What My Flares Are Like on Biologics
I recently got a question about what my flare-ups are like on biologics compared to what they used to be like. I thought this was interesting since I’d never really consciously thought about it. At least lately I haven’t. So I decided I wanted to write about it, just in case you’re on the fence about going on a biologic.
Flares before biologics
Keep in mind that I’ve been on biologics now for 2 years, so my memory isn’t that great going back 3 years. My flares were a lot worse when I wasn’t on biologics, though. At least I can remember that much.
I used to have flares last for weeks or more. I would wake up one day in a lot of pain and have it last a long time. I would need my cane for days or weeks at a time. When I used to get flares, I needed help showering.
Going out during a flare-up was a big NO. I never did that. I would stay home for the duration of my flare, maybe have a close friend come over every once in a while, but mostly ride it out on my own. The thought of leaving my house for something other than a doctor’s appointment didn’t even cross my mind.
Flare-ups were absolutely debilitating before I started biologics. They were the worst pain I had ever been in, and I would lie in bed and cry just from the pain.
Flares while on biologics
My flare-ups for the past 2 years have been very different. While some flares can still be debilitating (and most are), they don’t last nearly as long as they used to. A week MAXIMUM. Most of mine last a few days and then they’re gone.
I still need my cane for them, but I also use my cane to help with my fatigue that comes with the flares. I can shower without help, although I do use a shower chair now. I just make sure to take some extra time if I’m flaring.
If I really don’t want to miss something, or if I really have to, I’ll go out during a flare-up. I’ll make sure I have everything I could possibly need and I mostly only go out with close friends if I’m flaring. That way I know that if it were to get worse, I’m in good hands.
Flare-ups still happen on biologics, but it’s like someone dialed them down. They used to be 8 or 9 out of 10, now they’re a 6 or a 7.
In my opinion, biologics are a good idea to try. At least to try. They are the reason I’m able to get out of bed on most days. If I was still operating like I was before biologics, I’m sure I would have gone crazy by now.
I still can’t work even a part-time job, but biologics have given me some quality of life back and I’m forever grateful for that.
Other than back pain and fatigue, what is the most common symptom that AS patients experience?