Feeling Better, Doing Better

It’s been almost a year since my illness. I’m doing much better. I wanted to do another status report.

So in mid-April 2011, I came home from work and I felt like the carpet had been pulled out from under me. A few days later, friends carried me out of the house so I could go to the doctor’s office. I didn’t walk for 4 or 5 days. I could hardly move. I was in so much pain, I wondered if I had reached my expiration date.

I missed three weeks of work. That was especially hard because I had no sick leave. Finally, my rheumatologist convinced me to take Prednisone, a steroid. That night, after taking the first dose, I broke out in a sweat and when I woke up, the whole bed was wet, as if someone had poured a bucket of water over me. I was able to return to work that day.

I was on Prednisone for about 10 months, off and on, mostly on. It is a scary drug but I depended on it just to get along, just to function, just to keep my face from looking like something you’d see in a morgue. About six weeks ago, I started coming off of the drug, slowly decreasing the dosage by a half pill a week. I have been off of it since last week without major side effects.

But there are some minor side effects that I think have been suppressed for months. Like my skin. I itch all over, not from a rash but from what seems like something excreting from my skin. I use a skin brush when I shower. It helps a lot, I think, to open pores and to get the debris off my skin. A skin brush takes some getting used to. But it really helps.

I have put back on about half the weight I lost (I originally lost 30 pounds when I was sick). I am still on a diet of mostly vegetables, nuts, berries and seeds. But I do eat a little chicken from time to time, and some sweets. For example, on Valentine’s Day, I had a raspberry truffle and a few other delicious non-essentials. But I have to be very careful what I eat. For the rest of my life.

Physical exercise is also a big help. I work out regularly (except for this week; we have had all the grandkids here with us). The more I sweat at the gym, the better I feel—and sleep! After I have a good aerobic exercise, I will sleep through the night for two or three nights in a row. 

One more thing: I just changed jobs this week, too, which restored us to the income level we were at 11 years ago when my wife had a serious illness. I feel like we are getting back on track after a pretty stressful decade.

I am very grateful for our blessings. We can tell that we are being watched over. We always have been, even in the midst of our deepest trials.

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