Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thank You Prednisone

I always thought steroids were bad. Of course the kind that muscle-heads juice with, but the kind doctors prescribe as well. Through stories gathered from friends and family (long history of asthmatics), I had been taught to warily avoid them. Weight gain, facial hair, tantrums in public. Oh yeah, I had heard plenty of stories, with enough bad details, that I actually felt justified in challenging any doctor trying to get them into me. So justified that last July 28th, on the 5th day of having what can only be described as the worst headache in the entire universe, ever, I scoffed at the ER doctor when he informed me the spinal tap he was about to perform would inject a small amount of steroid into my system. My husband was sitting right next to me and looked directly at the doctor, giving his verbal permission and overriding me right in front of me! I looked up at both men while lying drugged up on that gurney and knew there was no getting out if it. Fine. Just a little bit of steroids for the spinal tap. Which kinda freaked me out in and of itself, but I just did what I always have when faced with ER's and hospitalizations. Ignored the gritty stuff. Pulled out my master compartmentalization technique. Its much easier to do while hooked up to a push button IV of very strong narcotics.

I honestly thought I was going to have 1 of 2 outcomes during the two intensive days of extremely invasive testing. Either I was going to have brain surgery or leave there with a death sentence. Tumors or an aneurysm, something along those lines. I decided if I was lucky enough to go the brain surgery route I was going to buy a VERY expensive wig that was my dream-hair, for surely at least half my head would be shaved. But really all I could do was pray. I was so unbelievably scared. I had to put my faith in the fact that I was not the master controller of my life, and that my purpose here on earth just may be done. I felt peace for myself, confident for my spirit in the afterlife. But looking at my husband and mother's concerned and attentive faces 'round-the-clock, my heart ached for their loss. For their love was shining all around them, so bright. And I knew I played such a large part in both of their lives. It was heartbreaking to imagine their lives without me in it.

So imagine my surprise when my world-class neurologist came into my hospital room, pulled out a chair right in front of my bed and sat down. He told me I had a diagnosis.  I survived 2 strokes caused by RCVS, a subset of Vasculitis, and I was going to be fine! It was reversible with treatment; steroids and calcium channel blockers. I was never so overjoyed to be given anything in my life as I was that Prednisone! I was quickly moved out of ICU to gen-pop and finally sent home, high as a kite from evading death, and what I now know quite personally as the drug from hell. I have bitched in many a blog about Prednisone and all the wacky and terrible things it inflicted on me. But I am going to tell you what Prednisone did do for me. It gave me guts. It gave me energy. My need to sleep any more than 7 hours a night was gone. I didn't have Fibromyalgia pain anymore! I felt incredible! My nails were long and strong for the first time in my life. Exercise was a breeze, I was darn near a contortionist! I was en fuego and I could not sit down! So I published this blog and started all sorts of awareness efforts in the name of Fibromyalgia. My purpose here on earth certainly NOT done. Then when I came off that steroid the sheer burden of responsibility I found myself in kicked my ass. And now I have balanced out and am quite pleased with what my crazy-self started. So no, I would not trade Fibro for Prednisone. Give me an illness to manage any day over a psychopathic drug that turns you into a crazy-speedy-freaky hairy fat person! But it saved my life, in more ways than one, and for that I will always be grateful.

Thanks for joining,

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