Prednisone, Insulin and Fairy Tales

You don’t have to be symptom-free to enjoy a happy life.

So many people say that life is not a fairy tale and I agree. . . absolutely (after all, fairy tales are totally fictitious). But what if you could live your life as if it was a fairy tale?

“There are two ways to live; you can live as if nothing is a miracle; or you can live as if everything is a miracle.”

Albert Einstein.

I don’t think Albert would mind if I changed the word “miracle” for “magical” just to make my point: “You can live as if everything is magical.” Voila! There you have it – a gateway to your own personal fairy tale! It’s all a matter of perspective isn’t it?

Wait – before you start laughing at such a simplistic idea, just think about it. In all fairy tales the main character must go through some difficult challenge; hard times – some sort of misery, illness and sometimes even death – before something magical happens that leads to the happy ending.


The Hard Times

Most days, I was just too tired, too nauseous, too swollen, confused and depressed to do much of anything.

If someone says “Cinderella,” your first thought is about the beautiful ball-gown, the handsome prince and her happily ever after. It is only on second thought (if prompted) that you even remember her misery and hardships for all the years before that – the loss of her dear mother, being ‘treated like a dog’ by her step-mother and step-sisters, sleeping in the cinders, the bad-treatment and servitude she had to put up with. ‘Bippity Boppity Boo’ was the Disney edition so you can cut the magic there. She actually had to do the hard work by hand – for real.

The Frog Prince
The Frog Prince

In the tale of The Frog Prince, a spiteful fairy turns the handsome prince into a frog, and he has to tolerate a two-timing, snooty-nosed princess before he could regain his true identity.

And remember Snow White – poor soul! Her step-mother was such a jealous b_#@* that she had to run for her life. And after being homeless, she had to shack-up with seven strange men out in the middle of nowhere, only to be hunted down and killed by the old hag!

The poisoned Apple
Poisoned Apple

You get the idea. The hard time is inevitable. Veritably!

Chronic Illness = Big Challenge, whether you are patient, caregiver, family or friend, it tests you to the core.

In November of 2015, I got really sick – sank to my lowest point in years, physically and mentally. Teaching took way more than I had to give and I had no choice but to take leave from work. My schedule became crammed with doctors’ visits, medical procedures, diagnostic testing, labs – phew! A replacement full-time job with overtime and no pay!

My medication regimen – tedious, to say the least.

Subdue immune system – Prednisone, Cellcept, Prograf: check.

Calm ornery gut – Xifaxan, antibiotics, probiotics: check.

Swollen belly and legs – Spironolactone, Lasix: check.

Blood clots – Warfarin: check.

Nausea – Promethazine: check.

Then depression set in – big time: add Remeron to the confectionery. And oh! Don’t forget Ambien for the worsening insomnia.

DiabetesThen, as if that was not enough, my blood sugar levels went crazy (you can’t blame it . . . after all), so add insulin injections (Levimir AND Novolog).

The winter months dragged on. Most days, I was just too tired, too nauseous, too swollen, confused and depressed to do much of anything and spent a lot of days (and nights) propped up in bed staring vacantly at the TV screen, lapsing in and out of awareness. I’d lose hours at a time. One moment it would be 11 am and the next 3 pm. Once I even slept through an entire day (talk about “out cold!”) waking only when my husband got in from work and insisted that I eat something . . . anything.

Something Magical

To be able to use the living organ of a dead person, to replace the dead organ of a living person !!!! Shoot, if that is not magical, I don’t know what is!

The climax of a fairy tale is always something magical.

Cinderella’s fairy God-mother conjures up an incredible ball-gown and she steals the night and the heart of the prince.

After many years of soaking and croaking, and three nights “frogging around” with the princess, the spell in broken and the frog magically turns back into a handsome prince.

Prince and PrincessMeanwhile, Prince Charming breaks Snow White’s death spell with a kiss (Aww – how romantic).

So what about my magical event? There was no spell to break, and certainly no wand-waving fairy godmother (not even an obeah woman with a piece of stick). But hold on, just work with me here. If you look up the word ‘magical’ in your thesaurus, you will find words like, extraordinary, marvelous, miraculous, wonderful.

Now, had I been born even 50 years earlier, the treatments and medicines I now have, would not have been available and I would have long been dead, and not as in ‘death-spell’ like Snow White, but ‘dead as a doornail.’

One of my magic portions; prednisone – aka the “miracle drug” because it can cure a bariffle (Barbadian word which means “a whole lot of”) of ailments. Prednisone wasn’t discovered until 1955. Insulin, another life-saver was the greatest medical discovery of the twentieth century and new and more powerful magic portions are being whipped up all the time.

Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein

And medicine didn’t figure out how to transplant a human liver until 1963. I am almost positive that Old Albert Einstein would call that a miracle. – to be able to use the living organ of a dead person, to replace the dead organ of a living person !!!! Shoot, if that is not magical, I don’t know what is!

And yes, there is a Prince Charming in my life, who whole-heartedly believes in the healing power of kisses – no joke. Now top that off with a whole lot of prayers from a whole lot of people and my ‘magical something’ is complete.

The Happy Ever After

Of course there can be a “Happy Ever After” in real life! Even with a chronic illness. You don’t have to be symptom free to have a happy life! There is so much to say about this, that I have to leave it for the next post.

In the meantime, enjoy

My Top 3  Fairy Tales.

Snow White


Sleeping Beauty

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Author: Juliette

A graduate of The University of Louisville, Juliette holds an M.Ed. and has been a teacher for over 35 years, specializing in Language arts, Reading and Math. She received two life-saving liver transplants in 2005 and now lives happily with her husband of 21 years in Louisville, Kentucky.

33 thoughts on “Prednisone, Insulin and Fairy Tales”

  1. Yet another wonderfully rich and inspiring post. Keep on pressing on for you are encouragement for the discouraged.
    “You don’t have to be symptom free to be happy” love it. I wished my sister had met you.

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  3. Hi Juliette,
    I enjoyed talking with you today and then reading your blog, awesome!
    I hope you continue to write, breath deeply and enjoy each precious day for yourself and your prince charming. I am blessed to know you.

    1. Thank you for your kind words Alice. I certainly enjoyed our conversation as well and feel honored that you took the time to read my blog. I do plan to keep on writing as long as I can and am now ever so much more conscious of enjoying every single moment of every day.

  4. We used to live in Louisville! I wish I could have met you when we were there.

    Thanks for share your thoughts and your story on your blog. I like your encouragement to choose happiness even in the midst of chronic illness.

    Blessings and joy,

    1. Thank you for visiting Rachel. Maybe we will meet one day. I would love that! We seem to have a lot in common and your blog inspires me.

  5. Though I don’t have the personal experience of insulin and the likes, your words of wisdom are a comfort in the normal everyday life. Kudos to you.

  6. I have taken your quote “You don’t have to be symptom free to have a happy life!” to heart. I, like many others, always want life to be without any problems or challenges, but God never promised us that. I will strive to always find the joy regardless of the situation. My perspective is now very different- contentment is what I feel …I guess… I’m still not quite sure but it feels good.

  7. Now I am looking forward for your every post. Your prints are so deep I am looking towards following your path.
    So magical, so inspirational. Despite the bitter pill, reading your post, I feel like I am walk walking on sunshine.

  8. I too believe in fairy tales and every day I make a greater effort to see that magical = miracle = blessing = coincidence (for the skeptic), thing that happens in my life everyday. Even though we talk often, I still learn even more about you, and learn more from you, by reading your posts. I will be eagerly waiting to see what is next. The fairy tale is still a long way from being complete.

  9. Julie, I am often way too busy to read Facebook posts but as I sat under the hairdryer tonight I sought to ‘catch-up’. Your writing is motivational and sheer literary genius. You have always had a positive outlook on life.
    Thank you for reminding all of us who become distracted by what is imperfect that we are privileged enough to be experiencing life. I thank Ian for coming into your life . I hope to see you soon. Love as always. Carol.

    1. So glad you found a few minutes to read me! I know how busy you are. You know me so well. Here’s to 43 years of friendship and counting.

  10. I had a mixed bag of emotions while reading this. I love the metaphor of the fairy tale!! What an insprational take you have to tell. Can’t wait for your next post.

    1. Thanks for reading Claire. I totally understand the mixed emotions. The next post comes out on Friday October 14. The “happily Ever After” on the following Friday, October 21.

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