Pants That Covered My Pain and Brightened My Future
I crave food! I crave food! I crave food all of the time! Whenever my rheumatologist and I discuss a regimen of prednisone, I find an excuse to avoid the drug. This is probably why I have dealt with a bout of pleurisy over the last 6 months. I know pleurisy so well that I diagnosed myself before arriving at the emergency room last month. Pleurisy was the first sign that I had more than migraine headaches as a teen. Any time I cough now, my mom freaks out.
Steroids and hunger
So, over the last 2 months, I have been on a slow taper of prednisone. I started at 60mg and I am now on 10mg. Prednisone - the miracle drug that is the bane of my life with lupus. Most of you can relate to acne, high blood pressure, and mood swings. I have eczema on my legs, I developed stretch marks, and other parts of my skin are thinning. I can’t sleep at night and the cravings make taking this drug a nightmare. Three weeks ago, I ate 4 brownies with vanilla ice cream over a 3-day period, and I don’t even like chocolate or ice cream.
Fluid retention witih lupus
The worst part of prednisone is that it causes fluid retention. Just to educate those who want to tell me and the other lupies just to resist the cravings, our weight exists because of fluid retention. Whether we have cravings or not, our weight will increase. The weight gain was particularly troubling to me as a teen. I did not want to take my shirt off in public because I suffered teases as a child. I avoided the water park or any other event in which I had to be bare-chested. I began to develop breasts and a moon face. I hated looking in the mirror or taking family pictures. The whole experience of taking prednisone for the first time was devastating. That is why I have 2 wardrobes.
Skidz pants made me feel good
To help navigate my experience living with lupus, taking prednisone, and gaining weight, the fashion world developed an idea just for me. It was called Skidz. For those of you who are around my age (47), Skidz was the clothing of the teenage generation. Will Smith aka the Fresh Prince wore Skidz on the cover of his album cover and on his television show. The pants were initially meant for young men who liked to skateboard or rollerblade, but the style latched on to both young men and young women. I wore them to school, to the amusement park. I wore them around the house and on vacation. If my mother found a pair of Skidz she would bring them home. It was sort of a gift for having lupus. The pants matched any tee shirt which made getting dressed in the morning quite easy. Kids in school thought I was rich because I had a different pair every week.
Skidz worked well for me as a teen on prednisone because of the way they were made. Skidz were drawstring pants. The pants were a cross between surgical pants and pajama pants. They were loose at both the top and the bottom of each pants leg. They often had a thin lining for comfort and were pretty much one size fits all. The pocket in the rear always had a large yellow skid mark traffic sign on the back of the pant. The pants were always comfortable except during a cool winter breeze. Given the muscle pain that comes with cold weather, I wonder if have the same reaction since their return to the market.
Skidz made me feel good. They were certainly a talking point among people in my school. The pants brought me out of my shell. People in high school paid more attention to me and gave me much more credence. I appreciate these pants because they encouraged me to be vocal about my health. These people allowed me to speak openly about my weight gain and how the steroids were affecting my body. Skidz gave me cause to take pride in myself and pride in my ability to use myself to make a difference. I joined the poetry group which allowed me to express my emotions on paper. I joined the acting group that helped me use my voice. I joined as much as I could in school to allow me to join the world around me.
Did you have the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) or Mononucleosis (mono) before learning about your lupus diagnosis?