Tuesday, March 9, 2010

We Don't Need No Education

So today started out normally enough, I guess. Wake up, do treatments, eat lunch, go to appointment, go from appointment directly to mandatory lung education seminar/support group, learn about immunosuppression and post-transplant infection control...you know, the usual. Certainly there was nothing this morning to suggest that this evening would be one of those "lessons in karma" kind of moments.

Which is, of course, the funny thing about karma, right? It always seems to sneak up on you.

But, I digress. Back to the story, which, as I mentioned above, begins with a fairly routine visit to my favorite hospital for an educational seminar on post-transplant living -- in this case, immunosuppression drugs. And, just to set the scene, this is the kind of seminar where CFers, COPDers, and all sorts of other lucky lungers young and old come together to learn useful facts like "DO NOT USE A LEAF BLOWER AFTER TRANSPLANT!!!" Which, to be honest, is probably not so useful for those of us living in Manhattan apartments (seeing as I have yet to encounter leaf debris in my 18th-floor hallway) but the point is: it's helpful to some people. As a CFer, though, I sometimes find that these talks are geared ever-so-slightly more towards the "rookies" of the lung-health world, and so I tend to zone out just a bit when the doctors start talking about the need to get rid of pet birds, or the emotional stress of taking tons of pills every day, or...and this is just a random example here...the many, many, many unpleasant side effects of prednisone.

Because I know everything about steroids, right?

At this point I'd like to pause and say that if you're a CFer and are unfamiliar with prednisone, congratulations. You're extremely lucky, and I'm completely jealous. In fact, I'm insanely jealous, but the insanity part is probably due to the fact that I am, in fact, on prednisone. I'm actually on prednisone all the time, but sometimes at higher doses than others -- and right now is one of those high-dose times. In other words, I'm a little bit cranky, a little bit unable to sleep, a little bit of an emotional nutjob, and a whole lot of hungry. And this last one is, of course, a good thing for a CFer, except for the fact that prednisone also tends to mess with blood sugars...which is what brings us to the next part of today's lesson.

Anyway, my mother and I sat through the very well-done and informative presentation, we listened and asked our questions, and then we started to go home. And as we walked out of the hospital, I turned to her and said what will now be known as (in)famous last words on the subject of steroids and side effects: "well, at least we know by now that prednisone never messes with MY blood sugars." And we smiled.

And literally 5 minutes later, my phone rang.

Um, yeah, I don't think I even have to finish this story. Suffice it to say that I actually laughed out loud when I was told that my blood sugar was too high -- not because it was funny, but just because it was so, um, shall we say predictable in its irony? And sure, I'll admit that laughter isn't really a normal reaction to this sort of news, but cut me some slack. After all, I am on prednisone.

Luckily it's not SUPER high, and the most likely fix is just to taper down on the drug as soon as possible, which we were probably going to do anyway, but it is a good lesson in not counting your side effects before they hatch. Not to mention a helpful reminder that no matter how much you know about CF, transplant, and life in general, you're never done learning.

And I'm pretty sure that's a good thing.


  1. Piper!,

    Your first sentence -

    So today started out normally enough, I guess. Wake up, do treatments, EAT LUNG, go to appointment,...

    I'm assuming you meant lunch! I'm pointing this out not to be a jerk, but because I was genuinely confused for a moment, and then amused by the freudian slip. If only it was as easy as eating a lung. :)

    As for the blood sugar bit, I used to say the SAME thing. Thank god I have my sugar - I don't know how those CFRD's do it! And now, I have blood sugar problems. I have no more vices left that I'm allowed to indulge! lol. I'll have to come up with something...

    Good luck, but I have no doubt coming off evil prednisone will fix your sugars!


  2. hahaha! okay, i so rarely comment on my own blog, but kristin you just made me laugh out loud. THANK YOU for pointing out that little typo...think i can blame it on the steroids? ;)

    man, that would be a heck of a way to deal with the prednisone munchies.

    thanks again!

  3. so THAT'S what spawned your FB status LOL!!!!

    Prednisone does a doosey on my blood sugars too. welcome to that world :)

  4. Piper,
    I love your blog... I love your wit. You inspire me. You give me great hope. But, I was really wondering if your mom writes. Sometimes I get so scared and crazy, and while I admire your strength, I would really love to hear your mom's side of things. How does she handle the fear? How does she fathom life without you? How does she take a deep breath and move forward to do the next job required of a CF Mom Extraordinaire? I'd love to hear from her.
    Thanks a bunch!

  5. Ahh the joys we have in the land of Pred. It's such a love hate thing tbh. What is the highest dose you reach? Mines 80mg. Love your blog btw =)