Ripping Off The Steroid Band-Aid
I have been off of steroids for about two months now.
It hasn’t been easy getting off of them, but I was determined to get off of them, and am determined not to go back on them.
This round, I was on Methylprednisolone as opposed to Prednisone.
My old rheumatologist back in Michigan told me that while Prednisone is the go-to steroid in America, Methylprednisolone is the go-to steroid in Europe.
He also promised me that it comes with less side effects.
I do think that in the short run, Methylprednisolone does have less side effects than Prednisone, but in the long term, I think it evens off. Methylprednisolone may even actually be worse than Prednisone in the long term.
The reason I say that is because I’ve had several pesky side effects, some of which I am still trying to get rid of.
(Isn’t that always the case? It takes twice as long to get rid of something than how long it took to come on in the first place?)
I had a significant problem with sweating. While on Methylprednisolone, I sweated like a 400-pound man. It was really awful. Thankfully, that has really stopped happening since I have been off of steroids.
On the other hand, I got some really unsightly stretch marks on the sides of my abdomen and above my armpits. This has never happened any of the other times I’ve been on steroids, and I’ve gained more weight while previously on steroids, and never had stretch marks before. So I am not really sure what that’s about.
But needless to say, the sweating combined with the stretch marks has had a negative impact on my self-esteem.
And I know, that’s probably a small price to pay for having some measure of pain control. But on the other hand, where do we draw the line?
I have had many experiences now of being on steroids at various doses, wanting to get off of them the whole time I was on them, and being off of them and wanting to be back on them, for the relief they bring.
For me, steroids have the impact of getting rid of that heavy feeling in my shoulders that is a constant bother when I’m not on them. It’s like the weight of the world is off my shoulders.
But the reality is that steroids are like a Band-Aid. They cover up a gushing wound, but as soon as you pull the Band-Aid off, the wound starts gushing again.
Steroids are not a permanent solution, especially considering that they can cause massive bone erosion, which can lead to the need for joint replacements that wouldn’t be necessary with the profession of joint damage due to RA, alone.
Do you find the pain scale is an effective tool?