Progress with prednisone

You’ll recall that I last saw the pulmonologist on January 1, the day she started me on a regimen of 60 mg of prednisone a day. For a week to 10 days I could not honestly say I saw any improvement in my cough. But it’s a very hard thing to quantify from day to day. I need definite landmarks, like the November 13 dinner when I couldn’t get a sentence out without coughing and had to just bow out of the conversation.

This week though, finally, I feel I can go out on a limb and say the coughing is getting better. I cough less, and when I do, it sounds different, like things are actually loosening up and moving around, like the coughing is finally, maybe, trying to break up or something.

My son says he notices because it’s becoming easier and more pleasant to talk to me on the phone. My grandson even overheard our last conversation and exclaimed, “Grandma’s not coughing.”

So yes, I finally feel I’m making progress on that front.

Not doing quite as well on other fronts. Prednisone can cause fatigue, and I began feeling that this week as I tried to run around doing assorted errands on different days. One day I just had to quit and head for home. I was completely fried, out of gas, no energy for anything more than just getting home. And the feeling has continued through the week. I’m rapidly relearning my old couch potato postures.

And the biggest downside of such inactivity is my weight. Hopped on the scales this morning and I’m up almost 5 pounds from the first of the month. Yikes. Prednisone can cause fluid retention, but I don’t see the puffy wrists, ankles, and face that would indicate that. Too bad. Water weight would go away in time. No, I fear this may be genuine weight gain resulting from increased appetite and reduced activity level.

Killing the cough and restoring proper lung function is the primary objective. And I’m increasingly confident that I’m finally seeing progress there. I’ll leave it to the pulmonologist to make a pronouncement at my next appointment on February 1.

Meantime I’ll be crossing my fingers that the 20 lbs I so enjoyed losing are not coming back. (Correction: Losing it was no fun at all, but having it off has been great.)



5 thoughts on “Progress with prednisone

  1. zenzalei Monday, January 18, 2016 / 12:13 am MDT

    I’m glad you’re breathing easier, but yeah, prednisone is pretty hardcore. I’m assuming that they’re going to taper you off when the time comes?

    • PiedType Monday, January 18, 2016 / 8:30 am MDT

      Yes, the pulmonologist said the taper would likely be “months long,” which I understand is the norm when you’ve been on a high dose for a long time. By the time I see her again, I’ll have been on 60 mg for a month. That strikes me as a long time for anything other than a chronic, lifelong condition. The oncologist warned me the taper could get a bit tricky as I get down to the lower doses — 5-10 mg. Need to keep control of the lung problem and not let it rebound, but also need to let the body resume its natural production of cortisol, which it should start doing at or just below 5 mg.

  2. Jim Wheeler Monday, January 18, 2016 / 3:59 pm MDT

    The shot of steroids I got in my hip joint three months ago is still working. The pain I had is about 90% reduced – it was almost magical. I guess it controls inflammation, something which seems to be at the heart of many conditions and diseases. It obviously affects the immune system, as you’ve mentioned. Your experience with the prednisone shows how hard it is to get it just right, neither too much nor too little. Glad to hear the cough is finally getting better!

  3. Margie Monday, January 18, 2016 / 7:42 pm MDT

    Here’s hoping you’ve turned the corner and are heading for good health again!

"You don’t have to say everything to say something." ~Beth Moore

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