Monday, November 28, 2005

Journal: Zero to miserable in less than 10 doses

I canned my second try with Cymbalta after about a week. Maybe I'd forgotten why I quit the first time around, but I think my second try was worse than the first. After a couple days, I was either getting up to pee or to put a dry pad on the bed three times a night. By last Wednesday, I was feeling sleep-deprived and achey, which was a bad thing because we were hosting a small crowd for Thanksgiving.

After a draining day of housecleaning, Thanksgiving dinner (and a generous dousing of white wine) left me feeling completely deflated, several helpings of turkey notwithstanding. On Friday, I stayed home and did nothing. Nothing at all. That morning, I quit taking Cymbalta. Again.

I've been sleeping better and better since then. I'm also trying to get back into swimming a couple of times a week. I'll be seeing the nurse practitioner at the pain clinic in a week or two, and I'm hoping she'll have a new angle for me.

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mdmhvonpa said...

Urgh ... the cure is worse than the disease ... and it isnt even a cure!

Beth said...

Ugh- I'm sorry Thanksgiving turned into such a struggle.

So.. on Thanksgiving evening I started having significantly more pain than I usually do- I would say on the verge of crying. It was the burning sensation or just outright pain not just in my feet this time- but in many random places. I was pondering taking a Percocet I have for kidney stones, held out, I was also thinking about hard liquor.

At what point do you start considering pain meds for pain?

It seems like most evenings now I have significant pain- I can manage if it is a few minutes here and there- but am miserable if it lasts for a couple of hours.

Does the pain just keep on increasing in intensity and frequency?

Doug Lee-Knowles said...

I first started experiencing pain about four years ago. If I remember right, I brought it to my neurologist's attention in the course of a regular follow-up visit. I'm pretty sure all my neurologist visits over the years have at some point included the question (usually from a nurse, while checking blood pressure) "Are you in any pain?" At some point, I answered "Yes" and my doc followed up on it by asking about location, intensity, quality, etc., and started prescribing the usual first-line drugs for neuropathy: tricyclics (didn't work) and anticonvulsants (worked OK for a while).

The bottom line is that I didn't really have to decide for myself when to consider pain meds, because I had good docs who were alert and proactive. If you don't have that advantage, here's when I think it's time to consider pain meds: when it hurts.

I'm pro-meds. This is informed by my own experience with pain and also with my experience as a volunteer at a local hospice organization. When you spend time around hospice patients, you quickly drop any baggage about the dignity and holiness of suffering.

There is so much to write about the way our society and the medical profession deals with pain, so much to say about the way pain affects every aspect of one's life. But Beth, if you're on the verge of crying, it's time. If you're miserable, it's time. I'm not sure if I'd start with Percocet, but it's time.

Beth said...

I didn't think I had problems with being on medication, but maybe I do. I am concerned about side-effects. I don't want to deal with side effects if I don't absolutely have to. I cut back on the tricyclic b/c of unwanted weight gain, difficulty emptying my bladder etc... the consequence or maybe just how things are progressing is pain. If the pain starts up in the afternoon my mood is affected- and decreases my threshold for crying for about anything else. Dealing with fatigue is bad enough- that makes me cranky. I will bring it up at my next appt with the neurologist if they don't bring it up.
Thanks again