Here I am 6 weeks into tapering off of pain medication. I'ts going better than I thought it would. My latest step down brought me to one half in am, one fourth one forth in afternoon and bedtime.
Initially I was taking 2.5. One in morning, one again when I just couldn't take it any longer. (Anywhere from 2-4 pm depending on what I had to do that day) and 3-4 days a week a half at bedtime.
My first adjustment was one half three times a day. After a week of that I was feeling like stepping down was for the birds and to slow for me. I decided to stop taking bedtime dose completely, then stop taking afternoon. NOT. Two nights in a row of no sleep at all put me back on the half at night for a couple nights then I moved to a quarter at night for two weeks.
During this time I had a conversation with my pharmacist and she really encouraged me to take it slow. I heard everything my doctor said. It's not about the amount you were taking. It's about how long you've been taking it. She said the minor withdrawals I was experiencing will be much worse if I just skipped doses instead of tapering slowly. The rebound period will be more intense after if I didn't take it slowly.
I just wanted it to be over. However, I took her advise and stuck with the plan.
My next move was half, half, quarter. Two weeks later half, quarter, quarter. Next week I will move to quarter three times a day.
Funny thing is even though I have my hives flaring up right now, fatigue, night sweats and brain zaps, it's not so bad. Pain wise I mean. As far as my back. What you find, at least for me, after a couple days the half works the same as a whole. It lowers my pain number to the same and wears off at the same time. Same when I moved to the quarter. It takes a couple of days but you adjust. I'm understanding how it doesn't just relieve pain but makes you body dependant on it. I've always understood the difference between addiction and your system being dependant, but now I'm experiencing it for real.
I have more faith than I ever had in the last 6 years that some parts may get better. The ultimate goal is to have my stimulator give me enough relief to not need any narcotic and find a medication that WORKS for the fibromyalgia. It's been long enough to stop dwelling on why I have to live with this. It's about keeping myself comfortable in the safest way possible.
I had to stop by my psychologists office to pick up some samples last week. She happened to see me at front office and asked how I was. I explained where I was in tapering off the pain medicine. I shared with her my thoughts of how even though my pain increases at some times of the day it hasn't effected my mood. In fact, I seem to be in a better mood than usual. She wasn't at all surprised to here me say that. They are downers, that's a down side she explained. They can make you moody and depressed. I'm now wanting to believe that if I can get off completely and the other drug my rheumatologist wants me to take for my FM works the depression will be better.
Nothing wrong with being hopeful. I've been hoping for years with each coming appointment something would change. I'm just a little impatient getting to that point. Some days the FM is worse than my back. I saw my rheumatologist last week and he said I need to be off the pain meds for two full weeks before starting the new medicine. (It takes that long to be completely out of your system) This will be the toughest part. Nothing to help with pain and the withdrawals I will experience. I have to believe it will be worth it.
I picked up a prescription and the pharmacist asked how I was doing. I let her know where I am and how it was going. She gave me a huge boost of encouragement and some advise on what to do after I complete this last step down. It felt so good to get some encouragement. It's been hard, but I feel so positive about it.
Hanging in there full of H.O.P.E.