Saturday, March 12, 2005

THE MUNCHIES ARE BACK! Maybe Pumpkinhead will be returning too?

Well I have been on the decadron for a week now and its side effects are definitely starting to kick in. Last night I was just ravenous! Actually the past two nights I have been really hungry. Thursday night after a lean cuisine frozen meal and a bowl of steamed cheesy brocoli I was still starved. So I tried to curb my temptation to eat something carb rich and salty by making a salad with a little salmon, feta, craisens, celery, and english cucumber. It worked somewhat but I still wanted more. So I had 3 low salt sniders pretzels dipped in lowfat red pepper black bean humus.

The next morning I awoke early just literally famished! My stomach was growling as if I had not eaten dinner! I could not even sleep. I tried to lie there and go back to bed until it was time to take my medicine again (it is supposed to be taken with food) but I just could not rest. I had to get up and instead of my normal bowl of strawberry banana cheerioes I had to eat something heavier. So I had a honey wheat pancake slathered with natuaral applesauce, a little whipped cream and sugar free syrup. Boy that was good!

The rest of the day seemed to go well but I was starved again at about 11:45 pm! I had two slices of vegetarian pizza for dinner and 2 snyder's hard pretzels. I was too lazy to make a salad this time so I ate low sodium tortilla chips with veggie dip and then I switched from the chips to the rest of the carrots I had in the fridge. I also had some sugar free chocolate coated bing cherries and a few nutter butter bites as they are not too sweet.

I checked my weight yesterday and it is fortunately stable at this time (20 lbs less than the last time I took decadron). For those who don't know, I puffed up like a pumpkin in September and gained 12 lbs on the decadron which I had taken on 3 seperate occassions since the treatment in July. In late October and November I began to lose all the weight and more. So I have been pretty happy at my present weight but I am now very wary that I am taking decadron again. Fortunately I feel I have about 8-10 lbs to play with and still be the same as when I got treatment.

Also, the first couple times I was on decadron I got really bloated but my face was not so bad. It was puffy but not humongous like it got at the end of September. I literally turned into a pumpkin head! Even though I gained weight I was still not as huge as my face portrayed me to be! If you looked at just a snap shot of my head back then you would have thought I weighed 200 pounds! I think that it swelled to its maximum capacity as my face was sore, hurt, and it was hard at times to talk correctly.

Well my head is not a pumpkin yet but I feel my face starting to swell. Last night when I looked in the mirror my face looked unusally round. Maybe it was because I was late to take my medicine (I missed the dose and took it 2 1/2 hours late) because today it is looking more back to normal. So far I think I have been kind of fortunate on this course of steroids as I am taking diamox with it which acts as a diruetic (makes you release body fluids whereas the steroids make you retain body fluids).

The other side effects that are starting to kick in are the acne and gas. Last time when I was on the prednisone it seemed like I did not get the acne until two weeks later. It has been week now on the decadron and even though I do not wear makeup often, my skin is getting rough and acne is beginning to form on my neck, jaw, and chin area. Next will be my shoulders which seems to be attacked the most and then my whole face. I have bought some neutrogena spot acne medication but I am not sure how much it really helps.

Although I am getting the munchies, puff face, and acne I am feeling pretty good! I was actually able to go out and do some yard work yesterday and my balance is very much improved. It boils down to which is the lesser of the two evils ya want? I like to feel more normal and be able to do things which the medication allows. I was actually able to use the rockerie stairs on the opposite side of the house that I have avoided using for months AND I was able to carry a bin of leaf matter while doing it without a railing or hiking stick to help with balance.

Also, when we took the dogs for a walk we were in a hurry because we had some plans so we jogged for about 10-12 minutes and I was able to do it! When I am off the steroids I do not have stable enough balance to run. LOL it was funny though because when I stopped my body felt like it was still moving and I fell to the ground and a lady walking by probably thought I was purely exhausted from running for miles or something when I only ran 10 minutes!

Today is going pretty well so far. I returned to my strawberry banana cheerios because I need the calcium and it has potassium (diamox depletes potassium levels in the body). I topped it with a fresh banana for more potassium. In the mid-morning I made myself a lowfat portabella mushroom sausage to satisfy my hunger and get in good source of protein. I just bought a huge bag of celery hearts at Costco which I am going to chop up for the day. One of the nice advantages about going through this is that I have formed a love of celery when I despised it before. This is great because it has alot of fiber and curbs hunger. I get dry mouth often and the celery seems to have a high water content that is really helpful for thirst.

Well the day is beautiful again! We have been blessed with fantastic weather this winter. Winter has been gone for some time now and spring is here. Flowers are blooming and the leaf buds on the trees have opened. We are going to try taking my first hike since September. I have been walking alot but on level trails only (the Snoqualmie Valley Trail - check it out at Today we will attempt to go on a trail with some rough terrain and elevation but not too bad. It was what I was considered an easy hike but will be challenging now with my balance and I will need to use my hiking poles. You can check out today's trail called "Little Si" at the following links:

Here is the sister mountain "Mt. Si" that is one of my favorite hikes and I hope to accomplish this summer. I did not get to hike it last year as I had sprained my ankle when I came back from treatment. :o( You can view photos of it at this link:

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