I get no kick from champagne — but what a kick I get from steroids

High-dose steroids prescribed at an MS consultation leave quite an impression

John Connor avatar

by John Connor |

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It’s only day one, but my eyesight has already improved. It may not be that of a hawk’s, but at least I can tell the difference between a lumbering pigeon and a bird of prey.

The world seems brighter — and not just because of that vision thang, peeps. If I could walk, there would definitely be a spring in my step. Instead, this morning, I swung my legs over the side of my bed and hauled myself up to a sitting position all on my ownsome.

Then I grabbed hold of my new MiniLift160 Classic sit-to-stand lift and easily held myself aloft on the bars. You can rely on a sling that’s provided to lift yourself up, but it’s incredibly painful. Many of my carers tell me — sotto voce — that they’ve seen others suffer from this. I often do, too — at the end of the day when my overactive bottom often requires an upstanding wash and brush-up!

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MS cognitive fog is the hardest symptom for me to accept

This morning, I used the MiniLift in the spirit it was actually designed for: standing fully upright while giving my back’s extensor muscles a full workout. It was my muscles that my physiotherapist was most vexed about during my recent stay at a rehab center.

Also, a trip to see my MS consultant for the first time since the plague hit led him to suggest that I get a full MRI work-up — including the head and spine. And in the week leading up to this snapshot, I was given a dose of steroids that is seemingly the equivalent of what a human can withstand in an entire year.

OK, undoubtedly, it’s far less than what the average East German female shot-putter of the 1970s probably had. Then again, that wasn’t safe, either. No matter, as I likely won’t be aiming for the world record set by East German athlete Ilona Slupianek in the 1980 Olympics!

I now have the fluttering inkling of what I used to possess before my very personal plague of multiple sclerosis fully hit me in 2009.

Hold that thought

I must stop tapping for a moment — I just remembered that I should be doing my exercises. And why not, it’s not like they’re going to tire me out for a change. Back soon.

Well that was a cooling breeze. Whizzed through the lot — not even enough time to get sucked into the movie I’m currently watching. Shame. It usually takes me much longer. And no need for that usual much-needed recovery time!

My brain is also clocking in at an impressive rate of gigahertz rather than its normal labored rate of “it just hurts.” Every thought usually has to be dragged out of me, even though I’ve been taking modafinil for years to dispatch the MS brain fog of the classic London pea-soupers type. This week, though, I can see to the horizon. My remaining working neurons must have found a way to link up — the famed brain neuroplasticity I’ve often read about.

I have to duck out again. Steroids, unlike cocaine, make one ravingly hungry. My wife, Saint Jane, has just been shopping. There’s always a chance that I might get just a nibble, as they say in fishing parlance. We’ll see.

It was nuts. Well, peanuts, which aren’t actually nuts at all — which really is nuts. (They are legumes.) Er, just knocked back 1,200 calories, and it doesn’t even touch the sides of my tum.

So the good, the bad, and the ugly part about taking 500 mg per day of the corticosteroid methylprednisolone for five days is that it wakes me up from my living dream. This is the mental life that’s been stripped from me. The physical side has been catastrophic. I’m truly thankful to still possess a functioning left arm. Small mercies and all that jazz. Oh, but it pushes me into the realms of the whale. Just how many movie references can I splurge into one paragraph?

I’ll leave you with this: On my second morning, I made like a hobbit and had a second breakfast. (At least that reference is originally sourced from literature.)

The ugly? Oh, my brothers, sisters, and gender nonbinaries, that will arrive with a kick next week.

Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


Diane Randall avatar

Diane Randall

I truly enjoy your writing! Very humorous all while dealing with very serious topics. You might be the writer whom I chastised for "bathroom humor"- if so, I like your reference to "over-active bottom" much easier to read and relate to.
It sounds exciting, the steroid therapy, but I worry about the side-effects (you did mention the weight increase, not too worried about that except in ego-related thoughts). On the other hand, if I had to take them, I will. I read more things here on MS News about symptoms I don't have, and I am grateful for the ability and resources to manage health and symptoms that I do have. I'm older so I really think a lot about medications, tests, etc. Not really worried about anything except getting my affairs in order (no estate, just Living Will, DNR & POA, etc.) and continually reminding myself of the great blessings in my life, even the tiniest, simplest things help. "Why me?" A spiritual teacher said a better question is "why not me?"

Diane Randall avatar

Diane Randall

P.S. Hobbits called the 2nd breakfast "elevensies" - so fun!

Dori Rocco avatar

Dori Rocco

Why can't they create a drug that will give us just a little of that wonderful strength and energy? Just a little,,,,,


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