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Prednisone: The Marvelous Monster in My Life

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I have very mixed feelings about prednisone. It is a wonder drug. But I hate having to take it. The only warnings I got when I had my first experience with prednisone was that I must taper when coming off it.

Well, I have now had loads of prednisone over the last three years since I acquired adult onset asthma at the age of 65. I maintain a love-hate relationship with prednisone. I hate having to take it! But I love what it does to fix up my asthma during and after a bad episode.

I understand I really need it when my airways are terribly inflamed. It is the only thing that can ease the situation and restore some sort of normal functioning. The tablets taste awful! I have to have something to remove that taste from my mouth.

Then there are long-term consequences from having had so much of the stuff in the first year of my illness. I gained a lot of weight. That was hard to deal with. My clothes didn’t fit! The other outcome of so much prednisone was type 2 diabetes! That meant another chronic illness to manage on a daily basis.

My daily asthma medication causes a rise in blood glucose levels and interferes with the functioning of my insulin. So it’s a viscous cycle. I need the steroid for asthma and that makes my diabetes worse.

Short-term consequences from prednisone happen too. Prednisone affects my mood. I can be quite unnecessarily angry, almost to the point of aggressive. And weepy too! Not nice effects.

Because I take prednisone for nine days starting with a high dose, it hypes me up and when I have finished the course I almost collapse with fatigue.

Then comes deep depression which becomes another battle. The depression is very debilitating. It’s another compounding factor stemming from the asthma. It’s really hard to stay positive trying to juggle all these interactions. If only my body could go back to working properly!

This depression leads me to want to eat all of the foods that are unsuitable for a diabetic. I have to fight with myself to avoid further damaging myself. Oh, to just have one day free of all this!

So, I consider prednisone to be a necessary evil in my life. It is essential but the cost is rather monstrous. It is a wonderful, indispensable drug with quite awful side effects. I so wish I didn’t need to take it!

Thinkstock photo via Thomas Northcut

Originally published: August 9, 2017
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