I, Prednisone Tonia, let's call me Prednisonia, am very different. Prednisonia is short tempered, antsy, flicky, sharp, emotional, manic, sometimes mean, paranoid, self-conscious, obsessive compulsive, and narcissistic. She yells at doctors when she feels like they aren't moving fast enough, she lashes out when she gets defensive, she spends literally 12 hours a day cleaning compulsively, and she stays up all night hallucinating in a zombie-like haze because prednisone keeps her awake and ambien keeps her hypnotized. Last night I folded laundry until 5 in the morning watching TV and laughing with (even high fiving) invisible friends in my living room. Yes, Prednisonia is a scary distorted, countermask of Tonia. I teach a movement class about finding countermasks within the students' personalities. It's a scary thing to confront. Tonia has come to recognize Prednisonia as part of herself. I'm even growing on her a little.
Prednisone and I have a long term love-hate, mostly hate relationship. I have been on and off high dosages of steroids six times. Two of those times were for transplants. They wean you off pretty quickly for those, but they start you at mega doses at first. I have hallucinated spiders and bugs on my hospital bed and things like that on mega doses. But I compare steroid side effects during transplant to being pregnant. You hate what it's doing to your body, but you have a beautiful baby when it's all over. Steroids without transplant is all negative side effects without the euphoria of knowing you have a newly functioning organ that is making you feel amazing. And since I have developed PTSD throughout the years, now panic can set in easily.
Long term high dosages of steroids deform my face and body. I lose my curves and my face gets round (Moonface, they call it). They make everything hurt. My skin gets thin and acne appears, I start growing hair on my face, I stop menstruating eventually, and emotionally I become angry and frustrated at what is happening to my body. I know I have postings about steroids from years ago, but I am trying to document this from a different perspective this time. I am going to really try to channel all the extra adrenaline into positive things, like advocacy, my career, and even this blog.
Today, I got my blood drawn. I am finding that the pinup is actually serving as a fantastic distraction and therapy for my anxiety. It makes me feel good about having to do medical stuff. I did this hairstyle in the lobby in five minutes with three bobby pins, no curling iron, and no hairspray. I was pretty proud of it, and it cheered me up.
I even got to see one of my phlebotomists I haven't seen in years. I used to be one of his "usuals" before transferring to the Cancer Center. It was nice to see him. He told me he was afraid when I stopped coming a few years ago because I looked so sick he assumed I had passed away.
After the blood draw, which was slightly more complicated than usual, my friend, Mia, did my hair for me. She did a great job. I love it!
One thing: This little episode was the largest reason I didn't jump back into full time work right away. When things go wrong with me, it's never simple. And worst of all, people who have me in their life have to face that Healthy Tonia is temporary. She exists in pockets of time, and when she surfaces, you better be ready with a party because she will be up all night begging to go skinny dipping in the ocean. For that reason she is half her age and twice her age at the same time. So give Tonia a break when she gets back. She'll want to be a little crazy for a bit to make up for some lost time, but she means well. And after everything I'm going to put her through, she will be so happy to resurface for a great all night party on the town.
Seriously, get her out of here if you can. Oklahoma is crushing her like a dying star.
So, 2:35 AM, what should I do now...? hm..maybe it's time to reorganize my underwear drawer...