I know some people love them because they give you energy, and we all know how MSers need energy, but I hate them. Within the first year of being diagnosed (well, 10 months, but who is counting?) I went through steroids 4 times and hated it every time. The steroids make me sick, crazy and fat--in that order. Each time I did them I figured out that I gained 13.7 lbs, which brought me to a grand total of 55 lbs of weight gain--YIKES! Very few people can gain that much weight and not be considered overweight, and I am no exception. At my highest weight I was only at the high end of what is considered "normal" for my height and I felt like a fatted pig heading to slaughter. And now without further ado, my 3 reasons for hating them:
Ohhh, the heartburn! I never get heartburn. Never ever for never never and ever. So I didn't know why my chest felt like I wanted to belch flames, and this with the Zantac that they give you. I guzzled Maalox and took the maximum of it and the Zantac, maybe even over it, but still no relief. I drank milk, water, and one time only vanilla shakes--nothing helped. It is just something you have to suffer through. Even after the steroids ended (I did them for 5 days) it took a long time for my poor, burnt up stomach to return to normal. They also make everything taste like CRAP. Even if you have nothing in your mouth, your mouth will still taste terrible. So terrible that throughout the night I had vivid and disturbing dreams about eating foul things and woke up once licking my pillow and another time spitting on my pillow to get the terrible taste out of my mouth. I learned to keep mints in my bedside table for when I get an attack of shitty-steroid-mouth while sleeping, and would wake up often to eat another one when taste would start messing with my dreams again. For those of you who have never had to go through the steroids and can't believe anything could taste as bad as steroid mouth, I have one suggestion for you: go lick the bottom of a very dirty cat box and see how good it tastes. That is probably the closest thing to it, yet I will still put my money on steroid mouth tasting worse.
Rev your body up as much as you can and keep it there for 5 days. Drink pot after pot of coffee, smoke about a carton of cigarettes a day, do anything to keep you as wired as possible and tell me how you feel after 5 days of that. Heck, even after 2 days I start feeling the crazies attack me. I know some people stay in the hospital for the steroids, but I can't stand to. They make me want to run laps around the city and trying to keep me in bed would make me crazier. I read somewhere one person's take on steroids, something like, "first day clean the house, second day jump off the roof..." and I think that nailed it. And as crazy as the being revved up is, the coming down can be just as bad. I didn't do the oral taper the first time and I crashed so hard afterwards I could barely move for 2 days. I also felt like I was on a bad acid trip, things looked wrong... I don't know how to explain it, just not a very stable feeling. Then the last time I did them, after about 3 days of the oral taper I "went crazy" and cut my wrists with a razor blade. 5 Days in the loony bin gave me plenty of time to decide that I will never do them unless I lose my vision again--nothing will change my mind on this. One trip to the loony bin is enough in one lifetime!
Imagine the most hungry you have ever been, where everything looks, smells and tastes exquisite. Or the worst case of the munchies you have ever had, where you could not stop nibbling on stuff and just wanted to inhale everything in the kitchen. Now add cravings that block out any other thought and you have a recipe for a fat ass. One time it was dairy products, milk, cheese, ice cream, but mostly milk. I drank so much milk I thought I was going to have to go to the hospital to have my stomach pumped, then the ice cream took its place and all I could think about is what I could possibly put ice cream on that I had not thought of yet. I can't forget the attack of The Chunky Peanut Butter that held me in its grip for the longest of any of the cravings. I gave up putting it on bread or apples, I just grabbed a spoon and the vat o' peanut butter. I suppose if I had more self control I could have fought these craving and not gained the weight, but when food tastes better than you have ever known it to it is so hard to resist.
I think this has summed up my feelings about steroids pretty well. If I ever feel too healthy, sane, and skinny I may consent to do them--if the attack it bad enough--but I don't see that happening... ever.
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