Do you ever get warning symptoms before you get sick? What about before you get a flare?
For good or bad, having a chronic illness forces us to be much more aware of our bodies than a lot of us would otherwise be. I’m pretty sure I would have ignored the way I felt first thing this morning, but after years of dealing with these illnesses, I’ve learned that a sore throat isn’t always just a sore throat. For me, it’s a warning signal. This is my body’s way of saying that something bad will happen soon. If I don’t get some sleep in the next day, I’m going to get sick or get a flare or both. Fun.
Now, on the bright side, getting sick would get me out of some unfortunate holiday obligations this week. But it would also cause me to miss some fun holiday stuff too. I guess I better pay the bribe and get some sleep. If only it was that easy. I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow, but for some reason I’ve been waking up about 7 hours later, for no good reason. Still, I can’t risk it, so tonight I’m taking a Benedryl, turning off my cell phone, and getting some sleep. I hope. 12 or 14 hours should do the trick, based on past experience.
Yep, I’ve got the sore throat and the weakness and some fatigue and I know what it means. I know what this means now. The thing is, 10 years ago, I didn’t know what it meant. And I’m pretty sure that even now I’m missing signs from my body. Maybe there’s something I could have done yesterday, or maybe there’s more I could do now. I think that a key part of treatment should be learning how to read our bodies. Does anyone even teach this? Maybe a doctor once told me to start paying attention, but I don’t remember it. Autoimmune diseases can be frustratingly unpredictable. Even a 12 hour warning is helpful. I just wish I knew better how to recognize it. I wish we all did.
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