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.
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!
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.