Thinking about Love Bug Season & People with Rheumatoid Arthritis

The love bugs are swarming now in Central Florida

I’ll never forget my first moments in Florida. I remember it plainly. It was the shock and awe season – otherwise known as love bug season.

I had gotten on the plane with my new baby in Albuquerque in the snow. It was about the first of May. After I landed in Florida and collected my luggage, I headed for the airport’s big glass doors. They slid open and I walked into a wall of 98F degree temperature, 98 % humidity, and 98% love bug density. How do they breathe here? I wondered.

Twice a year, the love bugs come. They only last a few days, but their fervor makes it seem longer. They are in your hair, your car, and your house. They fly kind of aimlessly, connected together, hence “love bugs.”

Wherever you go, everyone talks about one thing: how hard it is to get love bugs unglued from the car. When you drive through a swarm, your hood can be covered with them. As you drive up the interstate, you hear them pelting like loud rain into the windshield.

People with Rheumatoid Arthritis get through it together

Life can be a lot like love bug season. You’re barreling down the highway and suddenly you are in a swarm of splat. Pretty soon you can’t see out the window.

It’s like that for some people with Rheumatoid Arthritis: One day you are marching down the Yellow Brick Road; and the next day, you’re molested by pointless painful attacks. It reminds me of that first especially dense love bug season – I thought, “What the hell is this?”

You know what I’ve noticed? Just like everyone talks about how to get the love bugs off, people with Rheumatoid Arthritis like to talk a lot about how to get through the assault of RA. We can’t eliminate love bug season or RA and there’s no magic way to clean up the mess. We just get through it together.

It’s been a difficult love bug season for me…

Sometimes, things that bug you seem to get glued all over your face – just like love bugs on the car. RA is certainly a hateful thing, but most of the people with Rheumatoid Arthritis that I’ve met are quite the opposite. Here is a little quote from a letter that lifted me up this week at the height of a truly buggy time.

“Hi Kelly, Good Morning!!! Hope you are doing well … I keep the email you sent me in my purse everyday in order to encourage me to be strong and help me get thru the day.”

It had been several weeks since I had written. I can’t show you the rest of the letter, but the purse part brought tears to my eyes & cleaned off my mental windshield for a moment. Maybe there is a magic way after all.  xo

Recommended reading:

Kelly Young

Kelly Young is an advocate providing ways for patients to be better informed and have a greater voice in their healthcare. She is the president of the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation. Kelly received national acknowledgement with the 2011 WebMD Health Hero award. Through her writing, speaking, and use of social media, she is building a more accurate awareness of Rheumatoid disease aka Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) geared toward the public and medical community; creating ways to empower patients to advocate for improved diagnosis and treatment; and bringing recognition and visibility to the Rheumatoid patient journey. In 2009, Kelly created Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior, a comprehensive website about RA of about 950 pages and writes periodically for other newsletters and websites. Kelly served on the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media Advisory Board. There are over 42,000 connections of her highly interactive Facebook Fan page. She created the hashtag: #rheum. Kelly is the mother of five, a home-schooler, Bible teacher, NASA enthusiast, and NFL fan. You can also connect with Kelly by on Twitter or YouTube, or LinkedIn. She has lived over nine years with unrelenting Rheumatoid disease. See also http://www.rawarrior.com/kelly-young-press/

17 thoughts on “Thinking about Love Bug Season & People with Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • May 21, 2010 at 10:10 am
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    This analogy is SO true. You KNOW to expect the RA flare but even after having it for years, I am astonished by its’ occurrence, and the intensity- just like the love bug attack in Florida! Probably some of the same drugs we use for our RA would put those love bugs in their place!

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  • May 21, 2010 at 11:14 am
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    Great analogy Kelly! Is there no end to your talent? : )
    I thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you do and appreciate, and thank God for your faithfulness! You encourage me every day, in many ways.
    I find myself gravitating to the website many times a day, the support is phenomenal!

    Lately, I’ve been finding that “family frustration” with never knowing what to expect from me—– upsetting. Just when I think they might understand——-I get a zinger. It makes me want to withdraw and stay silent about the entire topic. Anyone else going through that?

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    • May 21, 2010 at 12:25 pm
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      Connie, thanks for smiling with me on the lovebug thing. I think I do know what you mean on the other topic. I do the silence thing too would you believe? Doesn’t sound right since I write a public blog… but there a people close to me who don’t get it at all. I have to either avoid them or make sure to avoid discussing RA.

      Reply
  • May 21, 2010 at 11:54 am
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    How wonderful! It just gives you a lift that helps you get going, doesn’t it?

    Loved your lovebug analogy.

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    • May 21, 2010 at 12:27 pm
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      Thanks for stopping by, Lene. It really does put things in perspective.

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  • May 21, 2010 at 12:03 pm
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    Thank you, Kelly. I’m in the thick of the swarm at the moment. I laughed out loud at “what the hell is this?”–a verbatim quote of what I said to a friend the other day when he asked how I was feeling. I’ve definitely hit a wall of sorts, and my denial has been falling away. Hopefully it gets easier after that happens.

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    • May 21, 2010 at 12:29 pm
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      Kris, I’m sorry you are in a hard spot. I don’t know when it gets easier, but I like it a little better with friends though.

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  • May 23, 2010 at 10:49 am
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    I to am swimming through a swarm and it’s a thick one! E verybody says ” Look at how well Alice is doing she’s amazing”. I’m not “AMAZING” but I am good at faking it. Only one or two people REALLY know how I feel and they keep my secret, come over and make me real food not “Bon Apetit”. We eat and they help me into my P.J.’s and bed, give remote and plenty of H2O lids the lids twisted already :doctor: . Faithful, loving and caring :rainbow:.We all need one or two of these to help us through the swarms. I pray you all have or find at least one. I Love You All! :rose:

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    • May 23, 2010 at 12:35 pm
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      Dear Alice, I’m sorry your recovery is so hard. I’ve been thinking about you and wondering if you had the help you need. It is an interesting fact of life how few people can handle how difficult these things can be. I’m so glad you have a couple of those people around you now. :rainbow:

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  • May 24, 2010 at 9:11 pm
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    My first trip to FLA in Sept 1990 was love bug season….”pteww pteww” as I spit them out when they came in the windows when we had to pay tolls (before EZ passes). Just returned last night from a quick visit to a friend in FLA and it was again love bug season and they are a pesky bunch. And here you are posting this interesting analogy. Coincidence? maybe.

    I’m feeling good too!! Only 2 weeks of MTX shots instead of pills, but I DO feel different. No complaints and I wish the same for everyone on this site. It hurts me to read some posts of serious pain. I was there 10-12 years ago, but have to say I’m really almost “normal” now. Kelly – I’m rooting for you to get there too. Keep tweaking, reading, sharing. It’ll help get the windshield clean.

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    • May 24, 2010 at 9:34 pm
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      Thanks for the smile, Leigh. Exactly, you have to literally pick them out of your hair & spit them out! That year was the worst lovebug season I’ve seen – it was 1997. This one is a close second though. LOL. So glad to hear how well you are doing – it sends hope to others. Give me a shout if you are in Central Fla. again.

      Reply
  • May 25, 2010 at 1:24 am
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    Perfect analogy! I hit “the swarm” in Nov of last year. Actually I think “the swarm” hit me! I was mis-diagnosed for almost 7 years which allowed the disease time to reach all of my joints before I began any kind of treatment. (That was 7 years ago) It never occurred to my doctor to test me for RA until I specifically asked to be tested at the urging of one of my girlfriends from High School who is now a nurse. I have been on MTX since Nov and had my first Remicade treatment two weeks ago (have my second one this Thursday – wahoo). I used to be able to run 100 miles an hour. Nowadays it’s a good day if I can count to 100 without the need to lie down. And what happened to “power naps” – The only power I’m upping these days is the dial on my heating pad! I am feeling better at times but I still have no stamina, am 45 pound heavier and sometimes feel like I’m the “elephant in the room”.
    Kelly – I want you to know that one of your comments on the 1 year anniversary blog touched my heart and changed my life entirely. I am so grateful for you, your wisdom, your insight and your quick wit. This is the first time I have written about or told anyone about my battle with RA and how I feel like an alien in my own skin at times. That’s because I know everyone here gets it! I am living with truth in my life now – and that’s because the good Lord led me to this site and to you. I have more hope now when I look into my tomorrows. Thank you Kelly – and Thank you to everyone for sharing their battle stories!

    Mel

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    • May 25, 2010 at 7:54 am
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      Sorry about the swarm. Mel. :heart: Thank you for taking the time to tell me your story. It means a lot in this hard time to know my pressing on helped someone. I had to laugh at the count to 100 part. Yep!

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  • May 8, 2011 at 8:52 am
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    Get those lovebugs off the windshield! Sorry it’s been some rough days for you. We definitely have those ups and downs with RA’s but we keep getting up again!

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  • May 8, 2011 at 9:33 am
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    Great visual example. Even though I’ve had JIA since I was a young child, I’ve only just gotten to where I have moved to active RA as an almost 40 year old. My hands have been bad for the last few months. I am blessed to work with co-workers with their own disabling conditions and we support each other. Just the other week we laughed because I could not open a bottle at lunch due to my hands. Who helped me? My friend who has use of just one hand due to a massive stroke at 18! We laughed at the irony of the situation, but I would have cried if we had not laughed.

    Finding a good support system is key to making it through the ‘love bug season.’ What stands out on this site is the education and support. While I won’t visit some sites because they seem to be a pity fest, I love the focus on education, support, and advocacy I see here on RA Warrior. I work for an Independent Living Center and serve people with chronic conditions. I recommend the site to my consumers with inflammatory arthritis in hopes they can be enabled to self advocate by the examples here.

    Keep up the good work Kelly.

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  • July 22, 2011 at 5:45 pm
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    I thought this would be about RA sufferers and love, not horrible bugs flying all over the place. (we dont get them in England).
    But it got me thinking , as im new here and just finding my way around im not sure its been covered but how do you all deal with luuurrvve and the problems in the bedroom.(sorry if this offends but its life).
    xx tina.

    Reply

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