Being on Steroids

Being on Steroids

November 01, 2017

Being on Steroids

I figure I should really hit the gym hard for the next couple of weeks. I have been placed on steroids to help settle a flare-up with my skin. 

Unfortunately, Prednisone does not help with that sort of weight gain. According to website verywell.com, Prednisone causes the body to retain sodium (salt) and lose potassium. This combination can result in fluid retention, weight gain, and bloating. Prednisone causes an increase in appetite, which means that eating more and taking in more calories is also common. I personally consider that a small price to pay for getting back on top of my flare-up but highlights it is not a sustainable treatment option. 

All said and done I have not noticed much of a difference being on prednisone. The biggest factor I have noticed is the fact it makes it harder to get to sleep. You need to take it as early as possible in the day. Even before you wake up would be a good start as I have been up for ages. Sleep has been awful to get. I have been up until 4am for the last few nights. Then crashed one night about 9.30pm, then the following night not getting to sleep until about 6.30am. Now I am sure this is not all prednisone. I have had a lot on my mind but it plus it did help me stay up to watch the rugby live at 4.00am on Saturday night.

The last few days I have felt a little like the living dead, awake and moving but not very alert and productive as my erratic sleeping has taken a toll. I have felt like my eyes have been rolling around the back of my skull. More a little wired than anything. Last night I flaked out early and had a very slow day. I was in bed by 8.30pm and out by 9.00pm and am feeling better for it today. 

As well as taking the prednisone tablets, I have also been applying steroid ointments to my skin. Kind of like a one-two punch, attacking this flare up from the inside and the outside. The combination dramatically reduced the rash and underlying redness. The incessant itch has disappeared, scratches and nicks started to heal. 

My biggest surprise was how the texture and consistency of my skin changed. It was soft, supple and I couldn't feel it bend when I moved. It had a lush glow to it and felt wonderful. The amount of moisturiser I needed was so much less and I hardly had to reapply it. When I did put it on it didn’t have to be a thick greasy coat either. I had even got up in the morning a couple of times and forgot to apply it. That is largely unheard of. 

Probably the biggest sign that my skin was in good shape was something that most people with normal skin would not even consider. The water beaded on my skin in the shower. That is crazy and kinda cool. I very rarely have that experience. Little bubbles of water on my shoulder, then they just casually roll off. I watched it several times. Loved it. 

I have watched my wife get dried and dressed after a shower. She nonchalantly half dries and lets the few remain drops just bead off as she goes to get dressed. How carefree it is, letting the last few drops just roll away, casually wandering out of the bathroom. No appreciation for how cool that experience is. Normally I am in a race to make that narrow window of dried to moisturise. Trap that moisture in, trap it! This time, I could also casually watch it bead right off. My skin barrier working as it should. The small miracles. Happy days, it has been worth the slight tiredness. 

Unfortunately, though, it is a honeymoon period. I need to use this time as well as possible to help suppress the underlying issues that cause the flare up. To help build a stable base to maintain this functioning skin. I am grateful for steroids. I am grateful they work and to know they are there yet I want to get back to my predictable skin where I do not need them. It wasn’t perfect, it was still dry, I had to moisturise every day and after any water, I had mini flare-ups that could be contained, I had to mind what I ate a little and still had the hands of an 80-year-old man but it was predictable and stable. 

I understand that steroids are a tool in the arsenal and only a short-term measure. I believe they have their place to tame a wild bushfire, but not regularly and not as a management plan for me. They are a break in case of an emergency tool for me and I respect them for that. I know there are different types and strengths and each used properly but I have had stable skin without them and I am working to get back to that place.



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