Medication Side Effects At All Stages Archive

Two Medical Updates

Posted May 10, 2015 By kmarrs

Borderline Personality Disorder BlogMe:

So Geodon withdraw started Monday and it was the worst it’s ever been.  It didn’t help that I was under high stress and recovering from an appendectomy.  My blood pressure went through the roof, I had no appetite, I couldn’t control my body temperature, and was running a fever.

On Thursday I decided it was in my best interest to go back to the hospital and get checked over.  I filled them in on everything from the amount of stress, the withdraw and why, and of course the surgery.  I told them that chances were it was all just this withdraw in which case I could continue to ride it out, but with the surgery being in the mix, I needed to play is safe.  The doctor agreed with all that and did a complete work up of my blood, urine, and a chest x ray since I was having some trouble breathing.

The end result was that it was indeed just the withdraw but while I was there she gave me a dose of Ativan and holy hell did I almost immediately feel my blood pressure drop towards normal, and I regained control of my body temp.

Upon leaving the hospital I called my mom and filled her in on that and she agreed to pick me up in the morning to get my Ativan filled.  Of all my meds it was the one I was least concerned about, and yet it helps with the withdraw.  Go figure.  It was also only 40$.  The only medication that low.

Then later that day, Friday, health insurance cards showed up and I was out the door and on my way to the pharmacy within 10 minutes.

Backing up to Wednesday: Pat had been given a script for Cymbalta that later caused too many side effects.  He remembered he had this and got it filled, for me, since he still had his insurance.  So come Friday morning I was on both Cymbalta and Ativan.

Come Friday night, I was on everything.  Now, I KNOW it’s bad to start 4 meds at once, so hear me out.  I had been on the Cymbalta for a couple of days with no side effects.  I never start Cymbalta without side effects, which tells me my body was still adjusted to it.  I’d had a couple random doses of Ativan off an on since my first withdraw weeks back.  It has also been discussed I could pair it up with another med when I started them back up.  Geodon my body was still literally begging me for, and so I had no hesitation in giving my body that.  The only random element was Trileptal and I have really have side effects with it so I decided to try.  If my body said it was too much, I figured I could cut Trileptal out of the mix for a while.

 

Rachel:

She is currently back in the hospital.  She’s been in and out over the past few months, of course, but this stay is pretty serious.  She went in will mass swelling and pain.  It turned out to not be her liver but instead an infection that went to her blood.  They got that taken care of.  However, she was also having a lot of problem breathing.  So they put her on a breathing machine.  Turns out she aspirated something.  Possibly/probably her own medication.  So anyway, she’s been on the breathing machine for the past few days, though it looks like she can finally come off that.  The other huge problem is that she’s not currently peeing on her own, which means her kidneys are shutting down.  They have her on dialysis to allow her kidneys to heal some in a stress free environment.  The dialysis will also help get the toxins out.  That’s been the name of the game all along: keep the toxins out.

The major problem is, if her kidneys do in fact shut all the way down, she won’t be eligible for the liver transplant.  All her other body parts need to be working or else she’ll be too unhealthy and will reject the new liver.  So hopefully her kidneys will heal up some and the dialysis will kick-start them into working again.

The bottom line is all her body parts are having to fight to function normally and it’s exhausting.  But there are ways to give them breaks and then kick-start them back up.  Hopefully it all works because the transplant team has called a special meeting which means we might have a much-needed decision very soon.

Otherwise she goes hospice.

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pills medication BPD Borderline Personality Disorder Depression  Anxiety BipolarAs I type this I’m currently withdrawing from Ativan because I ran out.  I ran out because a minor paperwork fuck up with welfare caused us to lose our insurance for a month.  It’ll be back on May 1, they assure us, and in the meantime if we pay out-of-pocket for the medication Lucas and I need, they will reimburse us.

Because yes, I have a couple grand just laying about.  Luke’s meds alone cost $500.  My Ativan wouldn’t be too bad, but my Geodon dose that I’m running out of next weekend is over a grand by itself and that withdraw is brutal.  Not to mention it’s one of the top medications I take.

So some guy sitting in an office made a mistake, and now we either come up with a couple thousand dollars, that they’ll pay back, or Luke and I proceed to run out of medication one at a time.  Thank God his Vyvanse that he ran out of 2 weeks ago doesn’t cause withdraw.  It just leaves him suffering serious and sometimes dangerous ADHD symptoms.  This is the kids that tried to fly a few years back when he was unmedicated.  That physics experiment left him with a broken wrist.  Luckily age has brought him some wisdom.

Then there is me.  A month ago I was attempting to get myself admitted because I was in rough shape, and now I can’t even take my meds properly.  How is this ok in someone’s eyes.

Anyway, we’re not taking this sitting down.  Pat is writing angry emails to supervisors and spelling out the facts.  We can’t afford to pay out-of-pocket and we can’t afford for me to run out of Geodon.  I can go without my Ativan and I’ll survive the withdraw.  I can even go without my anti-depressant, I might just need to hide for a few days.  But man-o-man is that Geodon withdraw nasty.  I’ll be going from 80 MG to nothing cold turkey, I have no means of tapering down, and unless they find a solution, I have no power to prevent it.

You can’t just cold turkey meds.  Medical rule #1.  You can’t cold turkey psyche meds.  It’s dangerous.  It causes bigger problems.  The list of side effects of a cold turkey is worse than the symptoms themselves.  For reference, if I was on a larger dose of Ativan, I could be suffering seizures right now.  Instead, and thankfully, I’m only light-headed, nauseous, agitated, and suffering worse anxiety than usual.

But man the Geodon.

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cure for cotton mouth Borderline Personality DisorderGranted, few medication side effects are pleasant, but I’ll take craving a million carves over this current constant cottonmouth leaves me in.  Alas!  After a little research, I have found a few simple, yet tasty cures.  Because I’m telling you now: I drink a gallon of water a day and my mouth is as dry as a desert.  But these cures are as delicious as a dessert!

  • Lifesavers
  • Jolly Ranchers (watermelon is best)
  • Smarties
  • Sweet Tarts
  • Willy Wonka Bottlecaps
  • Willy Wonka Nerds
  • Willy Wonka Gobstoppers
  • Colombina Sour Balls
  • Blow Pops
  • Lemonheads
  • Jawbreakers
  • Red Vines

You want hard candies, that essentially make you drool. You’d think chewing gum would help, but as Geodon also makes me clench my jaw and gum is the cure for that, I can assure you that gum still leaves my tongue feeling like sandpaper.

So go count your pennies and buy up the hard candy!  Save your blue jolly ranchers for me, please.  They are the BEST!

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The Side Effects – Savella

Posted March 15, 2013 By kmarrs

Like any mental health med, there are of course a collection of side effects. Risk verses benefits. I want to talk about that.

Savella is in the anti-depressant family. While it isn’t used to treat depression, as it has a slightly different formula, it has the same chemical basis.

As such, any anti-depressant has one big  possible (and surprising to many) side effect, especially for those not necessarily depressed: Suicidal thoughts.

This is hard to write because that phrase raises to many red flags. Makes people anxious. Makes those who care nervous. But let’s talk this out.

I am otherwise stable. Very, fully stable. So the way this takes shape is occasionally when I’m too tired, stressed, or frustrated I start thinking that I wish I wouldn’t wake up or it would be better off if I didn’t. No. None. Absolutely not. I do not have any ideas about taking matters in my own hands. What I do have thoughts on are how ridiculous it is to think these things.

Dear Karen, you are tired and stressed but generally very happy with life. You don’t really think you’d be better off dead. This is the meds and stress talking. Now. What are you going to do to fix this so that you are excited for tomorrow?

It’s weird.  It’s new and exciting. I talk myself down so rationally and calmly. That’s how I know I’m OK. It’s just the meds. And there isn’t anything to worry and fret over.

I also think I’m really just too tired. This I fully blame the meds on. They are psyche meds and psyche meds do make me tired. And I have to take them twice a day so there is no relief. I’m able to function. But I’m able to function just enough to get done what I have to get done, but nothing extra curricular.

I do want my energy back. I’ll talk to the good doctor about that. (I’ll tell my psychiatrist about the bad thoughts. Not because she needs to worry, but because things need documented.)

And maybe, just maybe, as the days get longer and I can become more physically active, I can get my energy back.

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Wait, Is THAT Why?

Posted April 26, 2012 By kmarrs

Luke, standing on scale: What number did I turn momma?
Me: 43.6!  You’re getting so big and strong!
Luke: I know!  It’s because I poop all the time now!

Ok.  Wait.  Pooping creates weight gain now?  About as logical as the doctor’s insistence that it wasn’t the beta-blocker.  And no, apparently I’m not over that yet.  Especially since in the 3 weeks I’ve been off it, I’ve lost 8 pounds.  Yes I’m aware that in the past week I’ve started counting calories.  But, I’ve also been cheating and counting sex, and 5 minutes a day of stretching, as exercise.  So…

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Doctor Thinks Little and Does Less

Posted April 8, 2012 By kmarrs

I have a hard decision I have to face.  What would be cut and dry with any other doctor is complicated by the fact that my current doctor works for the same company as my mom and that company has a really great reputation.  However, he is riding on their shirt tails.  I’ve seen the best of their best, my children’s pediatrician for starters, and it looks like I’m seeing the sub par now.

It started great.  He spoke English natively.  I’m not going to lie, that is huge.  He recognized my husband’s health wasn’t fully caused by his weight, but in fact his weight was a byproduct of his health.  That is amazing.  Unique, and amazing.  He himself is no tiny dancer so he gets it isn’t always easy.

I/we have spent 9 years trying to find a general practice doctor that we were willing to return to time and time again.  We/I really thought he was the one.

This whole beta blocker thing has be questioning that, though.  And it’s dragging up things from a year ago.

I was given every possible reason that I gained so much weight so fast but he refused to even entertain the idea it was the med he put me on right before my weight began to rise.  He blamed my already born baby, but it couldn’t be the beta blocker.  It was my diet, that had improved drastically.  He was so fast to draw my labs because surely they explained my weight gain.

Yeah.

I got my labs today.  They are perfect.  Phenomenal.  Obscenely beautiful.  People are going “Hot damn how the hell does a fat girl have labs like that?!?!”  Be jealous, bitches, my blood work is beautiful.  And strangely, does not hold the secrets to sudden 10 pound weight gain.  In fact, they might even explain sudden 10 pound weight loss, if that were the case.  Jealous yet?

And my lovely friend Luna, in all of 5 minutes with her amazing access to uncharted documents was able to pull up and send me 4 amazing scientific research studies, some dating back to 1990, all agreeing without a shadow of a doubt that oh hey, beta blockers cause weight gain.

Her words summarizing the studies:

“According to the 1990 study in the British Medical Journal, patients on propranolol gained an average of 2 to 3 pounds compared to control patients. This figure of 2 to 3 pounds is the 95% confidence interval. These researchers are 95% certain that weight gain of this magnitude did occur, due to the effects of propranolol.

The more recent 2005 study in the Journal of Headache Pain found that while fewer patients on propranolol gained weight than on some other beta blockers, the weight gain seen was of a greater magnitude when it occurred, up to 13 pounds in their sample.”

So was I left wondering what did I want to do with this knowledge?  Is my immature need to have the last word and be proven right going to drive me to losing a “great doctor”.

My views of last summer are changing.  Where I was obscenely pregnant.  In the most pain I had ever been in.  And faced with the decision of trying to work through that pain or admit I couldn’t, and go one leave without any sort of pay since Sciatica isn’t means for short term disability.

I get that last part.  I really do.  But with my well and carefully established for his records history of BPD, depression, and hospital admittance due to suicidal idealization, desire, and intents…  It wasn’t just my life in danger last June, it was the life of my Sammy as well.  I flat out said things were turning south.  I had a clear short term disability out due to my depression I was in.  I didn’t have gun/knife/razor/pills in hand but it was clear where things were headed.  No?

I mean my psychiatrists within 30 seconds of talking to me, over the phone not even in person, was ready to do what she had to do to get me on medical leave.  And the doctor who I sat in front of wasn’t willing to consider signing the paper in hand.

Ok, I had a psychiatrist.  My life, Sammy’s life wasn’t in his hands.  Thank God, because he expressed doubt my meds doctor would even be willing to sign the papers.

Seems he is not an overly well informed doctor.

And flat out?  I’m stable right now.  We are cutting back on my therapy and meds appointment visits because I’m stable. I refer to it as remission.

But not unlike remission for cancer, there are no guarantees this is gone for good.  I may spend years stable.  I may spend the rest of my life stable.  Or things may go to hell in a hand basket in a few years and I won’t be able to get in as quickly as needed with my psyche team and my life may very well be in his hands.

Am I’m no longer convinced those are capable hands.

I mean, if he can’t even admit that maybe, just maybe, a medication known for causing weight gain could have caused me to gain 10-20 pounds (the exact number is up for debate) in 2 months, or sign a stupid paper saying I’m currently a danger to myself and unborn child, then how can he face the bigger task of damage control, I’m on the path to taking my own life and I don’t have a psychiatrist on ready back-up?

After all, I was on that path last summer and he did nothing.

Maybe not having my meds doc at my beck and call will make a difference.  But can I count on that?

Because sciatica was not life threatening to me or the baby.  Yes, sir, I understand that.  However, what it was doing to my mental health very much was.

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