Greener Grass

Last week with my little bout of bronchitis, the doctor gave me prednisone.  I’ve asked multiple doctors about prednisone, because if non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs aren’t working, gimme some steroidals!  They’ve always shook their heads patiently and told me prednisone wouldn’t work for fibromyalgia.  I’ve always doubted it, because one of my primary symptoms has been inflammation of the joints.  So now I’ve been on prednisone for about four days.

The first day I took it, absolutely every joint in my body was aching.  The prednisone acted like an aspirin-on-steroids.  The pain didn’t vanish but I could move again.  It also worked wonders on my lungs.  The inflammation in my bronchial tube was gone and I could breathe again.  Wonder drug…?

No.  Unfortunately, while I can tell that the inflammation in my joints has reduced and there is a little more freedom of movement, there are some serious drawbacks.  First, I’m jittery.  This would not be a big deal if I wasn’t working pretty hard at trying to keep my world calm and even.  Palpitations are rearing their ugly head.  Second, I’ve had an explosion of brain chatter which has not only affected my sleep but even my waking.  I’m not 100% sure it’s a result of the prednisone, but I’m pretty sure it’s not from the antibiotic.  Third, I’m puffy.  My joints may have settled, but soft tissue is expanding.  Did the fluid in the joints just seep into muscle and fat?  I suspect if I were to continue to take prednisone, I would continue to expand, which I’m doing very well all by myself, thank you very much.

I’ve looked online at what people with fibro have said about taking prednisone, and it looks like there’s a solid split in opinion.  Some people talk about their experiences with prednisone in terms of knowing what it’s like to feel normal or remembering what it felt like to be young.  Others talk about gaining 170 pounds and other major issues with taking it.  One woman says she keeps some on hand for when she is having a flair up, and it helps get her through bad times, but because of long term issues with taking it, she doesn’t take it all the time.

With such a solid split and with the probability that there are many subsets of fibromyalgia patients, it seems like this is legitimate.  Maybe there is a place for steroidal antiinflammatory drugs for some patients at some times – but not necessarily as a maintenance med.  It would be great if I could get the joint relief without the rest of the side effects.  Unfortunately, the side effects are outweighing the joint relief – which is not 100% – so, since my bronchitis is much better, I’m going to stop taking the prednisone.  There are only a few doses more anyway, and I really need to get my brain to calm and get some solid sleep tonight.

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