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The power of the placebo

I think today may be the quickest post I have ever written.

I am feeling charged, I am feeling pumped, I am feeling hyper.

I feel like I could run a 10km run (from someone who hasn’t run any real distance at all since November 2010 when the knee surgeon told me never to run again unless I wanted a full knee replacement).

I am wondering about what other exercise I can do after the Pilates class I knocked off this morning. Or  perhaps I could burn off some energy doing a few more loads of washing? Maybe bake some pies? While I am at it – why don’t I write chapter one of the novel I ‘one day’ plan to publish?

You see, I am currently in the midst of a three-day test of steroid taking.  Maybe it is a placebo effect – but the specialist predicted I would feel this way. And what a coincidence, I do.

The placebo effect is triggered by the person’s belief in the treatment and their expectation of feeling better, rather than the specific form the placebo takes.

Click here to read more about the placebo effect.

Last month I saw a rheumatologist. She is trying to ascertain if I do in fact have arthritis, and if so, what kind of arthritis.

As part of her process of discovery  I have endured a bone scan (think injection of pure radiation into the body followed by all over x-rays), blood test and now the three-day course of Prednisone.

When my son Zach has an asthma episode, we give him 5mg of Prednisone. When we first give it to him, so worn out by the effort of trying to stay alive through laboured breathing is he,  he is usually limp and soulless. There is none of our ‘Zach’ to be seen.

But by day 2 – well the old Zach returns and then some. A magnified version of an already larger than life character.

Pretty standard fare from ZT. Sans cortisone.

So two doses of 50 mg of steroids later, that is exactly how I feel today –  larger than life and ready for action. If the people who smashed in my car window and stole my laptop on Tuesday night came back tonight, well, think Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino. Or Clint Eastwood in just about any movie really.

Gran Torino trailer

The rhuematologist also told me I would feel moody and emotional. Tick, that was yesterday. Although it could have been the fact I was upset over the theft/window smashing. It could have been the hot and humid day. It could have been issues at work. Or once again, it could have been the placebo effect.

So what else was on the specialist list of likely side effects? I would be starving hungry (not so bad with that, yet) and insomnia. Unusually I slept like a log last night, even stayed up the same end of the bed all night.  Because as I am sure we all know, specialists recommend if you cannot fall asleep within the first ten minutes of going to bed, then you need to try different things.

My solution is to turn around and sleep upside down, with your head where your feet normally go. Which is fine, as long as there are no issues with your partner having smelly feet.

I have been sleeping upside down for part of every night for so long that it seems normal to me now, and I wonder why people seem surprised when I mention it. Doesn’t everyone sleep upside down?

Not how I do it - but think I might give it a try. Sourced from google images

I suppose as well as enjoying all the side effect of this heavy dose of drugs, I should also be considering if they are indeed making my joint aches and pain rescind.

Actually I would have to say that for the first time in a very long time, I am not sitting here in agony in several parts of my body.

Acupuncture had the same effect on me when I first tried it back in January, but unfortunately the effect wore off after a day or so.

I am not sure what all this means. I am a little concerned this suggests a future in which if I wish to be pain-free, I would need to take a regular dose of cortisone. And that is not something I can ever countenance.

I have enough trouble trying to stay a healthy weight (I can look at food and put on weight), without cortisone pumping through my veins. I prefer to find the alternative remedy rather than take prescribed medication.

Sourced from google images

Well, no point in worrying about ‘what if’s’ now. Might as well wait and see what the Rhuematologist has to report at my follow up appointment.

Meanwhile I best go make some preparations. Apparently I have a long night ahead of me.

And if the placebo effect is to be believed – my boxing partner on Saturday morning had better watch out.

Buona notte,



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