I’ve been stuck in a flare-up for two weeks now; for those who don’t know a flare-up is brutal – it’s when your chronic illness gets triggered by something(or sometimes nothing) and you feel really shit for a few days/weeks/months.
Since diagnosis and now I have a better understanding of Ankylosing Spondylitis I’ve been really looking at my triggers and trying to be a bit healthier.
Unfortunately a combination of January blues, changing my diet too rapidly(plant-based failure post to follow) and getting too stressed seems to have triggered an awful flare-up which doesn’t seem to want to shit.
So how does it feel to be in full flare?
My legs hurt. It’s like a deep, painful ache that’s always there. My legs are the main problem but the pain is everywhere. If I knock my skin gently it’s so painful, like everything is on edge. And the tiredness is ridiculous – it’s like your whole body feels exhausted all the time to the point standing up is a problem.
I’ve not been taking great care of myself; I’ve been eating too much and not the right things; when I feel like this I look to food for energy and so sugar and caffeine are my quick fixes.
After going on a food bender yesterday I decided on a plan of action today – as I’ve been abusing my body big time.
1. Drink water. I hardly drink and when I have been it’s been fizzy drinks full of artificial sweetener and caffeine. I’m waking up with a headache and a dry mouth so I’m back chugging the water.
2. Take my medication properly. I’ve been rubbish taking my medication, I’m supposed to take anti-inflammatories twice a day along with daily thyroxine and now blood pressure tablets and I’ve not been taking them on time or frequently. I’m also supposed to take a multivitamin and vitamin D supplement, so I’m back on that today.
3. Eat a bit better. Nothing extreme, just more fruit and vegetables and cutting down the processed stuff a little. It’s looking to be a nightmare weekend ahead with a visit to a pudding parlour and a Turkish restaurant(with lots of wine) but I’m not panicking; they are only two meals out of the 21 in a week and I can eat well around them.
4. Exercise. The last thing I want to do is exercise – I can barely stand up and I struggled up a flight of stairs yesterday yet exercise is important for keeping you moving and happy. It may only be five minutes a day, that’s all I’m starting with in the hope that it helps.
5. Sleep. I’m not sleeping, that’s the problem; and the plan is that all of the above will help me get a little more then three hours a night…
Fingers crossed it eases soon!