The magazines don't matter much to me, note that I referred to the covers. In my case, medication that has delivered much needed health benefits also packed on an 40 extra pounds in less than two years. Prednisone has eased this roller coaster ride of life with an auto-immune disorder. It has reduced inflammation and provided energy to meet deadlines, extra fuel for major holidays, travel and busy times, like my stints as a ballet mom. But after three years, I can no longer ignore the fact that the side effects outnumber the benefits. So, I think I am finally brave enough to start tapering off, hope my adrenal glands haven't atrophied and will jump start, begin producing appropriate amounts of cortisol.
The upside to weaning off is the possibility that I'll eventually fit back into 98% of my clothes; the potential pitfalls are increased joint pain and arthritis flares, an even denser brain fog, deadening fatigue, mood swings and/or depression. Yay.
Why do I post this exciting news? Perhaps to affirm my commitment. I'm working diligently to keep my spirits buoyed and maintain daily creativity - my salvation during this illness. And to share; surely I'm not the only one slogging through quicksand just to reach the morning coffee pot, or with an alternate 'fat' wardrobe thanks to medication, hormones or other occasions when one swells up in order to feel better.
There are moments when I forget and look in the mirror expecting to see the younger-looking, thin and healthy me. My friends and loved ones still appreciate my redeeming qualities, personality, spirit. The collage I just finished (photo at right) speaks to the burden of image that can be a self-imposed prison. As I type this, I realize I'm the one who hasn't accepted this version of me.
Test results from a recent visit to the internist - after gaining 5 pounds in a week - revealed that my heart is fine; their recommendation was to pursue diet and exercise. Ha. Anyone who has plumped up on prednisone knows that no trendy diet, even a good common sense approach, won't budge an ounce. I immediately canceled my follow-up appointment. Diet and exercise didn't get me here - though I've started improving my already healthy lifestyle - and I was disappointed, I'd hoped for something a teense more helpful. Like understanding. The kind of help I won't find in this month's magazine article.