When Lupus Rears Its Ugly Head

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by Leslie Rott |

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Lessons from a Chronic Life Leslie Rott

I have been lucky that my diseases have been relatively stable over the past few years. Most of the flares I have had were situational, typically when I put myself in strenuous situations. For example, I traveled from Michigan to the East Coast and back again in 36 hours.

However, I recently experienced several concerning symptoms. The first is that my knees get hot, red, and severely inflamed. They’ve swollen to several times their normal size. Second, I have been getting nauseous quite often. Not only is it annoying, but I also am worried that eating crackers and having to run to the bathroom will make my co-workers suspicious that I’m pregnant. I’M NOT!

My nausea has surged over the last several weeks. As far as my knees go, I mentioned the symptoms to my rheumatologist the first time it happened, and even showed him pictures so that he could see the extent of the problem. He did not seem particularly concerned by this development. But I am. I have not had these kinds of symptoms for many years, when my diseases were relatively unstable.

It almost seems like I am flaring, but only in my knees. It is a bizarre phenomenon, but now that it has happened twice in about a month, the symptoms don’t seem like flukes. It seems like this might be my new normal.

August is poised to be a very busy month with two weddings that I am attending, and a short vacation afterward. I should prepare myself for the likelihood that these flares could happen again. The symptoms may happen when I am wearing heels in a bridesmaid dress!

I am trying to balance a very busy schedule and the threat that my lupus symptoms more than likely will creep in, but I do not know where or when they will happen. I hope that I can get through the next month and be able to enjoy all the things that are happening despite, or in spite of, lupus.

Lupus is funny that way, rearing its ugly head at the most inconvenient times, reminding you that it is there even when you do your best to forget about it. It’s been a decade since diagnosis, and while I know lupus’s tendency to flare unexpectedly, it is a bitter pill to swallow when it actually happens.


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