Are You Sure This is Normal?

I wrote this yesterday, but didn’t have time to post it. However, I am feeling much better today.

I will be frank: I feel like crap.  I have been since Monday. I’ve been nauseous. I haven’t eaten anything substantial in four days.  I haven’t had a good night’s sleep either.  My joint pain and eye inflammation are nonexistent, but have been replaced by horrible back pain and a feeling of dehydration (even though I drink 3 or 4 water bottles a day).  I don’t think I have a stomach bug because the nausea is too sporadic and Pepto Bismol doesn’t help whatsoever.  I’m definitely not pregnant. I refuse to go on WebMD and use their symptom checker, because it will probably tell me I have stomach cancer, which will add a panic attack to my list of symptoms.  Stress? Possibly, since it’s the end of the semester, but I’ve been pretty chill lately.  Medication? Nah, doubt it. I haven’t changed prescriptions, and I doubt medication I’ve been on since November would start affecting me now. The only thing left that I can think of that these are just new RA symptoms that I’m experiencing.  This whole experience got me thinking though: how will I be able to tell the difference between “just another RA symptom” and something more serious? Mom gave me some pretty decent advice: “Start paying close attention to your body and how you feel, that way you will know when something is really off.” She’s right in the sense that I should start noticing things more, but even serious medical conditions can creep up on a person. Does this mean I will be running to the doctor every time something feels strange or off balance? Will I be able to catch something serious in time?

The problem with RA or any other autoimmune disease is that it affects your entire body, and you don’t know what it will attack next.  I’ll admit that I broke down in tears last night.  The anxiety of not knowing what is going on with your body, on top of the fact that you don’t feel well, totally sucks.  It took my boyfriend and a huge mug of chamomile tea to get me to calm down.  Poor Avi is so worried about me, but he does his best to keep me smiling, even when things are scary or upsetting.

I think the rule of thumb I’m going to follow is this: until a symptom becomes so intolerable that I can’t function in day-to-day life, then I’ll just suck it up and keep going. If it becomes too much, then I’ll see a doctor.  I see Dr. M every 3 months anyway, so if the symptoms keep up I’ll just talk to him.  Hopefully I’ll feel better by tomorrow. I’ve been going to work and school all week, so I guess there’s no need to panic right now. Living with the unknown can be tough, but I guess life goes on. It’ll all be okay in the end.

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