Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Short Description of Denial: A time of truths staring you in the face or shaking the heck out of you to get your attention, yet you keep walking away.

For a few weeks, I've had the typical Addison's shout-out of extreme nausea, body cramps, not-typical-for-me diarrhea and roller coaster blood-pressure readings. One day I'm up and bouncing around...ready to tackle the world, but the next day finds me lying on my back as frustrated as hell...unable to command my body to do as I wish. Those days are LONG.

In the past few weeks, I've found myself having too many of these days flat on my back, Over and over, I've forced myself to stare at that bottle of little white pills. These pills that the local pharmacist doesn't even keep on hand in quantities sufficient to fill my own "little" monthly prescription. I tell the pharmacist, "Keep this on hand; I will need a new refill every single month." This mass quantity of steroids prescribed monthly is just for me. My hydrocortisone.

I have a love/hate relationship with my medication. I can't live without it, but I struggle to continue living after requiring it every day of my life for nearly ten years. After my neck suddenly collapsed in 2008 and the fracture nearly cut off all but a pin-hole of spinal fluid, I have learned to be leery of my steroid-dependent state. It made my bones start to gel. How do I rebel against this state of existence? Where is the holistic approach for our condition? Ha! That is the joke. There isn't one. You be thankful for your meds and be glad to live another day...THAT is your holistic approach!! If you have Addison's, you know, those are our oxygen pills. After my neck collapsed, I was double-bolted, double-screwed (yaa-yaa-funny), double-plated, cadaver-bone restructured and I now have 12 screws on metal plates holding my neck together from front to back. The hair shaved off the back of my head for the five-inch incision was a minimal blip on my radar. The scar in the front of my neck is more rock-star noticeable. If someone sees my scars and is brave enough to ask about them, I put on a straight face and say in all seriousness, "It's from my bull-riding days; those horns will tear you to pieces. That bull horn through the neck ended my career..." As a Texan, they often believe me. My daughters especially like this angle. It's more exciting that the unknown "Addison's Complication," blurry-eyed account. Of course, I have creative answers that have been tried and appreciated by my loved ones. Some of these are not appropriate to mention.

So, yes, I see my meds as a blessing and a curse. Take it day by day. That's how I was told to approach life after the Addison's diagnosis. Still, lately, something is not right in my body a lot of days. Those pills might be my dreaded answer. Instead of my usual, barely-get-by-dosage of 10mg per day, I have recently been forced to double it to 20mg per day. Shudder.

Within 24-hours of my first double-dose, I am feeling horizontal again. That's always a great sign. The extreme cramping in my back and abdomen subsides...I'm embarrassed to even admit how long I endured those pains out of stubborn character. I didn't want to increase my steroids. But, it seems to be the trick. I'd never make a good illicit drug addict; I am too knowledgeable about today's actions affecting our tomorrows. I kind of like having tomorrows. However, I am realizing, after nearly ten years, that if I don't take enough meds TODAY, I will be guaranteed to NOT see tomorrow.

This morning, I again make friends with my necessary enemy. With a slight feeling of defeat, I pour out about four to five pills into my hand that are 5mg each of Hydrocortisone, and I pop them into my mouth with sweet Texas tea. Swallow...I know that the denial of today will cease, but that requires the denial of my future. Maybe, I am starting to face that my denial can also be a triumph.

1 comment:

  1. Lana,

    10 mg of HC a day is not enough to help your body live. It scares me to think of a person taking just enough to keep vial functions going but not enough to allow the body to heal itself from daily wear and tear.

    Although I'm on 25 mg/day (I'm relatively small too) in physiologic dosing (10/10/5), my quality of life is pretty dang good. I rarely suffer from the things you are mentioning. My bones are good and I'm able to be active enough to keep them strong.

    I hope you start splitting your HC in a way that your body would if it could and taking enough to make a good quality of life for you and your family.

    You are NOT on massive doses of steroids, nor am I! Massive doses are those that the poor Lupus, colitis and vasculitis people have to take. We only need replacement doses, thank goodness.

    Your quality of life could be so improved with a few tweaks to your meds. Mine is certainly good. Heck, despite the Addison's, hypothyroid and migraines, I do more and am capable of more physically than most people in the world!


    :) Dusty


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