I woke up today having flare up. To make it clear, a flare up refers to an exacerbation of chronic illness symptoms. In many ways I think I caused it because I started experimenting with fermented wheat again. When I did an elimination diet a few years back it was revealed to me that wheat, dairy and corn cause inflammation in my body. To make it clear, a flare up for me manifests as pain throughout my body with fatigue on the side. I wake up tired and I spend my whole day in a foggy haze. Things that usually come easily to me require a bit more thinking and planning. On days with light flare ups, I can still function slowly but on heady days I am paralyzed. On a few days, I have had to completely cancel my day because I struggle to gather the energy to get out of bed. I should be used to this after about 10 years with symptoms but each time is different.
If you have ever had a flare up, it is easy to believe that your life is going to end depending on the severity. Each person’s condition is different and every flare up is different. In my experience the most important thing is to develop a list of coping strategies that help. For me, I did light stretches in bed while watching a few shows on Netflix. I was lucky to have less cognitive symptoms and I was still able to work from my laptop but speaking and moving took to much energy.
How can you help as a friend or loved one?
If you know someone one who is having a flare, it is difficult to watch. Suddenly a person you have seen well seems trapped in a loop that they can not get out of. The most important thing to remember in these times is to be patient and compassionate. I stumbled upon a post on the mighty with some good points you should check out. My favorite was:
4. Listen — without judgment — if your friend needs to vent. Sometimes just crying and releasing our frustrations can help tremendously. It can be emotionally draining when dealing with a chronic illness. So just let them know they can always talk to you.
I had moments today when I wanted to cry because of the pain I was in. I was nursing a mixture of frustration and weakness. The day before I was able to do things and today I am struggling to move. I was almost watching myself and marveling at how quickly things could change. I hit up a friend of mine and she listened to me complain. She just let me talk and at the end of the conversation I felt better.
To finally answer the question in the title. NO you will not die, but it is just going to hurt like hell for a while.
How do you handle your flare ups? What is one thing that always works?