My health is on the mend... and I have been having a lot of ups and downs coping with it.
-- Prednisone (the steroid I'm on to tame the flaring beast) side effects are kicking in BIG TIME: (1) I have a really round face now and am rapidly developing a double chin. I've never had a double chin. Even when I was practically obese in high school. I'm disgusted with how fat my face looks (it's gotten worse since the pics I posted from Saturday). My weight is staying relatively steady after it went way up in the hospital and then way down the week after, but my face and even my stomach are gathering more fat than they've ever had before. Ew. I don't look like ME in the mirror, and I'm absolutely terrified I'll still look weird and round and tummy-fat for the wedding in two months. I'm not a terribly vain girl, but I would like to look like myself for my wedding. (2) I cannot stop eating. I'm trying to keep it healthy, but seriously it's this bizarre COMPULSION. Not like when I used to emotionally overeat before, just the need to eat every piece of food in sight, especially salty foods. It's nutty. Exercising seems to help me resist, but that leads us to the next downer:
-- I'm much weaker than I used to be: I've started doing yoga again on MWF mornings, but damn if I can't hold the strength poses that used to be so easy. And Friday when we did five sun series salutations in a row, I was SWEATING a LOT. I can't really jog and walking up stairs winds me a lot faster than it used to. I want my strength back. Even when I was fat, I was STRONG. I miss it so much. I miss being active.
-- Every time I step down the prednisone (weaning myself off it), my UC symptoms ramp up a little bit the next day. It balances back out quickly, but since Wednesdays have been my adjustment days, Thursdays have sucked.
-- I'm not flaring anymore: This is key. I'm having normal bowel movements, generally fewer than 4/day (except adjustment days, but even then nothing like before I went into the hospital).
-- I have more energy: I've been experimenting with cooking (not just making something easy) after work, doing chores around the house, and walking around comfortably. This is totally different than 2 weeks ago when I'd come home so exhausted I could barely fix dinner.
-- My strength IS coming back, if slowly. For example, for my walk today on the track near my gym, I did 13 laps in the same time it took me to walk 5 the day after I got out of the hospital, and I even did a few bursts of 30 seconds of jogging. Yoga was easier this week than it was last week. I can walk up the four flights of stairs to my classroom in a reasonable amount of time. I may be frustrated, but I'm making progress. My goal is to be strong enough to resume taekwondo in December.
-- My doctor thinks I'll be off prednisone before the wedding, which means the vanity side effects should be seriously reduced.
-- I'm on a lot fewer meds than I was two weeks ago. Once I'm off the prednisone, it'll just be back to the minor remission maintenance drugs I was on since May, plus one more (probiotics). They have almost no side effects for me (after the first month adjusting) and work really well to keep me from flaring.
So the goods outweigh the bads, but still, some things to worry about. I can't wait until I can hike and kick and dance and look in the mirror and be content. We'll get there...