Prednisone is NOT a cure for Rheumatoid arthritis.
There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis. There are treatments. There are ways to manage the disease. There are therapies to manage the pain. There is no cure.
Recently I’ve been posting on my personal page about the physically active things I’ve been doing. Things like running. Doing a Step class. Hitting the gym often, sometimes doing two classes a day. I’ve been posting this stuff because it honestly makes me so happy to be able to do these things! It is bliss! It is as close to normal as I have felt in five years. I haven’t had a knock-me-on-my-butt-full-body-mega-flare in nearly three weeks.
That is the longest I have gone without a mega flare. I’ve had twinges. I’ve had aches. I’ve had one or two moderate pain days. But I haven’t had a severe pain day where I can’t get up off the couch.
In five years that has never happened before.
So I think it’s understandable that I’m feeling a bit of euphoria about my current physical state. I know it can’t last…I am tapering down on the prednisone and with each milligram less, I feel the pain increasing. I know what is waiting for me when I am off prednisone, and so I am making the most of this time.
The interesting thing is the comments I have been getting from people. Some of whom should know better. Some of whom are genuinely happy, if misguided. Some of whom have darker motives.
People keep telling me how happy they are that I am cured.
I am NOT cured. Prednisone is NOT a cure. It is a reprieve. A pain holiday. A short, and very necesary break from the pain, stiffness and fatigue of rheumatoid arthritis.
It is not a cure.
Prednisone means I can run and do step classes. It also gives me a resting heart rate of about 95 bpm, anxiety, insomnia, and shoots my blood pressure too high. Long term it will rot my bones and give me osteoporosis. It will mess with my blood sugar levels and cause diabetes. It causes cushings syndrome. It can cause depression and other psychiatric symptoms. The way my doctor put it was pretty succinct…’every bad thing a drug can do to a body, prednisone will do’. But when it also takes severe pain down to mild pain, and allows me to live a relatively normal life, it is oh so easy to forget that. It is oh so tempting to just forget that.
Anyone who has a moderate to severe form of inflammatory arthritis has probably been on prednisone at some point. It’s often used to get a bad flare under control. It’s also used long term, but this is a last resort, for those that don’t respond to anything else.
So far that has been me – prednisone is the only thing that can get me close to normal. I am on a bunch of other drugs. Most notably methotrexate…I’m waiting for that to work. I’m only just at a therapeutic dose now, however. So IF it helps, I might start to feel some improvements in about 6 weeks. If it helps.
It’s all so slow. In the meantime, I need some prednisone to get me through a very tough patch. I have been in pain for five years. I need a holiday.
I am not cured.