The steroids your adrenal glands normally make keep your body functioning - they control your heart beat, blood pressure, blood sugar, response to stress, etc. When you take large amounts of steroid medication (like I did for my ulcerative colitis), your brain quits telling your adrenal glands to make steroids because it would be superfluous. Usually, your brain and adrenals wake up after you taper off the medication... but mine did not. This means that, in order to perform vital functions (like, you know, maintaining a good blood pressure) my body depends on the steroid pills I take three times a day.
We discovered I was adrenally insufficient when I was trying to taper off steroids after my surgery in 2009. I got so sick - I was basically having adrenal crisis after adrenal crisis. My muscles were so weak I could barely walk, my whole body shook, I was dizzy, sweating, hurting, nauseated, and non-functional. I had to get a liter or two of IV fluids every other day, and even with this, I was so incredibly sick. After a very scary episode in February 2010 where I went completely unresponsive while getting IV fluids, they upped my prednisone to 40 mg and added in another steroid (florinef) to get me stabilized. This was a very extreme move to put me back on a high dose of prednisone, but the endocrinologist I was seeing didn't know what else to do (and apparently didn't know what he was doing... but that's another story).
|Be Alert. The world needs more lerts.|
|Here's a Sciencey picture. This is hydrocortisone.|
It's helpful if you speak Organic Chemistry.
|This, my friends, I am not.|
Unfortunately, since then, I have continued to struggle with off and on shaking, dizziness, fatigue, feeling like my heart is pounding, etc. My arthritis has been flaring and my knees resemble large citrus fruits at times. ;) As sometimes happens when I flare, my eyes are super dry and irritated, so I just pour eyedrops in my eyes and can't wear my contacts. This truly causes me great mental anguish because then I'm doomed to wearing my dorky glasses and no make-up, which is just socially devastating. ;P
I'm also having a "pain flare" with my muscle pain, too, and nothing is really helping the pain. It's so weird because I'll have some good hours where I feel fine and do normal stuff, then all of a sudden, I'm hurting really bad and can't stop shaking and just curl up in a little ball. Now I'm dumping off and on, too, which really isn't helping matters! I am not sure what is going on, but it's annoying! ;) Hehe. Need to tell my body to settle down! Seems like I had a similar pain flare last December/January, so maybe I'm allergic to winter? May it never be!