The result is that the toes start to shrink a little. Just enough for me to be able to walk. This tiny bit of relief comes with a huge cost. I have trouble sleeping, lots of trouble, and after a few days my body is exhausted, but I still can't sleep because my brain WILL.NOT.SHUT.UP. This exhaustion, in addition to the physical pain, creates a very crabby me. In addition to the sleep problems, my appetite also increases. Despite the fact that I try to eat "healthy" foods most of the time, my weight starts to go up. I also try to not give in to the hunger, but the crabbiness from not sleeping and the depression that is developing because of all this (pain, drug side effects, not being able to exercise, and generally not knowing what the heck is going wrong with my body) make it easy for me to give in and soon I'm eating all sorts of "bad" things. This all, of course, feeds the depression as well.
(Big KUDOS go out to TheHusband for not killing me during this time. He certainly would have been justified.)
After a couple weeks of this absolute hell, the rheumie decides that the prednisone is not working (really?! Ya think?!) and shifts me to another drug therapy, methotrexate. I think the fact that I have now started naming my toes has prodded her into thinking it's time to get more aggressive. What? I didn't tell you that I had named my toes? Oh, well, the initial swollen toe was/is named Shrek. That's because it is sometimes a huge swollen monster and sometimes a typical (almost) sedate toe. The second toe I named Igor because that seemed a respectable name for the awkward assistant of pain.
Because Shrek seems to be "getting better" (and by that I mean it isn't always swollen and I can usually bend it) the doctor is not too worried about it. Igor on the other
Finally, a bit of relief, if only for a short time.
Author's note: This is the fourth post in a series of posts regarding my experience(s) with an autoimmune disease. My experience is unique to me and does not speak for all patients with autoimmune diseases.