JRA.... Journal of a Radical Arthritis Chick

Here I give advice, speak of my experiences and give information to those who want to better understand Rheumatoid Arthritis. I am NOT a medical professional, and you should always seek advice from a doctor.

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Location: MA, United States

Hello everyone! I am 28 years old and was diagnosed with JRA (Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis) when I was just 3 years old. I've had my battles with this disease over the years, and have decided to create a blog. I want to share my stories and adivce with other RA chicks, or anyone interested, to raise awareness and get insight from others. Feel free to comment/question me about anything. Thanks, and I hope you enjoy!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

RA Leaving you in a fog?

Today's blog is going to be a bit different, usually I try and give advice, but today I just need to vent.  I'll also make it informational.

Ugh!  That is how I feel most days about this disease.  It seems that most of the time I have absolutely no energy.  I feel so run down, tired, can't think straight....literally in a fog.   That's a great word to use for how I feel, and I know others experience the fog also.  Is the fog from the Ra? Or from the gross meds we take?  Probably a combination of the two.  I take my MTX on Sunday nights...usually it makes me feel really tired, and I'm able to sleep well.  I usually sleep about 13 hours straight, and still wake up kind of groggy.  I slept like absolute crap on Sunday, and woke up Monday feeling very nauseous.  The nausea lasted all day, and yesterday I felt like I was in a fog all day! I was so groggy and could not think straight! It's very aggravating.  I really wish I could have energy to just live a normal day.  I went out with a friend today for maybe an hour, and came home and felt wiped!  This disease is more frustrating than anything else.  I try so hard to explain this feeling to friends and family, but find it very hard to do.  Some try to understand, most have no clue.  Honestly, I don't think anyone knows how it feels unless you're going through it first-hand. 

It makes me wonder how many others feel this way?  Does anyone else wish they could punch Mr. Arthur right in his face?  It also got me curious as to where this fog really comes from, some answers may help me deal with this a bit better.  Having this disease for 22 years, I never questioned why I always feel tired.... it seems to be getting worse as I get older.  I figured it was just that, I'm getting older.  Yet.... I'm 25.  That's not old.  Although, most days I feel as if I'm 25 trapped in an 85 year old body, heh. 

After doing some digging around, I found out that RA can cause brain fog via the release of inflammatory chemicals called cytokines.  Cytokines create fatigue and interfere with sleep patterns. They are one thing responsible for what has been termed "brain fog".  Autoimmune conditions are named or categorized according to where in the body cytokines are being overproduced and how the disease manifests itself. For example, an overproduction of these cytokines in the joints causing pain and swelling is RA. 

Fatigue is also sometimes the first sign of inflammation. Fatigue can make it harder to concentrate or deal with pain – it can even make people feel helpless. Like pain, fatigue is a signal that something is wrong. Coping with fatigue can help you feel better.

Start a fatigue diary, keeping a diary can help you discover the causes of your fatigue. Write down the times of the day or week when you feel fatigue and what seems to trigger it. Sometimes you may see an obvious solution to the problem. For instance, you may blame over activity when you feel tired, but by reviewing your diary you may see that your fatigue is a sign of increased disease activity. 

There could be something else going on, and if it is really interfering in your life, it's time to see a doctor.


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