EYE THROBBING. MAJOR PAIN. HELP ME.
Later, when the steroid, Prednisone is what it's called, cleared up my bloodied battlefield of an eyeball a mere twenty-four hours after I first sucked it down with a couple glugs of milk, well, it was a miracle drug as far as I was concerned. But oh, had I just done a quick bit of googling and informed myself I might not have been singing its praises so early on in our relationship. Because, much like every boyfriend of my twenties whose praises I initially sang loud and proud before I knew exactly what I was dealing with, the relationship with Prednisone ultimately soured in a most lemon-y way... But only after intense confusion and rage-filled crying jags - again, very similar to those manic relationships of my youth.
In my defense, playing Dr. Google rarely goes well and often results in confirming to me that yes, yes you do have a most deadly cancer and probably only weeks to live.
I started taking the steroid in May after my own eyeball, relatively benign until recently, staged a bloody coup on my body, turning my head into an explosion of pain. As if it were the blood-colored moon signaling the end of days, the eyeball turned a disturbing shade of red and sent throbbing vibrations all the way down my jawline. After weeks of trying to will the eyeball better with positive thoughts I caved after one particularly sleepless night and went to a top-notch Opthamologist.
He initially diagnosed what he called Episcleritis, which is basically an inflammation of the eye. Sounds mild, I know, but after playing Dr. Google I've learned it's nothing to sneeze at. People suffer from this for years and there isn't much doctors can do (they don't know what causes it) other than prescribe you some really jacked up drugs, the side-effects of which, as you're about to see, are often worse than the original ailment.
I've had this weird bloody eye flare-up over the past three years or so and it always goes away after a couple weeks. This time, like an annoying relative who comes to visit for a "few days" and ends up staying for weeks, the Episcleritis moved its bags in and apparently ordered cable all up in my orbit, because it would not leave my eyeball.
Eyeball rape of a most legitimate kind.
Intense, throbbing pain punctuated my days and nights and everywhere I went I was looked at suspiciously because this Epicleritis looks an awful lot like Pink Eye. I appeared to be a contagious asshole marauding all over town assaulting people with my contagious pink eye. It got to the point that I would just say "It's not Pink Eye" in lieu of a greeting.
"It's not Pink Eye." To the anxiously furrowed brows of my daughter's pre-school teacher.
"I'd like to make a deposit, It's not Pink Eye." To the suspicious expression on the bank teller.
"Debit. And it's not Pink Eye." To the vacant-eyed cashier at Walmart. "Oh, and can I have some cash back, please? Did I mention it's not Pink Eye?"
"It's not Pink Eye." To the strong-jawed, muscled Latin boy of 19 I pay to - WOOPS! Never you mind that last one.
And then I was prescribed the aforementioned "miracle drug". The one that got rid of the inflammation faster than you can list all the side effects of said drug. Because, as it turns out, there are a looooot of side effects.
Are you ready for this? 3 - 2 - 1 and go:
nervousness, acne, rash, increased appetite, hyperactivity, frequent urination, diarrhea, removes intestinal flora, leg pain/cramps, sensitive teeth, difficulty controlling emotion (ha!) difficulty in maintaining train of thought, weight gain, facial swelling, depression, mania, psychosis, or other psychiatric symptoms, unusual fatigue or weakness, mental confusion, indecisiveness, blurred vision (wait! aren't we trying to FIX my eye?) abdominal pain, ulcers, infections, painful hips or shoulders, bone-thinning, stretch marks, long-term migraines, insomnia, severe joint pain, cataracts or glaucoma, anxiety, black stool, stomach pain or bloating, severe swelling, mouth sores or dry mouth.
I don't know about you but after reading that list I'm pretty fucking pissed off about all the intestinal flora I've probably lost in the past few months. Also? Black Stool? If you've been searching for a name for that heavy metal band you just started - YOU'RE WELCOME.
But see, I paid these possible side effects no mind because I didn't know about them all and did I mention my eyeball? My aching eyeball? It was finally all better! And I didn't really notice any obvious side-effects. I didn't have a headache and I wasn't nauseous and to be fair I'm always moody... So I thought I was golden. Big mistake. Huge.
I first noticed the glossy blonde hairs sprouting on my cheeks several weeks ago. But, like a dumbass, I didn't connect them to the loads of steroids I was sending down my gullet every morning. I mean, I regularly sprout some pretty serious facial hair, not an abundance, mind you, but, like, lone goat hairs that pop up on my chin or upper lip. Hairs so thick and intense Tom Selleck's mustache would be green with envy. A pluck here, a pluck there... And yeah, okay, so I've creamed away a more serious cropping of blondish mustache hairs from time to time, but nothing serious. Nothing of the Circus Freak variety.
But then, in certain lighting I started noticing a thick coating of downy hair spreading across my cheeks (on my cheekbone, for chrissakes!) and down onto my neck. It quickly went from here a pluck, there a pluck to everywhere a pluck-pluck. And still, I blew it off.
I do remember thinking that it appeared like I had more facial hair than generally seems advisable on a woman but maybe I was noticing it because of the light. And then one kid would try to kill the other or someone, maybe a dog maybe not, would shit on the floor and the hair was forgotten as I attended to the shitty-ness (literally!) of motherhood.To be fair, one of the steroid side effects is "difficulty in maintaining train of thought" and so perhaps you can excuse me for not immediately realizing that Hey! Dumbass! That shitload of steroid you're sucking down every morning has got you started on a gorgeous beard that could rival your husband's! Gorgeous for anyone not of the female persuasion, I mean.
About two weeks ago I noticed that my stomach was jiggling when I ran up and down the stairs. Now, I've never really slimmed down to pre-pregnancy weight, mostly hovering about 10 to 15 pounds over my pre-Violet weight, but my stomach never jiggled. Now, here it was jiggling like Grandma's jello. It seemed fatter. I chalked it up to a footloose and fancy-free summer of evenings drinking a couple calorie-filled cold ones on the porch after the little ones are in bed. I have since cut back to drinking a couple glasses of red wine just one night a week, and still, my belly full of jelly grew and grew and can I just say Beyonce was correct in her assessment that no, I am most certainly not ready for this jelly.
Now, my belly is not only jiggly, but distended. Hugely distended. Starving child in Africa distended. 5-months pregnant distended. AND STILL, I figured that maybe it was because I had cut out a lot of meat from my diet and had been eating more rice than normal as a result of my foray into cooking various Indian and Thai cuisines. Maybe it's the rice. Yeah, that's it. The rice. I mean, don't they dissuade people from throwing rice at weddings because then the birds eat it and it bloats their stomach or something like that? Yeah, it's the rice.
Then last week we made that video for He Said/She Said. And while the world at large was dissecting my terrible body language, rudeness and obvious contempt for my husband, I couldn't stop looking at my face. Something was off. I look puffy. A little thick in the neck. Moon-faced. Bloated. Tiny gash of a mouth floating in a sea of fleshy face, especially noticeable when I turn to the side. Man, I really have gained weight I thought. Which is strange because I've actually been eating more healthfully than I have in a long time. If you consider rice healthy, that is, which, come on, a billion Asian people can't be wrong. Can they?
So I'd been pondering the thick-necked, moon-faced girl in the video when the eye flared up again. The Prednisone wasn't really clearing it up anymore. As if I'd built up a tolerance or something. So I went back to the doctor and he prescribed me another week's worth and then sent me to a Rheumatologist. A doctor who specializes in inflammation, I guess, like Arthritis. Because that's what I have, I guess, is an inflamed eyeball.
Long story longer: He expressed concern that I've been on the steroid for so long, that it's really not that good for me. This is when it all started coming together for me. As Dr. Doogie (that's not his name but MY GOD, he wasn't a day over 17) listed off the side effects all my seemingly random weird bodily discoveries of the last few months snapped into place and, once the puzzle was complete (did he just say back fat pockets? fat pockets? on my back? pockets?) I realized I've been dealing with some pretty intense side effects including 'roid rage but no back fat pockets, so far, thanks be ta Jesus.
Dr. Doogie wanted to put me on something else he thinks might help the eyeball that isn't as damaging to the body as a steroid can be. It's called Methotrexate. I'll save you the click and tell you that this drug is a deadly motherfucker. It's used to treat cancer, induce abortions and, oh yeah, clear up that inflamed eyeball you're sporting.
Fuck. That. Whether or not we decide to have a third child I say fuck that.
So here I am, pensively stroking my luxurious beard and contemplating my next move.
Painful, bloody eyeball
nervousness, acne, rash, increased appetite, hyperactivity, frequent urination, diarrhea, removes intestinal flora, leg pain/cramps, sensitive teeth, difficulty controlling emotion, difficulty in maintaining train of thought, weight gain, facial swelling, depression, mania, psychosis, or other psychiatric symptoms, unusual fatigue or weakness, mental confusion, indecisiveness, blurred vision, abdominal pain, ulcers, infections, painful hips or shoulders, bone-thinning, stretch marks, long-term migraines, insomnia, severe joint pain, cataracts or glaucoma, anxiety, black stool, stomach pain or bloating, severe swelling, mouth sores or dry mouth.
Or: oh hey! Deadly cancer destroying, baby killing drug.
I like my fucking intestinal flora just fine, thank you. Bloody eyeball it is. Now, does anyone have a good old-fashioned barbershop they can recommend? Mama could go for a clean, close shave.
Five days off the 'roids and after that clean, close shave.