Friday, June 16, 2017

34,500

THIRTY FOUR THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED: the number of milligrams of methylprednisolone sodium succinate (Solu-medrol) I have received over the course of the last 442 days!!

And, today was my LAST TREATMENT!!!!

To say I'm happy about this is an understatement.

The big question of "did it work" is really yet to be determined. All-in-all I'm doing MUCH BETTER than I was. In that regard (symptom treatment) I have responded to the steroids very well. I can't say right now if the put this condition completely in remission. It would be a while before I would know that.

I'm saying "would" because I am being proactive and have made an appointment with a functional medicine doctor for mid-July. I've had some strange "symptoms"* that certainly seem to correlate to steroid dosage tapering. (*Because they aren't as bad as they were I hesitate to really call the things that I've experienced as symptoms, but if I'm being completely honest, I'm pretty sure they are symptoms.)

Sure, it's pretty when it's in bloom...
...Let me tell you a story. The third house I owned had two very large green "bushes", one by the front porch and one out in the backyard. I didn't know what they were but they looked like giant weeds so I set about digging up the one in the front, GIANT root ball and all. My grandmother came to visit me not long after that and asked me about the beautiful hydrangea bush in my back yard! Turns out that weed was a very well established (and hard to grow) hydrangea bush that would have bloomed with beautiful flowers if I had just been patient enough to leave it alone!

...but so is this one!
In that same yard (after this experience) I saw what I thought was a lovely looking, berried, plant growing heartily. I decided to just let it grow so I could see what wonderful flowers would emerge.  ...until I found out it was (poisonous) "Polk Salad" when my neighbor asked why on earth I had not pulled it up.

Here's another story for you.  An athlete of mine a while back was training for a half marathon. One day she texted me to say she had been having some pain in her shin and she was going to the doctor. I asked how long this pain had been going on....weeks!! She just thought it was normal "working out"/"getting fit" pain but found out it was actually a stress reaction/fracture.

We don't know what we don't know. I don't know what I don't know. Functional/integrative doctors take a big step back from the "symptoms" and look at the person as a system of systems.  They strive to answer my all-time favorite question...WHY??!! Why did my immune system decide to attack my brain? Why does it attack my thyroid? If I'm simply treating the end result without knowing why I haven't solved the real problem. I get that sometimes you can't/won't know why things happen, but there really are answers. And if that "upstream" issue isn't solved my immune system might decided to attack something else next.  And...if it is perfectly in line now, having been beating down with the steroid treatments, then the functional doctor won't find anything to treat.

For now, I'm going to take a nap and then I aim to CELEBRATE!!!




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