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I Had My Worst Flare in 3 Years

Last updated: November 2021

I recently experienced the worst flare I’ve had in 3 years. It was extremely emotional, difficult, and painful.

How MY AS started

I had my 17th Humira injection 2 weeks prior to this flare. The day of, I was experiencing some pain in my knee, but nothing super out of the ordinary. I did my injection around noon and went about my day like I normally would.

After every injection, I get pretty fatigued, so I didn’t think much was different until the evening hit me. I started to feel some general body pain, but I still didn’t think it would amount to what it did.

When I finally got into bed, the entire day’s worth of movement hit me like a truck. My lower back, knees, pelvis, and a new pain location started screaming at me. This new pain location was my arms. I’d never in my almost 4 years of having AS had arm pain, so I knew something was up.

Throughout my ankylosing spondylitis flare

That night was my worst night in 3 years. I couldn’t sleep because of the pain and I couldn’t hold my phone to be able to watch YouTube to distract me. I was up until around 6 am with my mom with me as I cried in bed over this pain that felt like I was on fire.

There was nothing I could do, though, and I knew that. I’m allergic to NSAIDS so they’re always off the table. Tylenol does absolutely nothing for me, so I just sat up in bed and cried until I finally passed out due to the exhaustion. I’m sure many of you know this type of night all too well.

The worst of the flare lasted about a week and a half. I was hobbling around with my cane and spending most of my days in bed on my laptop watching something to distract myself.

The emotional side of an AS flare

As I said, I hadn’t had this level of pain during a flare in 3 years. It really started to get to me mentally. I’ve talked pretty openly about my Humira not exactly working for me. I just never thought I would go back to my pre-diagnosis pain level days.

It’s extremely difficult mentally to go through a flare. You feel like you’ve gone backward in your treatment journey and you never want to feel that way. My days were full of resting and my nights were full of crying.

All I can say is it’s heartbreaking to feel the pain you haven’t felt in years, and until you’ve experienced what this is, you won’t fully get that.

Where I am now

It took over 2 weeks for my body to kind of calm down from it. I feel like I’m still mentally dealing with the flare-up, but at least my body is giving me a little break from the extreme pain.

Flare-ups are so hard to deal with both physically and mentally. A lot of times, people don’t even think about the effect chronic pain has on the people that experience it.

Just know that it will eventually die down and you will find some relief from the flare, even if it doesn’t feel like it will.

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