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Archive for the ‘pregabalin’ Category

sorry about the formatting. i can’t seem to get this to flow correctly.

i was sharing online about my fibro and of course my history as a person recovering from substance abuse and…what happened when i was treated long-term for pain management. bits of this story are strewn through out my blog. but this is a bit of how my fibro and addictions interacted. again, this is my story and my opinions…remember this is a blogg page and what i say may not work for, or be relevant to you.  this information is not to be used in place of seeking professional help. please, always discuss your situation with your practitioners. please, always do your own research.

…so i guess that leads into the substance addiction/dependence discussion. i
don’t mind sharing about it. i think it’s important to talk about
considering how many of us (fibro patients) are faced with chronic pain and often
accompanying depression. the two can often be a recipe for disaster for
anyone. keeping the issue on the front burner in the open may be people’s
best insurance. i don’t believe genetics are the only reason that dependence/addiction happens to
people. life’s circumstances can be overwhelming and with doctors often
being too willing and reckless with their prescription pads…well it can be
sad. fibro patients can be particularly vulnerable finding many of the
people closest to them pulling away or making them feel as if it must be in
their heads…”if you would just get out and do something”, “stop spending
all of your time in doctors offices and reading about it”…ughhhh with often no
where to turn, all the symptoms beating you down on you. oh, it’s
easy to understand how dependence or addiction can become an additional
issue for even the “strongest” and “most knowledgeable” of us. it happened to
me.

i was in the middle of studying for my masters in counseling. i was
interning in CA at a maximum security facility for the criminally insane, in
the Alcohol, Drug Education Program…i had been in AA for years and then
was interning with juveniles charged with felonies, doing…you got it: drug
and substance counseling (and regular counseling). with all that around me i
had to wonder how i thought it couldn’t  happen to me. i never abused or
sought out pills. i was honestly afraid of drugs….even prescription. i have been a recovering alcoholic since ’97 but it was never about anything other than alcohol. recovery was difficult with fibro constantly nagging at me. i had being prescribed vicodin on and off for several years for managing pain in my neck and shoulders. i had horrible fatigue but no one around was diagnosing chronic fatigue or
fibro then. i went on for years like that and whenever the pills ran out i just lived
with the pain. the pills never really helped the pain or had any affect on
me…that i noticed…i could take ’em or leave ’em (so i thought). i had to have surgery while i was
in CA and the chronic fatigue which had been diagnosed by then, was really
dragging me down. the surgery wasn’t serious but i was prescribed vicodin again. and the stress of recovery from a seemingly simple operation still wore on me. i began to believe the vicodin simply relieved the pain enough for me to be more active…i never noticed that by then i may have been feeling a “need” to have them. i came home and continued on with my life until i got
very sick and was diagnosed with osteomylitis…very painful. i was given
some powerful doses of pain medication and for years after that anyone would
write me a prescription for pain if they knew what i’d had. (well that and the degenerative disc disorder). i wasn’t getting “high” or consciously abusing them, i know now that i was simply trying to avoid going through withdrawal (believe me there is a difference). the
doctors who knew i was a recovering alcoholic…well they all knew…never
reviewed or considered what might be happening. it wasn’t until i blew the whistle
myself, that they all went “oh…yeah!”

 

well just suddenly stopping them was a disaster. i didn’t know why i was so “uncomfortable”…i was in “cold turkey withdrawal. the discomfort seemed intolerable and i stumbled… i relapsed with my drinking. i went down for the count and
was drinking again for almost a year and a half before i decided to pull my
head out of my…the ground.

i sobered up but still didn’t get to feeling much better. yes the fibro was
always there but there was something else still wrong. i was wrestling with unrelenting anxiety and depression. i started reading
again and i found it. i had been on klonopin for over 11 years! i missed that and no one
around me ever said anything…even after my disaster with the pain meds. long term treatment with benzodiazapines can create those symptoms in most patients and your body will be…physically dependant…meaning if you stop cold turkey you will wrestle with withdrawal. and after a short time, with out constantly upping the dose, you are no longer receiving anything more than a placebo effect…you are just avoiding going through withdrawal. the withdrawal mimics what you’re taking the drug for and resuming it simply stops the withdrawal symptoms, appearing to fix the anxiety again…and so starts a crazy cycle…but it’s a cycle that’s difficult for me to describe well. go to benzo.org for more research on the topic.
so…i endeavored to get off all the meds. my doctor said i was begging
trouble and wouldn’t help me. he closed my files. gee, if he could up and close my files after 11 years of a compliant relationship…why didn’t they pin me down and say enough already with the klonopin! i couldn’t find any doctor that would help me and with one last prescription for what was supposed to be enough
klonopin to withdraw from…yeah give huge bottles of klonopin to a person with a history of suicide…begging for trouble…but i wasn’t going to go there, even though i felt like it many times. believe me i could rant on over how betrayed i felt by my medical community after over 11 years of compliance and hard work. but i need to stay focused on “the solution”.

well, i set out to learn how to withdrawal and what to expect.
my prescriptions were going to run out and i had to do something. the
short of it is that i withdrew faster than is recommended…it was very
rough. i took just over 3 months or so. april 25 was the last day i took a dose of klonipin. no more p-meds.

that’s the short of the long of it all. i have many entries about my
withdrawal from the meds on my blog page. there is other information there
too and i touch on a lot, including my fibro. i’ve had a bit of a complex
life…not a pretty or happy story. but i’m here and plugging away. i have
bad days, really bad days and then…the wonderful good ones. i try so hard
to hang my hat on the good ones…those have to be what i see more than the
others because they are precious and few. but i can send you to my blog if
you ever want to read some. it’s off focus re fibro…i am still taking lyrica, and i’ll wait a bit before making a decision about that one. i’m not fond of it but it seems to help quiet the symptoms.

but re dependant vs addicted…i don’t think there’s a difference. look them up in the dictionary and you’ll see they cross reference. that’s
why they call them “chemical dependency units”. dependency is just a “nice”
word for addicted…perhaps a more accurately descriptive word. “addicted”
sounds ugly and has horrible connotations. i guess we see addicted people as
whoring around street corners with unsavory crowds…the depictions are not
nice. but you don’t have to be homeless and dirty to have a serious and life
threatening and life altering situation going on. i’ve met many an elderly
woman and man who never even took hardly an aspirin their entire
lives…only to find themselves “addicted” or chemically dependant in their 50’s and 60’s. there are
so many similar stories and far too many go unchecked because of the stigma.
pain management and management of chronic illness is a blemish on the medical
community and no one wants to look at it. you see if we deal with
withdrawing people safely from meds and are vigilant over people’s use of
meds then the medical community will have to admit to a bigger problem. the
fact is that dependency or addiction in america is epidemic and who knows
the number since so many poor people don’t know what’s happening to them.
either docs are leaving them on substances they’ve developed a tolerance to
or they’re just yanking them off with horrible consequences.

 whether it was my 11+ years on klonopin or my adventures with pain
medication…i may be an alcoholic but the whole romance of pills never attracted me. i trusted my doctors. i’m sure we were all doing our best, the fact that i was an alcoholic should have
been a red flag, very early on, in the management of my care. at the same time, they shouldn’t brush
myexperience under the rug because “i had a predisposition”. that just isn’t right. this happens to far too many people who go through exactly what i did…alcholic, predisposed or not. it happens. i never saw it coming…even when my
behaviour changed. i’d always trusted my doctors to watch me, even when i
couldn’t see what was going on. i never hid or lied about my alcoholism. if
i wanted to abuse drugs….i might have. i did some dishonest things once
the dependency or addiction was full blown…but i was also the one to call
it quits when i started to feel that something wasn’t right. if it had been up to them i’d still be toting bags of pills. oh i
could go on…that’s why i started a blog. i have too much to say and i’ve
read too much reliable and alarming research. i pretty much only look at the NIMH, WHO,
Mayo clinic, Harvard, Lancet and such peer reviewed articles for the most
part. i rarely pay attention to anything that does not come from a source
that i wouldn’t feel confident quoting in a graduate paper. pull a bad
source there and you’ll hear about it! there’s too much “alarming”
controversial stuff written about this topic and you have to be careful in
sourcing. i’m sure people will read my blog and perhaps they forget that this is mypersonal blogg page. i’m expressing myopinions. granted i don’t buy into conspiracy theories and i read more peer reviewed research than i need to, but what i say and write is still my opinion. this is not a medical site but what i write is a response to my personal experience and…research.

so…that’s probably more than you wanted to hear or read about this. i’m
always willing to share this information and my blog with anyone so don’t
worry about sharing this information or me as a source. i’m not a licensed
professional…just a person who’s had to learn the hard way. maybe i’ll
have my license one of these days. god willing.

gee, take care and find one thing to smile a bit about. i’m glad you asked
me about this…it helps to share. some of this is still very fresh for
me…some is soooo old. i’m sorry to hear about your dad…i have to say
that strong wasn’t the only thing that may have helped me through…call it
luck, call it god, call it some good friends…i was one of the fortunate
few. more people don’t make it than do by no fault of their own. it’s kind
of like fibro…no one wants it and if we could change it we would. the art
is in living with it i guess.

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my counselor and i began discussing polarity therapy…energy work. i wanted to read more about what exactly it was. i’m very familiar with a variety of yoga, meditation and have had reiki, massage and acupuncture work done…but i wanted to know more about polarity therapy because this is just another area that  can use improvement when one is trying to work towards a healthy lifestyle. so here’s a good, straight forward article, from the american polarity therapy association, on what polarity work is: http://www.polaritytherapy.org/page.asp?PageID=24

an interesting book that my counselor gave me by caroline myss, phd, called “why people don’t heal and how they can” (also wrote “anatomy of the spirit”) deals with incorporating energy work into a holistic mind, body, spirit approach to healing. now i know the title might put you off, but i’ve been following other works that deal with “road blocks” in healing and this is a positive and good read if you’re experiencing “being stuck”.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0609802240/interactiveda936-20

i’ve been at this “wellness” gig for over 20 years. i began searching out many spiritual and nutrition based approaches as a teenager. initially i was concerned with the usual teenage issues like acne and weight but what i discovered, worked, so i stuck with it. as i was digging around that community, which was very small back then, i met a lot of people and was turned on to a variety of readings and experiences. i was learning about ways to heal some deep inner pains that i was already wrestling with, and having some horrible consequences from very bad, maladaptive behaviour and personality issues. i became a devout buddhhist in my early twenties and the search continued. but i am convinced from the many positive experiences that i’ve had, that this whole arena of mind, body, spirit healing is key for living well.

i still struggle with a lot. i’m not whining, but life just can never be normal for me. i keep stumbling across huge hurdles and crashing into brick walls. by now my problems must largely be due to brain damage from all of my collisions with life! but MRIs and other say that, anatomically, i seem “normal”. my gastro. dr came into the room a few days back, sat down and looked at me squarely and said “your tests are normal but…you are not!” and we laughed.

so, after over 11 years on a battery of psych meds for bipolar and spotty treatments for fibromyalgia, i felt i was not longer benefiting from the pharmaceuticals and was going broke in the pursuit of maintaining that. i guess i’m finding out that no matter which direction you go in…if you live out here…it’s not going to cheap and access to help is going to be limited. moving is not an option for me. so i have to work with what i   can  learn to do.

just what can i do from learning? i can maintain a healthy diet and exercise (walking, yoga, physical therapy). i can work on my spirituality (reading, AA, community). i have limited access to a counselor but she’s great and that’s what counts. books and videos are helpful. i have a good thing with my AA community and they do what they can (moral support and other help). there’s the phone, which can be my lifeline on days that i’m not doing well. the internet provides many opportunities to learn of up to date information on nutrition, techniques and therapies. while attending classes and having practitioners would be optimal…you do what you can. at best, things can get frustrating…very.  but when the rewards appear and even if they’re small, it’s great. you learn to appreciate the small things because healing from life long spiritual wounds and chronic issues is a slow process. i may rush with some things but i can’t afford to be down for long or maintain costly therapies that i have no funds for. but much of my process is about patience…the patient practices can be a long and lonely journeys some days and it’s easy to get despondent when you are just plain hurting and down. i’m not a monk…i’m just human…a sick human trying to heal.

while i’m off all of my “psych” meds i am still taking lyrica. i don’t think i’m fond of the lyrica? i take melatonin and it does help me  sleep very well and i wake up feeling good. i ran out of guaifenesin a couple days ago and found out just how much that was helping my fibromyalgia. i ran into the 4 corner town a few miles down the road to see if they just had something containing guaifenesin…i didn’t think they’d have what i take, but i found it…after half an hour i was feeling much more on track. gaufinesen an oddball therapy for fibro but it was in the book my dr. gave me and i thought i could try it…it seems to really help. (Fibromyalgia and Chronic Myofascial Pain: A Survival Manual (2nd Edition) by Devin J. Starlanyl and Mary Ellen Copeland)  also a good article on guaifenesin therapy: http://www.fibromyalgiatreatment.com/Articles_HYSTERIA.htm for now, i’ll take any help, because simply being able to do anything but lay on the sofa is an improvement and i need to be able to be up, moving around and communicating. i’ve got a lot of writing to do and i’m just trying to avoid it right now!

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well last night started about week 6 of my detox off my psych meds.  i went to taking .75mg of my klonopin whch i’m hoping signals 3 weeks left. from what i’ve read on others’ blogs, this can be the time when it’s going to get a little rougher. i’m not really feeling the change from 1mg to .75mg this morning. usually i’ve felt the change over the first 2 days or so then it levels out a bit.

it’s difficult to figure if my discomforts are comming from withdrawal or my fibromyalgia. but i’m going to do my best to push through this. i’m kind of a member of the school of thought that i’d rather to just rip off the bandaid, than pull it slowly…so to speak. i was a gymnast and danced until i was 30, so having chronic pain was something i was always able work through. but over those years i was not on phsych meds and i didn’t have a chronic pain condition other than the constant shin splints, bruises and pulled muscles, etc…i’m am fairly hardy and a die hard and often a bit of a “pollyanna”…those qualities have usually pulled me through many of my hard times. but i have to be honest that this detox and fibromyalgia flair is kicking my butt!

i have an appointment to start physical therapy this week and that should be good for giving me a nudge in my activity level. as for it helping with my neck pain though…i’ve been down this route so many times in the last 11-12 years and nothing, not even the physical therapy has helped my neck pain. i have degenrative disk, osteoporosis and bone spurs…it’s on the left side of my C5, C6 and it’s starting to cause pain down my left arm! the up in the Lyrica only did something for the first couple of days but that has worn off like it did when i first started taking it. it seems we up the dose, it works a bit for a few of days, then my pain seems to quickly find a new level or route so it seems the lyrica isn’t really helping.

a question: now i have to wonder about Lyrica. since lyrica is pregabalin and neurontin (which i had been on for over 10 yrs) is gabapentin and then you can buy straight gaba in the health food store…besides the lyrica and neurontin being put through some kind of refining process or whatever they do…well aren’t they each basically the same thing to some degree or another? and, if they are…the lyrica is not a “preferred” drug in my policy and it’s very expensive at $50 (until i hit my doughnut hole) vs $5 for neurontin or about $20 for the gaba in the health food store. so, going over the costs is one issue but the true effectiveness and safety are another. is refining gaba really making it better for us or can we do as well taking simple gaba?

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