Winter Weather and the Effects (Negative) on Bones, Joints, Pain, and Chronic Pain - Holidays, stress, and coping when Chronic Pain andor Illness Abound

Morning All! I thank each of you for "sticking" around, even though I have been somewhat absent over the past several days. I am still dealing with the "wounds" on both thighs, (abscesses) and finally see a "wound care specialist" tomorrow on Thursday. It means a drive to Dallas, but thankfully the weather has turned around, and we are supposed to have a few sunny days! I certainly hope so! The cold, damp, rainy weather does more to some than dampen their spirits, it can cause any type of bone, joint, arthritic, or chronic pain problem to escalate horrifically.

I have been dealing with of course NOT having my internal pain pump, which is already bad enough. Even with strong pain medication orally, they can't compete with the medication given from the pump. Then you add on top of that, all of the pain, stiffness and swelling from the Lupus, RA, other arthritic issues, and joint problems, and believe me, it causes a world of hurt, over and above what pain I already have.

I've read several articles lately on chronic pain. For the most part, I've been "aware" of just how badly weather has an effect on pain since I was 17 years old. Long before doctors would say "yes" definitely. I first noticed it with migraines. I was plagued with those for all of my adult life. In fact, they were much worse, led to me losing several jobs, because at the time there was no real answer for medications, for even why I had them, and facts that we now know about all types of migraines, were just not around back then. I also began to have joint problems, that even needed surgery by the time I was 21. After a severe knee injury that led to me having extensive knee surgery at the age of 15, and then another surgery on that knee when I was 21, from there I was also plagued with many problems with joints. I had several arthroscopic joint surgeries well before I was diagnosed with RA and Lupus.

I had an elbow, shoulder, and then another shoulder, wrist, and really needed another elbow surgery by the time I was 40. From there both knees has surgery several times, before finally having both of them replaced in 2007. In fact in 2007, that one year I went through 7 or 8 surgeries, related all to joints. Even the right shoulder, finally led to a total "reverse" shoulder surgery in 2011, and then cervical neck surgery, plus I face a lumbar/sacral surgery, that has been put off by other health problems.

But, I vividly remember how much worse my migraines, and then later joints would hurt when we had a huge weather change. I was in my doctors office many more times, or even in the emergency room with migraines when the weather "acted out".... a high humidity, very stormy weather, a drastic change from cold to hot, or hot to cold, sent me straight into more pain than I could deal with. At that time, there was little "medical proof" about the effects weather had on these types of health problems, but I cannot recall how many conversations I had with all of my doctors how about the weather had a dramatic effect on the pain level I would have.

Now, after many years, it has been proven with studies that it certainly does have a dramatic effect on the body, especially chronic pain and/or chronic illnesses. It is no different than when I had my 1st knee replacement, there are times, that "knee" hurts so badly, I would swear I never had surgery yet on it... but just like those who lose a limb and have "phantom limb pain" so is also true with those who have joint replacements. That is true for me with both knees, and my shoulder. There are times, especially during severe weather, that they hurt as they did before the replacements.

Holidays are upon us, and with the hundreds of thousands of us that suffer each and every day from some type of chronic illness, and/or chronic pain, holidays can prove to have a "mixed blessing"... when you have an illness such as an autoimmune illness, that already causes fatigue, and all types of symptoms, having a busy holiday schedule can definitely contribute to feeling even more fatigued, more exhausted, and the added stress often leads many of us to having bad flares, and even being hospitalized.

Holidays usually involve family. Like myself, with some of my family hours and hours away, that is sometimes the only time I get to see my daughter, and her family. So, we spend a great deal more time getting ready for family that is far off, or doing holiday baking, parties, and putting up decorations, planning meals, running and doing shopping, and all of the very things that can make holidays wonderful, but also make chronic illnesses and pain horrible in the process. We tend to not sleep as well, not eat as well, not take care of ourselves as well, and do way too many hours of overdoing it, thus leading to us feeling even worse than usual.

But, how do we find a "balance" when such times are upon us? That is a very difficult and almost at times impossible task... you can defer making a huge dinner, to going out to eat, you can order presents online, rather than running around 4 cities to find the right gifts. If you have a huge home, or are expecting a group to stay several days, rather than trying to do all of the cleaning and so forth, you could hire someone, or recruit others to help with those things. Or you could offer to help with a hotel room, or ask family well ahead of time if they would consider spending part of the time at your home, and then a day or two in a hotel. As difficult as that may seem, sometimes it is best for you and them. If you are too exhausted and overwrought in "taking care" of family and friends, then you are not able to "be there" in spirit and health to visit and enjoy the time together. With my home being so small, I just simply do not have the space for my 3 Grandkids, my daughter and her husband. When the kids were small they stayed a couple of times. But, after the kids getting older, and needing more space, a 2nd bathroom, and so on, they decided staying in a local motel here in our smI've made some adjustmall town was so much simpler for them and everyone. I realize that some may not have the finances to allow that, and other plans must be made. Yet, if you can at least take a portion of that off your shoulders, all can enjoy the time much better usually.

I know I have cooked many, many holiday dinners, all myself. I used to decorate every room, clean every speck of the home myself, and have all in perfection. But, as I began to have health problems, my "body" just became rivaled with fatigue, pain, and problems that do not allow me to do nearly as much as I used to. It is very difficult to contend with, and I surely know the guilt I feel even till this day about not being able to do what I used to... but you must accept those facts, and find new ways to enjoy family, take the burden off of everyone, so stress does not plague your enjoyment together.


I've made some "adjustments" already for the holidays for this year. Rather than try to get out of huge tree, and pull out all of the boxes in the attic with decorations, I "settled" for a smaller tree, that I put on my beautiful round table in the living room. I had many of my special ornaments and decorations in my camphor wood chest, so they were easy to get to. I took all of those out, and had plenty for the tree, plus used some of the other things to decorate the rest of the living room, as well as some in my office. No, it is not the huge tree I loved so much. But, it is a 4 foot tree. By the time I got the lights, and all of the special ornaments on it, and surrounded it by a few treasures around the house, it is simply beautiful. Plus this is the 1st time I can remember getting my tree up well before December 1st. I usually wait till the first week of December to put it up. But, I went ahead and bought the tree, and since I had it, I went ahead and spent a bit of time a couple of days finding my other stuff, and then decided to go ahead and put it all together. In fact, I just found my crystal candle holders, and got them all out and cleaned them, so I could get the candles in them with my candle rings. All of it things I had around the house. I need to buy a few more tapered candles, but I had 4, so that works until I am out sometimes later today to pick up a few more. Anyway, I have enjoyed the decorating this year almost more than some others. For one, because it is "different" but in a good way. For 2 I have not felt pressured to get it done, and have just taken my time, finding things to use from around my home. Even the tree skirt. I had some "quilted" white cotton, a piece I had in my sewing items. It is just big enough to make a perfect "tree skirt" and looks like snow, with the quilting and being white. So, I also have not spent a fortune to decorate. I did buy the new smaller tree, but other than that, I did buy a set of smaller lights yet even they were only like $2.00 at one of the local dollar stores, so I did not have to go into debt to have a wonderful tree and decor for myself and Bub's.

We are waiting to get our wonderful Christmas "miracle"! My hopes are that by Christmas we have a new fur-baby for our present this year! It seems perfect since Tazz, my Pug, who passed away a couple of months ago, was a Christmas present back in Seattle! She would be turning about 14 years old this month, around this time in fact! IT seems like yesterday we went to pick her out. I will never forget how she "bounced" up on the sofa and came running to me! There were still several brothers and sisters to pick from, but they put her up on the sofa, and she ran straight to my arms! I knew that instant she was my special gift! In fact, she is in her little locked cedar chest, with a prominent place under my Christmas tree right now. She shall always be my "greatest gift" as far as human gifts go... she lit up the room every time I walked in. But, Bub's and I have I think bonded even more since she passed away. We always had a "bond" but after both of us suffering through the loss of her, we seemed to grow even closer to one another. He is even more protective of me than he was, and he was always very watchful over me. So, I know both of us will be so thrilled to have a new addition to our home. It has not quite been "home" without Tazzy. Even though no other pup will ever take her place in my heart, I know she is happy, playing and will forevermore be a pup, and someday she will see me and run into my arms again, just like the very 1st time we saw each other! I painted her toenails that morning she passed away. The evening I picked her out, the lady painted a back toenail red, so I would know she was mine. So, I sent her to heaven with red toenails. I will know her without that, but I shall truly be so warmed to the core to see her run up and jump into my arms someday when I join her and my family members and friends in heaven.

Between the illnesses, the pain pump going out, the abscesses on each thigh, losing the trial from the accident, being "single" again without ever even expecting it, losing Tazzy so suddenly within 24 hours as I did, and trying to deal with Mom and her also having health issues, it seems 2015 has been another one of those very, very extremely tough years. I hope and pray that faith will lead me and my family, into a new, less stressed, better health time in 2016!

May somehow our nation and our world find peace and harmony!

And may each of us know and understand the true meaning of the Spirit of the Holiday Season...

With my love, respect, and may you find peace in your heart, and a well health filled 2016 also!

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