The consequence of a short summer

Healthwise, it’s been a tough summer. Those of you in the Ottawa area will ask, “What summer?” That’s exactly the problem.

Those of you familiar with my condition know that, like many people with rheumatic conditions, I do worse in the spring and fall and better in the summer and winter: it’s the transitions that kill me. (For those of you just tuning in, I’ve had ankylosing spondylitis since 1997.) This year, the transitions have been lengthened dramatically; we’ve had very little hot, summer weather and quite a bit of cooler, wetter weather. For me, spring lasted until early July; the fall started early last week, when I went back into flare. (I’m still in flare now, and it’s a doozy; I’ve been missing work.) All told, I’ve had about six weeks of summer in the rheumatic sense — i.e., warm and relatively pain- and inflammation-free. If I’m right about this, the fall is going to be brutal.

I’ve also considered the possibility that the disease is getting worse, or that my drugs are getting less effective at dealing with it. But it’s very difficult to compare pain and stiffness levels; there are too many other variables to take into account, and memory is not reliable with respect to past pain. It’s quite likely that it has often been this difficult. It was probably easier not to notice when I wasn’t working a day job.