Embracing life with chronic pain and illnesses.

Archive for August, 2017

The Example of Job

A summary of the story of Job from SparkNotes: Bible: The Old Testament: Job reads as follows:

“He is “blameless” and “upright,” always careful to avoid doing evil (Job 1:1). One day, Satan (“the Adversary”) appears before God in heaven. God boasts to Satan about Job’s goodness, but Satan argues that Job is only good because God has blessed him abundantly. Satan challenges God that, if given permission to punish the man, Job will turn and curse God. God allows Satan to torment Job to test this bold claim, but he forbids Satan to take Job’s life in the process.”

sparknotes.com/…ldtestament/character/god

I am sure this summary brings back memories of Sunday School, sermons, church camp and/or youth group. It may raise questions in your mind that were or were not answered. It may still have that element of surrealism, confusion or doubt that was initially in our mind. After all, this is a story of a man…a normal man just like you and me…being held up as a challenge to God by Satan.

Having been primarily homebound for just over two years due to my chronic health conditions, I have had a lot of time to pray, to surf the web, to read (when Fibro Fog is not  too thick), to watch TV… Distraction has been a powerful tool to assist with my daily struggles.

I have found that my perspective of God, Satan, and Job have changed during the many years of chronic pain and the plethora of symptoms that come with Fibromyalgia, Polyarthralgia, Chronic Pain Disorder, Neuralgia, and the like. This change of perspective  has come about because of the deepening of my Faith, of the miraculous events I have witnessed, and just the overall increase in knowledge that the journey of life has provided.

My thoughts of Job have changed from wondering how a good God allows evil and human suffering to exist or why God is so concerned with humanity while appearing to focus on our faults and punishing us to focusing more on the relationships that are in play.

Reading the story of Job with this adjustment to my mindset finds me awed by the friendship that Job had with God. Think of it! God was confident in the relationship that He had with Job!  Job was faithful in worshipping God, he prayed to God, he spoke to God — sharing his thoughts, fears, frustrations, joys, and disappointments.

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A New Day

The morning is bright and my body feels like it was run over by a Mack truck! The good news is so far no electric shocks or those nasty abdominal cramps! So thankful to not take that Cymbalta this morning!  Never again will that vile stuff enter my body!!

Today I will lay low and allow my body the time it needs to recover from yesterday. My tummy muscles are so sore and every fibre of my being aches, stabs, and throbs. Yet I would not trade how I feel today for yesterday!

This is truly a “new day” as I embark on this new path! What twists and turns will I discover?  Time will tell!  For now, I must rest…

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Change of Plans

This morning was a scheduled appointment with my pain specialist for another adjustment to my pain pump. I also had questions regarding getting off of Cymbalta.  Three weeks ago tomorrow I started the process of removing Cymbalta from my medication list…as you have seen on prior blogs, for the first two weeks I took the reduced dose daily…to be followed by two weeks of the reduced dose every other day.

Today was one of the days to take the reduced dosage.  Within 45 minutes, I was experiencing those darn electric shocks — roughly a jolt every 30 seconds; severe abdominal cramping; extreme brain fog (trying to write this is SO difficult); extreme nausea; right side of body is on fire, burning from head to toe; muscle spasms in legs, arms and hands; skin hurts to be touched –even by the lightest of shirts; intense irritability that I am having a hard time controlling; feet throbbing and stabbing…these are the most profound and outside of the “usual” intensity when experienced during my “normal” day.

I was able to let him know that this type of “flare” had taken place with each dosage during this every other day schedule…not to mention that many of these have present since lowering the dose 3 weeks ago (just less intense). Thankfully, my pain specialist said that I had been on the lower dosage long enough to stop taking it all together!

He told me that this is the most difficult part of the process.  Getting off of Cymbalta is extremely difficult for a lot of us!  He did say that my body should settle down within the next 3 – 5 days.

This process has been rough…to be honest, absolutely horrible! Yet it is helpful to have, as my Dad put it, “a light at the end of the tunnel”!

Entering a New Reality

I was right when I thought this would be the hardest step in my new reality. I am referring to coming off of Cymbalta as part of clearing my body and having the pain pump take over.

We are very close to having the pump dialed in; this next adjustment may be the last one needed. I know the conversation with my pain specialist will be an interesting one as we discuss how my body is reacting.

Now for the truth of the reality of coming off of Cymbalta. I have described this as the most difficult step…at least I had anticipated it to be. Know that words cannot describe the intensity of the symptoms. The intensity of the brain fog is greatly amplified as well making thought and speech a huge frustration!  It is so hard to focus to interact with others…the wrong words are constantly used…don’t even think about driving.

Just a handful of the symptoms that have been exaggerated by the process: Brain Fog, burning, electric shocks, numbness, difficulty walking (legs do not obey), falling (or near-falling), nausea, abdominal cramping, IBS-D flaring, throbbing pains all over, stabbing sensations all over, tinnitus, light sensitivity, sound sensitivity, irritability, skin sensitivity to touch…

I have found that normal distractions or other tactics we use to help ignore symptoms do not work. It is truly a day-to-day battle to not lose my sanity! Even with all the questions we had asked and the additional research done on-line, I was truly not prepared for the amount of energy this process would take.

I am praying throughout the day and night for help make it through this step. There is light at the end of this I know. It will be such a relief in the months ahead having this medication cleared out of my body!

Thankfully today I have a break from the electric shocks and nausea…the balance of my symptoms are doing their best to make up for those that are not present!

Just remember, if you are considering coming off a medication like Cymbalta, take the time to research, to speak with your medical team, to share information with your spouse and children…then buckle up for a hellacious ride!

Update — Coming Off Cymbalta

Coming off Cymbalta even with doctor supervision and support has been a HUGE challenge!! Yet, it is nothing compared to the cold turkey symptoms, albeit there has been some overlap.

During the first two weeks with the reduced dosage, I have experienced electric shocks, intense brain fog, burning that is overwhelming, skin beyond overly sensitive–lightweight blouse causing stabbing sensations that reach to my core, and nausea…to name a few.  I have also had increased ringing in my ears making sleep a challenge!

I am now to the next step…which is one of the lower dose capsules every other day for two weeks. Should be interesting! LOL  Since there is so much going on in my body, I have continued to take the two short acting opioids.  It will definitely be an interesting conversation with the pain specialist this next Thursday!  My guess is we will up the dosage of the pump and then stay at that level for 3-4 weeks as we see how my body settles.

It is very exciting to think that I will be Cymbalta free by Labor Day weekend!

Now for the Difficult Step!

If you have been reading my blogs lately, I have been writing about my pain pump and the journey to get off oral medications.  (NOTE: I know that I will have some form of oral medication when all is said and done for flares not controlled by the pump.) I am making great success with my oral pain meds….am only using the short acting form during the day.

This past Friday, I started what will be the most difficult step…the process of getting off ofimages Cymbalta! I say this because of my “cold turkey” experience with this powerful medication; and, I know that, even with my doctors involved with this, I will most likely deal with some of those nasty symptoms.

My doctor reduced my dose from 60 mg to 30 mg.  I will be taking one pill per day for two weeks, then I will take one pill every other day for another two weeks.  After that, I will be Cymbalta free.  (At least, that is the plan!!!)

Today my body is a mess (legs stabbing/throbbing, upper right side is on burning, IBS-D is flaring –cramping and knots, extreme Fibro Fog, etc.) as it starts adjusting to a lower dose. Also doing my best to time my short acting pain med to offset the increased pain.

Thank You, St. Jude

Jude, also known as Judas Thaddaeus, was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus.

He preached the Gospel with great passion, often in the most difficult circumstances. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, he made profound differences in people’s lives as he offered them the Word of God.

The Gospel tells us that St. Jude was a brother of St. James the Less, also one of the Apostles. They are described in Matthew as the “brethren” of Jesus, probably cousins.

St-Jude-9-205x300St. Jude is traditionally depicted carrying the image of Jesus in his hand. This recalls oneof his miracles during his work spreading the Word of God.
King Abagar of Edessa asked Jesus to cure him of leprosy and sent an artist to bring him a drawing of Jesus. Impressed with Abagar’s great faith, Jesus pressed His face on a cloth, leaving the image of His face on it. He gave the cloth to St. Jude, who took the image to Abagar and cured him.

In the Catholic Church, St. Jude is the Patron Saint of Hope and impossible causes. Those who are in despair or distraught over finances or other circumstance in life are encouraged to ask St. Jude to pray for them.

Like so many times in the past, I can be too stubborn for my own good! LOL  I finally came to my senses when we were in nasty financial situation. My husband, who is self-employed, did not have work lined up and the monthly bills looming. (I am still battling for my disability, of course! At least a Hearing date has been set!!)

I asked St. Jude to pray for our financial situation.  As soon as I finished speaking to him, I heard my husband answer his phone.  He was headed out the door for a job.  The work has continued and is continuing for him.  We will be able to pay our bills this month thanks to the prayers said on our behalf by St. Jude!

Just as our friends and family pray for us, the Saints are there to speak to and to ask for their prayers as well! I now thank St. Jude each day before asking for his continued prayers.

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