Sunday, August 22, 2010

Side Effects and Sympathy

In case you have never taken Prednisone, let me educate you . . . it sucks. One website calls it "the best and worst drug there is." It is a last resort and only resort for a lot of conditions - asthma being one. Among a host of other things, prednisone causes weight gain, moon face, irritability and leg cramps. The side effects I have experienced over the last three years of the prednisone roller coaster are to many to count . . . and the amount of medication I have had to take to help lower the side effects are also too many . . . if you want the whole story someday, bring me a McDonald's caramel frappe and come on over!!

Yet, because of this experience, I have a new found sympathy and empathy for those who suffer and have suffered physical and mental conditions outside of their control. At the library this week I was drawn to a book called Mind Race (some of what I feel on prednisone). It was the story of a teenager who dealt with a gamut of issues. I felt myself in some of the pages . . . and felt for someone else on the others.

One section in particular, in reference to his friends during times of struggle spoke to my heart. He says, "when you treat me responsibly, you help me stay healthy. you are my sounding board . . . I turn to you when others flee . . . when I don't like myself and am carrying a ton of guilt. When I can't remember the laughs and love, you are there to remind me how funny I am and that what I'm feeling is only temporary. You remind me that I am not my illness . . . I wouldn't trade 20 ordinary friends for the kinds of friends I've had during my most difficult times. . . I can rely on them to help me ride out the storm."

Thank you to those incredible friends in my life. I don't want to call you out by name but you know who you are. You've visited me in the hospital. You've sent funny cards. You've cried with me. You've listened to my rants. You've made me laugh when I forgot how. You've picked me up when I've been down. You've been a source of strength but haven't been afraid to show your weakness. You've read my blog and told me how much you enjoy it (whether or not you do - thanks for noticing) You've sat and played Skipbo for hours to tell me about your life and listen to mine. You've brought me m&ms or slurpees just to hang out for as long or as little as I can stand it. You've texted me funny jokes while nebbing. You've made this journey worth experiencing even when that feels like the last thing I wanted to do. Thank you my friends . . . and it's true - the friends you have through the trenches of life are ever lasting - and worth more than 20 friends!!

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