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The Onset of a Hashimoto's Flare: Day One


I woke up this morning slowly. I don’t sleep late very often, but this morning I got up about 20 minutes before I had somewhere to be, which was 11:15. If I hadn’t had to leave, I wouldn’t have got up then. I just felt tired. I was otherwise OK. I went to church and a volunteer meeting. I felt good. I socialized and played with babies, then I went to a meeting that I paid attention to and contributed to. All was well.

After all that, I decided to go pick up a few things. While shopping, I went to scratch my arm and it hurt. It sent pain waves into places that scratching my arm shouldn’t hurt. I took note, but didn’t think much of it. While shopping, my shirt started to feel heavy and bothersome against my skin. I reached for something above my head, and my shoulder suddenly ached with the weight of my arm.

And then I put it all together and realized I’m in the beginning of a flare. I came straight home and quickly did the things I had to get done today (litter box, give the dog a bath, get something to eat). And then I fell apart. I got hit by a metaphorical truck. As I sit here writing, my brain works fine. I don’t have any brain fog, which is unusual for me. Brain fog is typically my first symptom.

My body in general just aches. It’s difficult to really describe how it hurts. If I look down, my neck pulls and it hurts throughout my back. If I cross my legs, my calves hurts, but if I stretch out my hips hurt. My sides hurt because that’s where my pajama shirt is rubbing against my skin. If I take a deep breath, my hysterectomy scars hurt. Those are specific aches. The ambiguous pain, it’s like burning, stinging needles in my arms and hands. I can feel my heartbeat throughout my body. I just feel like a giant bruise. I’d love a massage, but it would hurt terribly. It’s my legs in
particular that hurt, from my hips to the bottom of my feet. Aching, burning. Shooting pain.

The ache is actually secondary to the difficulty moving. I’m not exactly fatigued. A little tired, sure. But getting off the couch feels like The Impossible Thing. My water bottle is in the other room and standing up, walking in there, walking back and getting situated back on the couch to write feels like walking underwater or walking through molasses. The air is thick and I can’t move through it.

Since the air is thick, I have to breathe consciously too. It’s called air hunger. Just hard to breathe, hard to get enough breath. Going for a walk right now would be out of the question.

This, for me, is the beginning of a flare. It’s a little bit different every time for me. It’s totally different for every person. Maybe there’s a trigger: food, change in weather, stress, allergies, or just because. There doesn’t have to be a trigger.

For me, the fix to a flare is only sleep. It helps to eat clean, drink water, limit stress. That will certainly help. But the only real fix is to sleep so much that it seems impossible to someone without autoimmune problems. Sleep is incredibly important to us spoonies. Maybe it’ll help but maybe it won’t. Maybe this flare will last all week.

It just hurts. A big, nonspecific hurt (with the occasional lightning bolt shooting through my body) that makes it hard to move and hard to breathe.

And this is just the beginning. This is the onset, Day One.

Getty photo by Marisa9