Brace For Impact. 

Have you ever been in a car accident and in return, come out with whiplash? Whiplash is a result of loose muscles, a result of failing to brace before hand.. If you saw the accident coming and were able to tighten your neck muscles, your whiplash would be less likely to occur – and if so, would be a lot less painful. 

I’ve started to realize, my body gives me signs before I run into these flares.. .. before I’m in a full blown hurricane of pain and tears amongst other symptoms.. sort of like if you saw the car accident coming on before it happened..!

Anytime and every time your body is hit with a brick wall, you start to wonder: “This wreckage may have a smaller impact if I can brace for damage and pain.” 

Here are the signs I’ve noticed:

     1. Sweating. 

I’m not talking.. “I’m just sparkling”💁🏻. I’m talking, hair, neck, forehead, back, underarms, pelvic region, belly button, feet… anywhere that is a “normal” spot for sweat to occur, it occurs. If I have something leaning against my skin, (fur baby, purse..) I sweat there too. Hint: run for the tramadol!

    2. Nausea.

Lunch time and I’m heating up some food – suddenly, no type of food sounds good anymore. In fact, every thing you could possibly think to eat sounds absolutely repulsive. 

     3. Loss of coordination. 

I can’t walk straight, I can’t hold onto any object to save my life! (Sadly, that does include cups that are full) This has to do with neuropathy brought on by each flare. 

      4. Overstimulation.

Sounds. Lights. Smells. All of it is so much, too much. It almost always leads me to an anxiety attack or extreme irritability, unless I can remove myself from the situation. Imagine the tv being too bright – so bright that it pains your eyes to look straight at it. Imagine the smell you breathe from dinner cooking – the one everyone says “yum!” to – overwhelmingly screams to you “GET OUT!” Imagine your car radio that is normally set to 16 so that you can hear over the humming of driving suddenly becomes a blaring noise to you.. you cover your ears and wince until you or someone else can turn it down to 5, where you can hear it just perfectly now.. but you’re probably the only one. I cannot count the amount of times I’ve asked Brady to turn the tv down.. and he does. Probably to the point that he can no longer hear it, but he checks with me just the same, “is this good?” #thankful

      5. Uncontrollable Twitches. 

I’m talking, whole body twitches. These mostly occur when I’m attempting to fall asleep; however, I’m never even able to get comfortable because these twitches that my body makes move the entire bed… they feel kind of like when you have a dream that you’re falling, and you jolt awake! Except these twitches that I’m speaking of happen when I am fully awake and attempting to relax my muscles. I guess it’s their way of refusing to relax?..

Each time I feel any of these, I grab my tramadol and set a 4 hour timer on my phone for the next dose. The first and second signs can happen, anywhere and any time, but third, fourth, and fifth, are huge signs along this road my husband and I are traveling: “flare up ahead; prepare for bumps, potholes, mountains, and deep ditches.” So I tell Brady anytime I feel any of these… and we brace for impact and gather needed items so we aren’t searching for ‘the last place we left it’ in immediate need..

Flare Aid Kit includes:

Pain medication, muscle relaxer, lotion, chapstick, water bottle, heating pad, back pillow, eye drops, calming music, phone and iPad with charger, blanket, and some really nice, soft, and tagless PJs.

Prepare to take your kit with you if you ever muster up the strength to leave home. The kit, however, is expandable and unexpansive depending on where you’re going and how long you’ll be gone for.

It has taken me so long to realize these signs as a precursor to pain. After being diagnosed with Sjögren’s and Fibromyalgia in 2015 by an amazing Rheumatologist (of which I was so lucky to find), these warning signs are a way, I feel, that my body is showing me some compassion, love, understanding, and help. I always say “my body hates me.” I truly felt that way. And others have told me the same thing in those exact words, replace “my” with “your”. 

But these signs show me differently. It’s just me and I’m helping myself the best way of which I know how. 💜



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