Embracing life with chronic pain and illnesses.

Posts tagged ‘IBS-D’

Blessings

I had the pleasure of having visitors yesterday.  Being primarily homebound, it truly brightens my day!  It provides contact when we are on the sidelines…it is a blessing to be taken out of the day-to-day normal.

During our conversation we talked about how school was going for our kids, they shared their struggles as families to adjust to the new schedules which now include sports activities, practice, homework.  Observing their dedication as wives and mothers, I was struck by a powerful thought…”Do they realize how blessed they are?”

I sat listening…mesmerized by thoughts of going to a HS Football game, driving kids to various activities, preparing family meals. It was like a movie playing out those words as images flew past…again the powerful thought…”Do they realize how blessed they are?”

My brain has been so very thick with brain fog or Fibro Fog that it is next to impossible to put words to my thoughts. It has been a huge challenge to speak…but I could not ignore the seed that had been planted.

I am compelled to share some of these blessings:

  • Having more than one child.  (Do not take this wrong…being a parent of an only child is a huge blessing also!)
  • Driving your children to activities. (It is truly amazing to be able to get into your car and go! No day before and day of resting and naps to have enough stamina…not to mention the required ability to focus.)
  • Preparing family meals. (This act takes SO much energy…only the simplest of meals is made in our household…and that is after hours of rest.)
  • Attending after school activities like a HS Football game. (This is a dream…to be able  to drive to the game…to walk to the bleachers…to sit and cheer.)

What can appear to us as routine, mundane or hectic is often a blessing in disguise. It can take losing one’s health to fully realize the every day blessings that surround us.

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.

Prayer Warriors

I understand that not everyone believes in God or in prayer; however, I am a strong believer.  There have just been things that I have experienced that could be explained no other way.

We often ask our friends and family to pray for us.  There is comfort in knowing that saint-jude-1606173_1280there are prayers being made on our behalf as we deal with crises, illnesses, chronic health conditions, sicknesses, surgeries, etc.  Yet we often sell ourselves short on all of the prayers sources available to us.

Being Catholic, there are so many Saints that are able to pray for us.  We do not pray to them; we ask them to pray for us…just like our friends and family.  Further we can always ask those dearly departed family and friends to pray for us as well.  Before you know it, there is a swell of prayers being raised to assist us in our time of need.

praying-hands-2535750_1280Of course, none of this takes place of our
personal prayers that are placed to our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ.  There is a calming influence as we “unload” confess wrong doings, express our concerns, pains, sadness…as well as all that we are thankful for.

As we express ourselves, we are provided the opportunity to send up a “thank you” for all of those that have said prayers for us…and ask for Heavenly Father’s blessings for them also!

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