It’s been two weeks now since I had the Solumedrol infusion (see the “Related Posts” at the bottom for links to previous posts about it), so I figure I’ve pretty much experienced all of the effects, intended and side, of the process and and should finish writing about the whole thing.
One of the important things to keep in mind about all of this is dosages, though.
Looking around the Interwebs before we started all of this, there are a lot of posts about people’s experiences with Solumedrol. But looking back on it all, I think the majority of those are talking about longer term treatment, and/or a much higher dosage regime.
My dosage was 1 gram of Solumedrol in 100ml of fluid, given over one hour, once a day for three days. My Neurologist called it “Housekeeping”, to try and reboot my immune system and flush my body of the older materials that might be hanging around from previous attacks. This seems to be a much less drastic an approach than other people experience, so I’ve got the feeling they’re writing about situations where the corticosteroid is being used to hammer the immune system during a major attack.
If that’s the case, they’re on much stronger dosages of Solumedrol for longer because it’s being used to actively try to shut the immune system down and ameliorate an exacerbation.
This would go a long way to explain why the, being honest, downright scary experiences of others written about online never really reared their heads during my treatment, too.
Which isn’t to say it all went great, though.
During the days after the infusion from the “alien eggs”, there was an absolutely noticeable change in how much energy I had. I woke up easier and more alert right from the start (mentally at least, my body wasn’t exactly in line with the program on that score and still demanded coffee, and plenty of it!).
Strangely, although this effect seemed to lessen over the two weeks since the infusion, it’s still there but only noticeable after breakfast. I’m not sure how long this effect will continue, but it’s nice.
It certainly did seem to affect the “speed” of thinking. My long-suffering hubby had to listen to rapid-fire conversations on pretty much every sort of topic under the sun for the first week (as did people in #scifichat and #steampunkchat on Twitter *grin*), but that calmed down after the first week.
There were aches and pains, for a week or so, but it’s hard to tell if those were from the Solumedrol or were normal run-of-the-mill symptoms everyone gets.
At the two week mark, the knocking out of the immune system is noticeable in one respect: infections that had been dealt with recently have returned, although not nearly as severe as they were the last time. I’m going to have to monitor those until the next time I can see my doctor. This was a risk, but we knew it was a possibility and decided that the potential benefits of the Solumedrol outweighed the risk on this one.
The blood sugar issue definitely came to the forefront – the spikes in numbers were positively scary at one point, but after some tweaks by our family doctor and the addition of Lantus to the Novolog he’d already prescribed to head off this side effect, they started stabilizing pretty fast.
At this stage the numbers are pretty much normalizing, and I’ve been able to stop using the Novolog and dial the Lantus dosage way down. The way things are going, I should be able to discontinue the Lantus as well in another two weeks after our family doctor checks my log book and gives me the OK.
The blood sugar issue is one I think is important for people going to have this treatment to bear in mind, and to work with their doctor to head off at the pass before it becomes an issue during treatment. Even with basic preparation, it still became a potential problem and needed to be tweaked to keep it in check, something my Neurologist hadn’t told me of, or done any preparation for.
I strongly suggest people talk to their family doctor and be prepared for this side-effect, even if they aren’t diabetics. This is one of the few things, I think, that can be actively controlled and prevented from getting out of hand with a little application of 8 P’s ((Proper Prior Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance)).
There’s no way for me to tell if the treatment was an actual success. This wasn’t intended to be a “cure” or expected to restore any of the lost functionality previous MS attacks have damaged, such as walking or memory loss, so nothing much has changed on that level. I guess my Neurologist can figure something out at some point.
Other than the above issues, everything really seems to have gone smoothly as far as side-effects are concerned. The effects are, to be honest, disappointing on some levels, because they seem to have been short lived, but as I mentioned there’s no way of telling what effects the evolution has had on the internals of my body, or how it will affect my MS in the near future, so it’d be wrong for me to write the whole thing off as a waste of time yet.
I do know I’ll be happy to be back on my Avonex injections once the Neurologist says I can resume them.
I can’t say that my experience, as mild as it might seem to you reading it, is typical or not. Other accounts of experiences with Solumedrol seem to all relate to 1000ml infusions, for longer periods, so there’s no way of directly correlating what I experienced with what others have experienced, or what you might be facing in the future.
But for now, the idea of Solumedrol as a “Housecleaning” process seems to not be as dire an experience as I feared. Hopefully it’ll have done some good, and hopefully my writing about it will give others more knowledge so they can make informed decisions if they face the same situation.
- If I Don’t Treat MS Relapse (everydayhealth.com)
- Does MS Drug Leave Me Prey to Germs? (everydayhealth.com)
- How Is Multiple Sclerosis Treated? (everydayhealth.com)
- Glossary for Multiple Sclerosis (everydayhealth.com)
- Treating MS With Low-Dose Naltrexone (everydayhealth.com)
- Letter Re: Diabetic Preparedness – Storing Insulin in a Grid Down World (survivalblog.com)
- Never, ever, ever,ever, ever, do this in a birthing room. Just trust me. (scottrimer.wordpress.com)