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!
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 of 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.
The most difficult thing we learn with chronic illness/conditions is to listen to our body. It does not happen overnight…it takes time…and going through the cycles…then one day you awake to find yourself recognizing the pattern.
I have finally recognized not just one…but several patterns. The most challenging to me emotionally is the following pattern: long lasting flare (3-4 weeks); severe bladder infection; extreme fatigue; head cold; extreme fatigue; back to my “normal” — resulting in a cycle that can last a couple of months. Another pattern: flare (1-2 days); extreme fatigue; back to my “normal” — a cycle that will last 1 to 1 1/2 weeks.
Being able to recognize what is happening and what will possibly (or probably) happen next, can allow us to shorten the cycle. No, not always, but it does some times. At the very least, it can calm our minds and lessen our feeling of guilt as we give ourselves permission to rest…take a nap…ask our spouse to bring home pizza…allow a friend to bring over a meal.
It is also important to verbalize what is going on to our immediate family members. I have found this helps our son a great deal! He is reassured and very supportive when I open up…let him understand what is going on and that it is temporary.
Don’t get me wrong, it is still frustrating…we can still wrestle with guilt…as we lay low…allowing our body to rest…using whatever treatments work for us (hot baths, hot tub, sauna, heating pad, etc.).
Take your time…listen to your body…and, most importantly, be patient with yourself!