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 Post subject: Hi I'm on Day 6 off sub
PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2015 10:02 pm 
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Hi everyone,

I posted here a little bit last spring when I first started sub. I had been on high dose methadone (for chronic debilitating headaches) for 10 years. How high? One of my pain doctors was intent on poking the Feds in the eye with his high pill counts and had me on 210mg a day. After he died in 2011 I decreased on my own to ~100mg a day. The headaches began to improve a few years ago, and about a year ago I began tapering further, with the encouragement of my latest pain dr. In March of this year my headaches were gone and I realized that I both wanted and needed to know if I could live a life wo pain medication. I never once abused these drugs. I loathed them but knew they were a necessary evil for me to live a somewhat normal life. In late April I told my pain doctor I was done and had stopped at 70mg methadone. I knew from talking to my shrink that he couldn't start me on sub until I was down to 30mg but I didn't want to wait 4 more months. I wanted off then and there. It took over a week to induct, mostly because I was taking clonidine which was screwing up my numbers. Clonidine saved me from rls, but everything else was brutal. And despite its help, like I said it interfered with induction, so I had to stop the clonidine and endure 2 extra days waiting to get a valid COWS 26. Since I didn't trust it I waited to COWS 27.

During this time and the first several weeks on sub, Amy was a tremendous help and tonight she suggested I post my story so far. To be honest, she helped me keep my sanity at the beginning. I had very little support from my doctor, so she was instrumental in helping me. I cannot explain the anxiety I suffered from at the beginning. So thank you Amy.

I started at 8mg a day, 4mg twice a day. This was in late April or early May I believe. I initially planned on a short taper, which of course turned into a 6 month taper. I had also become very withdrawal averse, as those two weeks of no methadone and waiting to induct was the worst experience of my life. So I was a wuss all summer. The summer sucked, with lots of fatigue and malaise. I was a real jerk too. Lost 15 pounds due to lack of appetite. By the end of August I was still taking it twice a day, but I had decreased to .25mg twice a day. Trying to change from twice a day to once a day was the biggest hurdle, and I tried and failed several times over the summer.

In September I went on a long vacation and didn't want to mess with sub, so I stayed at .25 x 2x a day. When I returned on the night of Oct 1, I began a fairly aggressive taper. The night of Oct 1 I dropped to .18625 x 2. A few days later I dropped to .125 X 2. This is where my largest hurdle was, switching from twice to once a day. I vowed to myself that no matter what I wouldn't take any until 24 hours later. It really wasn't hard. I realized that this was all mental. Anxiety makes me get hot, while withdrawal makes me have a runny nose and get both hot and cold. That night I was hot, which told me it was in my head. I took a half a clonazapam and turned my AC on even though it was 54degrees outside and got thru it. A few days later I dropped to .06125 once a day, and this didn't bother me much at all. By this point I had pondered suboxone and its half life for 5+ months. I realized that this stuff stacks up in your body and it takes a while to unwind. Skipping a day is no different than any other taper, plus I had already done the hard part of switching from twice to once a day. After the first skip day, I did two days in between, then 3 days, then I dosed one last time, Tuesday the 20th at 2pm. I had planned on doing one last dose of .030625, but the taper at .06125 went smoothly enough that I didn't feel it was necessary. Plus I didn't want this crap in my system an extra 3+ days.

Symptoms:

The summer sucked.

September was good because I stayed at the same dose for a month.

Oct 1 - 20, lots of fatigue, some sneezing, a little insomnia, and the usual stomach problems but none of this bothered me because I felt so much better than I had this summer. I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I was actually upbeat and happy,,and had been since the night of Oct 1 when I started the end game. Honestly my attitude has made the most difference, that and jumping at a low dose. I'm also taking clonidine....started on my first skip day, ended up taking .1mg 3x a day a few days, now I'm taking .1 tab in am and .05mg tab at bedtime. A few days I've taken a half a clonazapam for anxiety but have stopped that. The worst day was the last day I dosed, because I was bone tired, and had an appointment to give blood. Giving blood normally doesn't bother me, but this time it put me in bed for a day and a half. Since that resolved itself I've begun exercising.

Since Oct 20, frankly I've been both excited and nervous. Worse fatigue at times than a few weeks ago but tolerable. More sneezing but also tolerable. I've probably read half the threads on the net about what happens after jumping. I stopped doing that because whatever happens is going to happen and I'm going to survive it. I know that tomorrow on day 7 I could become deathly ill from withdrawal. Or I could continue having mild withdrawal and continue treating it as needed with clonidine and NyQuil for the runny nose. I have noticed that the bone tired fatigue I had on this past Friday has begun to improve. I dragged myself onto the treadmill and did 30 minutes on Friday. Saturday I could only do 20 minutes. Yesterday I did 20 mins on a high incline and rowed on an ergometer for 20 minutes. Today I rowed 30 minutes.

Lessons learned so far (just my opinions):

Don't read the horror stories!

Try to do stuff! Don't sit around feeling sorry for yourself. I was guilty of this all summer and because of it I felt like there was no end in sight.

Don't plan your taper too specifically. At first I had it all planned out to the day. And every time I missed a taper bc I wasn't stable was completely demoralizing. Just make progress. Your body will know when it's right to drop a dose.

Obviously only take it once a day. That was the single biggest mistake and obstacle for me. Plus cutting these stupid films into miniscule pieces becomes a ritual and thus a habit in and of itself. It's like reaching for a cigarette every time you start your car. It's a btch to break that habit. I mean all summer my days were planned around when I could sit around with a bunch of orange tasting spit in my mouth for a half hour wo being disturbed.

Tapering to a very low dose: the plan that I followed most of the summer said to decrease 25% every 4 days as long as you're stable. I tried but couldn't do it every 4 days. I think it's because of the long time I was on high doses of methadone. Or it was mental. Or both. Anyway, the plan called to decrease to .5 - .25mg a day and then jump. Like i said, those 2 weeks at the start getting off of methadone were the worst ever. So I didn't want to jump at .5 or .25, but as low as I could. I had read that some people don't think it makes a difference to taper to a dose approaching zero. I'm not sure if that's true or not....I suppose ill find out one way or the other in the next week or so and let you all know.

And the biggest lesson learned is to have an upbeat attitude. I didn't until the last 20 days. Even during the worst of the fatigue and sneezing etc that I've experienced this week I've been happy and much more pleasant to be around. I think it's because I knew I was finally determined to stop this and get on with my life, and because I finally had hope. Hope does a lot.

Thanks for reading my story!


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2015 10:41 pm 
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Thanks for sharing!


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2015 10:44 pm 
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So happy for you! Your story is inspiring and I can not wait to hear how the rest goes for you! My biggest fear of withdrawl is that horrible feeling of no joy, nothing to look forward to! I really can handle all the rest but its that very dark feeling that I know I give in to every time! Good luck with the last leg of your journey! Please, keep us up to date with how you sre!


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2015 7:57 am 
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Hi everyone and thanks for your replies.

I'm at day 8. I'm still happy and upbeat.

I have suffered from waking up anxious in the night a few times. This happened earlier during my first skip days too. At that time i took clonazapam (1mg a few times and 2mg once) and it helped. The last few nights i have listened to music to relax myself....it worked well one night. The other nights I took .5mg clonazapam and the next night .25mg. I don't want to overthink this, but I can't believe that taking 12 clonazapam over 3 weeks would get me hooked. Next time it happens I'm going to read a book or watch tv and gut it out. Insomnia feeds on itself. Once you get it, the anxiety over when it's going to end is ruthless.

One other thing. For the past 2-3 weeks I've been battling an on again off again cold. I knew exactly when and where I caught it - at the hospital when I had a CT scan on my foot. It hasn't been bad but I've felt my chest become gradually congested. Last night it came to a head during the World Series and I started to feel like it was taking a turn for the worse. I catch colds once a year at most. But this concerns me bc I don't want to have it develop into something more serious like bronchitis. Exercise - strenuous exercise has been the key to me feeling good and having energy the past 5 days. A bad cough will make it harder to exercise. So I may try to get into my primary care today and have her listen to my chest.

Finally, all of a sudden my emotions are back. They have been gradually coming back over the past few months and were sometimes hard to control. But now they are almost totally back. I'm laughing so much more. I guess overall, despite this periodic insomnia/anxiety, I'm pretty happy again. I realize, however, that if the insomnia persists and becomes a hopeless situation, I will probably be singing a different tune. But I'm not there yet and I don't expect to be.

Take care everyone!


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2015 9:13 pm 
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Today's day 12!

I'm feeling really well. I went to the doctor a few days ago and was diagnosed with bronchitis. I'm still coughing a little but the antibiotics seem to be helping. I don't feel sick anymore.

The chills, hot and cold feelings, sneezing and dripping nose have all pretty much stopped. I still sneeze a couple of times a day. Not a big deal.

The nighttime anxiety/sleep problems seem to be getting better. Last night I was tired enough to fall asleep when I went to bed, which hasn't happened in several dad. I slept 6 hours before waking up. I fell asleep again and slept a few more hours. It's mostly on and off restless sleep, but it's better than the insomnia I had before I inducted.

I've also been exercising 25-50 mins every day on either a treadmill or rowing machine (past 8 days). It's helped. I've always felt that the best antidepressant is exercise, and although I don't think I was depressed this past month, the lack of energy at times was difficult. That's all much improved now, but I'm still not back to normal energy. But Im doing ok.

I don't want to jinx myself but this hasn't been as bad as I expected. The first 5 months sucked. But the last month and rapid taper wasn't intolerable. There was a week of very bad fatigue, but I was also developing this chest cold so it's hard to say what caused what. Regardless, I'm on an upward trajectory and am happy.

I'll check back in later this week. Stay strong everyone.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2015 10:54 am 
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Hi Mtrem, I am so happy to hear that you feel happy and are laughing more! I think I have said this before, for me, that is the hardest part of withdrawl! That God aweful feeling that there is nothing to look forward to makes me cave every time! I have weaned myself down to 6mgs a day from 24mgs at my start a little over a year ago. Each time I dropped, my body and mind just felt it was time. Also, after each drop I get a really good feeling for a few days. It is difficult to explain. It is kind of like a natural high feeling if that makes any sense. I want to just keep dropping but I have heard all the stories about getting down under 4mgs. We will see how it goes. I have no plan and/or goal. Meaning that if it gets too difficult, I will stop. I am fine with being on suboxone for the rest of my life. Maybe it is due to how it has helped me with pain and depression. We will see what happens! But, back to you...Horay! So happy that you are feeling better and better! Please continue to keep us posted! Have a wonderful day!


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2015 3:27 pm 
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Hey Mtrem!

Gosh u have done excellent! Ur story is very inspiring and thank u so much for sharing. I definitely think a great attitude is a big part of the process. I don't know if I'm ever going to be ready, could be a lifer, but if I do decide to stop, I can only hope that my attitude could be like that.

Keep us updated on ur journey :)

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2015 4:57 am 
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Hi everyone,

Thanks for the words of encouragement! It really helps!

Tomorrow is day 25!. I'm doing so much better than I ever expected. The first week was tough, especially with fatigue, but since then I've had slow but steady improvement. Right now I'd say my energy is 85% of what it was before I started this whole process in May. The past few weeks I've been focusing my energy on rebuilding my destroyed body (I lost all of my muscle), and I've seen lots of progress. On day 3 when I started to exercise, I wanted to get off of the treadmill after 2 minutes, although I forced myself to do 20 minutes. I'm now doing over an hour at max incline, which is a big improvement considering how weak I was a few weeks ago. Yes there are still occasional days where I don't feel like working out, but even then I force myself.

Besides that my sleep is almost normal. I can sleep 7 or 8 hours if I want to, and I'm finally starting to have dreams during sleep again. The last time I dreamed were the two nights after inducting, and those were real weird nightmares. So it's nice to finally have restful sleep.

I did suffer from anxiety where I felt hot - almost like a panic attack - a few nights before sleep but that's been gone for a few weeks now. Depression - no. Maybe a slight funk but I'm convinced that strenuous exercise is one of the best medicines for depression, and it's sure helped me. Regardless, it's much improved over last week so as long as I'm improving, it's ok.

So overall I'm very happy. I've found that I'm a much nicer, more tolerant and patient person now. Sub made me irritable and mean at times...and I was miserable almost every single day on it until the last month and a half......and while I used to feel much better (more normal) on methadone vs sub, I feel so much happier now that I'm off of everything. I find that I laugh a lot more now than I have for years. I have also started to listen to music again, which I haven't really done for the past 15 years.

The sudden rush of emotions is still a little difficult to handle - but they came back much more gradually over the last month than they did when I was about to induct. At that time they hit me suddenly and I found myself in tears a bunch of times, which was weird bc I'm a grown man. But they are manageable and I'm getting used to them.

This whole thing is part of a plan to reclaim my life. Being on methadone for pain was a necessary evil that I hated, but as of now that's ancient history. It sure is nice to no longer have to worry whether my doctor is going to drop his pain patients and turn my life upside down, or if Ill be unable to fill my scripts because of a blizzard. I'm very upbeat about the future, although I am in one step at a time mode.

Well thanks for reading my thread! I'll check in later this week sometime. Have a good weekend everyone.


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