So prednisone then. I need it. Not only to function, to walk, even jog occasionally. I need it to survive.
Adrenal insufficiency means that your body doesn’t have the ability to produce enough cortisol to sustain life. Or it means that in an emergency situation, or an extremely stressful situation, your body will not be able to produce the burst of cortisol that normal people do, to help you get through the situation. Stressful situations could be a severe illness, such as a virus. Or an injury, maybe a car accident. Or when you need surgery.
Long term use of prednisone has given me a level of adrenal insufficiency. I believe it to be relatively minor, but I need to investigate further.
Something like surgery can be planned for, but the other situations cannot be. So anyone with adrenal insufficiency should wear a medic alert bracelet, or carry a card, so that in a medical emergency, if you are unable to speak, medical staff will know that you need steroid cover.
They should also carry a dose of injectable corticosteroids in case of emergency, so that they, or someone else, can give them a potentially life saving dose of steroids. Much like someone with anaphalaxis should carry an epipen.
In the meantime, daily prednisone is necessary.
Unfortunately the fact that my body needs prednisone to survive doesn’t negate all the terrible potential side effects of prednisone.
At this time I have high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Also high blood glucose and I am on diabetes medication to control it. I am 12-15 kilos overweight. I have cataracts, and I have had glaucoma. Thankfully that resolved, because I was in real danger of losing my eyesight permanently.
All of these things are from prednisone. All of them, with the exception of the cataracts and glaucoma have the potential to shorten my life considerably. I’ve been told that if I keep taking this much prednisone I can expect to lose 10 to 15 years of my life.
But I’ve read that uncontrolled severe Rheumatoid Arthritis takes 10 to 15 years off your life as well.
So. No real win either way.
At least I can fight the high blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol with diet and exercise. If I can exercise, and make good nutritional choices. On a high dose of prednisone, I can exercise. I hope that healthy lifestyle choices will counteract some of the damage that prednisone is doing.
We will see.
Still. It is my choice. And this is the choice I am making for me. I cannot live my life on the couch. I just can’t. It’s not living as far as I’m concerned.
Prednisone doesn’t make me pain free. But it does take moderate to severe pain down to mild to moderate pain. At this dose, at least (30mg). I have to taper down from here. And find a balance point. Where I have more mild/moderate days than moderate/severe days. I know I will always have bedridden days, no matter what. But I am aiming for no more than two of those per week. I need to find the dose that gives me that. And then talk about it with my doctors. Listen to them try to convince me that I need to taper lower. And then respectfully disagree.
Unless something worse happens from the prednisone. There are other major side effects. My heart rate is fast. I have tachycardia and chest pains. I need an ECG, but I have been avoiding it. And I need my bone density tested again.
Last time I had my bone density tested, my test results were outstanding. And unique. I caused quite a stir, in fact. I have seven times the bone density of the average person. Very unusual! I am WOLVERINE!!!
And I can honestly tell people I’m not fat, I have heavy bones J.
But seriously, prednisone has the potential to cause even more serious side effects. If and when they appear, I will have to re-evaluate my position. In the meantime, I’m going for a light jog.