Embracing life with chronic pain and illnesses.

Posts tagged ‘Cymbalta’

Week One — Cymbalta Free

What a whirlwind this past week has been! I have experienced electric shocks and electric zaps (a slow-motion form of the fast shocks), intense nausea, insomnia followed by sleeping all day –unable to wake, thick brain fog, inability to use the correct words when attempting to speak…not to mention the symptoms of my conditions thrown into the mix!!

Yesterday was the worst for pain that I have ever experienced. Yes…you read that right!  Mere words cannot relay the reality, yet I must try.  It is SO important that we know and absolutely believe that we are not alone in dealing with our hidden illnesses/conditions.

Yesterday brought tears to me eyes, truly crying because the pain was so extensive, so overbearing, so excruciating. Every single inch of my body was screaming at the top of its lungs: exaggerated pain from touch (clothing, slight breeze from the ceiling fan), Tinnitus volume turned up on high, stabbing and throbbing sensations coursing up and down my legs.  It was hard to differentiate from the symptoms of my Fibromyalgia/Polyarthralgia/Chronic Pain Disorder/Neuralgia/IBS-D/etc. and those produced by the absence of the Cymbalta.

This morning brought a huge sigh of relief!  There is a true difference in my body today.  I am experiencing the symptoms of my conditions…albeit they are still higher than my “normal”, would be categorized as a “Fibro Flare”…yet I feel that they will slowly settle…settle enough for my Pain Specialist to make further adjustments as needed to my pain pump.

What a rough ride! I am sure that I will still have some issues arise, however, it is uplifting to know that the first week following the last dosage is the most difficult. One step at a time…one day at a time.

 

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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!

Two Steps Backward

2017 has proven to be a rough year so far!  The arctic front that came through almost two months ago wreaked havoc on me resulting in a nasty flare.  Then with the change of insurance, there were challenges with getting Cymbalta approved…leaving me with the experience of going cold turkey…two weeks of intense withdrawal symptoms on top of the Fibromyalgia symptoms.  This followed by a severe bladder infection.

I did have a bright spot! Insurance had said yes to the pain pump…so I was looking forward to a pain pump trial at the end of this week. That is, until this morning.

I received a call from my pain specialist’s office….expecting it to be the final instructions prior to the trial.  Unfortunately, I was to receive the news that insurance had approved the pain pump….but they denied the medication. What?!?!?!?  Yes…the medication was denied.

My specialist’s office is approaching different manufacturers to attempt to find assistance for me so that we could go forward with the trial….after all, you have to be able to get the medication in order for the pain pump to be useful! LOL

Needless to say, it was another sinking moment. That too familiar, wind out of the sails feeling…it really does seem that for each step forward I am taking two steps backward.

My faith is strong. I know that if I am meant to have this opportunity the pieces will eventually fall into place! For the time being, I will appreciate the medications that I am able to take.

Hard Lesson Learned

Looking back on the past couple of weeks, my body and mind has been through a lot. Having experienced the withdrawal effects of Cymbalta, I can now say that there is definitely a positive side to it.

Dealing with the symptoms of going cold turkey, has brought forth an important topic to discuss with my primary doctor. I will discuss my experiences of the past two weeks. More importantly, I will be able to relate to her and my pain specialist what symptoms are helped by Cymbalta…the answer to a question that I could never really put my finger on…until now.

I am thankful for the intense nerve pain that the Cymbalta calms…that horrific feeling of charley horses, long needles and ice picks piercing my feet and hands…along with the overwhelming nerve pricks all over my body. It truly makes me appreciate my “normal” symptoms!

So yes…it is with a much better understanding that I embrace my day-to-day symptoms. I also better appreciate the combination of medications that my doctors have me on to better stabilize my symptoms.

My journey has been shifted…to a journey WITH pain…rather than OF pain.

End of 2nd Week –Withdrawal

It is the end of the 2nd week of withdrawal from Cymbalta. As of yesterday into last night, it became very apparent that part of the nerve pain that I had not experienced in a long time was back with a vengeance. It is best described as needles and ice picks bombarding and attacking all over…especially my feet, hands, arms and legs.

This out of control nerve pain/sensations were definitely part of my original Fibromyalgia/Polyarthralgia/Chronic Pain Disorder symptoms. So, I made the decision that I would resume the Cymbalta today. It has become very apparent that I need to utilize Cymbalta along with my current opioids in order to attempt to reign in my symptoms and pain level.

This combination does NOT get rid of the pain nor all of the symptoms; however, it DOES take the edge off…calms them enough that I can perform gentle stretching during the day. It has been a couple of weeks since I have been able to do any stretching…I have been lucky to curl up in a hot bath…to use the heat to jumble and cause other sensations.

Unfortunately, I will now be paying the price for having taken baths…a path that I know…

Second Week of Withdrawal

This second week has changed up the withdrawal symptoms! My body temperature is seriously out of whack…I mean…how can I be soaking in sweat and freezing at the same time? How is that possible? The cramping, twitching, stabbing, tearing in my feet and legs is like they have a mind of their own. The oversensitivity of my chest makes it SO hard to deal with the pressure of even the most light weight shirt.

I am thankful that I have a break in the nausea! And the emotional roller coaster appears to be letting up a touch…after a horrific morning yesterday! I am still not able to really focus on anything….my lack of focus is much more than Fibro Fog.

It is strange…and I am sure that it sounds almost impossible to an “outsider”…to someone who is not living with chronic health conditions….that we CAN tell the difference.  We can discern the symptoms that are caused by our conditions from those that are caused by the withdrawal…even though they are heaped on top of each other…jumbled together.  It can be hard to verbalize…to describe…

During this second week, I have been attempting to do more research…more review of Cymbalta. It is amazing to me at the lack of true testing…true review of what this drug actually does to our body! And seeing repeatedly, that the company did not conduct studies of withdrawal beyond the two week mark, is incredulous!

Our society is being brain washed into thinking that there is a magic pill or some secret cure for everything. The cold hard truth…the truth that those of us with the chronic conditions/illnesses know…is that there is NO magic pill…there is NO secret cure! We DO hope that more research will be done…that some day there will be better understanding, a better treatment.

We must work diligently with our medical teams…make the tough decisions with them and our families as we determine which treatments are the best for us. Each of us is unique…there is no “one size fits all”.

Now to continue my fight…to get through this withdrawal period…however long it will take…

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