If you’ve followed my blog, you probably know that I suffer from at least one or two autoimmune conditions that refuse to identify themselves in standardized blood tests. Like many of you, I am on a quest to get real answers and more importantly.. real treatment. I have followed the RA Warrior (one of my favorite blogs), as well as being a frequent visitor to the Sjogren’s World Forum. When reading about other’s conditions, I am often struck with the thought that I am blessed to have not been afflicted as severely as so many of the people I read about, have been. Yes, I have painful feet; hands; back; hips; shoulders; memory/processing problems and severe fatigue..but I am able to function in a full-time job, which many are not. I routinely read about folks discussing disability; teeth falling out; incapacitating fatigue and symptoms that one can only understand if living them. So imagine my shock when I woke up yesterday with a degree of symptomology that I have never experienced. It can only be described as something akin to being hit by a truck head-on. I felt as if I woke up with a horrible flu (as in everything is extremely achy). I suddenly had more intense pain in my hand & fingers and added my wrists. Now I have never had Carpel Tunnel Syndrome (lightly knock on wood)…but I am sure that the pain I am experiencing is what it must feel like. And the pain in the back of my neck..well imagine that you have been hit across the back of the neck with a baseball bat. Of course my feet always feel as if I have just walked 20 miles in bad shoes..but now it feels like I did those 20 miles with a tennis ball strategically placed between the ball and arch of each foot (and the tennis balls are still there). The fatigue you ask? Well..sometimes I kiddingly make a reference to being so fatigued that I could fall over onto my desk..but my current fatigue is not an exaggeration. In fact, it feels like someone gave me an injection of Demerol. For the first time ever…I bought one of those 5-Hour Energy Drinks, and was still about to fall over from the intense fatigue after chugging it. I found myself wondering if I have been misleading myself all of this time in thinking I had a mild case of RA/SJS…when maybe I was only in the early stages of these autoimmune processes. I highly suspect that I am experiencing that much written about flare that I have read so much about. Like a pesky fly that you can never catch, these crazy symptoms appear and disappear. But this flare thing…yikes. This type of flare episode scares me because I realize that too many of these scenarios could put me in bed and leave me with an inability to work. I think that I finally understand the anatomy of a flare and I can only hope that this is temporary and I do not get stuck in flare mode.