First, I've been on and off a steroid known as prednisone for about 22 years. While it works great in lowering inflammation, it has caused me so many other problems! First it caused glaucoma and cataract in my left eye when I was 8 (I already had Uveitis when I was 3). The cataract has since been removed, but the medicines used to treat the Glaucoma, make the Uveitis flare, and the medicines used for the Uveitis make the pressure in my eye go up from the Glaucoma! They both counteract each other and I have to constantly be seen by an eye doctor to make sure it's well controlled. I've had 5 glaucoma surgeries over the years because the Uveitis flared and I had to increase the medication. Every time I get even a headache in my eye, I have to be seen by my doctor to make sure it's not the Glaucoma or else my vision will go away forever. My left eye already looks funky because of the vision loss I've had, and makes me so self conscious, I'm constantly worrying about how it looks. It makes me feel ugly, and I hate it.
Then the prednisone caused bone loss in my neck and hip, known as Osteopenia. I have to make sure I am taking Calcium with Vitamin D supplements twice a day, and making sure I am eating foods that contain those supplements (milk, yogurt, broccoli, etc). However, I also have Irritable Bowl Syndrome and have to watch what I eat or else I will end up in severe pain. Foods I am told to avoid are caffeine, fiber and what else, but dairy! Again two things that counteract each other! So do I eat the dairy so my bones don't loose anymore density and I end up brittle? And in doing so end up hurting my stomach? Or vice versa?! Something I have to think about every time I go eat something.
Then, the medications that I've taken over the years for my Rheumatoid Arthritis are known as immunosuppressants, which lower my overactive immune system. Because I've been on so many of them since I was 3, my antibodies known as IgA are completely wiped out and I can never get them back. My body has actually built up a resistance to them, so if I ever needed a blood transfusion and the IgAs were in it, I'd go into anaphaltic shock (medical alert bracelet is worn for this!) So now I have to give myself an IV of some antibodies known as IgG and have to be extremely careful with germs. I can't be around people who are sick, and when going out in public, I have to constantly watch what I touch and wash my hands all the time! If and when I do get sick, I have to immediately contact my Immunologist so I can be put on a special antibiotic and be monitored by him. If I am sick too long, I have to switch to another antibiotic, and other possible means of treatment may be needed.
I'm also on a chemotherapy drug known as Methotrexate. Yes, it is CHEMO, but not as high a dose as cancer patients need. It still makes my hair fall out, and I have to take a vitamin weekly to help decrease the loss. If I forget to take it (since it's only 1x a week, and has to be taken 12 hours after the methotrexate, I do sometimes forget), my hair falls out so bad, that after one shower, my drain is covered in hair. My hair is thinned from it, and again makes me feel self-conscious about the way I look, and am constantly worried about wearing my hair certain ways.
To be normally healthy, you're supposed to eat right, drink lots of water and exercise. Which I try to do all three. However certain healthy foods like fruit and vegetables, I have to be careful of eating too much because fiber can upset my stomach. Exercise I can't do if my RA is flaring, and when I do exercise, I'm always in so much pain afterwards I have to pace myself and wait days between or I'll put myself into a flare! Exercise also completely exhausts me, fatigue is another symptom from my illnesses. I would like to be able to work out and look and feel good about myself, but how am I supposed to with all this crap?! I try as often as I can, believe me I do try.
There is obviously more, I didn't even cover all of my illnesses, but these are my daily worries. These are things I have to constantly think about, and take over my life. Sorry to have just rambled on, but apparently I needed to get it off my chest. Add to it me being out of work, and having to worry about normal, everyday things like paying bills, buying food and medicines, family drama, my looks, worrying about the people I care about, Christmas shopping!, etc. It's enough to make you want to rip your hair out! Yes, I have my days where I want to scream WHY ME?! But I don't, because I know things could be a lot worse off, and everyone should stop and think about that as well. Stop stressing and worrying over the stupidest things, and be thankful for what you DO have. Sometimes it is hard to see it that way, but try as often as you can. Otherwise, you'll be a miserable old grump forever.