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 Post subject: Aqua's Taper Journal
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 1:04 pm 
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[font=Lucida Console] [/font] This is not to anyone in general...just starting my "new and improved" taper thread after my fiasco earlier this month. Wanted to be able to keep up with my taper in a clean and clear format...

March 1, 2011 - Started to taper from 24 mgs/day. By March 31, was down to 6 mgs/day. Went into a withdrawal of pretty bad depression, anxiety and general sickness and pain all over feeling. Doctor (and some incredibly knowledgable folks here) said I went way to fast and depleted too much Sub out...in other words, made too many receptors mad at once!

April 1 - Going back and forth from 10-12 mgs/day. Trying to get on an even feeling keel again. The anxiety and insomnia lasted about 4 days... I would not wish that on my worst enemy. Anyone reading this...if tapering and you start to feel the anxiety, bump your dose a little for a few days. This does not have to be a contest of how much w/d you can stand. It's about keeping enough receptors happy during the taper process so that you have as little w/d as possible.

April 13th...feeling just about normal. Still doing 10/12 every other day. Making sure I am fully stabilized here with no w/d before attempting another drop. My next drop will be to 10 mg/day and after being there at least 2 weeks, I'll begin 10/8 every other day.

I am very proud that I did not get so whacked out by the anxiety that I went back up to my 3 tabs/day. My doc had suggested I get back up to 16 mgs/day but I really feel that less is more and I'm very glad that I've been able to stabilize here. He was also concerned that I would feel like a "failure" and quit trying. Nope....not going there. I'm ecstatic that I've cut my dosage in half in 6 weeks time! Just wouldn't suggest that anyone do it like I did :)

I am very inspired by those of you here who have stopped Sub and those of you who have gotten down to very low doses. I AM going to catch up with you!

Can I just say....thank you, thank you, thank you....to all of you who post and support others? It means the world...
hatmaker, I know that you are not tapering now nor have plans to but I wanted to say that I've found your knowledge and non-judgemental attitude towards those of us tapering to be so helpful...romeo, your support being from someone who has successfully stopped encourages me more than you know...ladder and mg, you two are where I want to be! So low that the jump is almost ready! All the others such as setmefree, donh....too many names to remember...your calming and intelligent posts are so appreciated to making this board the credible place that it has become for me.

I just wanted everyone to know how much I appreciate them. I couldn't do this without you all.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 2:11 pm 
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Aqua - thanks for the kind words. I think it's good you started a new thread. It's rather symbolic of you starting a new taper in a new way.

Just remember to listen to your body and go slow! It's not a race and if it were then slow would win it! Try to keep your drops as painless as possible. A taper doesn't have to be painful to know you are progressing. I think I read someone say that recently - that pain during tapers was "normal" - I don't believe that to be true at all.

Good luck to you!

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 2:49 pm 
Hi Aqua! Glad you started a new thread as well! Good idea!
I'm really glad to hear that you're feeling much better. I could feel (read) the anxiety and frustration in your posts when you were going through that rough patch and I'm glad it's over! I know pretty much how that feels and it's awful! Like you, I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy!
I don't know how much of my history you're aware of as I have soooo many posts on the forum! I did taper and almost come off Suboxone back in December. If you're interested, I had a thread going on this 'stopping...' forum called "my informal and flexible taper" or something like that. You can have a look at it if you'd like. Anyway, I had been on Sub for about 16 months and wanted off (I originally felt that I'd be on it for a year or less total.) I got myself down to ~1mg or less per day and had a lapse with my mother's pain pills. I really felt bad about it, still do....for taking her pills and for 'failing' at my attempt to get off the Sub. Anyway, with the help of people here and the help of my loved ones, I bumped my dose back up and got myself restabilized. That whole experience taught me a lot, as I'm sure your experience did for you.
At this point, I have realized that I am one of the unlucky ones for whom buprenorphine, even at higher doses, does not completely extinguish cravings. That has been my biggest problem all along. I have never experienced the terrible w/d symptoms like you did while tapering. It's always been a battle within my mind with cravings and mild to moderate depressive symptoms. I definitely learned pretty early on that for me, I feel much better at lower doses of bupe and if higher doses aren't going to completely extinguish my cravings, I may as well stay relatively low. This has been quite a process for me to come these conclusions. I have bounced around with my doses quite a bit over the now 21 months that I've been on bupe. I've allowed myself to stabilize at doses over 8mg (above ceiling) and still did not have a consistent, permanent cessation of cravings, so I feel like I've given it a fair shot. I'm glad that most people do not seem to struggle with this particular problem! Anyway, what I am doing now is sticking with a consistent 2-3mg/day dose and trying to remain vigilent with the other aspects of my recovery, in hopes of tapering again at some point and coming off the drug.
I think what you're doing is wise. You learned what you needed to learn with what you went through. You know now that for you, even drops from higher doses can be rough, even a while out from the reduction. So you have to take it really slowly. And that is just fine! I think we both just have to settle in and keep our eyes on the prize, while at the same time, being careful not to fixate on it too much. We will get there! It just might take a little while. In the meantime, we can live our lives in a meaningful way. So what we're still on Sub, right?!


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 4:47 pm 
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When I first found this site, (only about 2 and a half weeks now) I had first read posts from people who were completely off of subs and how they were just thrilled beyond words and in love with life again....it made me feel angry at myself, b/c I had at the time felt that even though I knew I wanted off, I never really felt it more so then at that moment. I felt that in some way I had failed myself for not trying to get off sooner, which now I'm so thankful for, b/c my doctor had told me at one time that he would get me to 1mg and then take me off. How scary that would have been for me. I cringe at the thought actually of what could have happend.

My point is, that we really just never know what is going to happen tomorrow, it's always changing, and our experiences are too. Sometimes bad things happen, and though they are so vile to go through, they have built our character up to the point that we know what to do next. It gives us the tools to make the next plan for the next phase. I feel so bad that you had to get so sick and to go through what you did. I can totally relate to the fear that you felt. With that said however, you fast became someone that I admire and look up to in every way. You could have easily said forget this and taken what the dr. suggested, but you didn't. You fought back and you won. Do not forget that you won the battle of that moment. You did it with smarts, and grace, and you are now all the wiser for the next phase of your journey.

I have to get my head around "not jumping" sometimes, b/c I tend to punish myself for still being on subs, but at the same time I've learned, that it has given me a second chance at a normal life, and I am so thankful. Yes I am still on it, and yes I am not where I exactly want to be, but the end goal is still the same.
Just as with you, the end goal is still the same. You haven't changed your motive, so you should be extremely proud of yourself. You've come a long way in a short time, and for that you should be so proud....

Stay as strong and positive as you are, it's so refreshing and I look up to you very, very much!!!
We will all get there eventually girl!! Minute by minute if need be! :)

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 5:15 pm 
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ClearAqua,

Gosh, I just love your attitude. Talk about taking lemons and making lemonade!! Good for you!

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:38 am 
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Good going girl...............new day new perspective new attitude... take it one day at a time and be kind to yourself :)


L


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 12:02 pm 
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Wow, what a group of wonderful people! I think the world of you all!

Look at what we are accomplishing just with each other...the opportunity to give support and acceptance...a pat on the back, a word of inspiration....just because we are on Sub does not make you "dopey, blurry, living in a fog"...as for me, I've never been so clear in my life about where I want to go. All Sub is doing at this point is keeping my receptors happy as I taper. Simply that and nothing more.

I have not a doubt in my mind that every single person here will be where they want to be eventually. Even those who are choosing to stay on Sub...that is your goal and it is a helpmate to you....I support everyone in whatever they choose to do regarding Suboxone. If you are on it and staying there...good for you! Glad you've found something that helps! If you are tapering...I'm glad to have some people "in the trenches with me"! We're going to make it!

I still remember the sickness everytime I tried to get off Lortab...yikes! Sub was there....no more sickness...I was able to stop something that was wreaking havoc on my liver and mind! I am thankful it was there for me...the years of pain until my back could get to a point I didn't need it anymore.

Yes, it is a strong drug and it is going to take time to come off. I'm trying to look at each day as a gift and time will pass anyway....each day is a chance to stabilize and ready for the next drop. The thing I find so strange is that I was so content to stay on it for so long...even thinking I would be on it forever...but when I got in the mindset to taper, boy, did I ever want off RIGHT NOW!!! LOL....impatience is a fault of mine :)

Thank you guys so much....proud to know you.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 12:07 pm 
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Oh...forgot to say that yesterday and today, I have started once/day dosing at my doctors recommendation. He said if I'm wanting to taper, in his opinion, I should be at once daily so I can do it and forget about it...part of the "mental" process. Didn't think I could do that either but here I am! He did say I might feel a litte "out of sorts" in the evenings for a week or so until I get used to it and yes, last night I could feel that I didn't get that "afternoon dose".
All's well though...and I'm going to give this a week - 10 day to get accustomed to it.
I do like the thought of it....no more "is it time for my pill?" in the afternoons...no more trying to remember it and take the bottle with me everywhere. It's a good thing!

Have a good day, all!


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 12:29 pm 
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I personally think it's a great idea to go to once daily dosing, because as you get lower and lower, if you are accustomed to dosing more than that, it gets kinda tough to switch to only once at that point. So, good for you!!!

My advice for you is to remember that it take a while for the extra Sub to get out of your body, so just take breaks now and then and let your body catch up, just like you are doing now. Don't drop until you feel completely fine for several consecutive days. Don't put a time limit on it. Just do your best and keep your life healthy and balanced while tapering. If you drop and get more symptoms than you anticipated, see if you can hang in. If you can't and you need to go back up, just go back up a teeny bit. Make sense?

You will absolutely catch up with us, lol. I can feel you closing in already!! :lol:

laddertipper

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 4:18 pm 
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3/1/11 - 24 mgs day
4/5/11 - 6 mgs day (Too Low - W/D)
4/6/11 - 16 mgs (Doctor ordered to build up my sub level)
4/7/11 - 12 mgs/day - still some anxiety if I try to do 10 mgs 2 days in a row...doing 12mgs/12mgs/10mgs until I feel NO w/d.

I did 10 mgs today and was feeling anxious...did another 2 mgs and within an hour, felt much better. I could actually feel that 2 mgs kick in. The anxiety just melted away. I must've really, really depleted the Sub in my system. Doctor said it was going to take 10 days or better for me to recover from that and he was right. Called my doc's office this afternoon to make my next appt....told the nurse what I'd done...she couldn't believe it. She has worked in rehab for 17 years.
She said "You cannot go down that far in 30 days without getting sick! This is going to take you a year but you will do it the right way".
I think I just had to hear it like that. I was so, so sure that I was going to set a world's record for a Sub taper :)
It has taken this a week to really sink in.

Ok, guys....I'm here for at least a year now :) I wish there was another person at 10-12 mgs like me! I feel like everyone is so far ahead of me :) But, I'll get there. And remembering that I'm not at 3 tabs/daily anymore is great encouragement.

Hey, ladder...weren't you still at 2 tabs/day last year? How long has it taken you to get to where you are?


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 9:13 pm 
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Clearaqua said, "It has taken this a week to really sink in."

Well, at least it sank in!! Do you really realize how important a step that is that you have just made? The fact that it has sank in for you is HUGE. It's HUMUNGOUS!!!!

We addicts are so used to instant gratification. We want what we want and we want it NOW!!! I'm the kind of guy who finds the McDonalds drive through window to be painfully slow. I want to drive up to the window and have them throw food in my mouth so I can get onto my next task.

I have found that a lot of the people who are tapering are like this. Understandably, they want their taper to be done and over with last week!!

I think the VAST majority of us have serious issues with patience and impulse control, I know this is true of myself anyway. I think mental 'issues' like this are one component as to why it's so important to work with a good counselor or attend meetings. We need that outside look at ourselves. We need someone who will cut through our crap and tell it to us like it is.

Aqua, I am so happy that you, and others as well, have come to terms with the fact that your taper may take a good while. I'm telling ya, that's a big step as far as I'm concerned.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2011 1:14 am 
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ClearAqua wrote:
3/1/11 - 24 mgs day
4/5/11 - 6 mgs day (Too Low - W/D)
4/6/11 - 16 mgs (Doctor ordered to build up my sub level)
4/7/11 - 12 mgs/day - still some anxiety if I try to do 10 mgs 2 days in a row...doing 12mgs/12mgs/10mgs until I feel NO w/d.

I did 10 mgs today and was feeling anxious...did another 2 mgs and within an hour, felt much better. I could actually feel that 2 mgs kick in. The anxiety just melted away. I must've really, really depleted the Sub in my system. Doctor said it was going to take 10 days or better for me to recover from that and he was right. Called my doc's office this afternoon to make my next appt....told the nurse what I'd done...she couldn't believe it. She has worked in rehab for 17 years.
She said "You cannot go down that far in 30 days without getting sick! This is going to take you a year but you will do it the right way".
I think I just had to hear it like that. I was so, so sure that I was going to set a world's record for a Sub taper :)
It has taken this a week to really sink in.

Ok, guys....I'm here for at least a year now :) I wish there was another person at 10-12 mgs like me! I feel like everyone is so far ahead of me :) But, I'll get there. And remembering that I'm not at 3 tabs/daily anymore is great encouragement.

Hey, ladder...weren't you still at 2 tabs/day last year? How long has it taken you to get to where you are?


You are doing really well. The best part is that you realize this will take a while. Knowing that from the start is so important. I had to giggle at the 'setting the world record' part. :lol: Why do we all think that way? I know I'm just repeating what you've already heard, but here goes anyway. It's incredibly hard to prepare yourself for how your taper will change at the lower doses. Don't burn yourself out at these higher doses by pushing too hard. If you do small drops, you can drop pretty frequently. My drops from 32 to 8 or so were painless. I mean that. Painless. You don't have to suffer at all. You will be down to a low dose before you know it, but if you don't feel 100% right and you drop, it will always kick you in the butt. Don't even bother dropping if you don't feel well. You will be repaid for your patience later in spades because it will be so much easier.

At the lower doses, even little drops can be very rough rough, so make sure you are especially good and stable before embarking on the lower dose drops. Get down to around the ceiling in small increments and listen to your body. Once you get to around the ceiling, you will start to feel your body putting up some serious resistance. This happens at a different level for everyone, but it does seem to consistently happen for every person. At that point, you have to rest. Even though you may think you aren't getting anywhere at that point, you still are, because you are adjusting to that lower level, preparing yourself for the future drops, excreting all the excess backlog of Sub in your system, and rewiring your brain. I guess I'm just saying to mentally prepare yourself for that point where your body digs in its heels and when you get there, if you are prepared, hopefully you can see it as a place of resting/rewiring/healing and not so much a plateau. For me, this plateau happened and I was unwilling to accept it, so I tried to push through it and i think that is what has made it so tough for me at 1 mg. I think the rough part began around 4 or 4.25....I really would have benefited from a healthy break at 4 or 3 or 2 mg.

As far as my dose, man it has been so all over the place that it's though for me to remember. I got down to 3 mg by early 2007 and stayed there until after I had my c-section in October 2007. Once I got back home from the hospital, I went back onto Sub instead of taking the pain meds, so then my dose was more around 7 mg or so. I tried going back down to 3, but I wasn't that committed, so when I had oral surgery in 2010, I went back to 8 again. So, at the end of October 2010, I started this taper at 8 mg. Does that make sense at all? :D I have my recent taper on my computer. I'll condense it.

Started at 8 mg as of 10/28/10

10/28-11/8: 7 mg
11/9-11/14: 6 mg
11/15-12/3: 5 mg
12/4-12/11: 4 mg
12/12-12/20: 4.25 mg (had to go up a little)
12/21-12/28: 4 mg
12/29-1/1: 3.5 mg
1/2-1/15: 3 mg
1/16-1/19: 2.5 mg
1/20-2/8: 2 mg
2/9-2/20: 1.75 mg
2/21-3/2: 1.5 mg
3/3-3/10: 1.25 mg
3/11-3/16: alternating between 1.0 and 1.25
3/17-present: 1.0 mg

So....it's been slow going but I've been pretty darn dedicated and responsible with this taper. Okay, wait. I gotta say that I've been REALLY SUPER dedicated and responsible with this taper. Toot, toot!! I tooted my own horn. Hey, I'm a fall down, pass out (hate to say this, but even peed myself! :oops: ) drunk, so to be so controlled is pretty amazing for me. :D We can do this together. Even if I make it off before you, I'm sticking around here to support my people. Cause you guys really are my favorite people.

laddertipper

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2011 11:01 am 
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Seems like your plan will work out fine , way to go ! Im off now 1 month , still not entirerly 100% but not as bad as first couple of weeks...everything gets better in time , its just hard to believe that at first......
Steve


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2011 7:28 pm 
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your very right xsteve. I have been logging how I feel everyday for the past 23 days and can clearly see myself slowly getting better each day. even though I have not had that much w/d, except for RLS some days, I have had many days where I felt kind of weird. some days i am extremely happy and emotional and other days I feel like something is missing (hmmm, maybe the subs??). But I can see that even that has improved drastically in the last week. so yeah it is going to take time but as I can see in my log, it all does start to pass slowly but surely. atleast for me the sickness has been substantialy avioded with my slow and extremely low tapering.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 5:51 pm 
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3/1/11 - 24 mgs day
4/5/11 - 6 mgs day (Too Low - W/D)
4/6/11 - 16 mgs (Doctor ordered to build up my sub level)
4/7/11 - 12 mgs/day - still some anxiety if I try to do 10 mgs 2 days in a row...doing 12mgs/12mgs/10mgs until I feel NO w/d.

4/17/11 - Had to up my dose to 14 mgs/day to rid myself of the anxiety/insomnia. I am really not too bummed out about it...I know I did the wrong thing by dropping too low so fast and set that off by doing that. You can't go from 24 mgs to 6 mgs in 3-4 weeks...or at least I couldn't. I did have some pretty harsh physical withdrawal (pain, hot/cold sweats, lethargy, nausea) but the worst for me was the anxiety and insomnia that reared its head. Ok...time to regroup...I'm still at 14-16 mgs/day so I have still come down 8-10 mgs in the past 7 weeks and that is a very good drop!

ladder...you are so right and I appreciate your words: "Don't burn yourself out at these higher doses by pushing too hard. If you do small drops, you can drop pretty frequently. My drops from 32 to 8 or so were painless. I mean that. Painless. You don't have to suffer at all. You will be down to a low dose before you know it, but if you don't feel 100% right and you drop, it will always kick you in the butt. Don't even bother dropping if you don't feel well. You will be repaid for your patience later in spades because it will be so much easier."
It may take me until Christmas to get down to 8 mgs/day knowing what I know now. The only thing I have to get past now is the fear I created in myself of dropping too fast, seeing as what it did to me. This whole episode made me cringe with emotion thinking about people having to do w/d "cold turkey".
I'm going to stay right here for a while...probably at least a month...make sure I am stable at 14-16. Then I will go to just 14 mgs/day for a 2-3 week period before starting to alternate 14/12/14. Sounds like a good plan :) At least, it's slow!

I'm thinking of asking my doctor if I can go to Subutex instead of Suboxone. Does anyone have any thoughts on that? I hear it's a lot less expensive and I don't feel like I was ever a candidate for the Naloxone...I have never, ever even thought about shooting up anything my entire life! I don't know why I wasn't put on Subutex in the first place. What do you guys think?


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 9:54 pm 
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I was on subutex up until the strips came out a few months ago. Since you are on more than 2mg I would suggest the subutex because theres no point in having all tha naloxone in you system. It also taste better, I thought, than the suboxone. I also found the suboxone to cause me more side effects like stomach achs, maybe due to the naloxone. This may also be just in my head but I felt like subutex worked better and made me feel better.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:05 am 
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I've read on other websites that Subutex may be easier to discontinue than Suboxone, the only difference between the two is the Naloxone. Now, Naloxone isn't supposed to be absorbed through mucus membranes, but I have also read accounts of hospital staff not being able to administer Naloxone to some overdose patients because the patients veins were completely shot. The hospital staff ended up administering the naloxone through the use of a wedge device (nasal atomizer) attached to a syringe to create a mist delivering the drug to the nasal mucosa.

Bottom line, Subutex contains one less drug than Suboxone and IMO it would be easier to discontinue Subutex.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 12:40 pm 
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Today, 4/19....feeling so much better everyday! The anxiety seems to be gone...thank you dear Lord :) I have prayed and prayed and know my prayers have been answered!

So, in feeling like I've finally stabilized at 14 mgs/day....today I am only doing 12 mgs...tomorrow I will do 14 mgs...and keep going back and forth for two weeks or so. Once I know I am feeling 100% there, I will do 12 mgs/day for 2 weeks and then do another staggered drop from 12mgs/10mgs/12mgs/10mgs.

This is the way I should've tapered in the first place instead of just doing big drops once a week. If I continue to do well, I should be back at just the one 8 mg tablet by mid to late summer and then start the hard work of dropping below the ceiling.

I am really going to need your guidance and support then! Still very afraid of the "anxiety monster" but I'm sure if I keep it slow and steady, that will not be such a problem this time.

Thanks for reading and I am so proud of mg and livin today, I could burst!


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 1:33 pm 
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thank you again! I just read your post from a week ago about you needing to visit the ER. I am really sorry to hear that it sounds like you had a terrible reaction to the taper there. I cant give confident advice about tapering from a dose above 4mg because thats where I was initially but I am really glad to see your doing much better. I am wondering if instead of lowering your dose in whole mg incriments if just slicing slivers off every few days would avoid another bad reaction. Again, I have no idea, but just wanted to throw that out there. In any other medical situation I would say listen to your doctor but I just know from experience that sub doctors are usually not certain when it comes to tapering. My most recent doctor was good but the two I had previous to him were terrible. one told me to taper from 4mg down to 1 mg in 3 weeks and than stop.
well I really hope you continue to do this well and dont ever have another bad reaction. I know these pills mess with emotions to a large extent. I was watching a show called "heroin highwway" on A&E last night and one of the treatment specialist in the detox made a great point. We have been feeding our brains opiates for so long that they have shut down their natrual means of producing chamicals that make us naturally feel good. When we stop feeding them opiates it takes a few months for them to regain this ability. Our receptors have been numbed out for so long that when we take away the opiate(or patial opiate in the case of subs) they overeact to every little stimulus. It makes perfect sense.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 4:03 pm 
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livin, that is such a good idea and if Sub wasn't so expensive, I'd try it! (Just wouldn't know how to measure the leftovers)
If my doc puts me on Subutex next month, it is much cheaper and I could try that.
It makes a lot of sense to me.

I was on 24 mgs/day for 3 years for pain. In the past 6 months, I noticed that I was just not hurting like I used to and began to desire to taper. Now, I can't get off fast enough!

So glad you are doing so well :)


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Fond Du Lac Psychiatry
Dr. Jeffrey Junig, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Board Certified Psychiatrist
  • Asst Clinical Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin

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