally relate. I have honestly heard of some with such intractable pain that take their own lives. They have reached a place that being on Earth they feel is just hell... and nothing will ever change that. I never thought I would be able to go even a week without one of the damned things. And I spent many day and nights, either at home, sick as a dog with them, or sick at work, with my head on the desk, or in the ER, begging for them to just make it stop. I went through every type of treatment, doctor, and medication known to man for them at the time. From pain medications (Butalbital) was one my doctors used quite a bit back then, to chiropractors, PT, other stronger pain medications, to an Ergot(which I am highly NOT able to take especially due to my reaction that I had, then my heart attacks) , to having the occipital nerves in the back of my neck injected... you name it, I tried it... and nothing really "worked"... some of them would at least get me to a place that I could withstand the severity of the pain and nausea, but other than when I was pregnant with my son, then 5 year later with my daughter, I thought I would bear the burden of those things on my back until eternity.

Well, I suffered for many years. They would wax and wane... from time to time, I would find deliverance from them, and other times, I felt I was constantly battling a severe headache. Yet, when I FINALLY begin to get treatment for the Autoimmune Illnesses, had several joint replacements, including a shoulder, and also surgery on the other shoulder and elbow... and also cervical neck surgery... and the adding of an incredible pain specialist, now I have what I call a "Lupus Migraine"... they come on when I flare badly with the Lupus. Yet, usually an injection of a corticosteroid, like Solu-Medrol will knock them out. It make take a few days, usually at least 2 days, sometimes 3... with that and then the "high step down dose" of prednisone for 10 to 14 days, will remedy one, until I flare again. I've learned over the years, that just like arthritis, autoimmune illnesses, chronic pain, joint issues... when the WEATHER acts up, you can bet I will have a severe headache, and of course usually the joint pain, stiffness, etc... all come on with high humidity, a dramatic change in the barometric pressure, a dramatic drop or rise in temperature, etc... 99% of the time, can be "diagnosed" by many of us before the weather even reaches us.

So, my own conclusion now about the migraines that I have are "inflammatory" headaches. That is why a corticosteroid injection can get them under control, whereas regular "pain medications" no matter how strong or weak... just will not reduce that inflammatory process behind a "Lupus Migraine"... and FYI that is MY OPINION... and what I have gleamed from them, and the injections. So, I don't know if physicians would agree, but I do know my PCP, takes me seriously. When I call with one of these headaches, he has me immediately come in, get the injection and the script for the step down dose of Prednisone.

Why the headaches somewhat "improved"... well improved is not really the term, they have "changed"... who knows... possibly any and all of the things that have come about with the AI and chronic pain issues... I just know now... or usually (I have had an extremely bad one, and I am not shaking it as quickly as usual.

But, I could probably name dozens of reasons of why they have migrated to being different, age, hormones, illnesses, medications, weather, living in a different place, stress, and on and on....


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