Saturday, January 02, 2010

Worst RA flare ever

So New Year's Eve sucked big time. My neck has been "affected" by the RA for a few months now (and years ago too, though it went away then). Maybe around 5 or 6 New Year's Eve I noticed it was feeling stiffer. I had up til then had a great day, and I even ran an easy 3.1 miles on the treadmill (bringing my weekly total to 5.1, the biggest I've had all month). By the time I put Andra to bed, it was obvious I was having a flare. I don't remember exactly, but I started popping my prednisone pills around that time hoping to head it off. Nope. By 8:30 or 9 I was pretty much in agony. The 30mg of prednisone (that's 6 of my 5mg pills...lately I've been taking 5mg a day, so that's a big increase) plus the naprosyn and Tylenol didn't seem to do anything. I don't think I can do justice to how this felt. I've had pinched nerves, I've been to the chiropractor for "regular" neck pain. I can't describe it, but I will try.

First, I had zero range of motion in my neck. Not side to side, not up and down, NOTHING. There was absolutely no position that offered any remote comfort - not sitting up, lying down, resting my head on something, NOTHING. When I finally went to bed (9:30, for the record) I didn't fall asleep for hours. I honestly don't even know how I managed to out on my pajamas or brush my teeth other than sheer will. The worst part was actually lying down. Turns out, anything you do when you move involves your neck. Not something we would ordinarily think about. Until everytime you try to move, you want to scream in pain. The act of lying down...I could sit on the bed, but the lying down part took a few tries. Seriously. I would start to lie down, and it hurt too much. To lie down, you have to control your head. You have to contract your neck muscles to support the weight of you head. I couldn't do it. Eventually I think I put my hands on my head and one hand grabbed a chunk of hair and the other was behind my neck, and I did it. But then, it's not like I was comfortable, or done. And to turn over, to adjust the pillow, ANYTHING, was agony. At one point I told my husband that if I didn't feel better in an hour we were going to the ER because I needed narcotic pain relief. Remember that I gave birth with no epidural, no pain meds. I won't say this was quite that bad, but it was close, and it lasted longer. I did have to get up to pee and get more meds once (it was 11:59 believe it or not. I didn't care.). But that meant I had to figure out the whole lying down thing again. My husband brought up some Vicodin that he's had from a while back and I took one. Around 4:30 am I woke up and felt better, though still today it's not quite back to normal.

I've had other flares, but not for a long time. A couple years. And then, it was "just" my wrists, or ankles, or random fingers. I could splint my wrists so that they wouldn't move. The ankle, well, that was trickier. Your neck...it affects everything. So whether this was a worse flare or just a worse location I can't say. But I hopr it never ever happens again.

So, New Year's Eve pretty much blew for me. I have enough prednisone to get through til Monday, and will see what my doctor says.

You know, I was doing really well getting back into working out this week, too. Spinning twice, running and lifting, running again. Not like I was overdoing anything. There's no reason for this flare, other than it's been building. Don't know what it means. Is Enbrel stopping working for me? In general I wouldn't mind if I went on another biologic, but Enbrel was fine during pregnancy and I don't know what I'd do when we're ready for another kid. Maybe I just need to be back on a higher maintenance does of prednisone, but that isn't exactly what I want either.

For as much as I named this blog "Muscles and RA," the RA has taken a big backseat til lately. For the next while I'm afraid it's going to make itself known.

9 comments:

rheumablog said...

RA can definitely get your attention. I'm sorry you had such a rought New Year -- but I'm hoping that from here on in 2010 will be better for you than 2009 was. Wishing you the best ...
-Wren

Leah said...

Wow. That sounds really awful. I've had terrible back and neck pain, but it doesn't sound nearly as bad as yours. I hope you feel better and that it doesn't flare up like this again.

fancy nancy said...

I'm so sorry that you had a flare up! It sounds so painful! I hope you are feeling better soon and have a pain free rest of your year!!!

JP said...

Hope you are feeling better! It sounds awful!

Angela and David Kidd said...

I can't even imagine. That sounds miserable and you are incredibly tough. Hopefully you get some relief soon.

N.D. said...

Oh no! that stinks! I hope it gets better !

DC Running Mama said...

You are one strong lady. Get yourself some more pain meds!

Debbie Martin-Consani said...

Bloody nora. You should have had some magaritas :-) Hope you're feeling better. I can't even imagine how painful/terrifying that must have been.

WendyBird said...

I'm way behind on reading blogs, but really wanted to comment on this. I've had a similar experience and it was a muscle spasm. The inflamation from the RA causes the muscles to go nuts (flares in my shoulders will make my neck spasm too) so all the pred in the world won't make the muscle release. If it happens again, I highly recommend a muscle relaxer like Flexeril in conjunction with the pred, anitinflamatories etc.
Glad all went well with Andra!