Woohoo!

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Well, today I felt a little better than I have in some time now. I am choosing to magnify the positive and eliminate the negative today. I was so fortunate to get quite a bit accomplished and feel better for it. I think the prednisone is kicking in, although still in lots of pain yet. I am hoping the doctor will help me out on that one somehow. At this point, I will go back on the chemotherapy if that is what it takes. I am sick and tired of being sick and tired!

Lupus is so not fair and so not fun! I know, we are not promised to have happiness and light all the time but you know, I wish I could have a few good days in a row! I am beginning to think I am going to have to deal with this wolf in a much more aggressive way for a time. My doctor knows how bad I hate and detest using prednisone, but when I am on it, it does help so I  will  take the moon face and weight gain if it gives me more time to spend with my family.

It is an ironic trade off. My joints hurt more with more weight, yet the medicine to help me makes me gain weight. The paradox is that prednisone is the least of all the “poisons”, or as we lupies call it, the meds, we have to take. High doses create problems like osteoporosis (which I have) and can cause you to have side effects as described below (from wikipedia)

Prednisone’s side effects are legendary in both the medical and patient communities. Patients usually ingest this non-synthetic corticosteroid drug orally. However, doctors administer prednisone in the form of intramuscular injection, too. Medical professionals prescribe prednisone for many medical conditions.

Prednisone turns into the steroidal product prednisolone after the liver has processed prednisone following administration. Its most common use is as an immunosuppressant that acts on almost the entire immune system. This makes it very useful in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, inflammatory diseases like severe asthma, severe poison ivy dermatitis, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease.

Doctors also use prednisone to treat the symptoms of many kidney diseases such as nephrotic syndrome, and to avoid and reverse tissue rejection following organ transplantation. The usual adult dose at the beginning of treatment ranges from 20 to 80 milligrams per day. The dose for children may be 1milligram per kilogram of body weight, with a maximum dose of 50 milligrams.

The side effects of prednisone include adrenal suppression, which can occur with periods of prednisone use to surpass seven days. Adrenal suppression refers to the body’s inability to synthesize natural corticosteroids, resulting in a dependency on the prednisone taken by the patient. This is why doctors do not recommend the cessation of prednisone when the patient has taken it for longer than seven days. They reduce the dose gradually over a few days in the case of short-term prednisone use, and over weeks or months in the case of long-term treatment. Stopping prednisone treatment abruptly can cause the life-threatening Addison’s disease, in which in the body no longer produces sufficient amounts of adrenal steroid hormones

The short-term side effects of prednisone use include high blood glucose levels. This happens most commonly in patients that are already has diabetes mellitus or is using medications that increase blood glucose. Other short-term side effects of prednisone include insomnia, euphoria and, in some cases, even mania. Using prednisone for long periods can cause side effects such as Cushing’s syndrome, weight gain, osteoporosis, glaucoma and type II diabetes mellitus. Upon withdrawal of prednisone after long-term use, patients also suffer from depression. Almost all long-term users of prednisone experience a reduction in their sex drive, as well.

Prednisone use can affect the eyes as well. The most common side effects in the context are glaucoma and cataract formation. These usually occur with topical or intraocular administration of prednisone, but they can also appear with oral, intravenous, or even inhaled administration.

Prednisone use of any period can give rise to many other side effects such as unnatural fatigue or weakness, abdominal pain, blurring of vision, peptic ulcers, infections, pain in the hips or shoulders, osteoporosis, occurrence of acne and sleeplessness. Some of the less serious side effects of prednisone include weight gain, stretch marks on the skin, swelling in the face, nervousness, increase in appetite and hyperactivity.

Doctors treat these side effects of prednisone symptomatically, since it is not always feasible to stop prednisone administration even when severe side effects occur. These are situation where they have to weigh the disadvantages of using a drug against the advantages and make an informed decision. One must remember that while prednisone definitely does give rise to many side effects, it is also a life-saving drug.

It is not to be taken lightly, this drug and yet, it is only the front line defense for lupus. Systemic lupus erythrematosis, or SLE, is not a pretty disease. While some are lucky enough to not develop a lot of issues with lupus, some have lots of issues. For each person it is different. That is why, when you meet someone with lupus, you never know the battles they are having.

So, in conclusion, I hope if you read this, you are a little more educated on one of the drugs used to treat lupus. I am hoping to educate anyone who reads this blog. It is my ultimate goal. In the meantime though, I will write about life experiences and share them here so others may learn the value of life and living, and treat others with dignity and empathy.

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