Prednisone 3, Me 0 – Or: I fought the Pred and the Pred won


This weekend, still on much-higher-than-usual doses of prednisone and flaring anyway, I gained three pounds in three days.

I learned something new about my buddy Pred this weekend. I knew that prednisone made my appetite rage out of control, that it seemed to make food taste more delicious than usual, and that it messed with my metabolism so that I would stop losing weight even during times of complete faithfulness to a weight-loss diet.  What I didn’t realize before, though, was that it could actually CHANGE MY THINKING.  I developed an amazing new ability to rationalize my eating choices, and the arguments seemed completely convincing at the time.  My resistance was extra-low to these suggestions because of the stress, the flaring, and busyness of the weekend.  So, at the risk of sounding like a crazy person, here’s my weekend, viewed from both my perspective and that of my pal Pred:


Me:  My younger sister and her husband (let’s call them The Kids) came to visit us from across the country, arriving late on Thursday night.  On Friday morning I had to go in to have fasting labs drawn, so we decided that we’d all have breakfast out after my trip to the doctor.  I thought about places that were close to the doctor’s office, and came up with Denny’s.  I also knew that The Kids really like Denny’s, so it made sense, and off we went.

Pred:  Hey, you know what would be a great idea for breakfast?  Denny’s!  Remember last time The Kids were here, they were saying that they don’t have a Denny’s anywhere near them, and they really, really love it?  See, you’re just being a good hostess if you take them!  Since you didn’t make breakfast at your house, really, you owe them!  Don’t worry – there are healthy things you can eat there…  (After arriving at Denny’s:)  Wow, look at that!  You can build your own Grand Slam with any four things you like!  That way you can have a little of each thing – you don’t have to eat it all!  And it’s such a good deal, it just makes economic sense!  Hey, there are chocolate chip pancakes on the kids’ menu – I wonder if they’d throw some chocolate chips into YOUR pancakes?  (They did.  And yes, I ate the whole thing.)

Me:  We spent the day at the beach and had a great time.  Then we decided to have lunch at my favorite Mexican place, known for its decadent white cheese sauce.

Pred:  We all got lots of exercise at the beach, so you can afford this!  Besides, it’s a special occasion!  MMMMMMMMMMM…. white sauce!!!!!!!!

Me:  We went to a poker party at a friend’s house.  It was lots of fun!  We stayed up a bit too late and got very tired, but it’s so unusual for us to do this that it was worth it.

Pred:  Pizza and chips and cream soda – yay!  Oh, look – oatmeal chocolate chip cookies!  The hostess made them herself – she worked so hard!  She’s eight months pregnant, too, so eating them is really a way of showing support for her and her hard work.  MMMMMMMMMMMM…. cookies!  Hey, is that a flush?  That’s a great hand – you should celebrate!  Have another cookie, or three!


Me:  On Saturday morning, we were all exhausted and slept too late.  We were rushing to get to a friend’s Jewish naming ceremony (for both herself and her daughter), and stopped at Starbucks to get The Kids their coffee.  (I don’t drink coffee.)

Pred:  Well, you KNOW you have to take your pills, and you can’t take them on an empty stomach because it always makes you sick.  We’re here at Starbucks anyway, so you’d better get something here.  Hey, don’t they have chocolate croissants?  You love those!

Me:  The naming ceremony was very beautiful but long, and my toddler made me run around outside after him for most of it.  I was also flaring, and starting to go downhill by the time the lunch reception started – I was exhausted, everything hurt, and Pred had an easy mark.

Pred:  Bagels!  Cake!  More cake!  You worked really hard this morning running after your son – you need your nourishment!  Wow, that cake is good.  The pieces are small – another one won’t matter much!

Me:  After the ceremony we all went home.  My husband had been slammed with a work project and was sequestered in our office, and The Kids took a nap, so I ran around after the toddler some more, steadily going downhill.  At 6:00 my friend was hosting a dinner reception for the naming ceremony, and I had been looking forward to it – but by the time it rolled around, I was flaring badly, running a fever, and exhausted.  My toddler was throwing a major tantrum and my husband still had work to do, so The Kids went without us.  I burst into tears after they left, then spent the evening on the couch trying to comfort myself.

Pred:  You poor, poor thing.  RA is so awful, isn’t it?  I know how much you want to be out with your friends.  It’s just so unfair that you have to be here feeling terrible while everyone else is having fun.  It’s not like The Kids come to visit every day, either!  Gee, I hope the hostess isn’t upset with you for missing her party…  Hey, you know what always makes you feel better?  Baking.  Isn’t baking soothing?  You’ve loved doing it since you were a kid.  You don’t have to eat that much of what you make – The Kids are here to help with that!  What about that amazing brownie recipe your friend posted in her blog?  The really fudgy one that adds half a bag of Ghirardelli chips to the batter?  Wouldn’t that make you feel better?


I’m not even going to talk about Sunday – let’s just say there were brownies for breakfast, a 3-year-old’s birthday party, a trip to the zoo involving zoo hot dogs, and a drive-thru taco shop.  White flag waving.

My weekend was very stressful, but totally worth it – I had a great time with great people.  Now I’m just making peace with the trade-off, which is increased pain, fatigue, and these three extra pounds.  Sometimes you just gotta live with it.  Even though the weekend is over and things are returning to normal, I can still hear Pred’s siren call.  There are no more brownies for breakfast, and I am gradually wrestling it under control, but I’m not completely back on the wagon yet.  Flaring worse than ever, which makes it harder, and struggling to deal emotionally with some bad lab results, too – see the excuses Pred will seize?  But even though I’m losing this fight, I think it’s worth documenting – first of all, because it’s the truth, and second, because becoming aware of Pred’s voice in my head helps me to separate it from the other parts of me that want different things.

Either that or I’m just losing my mind.  😛

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  1. WarmSocks says:

    Well written.
    I remember being really hungry on prednisone.
    Hope your flare is a short one.

  2. Oh this sounds SO like me – the trouble is I’m not even ON Pred (or any steroids) … it’s just me. I need to learn to separate out evil, fat me from the beautiful, thin penguin fighting to get out!

  3. Britta says:

    Stumbled upon your blog on accident. Loved this post! Hilarious…I remember being on Prednisone too….I already loved to eat, and then I loved to eat anything, everything, and all the time!!!!

  4. Lakhwinder says:

    donna Posted on I completely raetle to that. Last summer I was in a bad flare and my prednisone drastically increased. Wow, made me Crazy!!! And, NO sleep for months. Was alot of fun, haha! Gained almost 20lbs, too. That makes a girl real happy.My dr wanted me to taper back down to 15mgs really fast-10mgs per wk! Now tapering down is no picnic either. I could not do it as I was so stressed I was in adrenal fatigue and knew I could not add another blow to my system.I am now down to 15. Still having problems w/insomnia and ache like mad, but feel more like myself so it is worth it.The one good thing is that it did make me understand my mother. She had severe lupus-was dx’d in the early 50 s. She took massive amounts of pred until she passed away in 1986 @ the age of 57. I never knew what caused her irrational behavior, now I do prednisone. She did have some CNS involvement, but I am convinced it was mainly the prednisone.Rest in Peace, Mom

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