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.