This post brought to you by Prednisone

This post serves a warning to you, my regular readers – all those kind and thoughtful peeps who pop in regularly just to say hello. It’s also for any who might happen by for a visit.

Why’s that, you say?

Well .. I’ve been to the doctor, again. This was my 4th visit in … 4 weeks.  Diagnosed with Bronchitis just before Christmas,  I was given a 5 day antibiotic + 8 days of Prednisone (preds).  Prednisone is a synthetic corticosteroid used as an immune-suppressant. Translation – it’s a man-made chemical that gives your immune system a stern talking to.  The dose starts out with 8 tablets per day, 7 the next and so on.  In my case, it was given to combat the inflammation in the bronchial airway (lungs); I needed its help to settle things down and let me breathe again.

"Hello, Immune System? Mrs. Prednisone calling. I have 3 words for you: Knock it off!" Photo

That was week one.

Week two found me back for a long-acting bronochiodilator  (translation – jaws of life for the lungs).   I was also given a short-term inhaler for those moments when my chest felt tight. Which was daily.    Things started looking up and I even blogged about the Adventures of Wonder Boy and Phlegm girl.

I went back to work in week three but found myself in trouble a few days in; Wheezing, short of breath, and exhausted.  The doctors prescribed another 8 days of preds.

I am in week 4 and thought I was all set. Except I’m not.  I’m still raspy, hoarse and wheezy.  I’m short of breath and honestly, I’m beat.  (Don’t ever Google those symptoms, you’ll panic; I did).  I was scheduled for a regular blood draw this morning anyways at my new favorite hangout (kidding) when Doc popped his head in to check on me (love that).  After a few tests and checks, I’m now on a 3 week dose of a higher amounts of preds that will taper off week by week.

Turns out that what I’d been given were effective but just not quite enough.  It makes sense now. I’d start the high dose on a Thursday, feel pretty good over the weekend, and by Tuesday (day 5)  I was hoarse, gasping and dragging again.

Why the warning?

High doses of Prednisone can mess with the body’s ability to make cortisol at the right times (think cortisone = think adrenal fatigue, which I’ve battled and beat before).  Cortisol levels being out of whack affect sleep quality, concentration and can increases the likelihood of gaining weight around the middle.  Fantastic!  Other possible joys in my immediate future? Facial swelling, anxiety, depression, mouth sores, general snarkiness and unexplained body pain. Super-de-duper!

.. definitely out of whack;

So, if you’re looking for me, please know I might have to hide under the blankies from now till … I don’t know, March?  I’ll expect to breathe better soon but might only be allowed out to play with proper supervision.

I just want my Mom to get better ...

Categories: Life, Personal, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 45 Comments

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45 thoughts on “This post brought to you by Prednisone

  1. Praying for you and a speedy recovery :D.

  2. Aw, so sorry you’re still not well. Here’s hoping the new dose will be just what it takes to make you all better! Take care of yourself, and don’t rush things. We’ll be here when you get back!

    • This experience certainly teaches me to be grateful for all the times I’ve taken little things – like breathing – for granted! I’m sipping some hot tea and working from home today. Thank goodness I can and thank goodness for sweet friends like you, Dianna 🙂 MJ

  3. I’m so sorry you are still feeling bad. Take care of yourself, my friend. LOVE the “out of whack” photo. Too damn funny!

    • Thank you; I can feel the effects of today’s new dose already. Hubbs commented (he’s asthmatic and has needed the preds before) .. “won’t be long you’ll feel like Serena Williams!” and sure as what .. about an hour later I thought “I could pick up a couch – myself.” HOOAH. I just hope it ramps back down so I’m not dusting at 3:00 a.m. tomorrow…

      Loved the “out of whack” photo, too … really perfect for this post.

  4. Oh, MJ, so sorry you are not feeling well. I hope this is the dose that will get you back on your feet. Don’t worry too much about the side effects. What are a few pounds around the middle compared to breathing? Maybe the “whack” is just on back-order and will be here soon. Feel better.

    • Thank you, Jeannette. I could feel the effects of the first dose… mostly I’m concerned about not sleeping and becoming a Snarkasaurus. But – on the good side, I am hopeful I know what to watch out for; I’ve warned everyone 🙂

  5. Awful stuff! I’m so sorry you’re feeling so bad. I hope this round of meds and bed rest will do the trick. Sending virtual hugs and chicken soup your way.

  6. Patty Driscoll

    It took two years for 4 different doctors to diagnose my Vasculitis. I was going to the lab every other week. At one point when I went for blood tests, I rolled up my sleeve and said “please, just take enough blood to run all the tests you need” with tears in my eyes. I was so tired of doing blood tests. The nice lady smiled at me and said “You don’t have enough blood in your body for me to run every blood test.” I didn’t know whether to cry or laugh…..I ended up crying.
    Hang in there…..they’ll get ya going soon!

    • Ugh, that’s miserable, Patty. We really do have to be our own advocates. I’ve had good care, but I think the plan was complicated by my doctor being on vacation one of the weeks and another doctor covering who didn’t look close enough at what we’d already tried. Regardless, I think we’re on the right course now .. at least, I hope so.
      Take care!

  7. Oh my! Praying you feel better very soon.

  8. Oh MJ, you’re funny when you’re at death’s door! Ugh, that sounds terrible! Hoping you feel better real soon…~d.

    • I just had to include the “whack” photo – hee hee. I think I’m on the uptick, at least I sure hope so. A lot of people around me are/have been sick this winter. Honestly I think part of it has been our mild Winter this year *until this week, it’s 9F right now.
      Thanks, D!

  9. MJ — So sorry for your long ordeal. 😦 Prayers that you’ve got the right dosage now and will be feeling much better SOON! I’m sure your Prednisone post took a lot of effort when you don’t even feel like breathing(!) — but it’s great to know you still have your sense of humor. That will go a long way in your recovery! Hugs from TX. =)

  10. I’m so sorry you’re still sick! Sounds like you’ve been through it! A couple of times when I’ve had flu or something that almost kiled me, I have been surprised at how long it took me (weeks? even months?) to feel my normal level of energy again. And I’m typically healthy as a horse! But hopefully you’ll be on the mend soon and most importantly, will feel like yourself. In the meantime, stay warm and cozy, and enjoy some doctor prescribed quiet time! ~ Sheila

    • That’s it — I don’t often get really sick, maybe 1x a year, but when I do I am always amazed at realizing then how good I “normally” feel. Hopefully I’m on the mend; having the weekend before me helps.

      Cheers Sheila!

  11. Ugh, I remember prednisone. By the time your body is ready to sleep, it’s time to get up and take it again! But, this too shall pass. Breathing is more important. Praying for a speedy recovery.

    • Yes~! Last night I felt like my heart was in my throat … it took me much longer than my normal 20 min to fall asleep but .. eventually I did. I’m thinking naps are in my future this weekend. Breathing is definitely more important 🙂

      Thanks for your prayers and kindness,

  12. I don’t know if Prednisone has changed much since I took it in the nineties, but you need to be really careful with it (follow directions carefully). For me (I was taking it for pneumonia) it acted like an anti-depressant, I’ll never forget my husband saying, “You’re just a little too happy.”

    I hope you feel better soon!

    • I agree; the side effect list is extensive. Makes me not want to take it .. but I have to. The good news is my Doctor told me to call him if I see a Marked improvement and we’ll start backing off it sooner vs. later.

      Not really interested in facial puffiness, an ornery personality and lack of sleep!!
      Thanks for your insight 🙂 MJ

  13. cooper

    Prednisone is wicked stuff. I know it’s better now than it was in the 80’s when I took it (completely altered my personality). Get some rest and don’t fight what your body is telling you to do. we need you healthy for 2012. Prayers for health and some decent reading material to keep you company (stop looking at webMD for cryin’ out loud)

    • Thank you, Cooper. You always make great points; I’m watching for mood changes and also all the other delights that come along with this. It is nice to be able to breath a little better today…. hopefully I don’t have to grow horns to do it.

  14. I took prednisone for a couple of years in the 1980s, when it treated my other end. It has some weird side effects, but I never had any on my emotions. It made me look fat and gave me gas.

    Now that I work in drug safety, I do know that you have to pay attention to the directions (with ALL drugs), but that it’s basically safe and helpful.

    Hope you get better quickly!

    • Thank you for the info, Elyse and yes I am definitely paying attention to the directions … today I could feel my fingers swelling a bit. Weird sensation!

      I don’t cook with salt but I do realize I have to banish potato chips – my weakness – from my food sources.

      Appreciate the concern 🙂

  15. Keep breathing sweetie!! It is terrible not being able to get enough oxygen in your lungs (I know), but remember to stay calm. Or at least try. Agitation will make it worse.
    Thinking of you *hugs* have a wonderful and free weekend.

    • I know what you mean – thankfully I don’t usually get too agitated over much. I’ve adopted the “Jimmy Cracked Corn” mentality of late … but I can imagine that, in a bad situation, panic & low oxygen probably wouldn’t be a good mix.

      The good news is that I can tell a positive benefit in 24 hours .. and I will have to move a bit more and monitor sodium levels otherwise I can see where this could go badly.
      Thanks Marion 🙂 MJ

  16. MJ, rest, rest, rest…and work from home if you have to…and then rest some more. Praying for complete recovery!

    • Thank you Jeanne — I slept ok last night and had a relatively quiet day at work (no long conference calls etc) That’s what my immediate work future looks like, which is good, and my weekend is going to include lots of water and rest 🙂 MJ

  17. Oh dear, please rest and get well asap. You are really sick to be on that medication with that dosage. We’ll still be here if you need to back away a bit. Take care.

    • Yeah … I hear you on that. I have to admit that I had a feeling of dread heading in there .. but I am glad to know it’s not permanent and can be reversed. If I have to deal with some things in the interim, I’ll take them just to feel better. I just hope I don’t turn into an Angry Bird (think puffy faced angry thing squawking at and dive-bombing everyone!) 🙂


  18. Oh no! I certainly hope you are resting enough and feeling back to your normal self very soon!

    • the weekend has arrived and with it, lots of comfy cozy time to rest and relax. I will get on the treadmill and take it slow b/c the movement will be good for me to battle the fluid retention that’s already happening … Ain’t life glamorous?
      😉 Thanks for your kind thoughts, MJ

  19. MJ, you need not go to such extremes to find downtime. (smile) We would have allowed you to take a break.
    I am happy to read your responses and note some signs of improvement. I hope tomorrow the notice is even greater. And, I hope you feel the support of the blogosphere around you. Here’s to deeper and easier breathing!

    • Thanks, LD, you are silly as always :). The good news is that I can breath. The bad news is my limbs feel like lead. I’m taking it easy today and going to stay very well hydrated. What a weird odyssey this has been. and yes, I do feel the support -thank you kind friend!

  20. Oh Prednisone, The wonder drug! I’ve been on that before for sinus issues. It’s amazing how it works so well. But you’re right, it can seriously mess you up!

  21. You’ll be back to River Dancing before you know it! 🙂

  22. I hope you are feeling your old self again soon. When a usual go getter like you has no energy and feels poorly, it is doubly hard to take. I hate it when I feel tired and blah and lay there and think of all the things I had wanted to do. So, let your body heal, and let those boys take care of you for a while, you deserve it! All that stuff you wanted to accomplish will still be waiting for you to get your energy back.

  23. MJ, I’m so sorry. I’ve tried to leave a comment twice – issues with aol. Maybe it needs prednisone as well. I hope you are feeling better and getting lots of tlc. I’m sure your beautiful family is taking good care of you. Be well friend.

    • Thank you, Renee. I appreciate your kindness, as always. I am breathing better but am experiencing some odd side effects (leaden limbs!). The good news is this is short-lived. Thanks again for checking in on me, 😉 MJ.

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