If you’ve ever been on Prednisone, you know it is a love/hate kind of thing. I love it when I’m feeling so awful that I can’t get out of bed, when I want to die, or at least not live in the state I’m in. I’m also thankful for it it when I can’t function — except to run to the bathroom, of course — and I’m grateful for it when, on the third or fourth day of taking it, I start feeling better. I can eat again. I’m not in pain. That horrible weakness all over my body goes away. I am rejoicing in prednisone happiness. I eagerly swallow it in the morning, knowing that each day I take it I’m going to improve and feel more myself. Soon I will want to eat regular meals again. I will want to leave the house. I will be able to sleep through the night. Yay, prednisone!
I started back on prednisone at the end of December, after getting a massive flare-up, as I talked about in an earlier column. I started at 40 milligrams, which is a typical starting dose for me when I’m feeling that bad. I’ve been doing the usual ever since — two weeks on 40 mgs, one week on 30 mgs, one week on 2o mgs, and now I’ve just started a week of 15 mgs. Then I’ll go to 12.5, 10, 7.5, 5, 2.5, and be done. At least that’s the plan.
I’m loving/hating prednisone right now. I know it saves me — literally — when I’m feeling awful, but I also know that it’s horribly bad for me. My face is really swollen right now, I’ve gained a few pounds, and those are just the short-term side effects. I’m always aware of how it creeps up my blood pressure, how I was diagnosed with osteoporosis at just 43, how I get these strange muscle aches in my legs after I’ve been using it a while, how my mood can go from go-with-the-flow to agitated and depressed and on edge.
I noticed when I tapered to 20 mgs last week that some of the physical symptoms were returning, very mildly. Because I have Crohn’s patches in my stomach, I get a lot of “need-my-Percocet-right-this-second” feelings. I haven’t needed Percocet in several weeks now because the prednisone was covering it. But last night I did. I’m having trouble, again with swallowing.
So, I love prednisone for taking those struggles away from me. But now that I’m tapering, they’re coming back. I have six more weeks of taper to go, which feels like a lot. But I know that shortly after I go off, even though I’m making a valiant effort, the symptoms likely will come back, I’ll go back up to 40 mgs, and start the whole miserable cycle again.
Tapering. I know I need to do it, but I hate it. And I love it.
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