It Never Ends

I’m in the wars again. Last month I was started on a potent steroid treatment for a medical condition unrelated to the connective tissue disorder (EDS) from which I suffer. The treatment has worked well for the purpose intended but it appears to have had some unwelcome side effects.

Last Saturday morning while out walking on rough terrain, I twisted an ankle while coming down a stony track. I have always stumbled a lot as my joints tend to collapse easily due to poor proprioceptive response. I have the hypermobility type of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome where lax ligaments are a classic feature. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve torn/sprained ligaments. However, on this occasion I escaped with only a mild sprain and was able to walk gingerly back to my car. This incident could easily have spoilt my chances of making it to the IBA awards that same night but luckily, I was fine and thoroughly enjoyed the ‘outing’ although my ankle was very swollen the following morning.

I awoke today with pain in my forehead and an obvious sinus infection so the day did not get off to a good start. Over the last few weeks I’ve noticed that my lower back has become progressively weak. I’ve found myself having difficulty getting up from sitting or bending and today my back finally gave way when I leant forward to do some very minor task. My lower back immediately went into acute pain and spasm and I knew instantly that I was in significant trouble. I’m well-used to back pain having developed an unstable pelvis during my last pregnancy. I spent the final three months of that pregnancy on crutches with my pelvis tightly strapped in a special brace to support a rapidly expanding girth. Ever since those days, I’ve suffered from chronic pelvic pain and recurrent tears of the sacro-iliac joints. Today’s pain in my lower back is somewhat different but very acute none the less. If I were to stop my life every time I experienced joint pain, I’d never get anything done so this morning I simply took a couple of powerful painkillers and hoped for the best. I eased myself into the car with difficulty and drove to visit my parents in their nursing home. A stupid decision. By the time I’d arrived, I could hardly get out of the car and was in such pain I could barely walk/talk, let alone push my mother around in her wheelchair. I only stayed a short while before making the painful journey home again. I found myself approaching traffic lights slowly in the hope they’d go green in time to avoid braking. I normally despise drivers who behave like this but after today’s difficult journey, I hope I’ll be a little bit more compassionate to other road users in future.

My conclusion to this tale of woe is that I’m highly suspicious now that the steroid treatment has affected my normal levels of resistance leaving me susceptible to infection and joint instability. I might be entirely wrong about this and I’m sure my GP will be able to advise further. I may not have been blessed with good fortune when it comes to health matters but I do have good powers of recovery so I’m confident I’ll be back on track in no time. I usually keep quiet when in pain and only confess to it, if and when I have to. Tonight, I’ve used the luxury of this outlet to offload my frustration. I don’t need sympathy thanks, just understanding. Thank you for listening.

12 Responses to It Never Ends

  1. roy123456789 says:

    a tale of woe indeed, I didn’t need a dictionary to get through the first two paragraphs either , i’ve got two nurses in the house to help me out!

  2. Steph says:

    Hi Roy. Lucky you with your in-house medical team!

    I’ve been putting off going to bed as I know it’s not going to be easy!

  3. Nonny says:

    No, Miss Steph you are right you don’t need sympathy, you need a medal. That is awful. I hope you get a good night sleep and are not disturbed with pain. I hope you took the road rage’rs registration, just on the off chance you meet them again when you are feeling better, you can hurl abuse at them. I know lots of really bad words and have a string of really hurtful comments you can make. I won’t give you samples here as I don’t want to lower the tone of your blog. Seriously though I really hope you feel better pet.

  4. Dr Thunder says:

    jeezo, you HAVE had it tough. Hope you’re feeling better soon.

    If it makes you feel any better I’m currently recovering from a damaged foot, courtesy of Krav Maga training (my foot…introduced to the elbow of a HUGE muscley eastern european guy = much soreness).

    Your partner in foot pain,

    Dr. Thunder

  5. Steph says:

    Nonny – thank you!

    Not a lot of good news to report this morning. Very little sleep last night thanks to the pain. I’m grounded for sure today and will try to get to see GP asap.

    Cheers! Doc Thunder

    That’ll teach you! 😉

    Yours in pain and spasm, Steph

  6. Knipex says:

    Jeez Steph

    Mind the back. I know from experience that when the back is weak that you can very easily do alot of damage.

    Take it easy and take care of the back.

  7. Bendy Girl says:

    Oh no! Steph I’m really sorry to hear this, make sure you rest up, see your GP and feel better soon (says she blogging from bed!lol!) You know what I’m going to say though, core stability, core stability, core stability! Feel better soon, love BG x

  8. Ian says:


    Did you ever try a chiropractor in addressing your lower back pain? I was very sceptical but exhausted the resources of the NHS ten years ago in trying to discover the cause of the persistent abdominal pain I was suffering. Finally, a consultant physician in Belfast diagnosed back problems causing referred pain.

    I go to an excellent Kiwi down in Greystones once every eight weeks – it’s €40 a shot but has kept me well for ten years.

  9. Baino says:

    Sorry to hear it Steph. We’re no strangers to cortisteroids here used on Asthma and horses! Long term effects can include
    # Increased risk of infections
    # Loss of calcium from bones, which can lead to osteoporosis and fractures
    # Menstrual irregularities
    # Suppressed adrenal gland hormone production
    # Thin skin, easy bruising and slower wound healing
    They’re not the sort of thing you should take over the long term if you can help it. Hopefully your back isn’t related because they’re amazing for reducing inflammation. Now pop off to the GP! Ian’s suggestion might work, my boss has a chiropractor who doesn’t do this manipulation and cracking business but does deep muscle therapy and massage, he swears by it!

  10. Grannymar says:

    Steph how awful. I hope I didn’t add to the problem pulling you here, there and everywhere on Saturday night. It was wonderful to meet you.

  11. Baino says:

    Dr Thunder .. .haha! Not overtly thank goodness! But prednisolone is a common treatment for inflamation in equines.

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