A woman with swollen cheeks is surround by thought bubbles containing swollen hands, feet, and prednisone pills.

Highs and Lows of Prednisone

If there has been one thing I’ve learned along the way of my AxSpA journey, it's is that there generally are no easy ways out. Hardly any quick fixes, and oftentimes a trade-off of symptoms for side effects take place when taking medications.

I decided to try prednisone

I decided after some research and talking with other AxSpA patients throughout the year to ask my doctor if we could try a round of prednisone tapers to get me through the holidays. It worked wonderfully for the most part. As one biologic failed and the transition period to another started I was left with the classic AxSpA aches and life got really hard again.

After a few hard weeks, and purchasing our first home, I decided I had to make the decision to try a longer stretch of prednisone to get me to the other side of my new biologic and get my family packed up and moved to our new home.

This was more complicated than I thought

This was hard for me to do for a few reasons. While prednisone can be a miracle drug, is also not recommended for long term use as many side effects can outweigh the benefits. I also noticed a lot of water retention, overall puffiness and a lot of anger and mood changes. And while during a short period of taking prednisone this can be overlooked, three months of ongoing weeping and outbursts can really diminish self esteem and can even cause tension in personal relationships.

My mental health has taken a toll

So while I've felt a little better physically and able to do what I need to do for the move, it has been taxing on my mental health to feel out of control with emotions. This is what I’ve come to accept as the normal of my life with AxSpA in learning to balance both the positive sides of medications like prednisone and the negative.

And although it can be really difficult to sometimes choose the lesser of two evils, it’s also been a lesson in my own perseverance. Being the one to choose to take these medications and being completely informed of the side effects, as well as getting to have very open conversations about the length of time I feel comfortable taking prednisone really helped with the negative emotions I’ve felt around side effects.

How have you managed to proceed the feeling that come up when taking new meds to help your AxSpA?

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