[Journal] Tweaking the meds again

Over the last few months, I’ve noticed that my ‘nerve pain’ has been coming back.

Nerve pain is the term I use to describe the sporadic, usually-short-lived bursts of pain from parts of my body. Sometimes it feels like a knife in the knee, another time it’ll be a back spazm, the time after that, it can be a very short cluster headache. It’s always random and entirely unpredictable and is very intense. Usually enough for me to cry out/swear/punch a table/use your imagination here, and stop me in my tracks. It can hit anywhere from between my fingers through to *ahem* very specific bits of my ladyparts (which is NOT a fun experience, I can tell you). Anywhere where there might be a cluster of nerves. It can happen once a day, or anywhere up to 50+ times a day. It depends on how much of an arsehole my body is feeling like at the time.

Now, I was initially put on Lyrica in the hope that it might help my overall pain levels, but it only succeeded in making me really groggy. We upped the dose to the 150s I’m on presently and found, quite conveniently, that it actually stopped my nerve pain. Not altogether, but to such a degree that it took my daily average of “[Inert expletive here]!” down from about 30-odd times a day to about 1 or 2. It was amazing. I still felt like a zombie, but I could go about my business without looking like I was about to have a stroke in the middle of the supermarket because my knee just felt like I had been stabbed by an angry dwarf on cocaine.

The problem is that my body, never being content to take the easy street, has decided we’ve built up a tolerance to the Lyrica. So we’re still Queen Derp, but the nerve pain came back and announced itself most spectacularly with a punch-in-the-head cluster headache the other day that had me hugging my own skull. I had noticed an increase in the amount of nerve pain up to then, but had chalked that down to stress and other things.

Now, I had called my specialist a month or two beforehand to let him know that we couldn’t increase my dose to the 150 because I was already on it, but had heard nothing back. This morning I left a message and got a call back after I had already discussed my issues with my GP.

– On an aside, awesome news. Turns out my sinus infection was a twofer. One bacterial, one viral. Yeehaw –

Long story short, I’m right in my assumptions, my GP no longer thinks I’m an idiot and I get to pay less for medication. Downside is that we’ve got two options, both okay’d by my specialist. Option A is to double the dose of Lyrica I’m on and see if it fixes the issue, but then I’m on twice as much as I was before with every chance of me just having the same problem. Or B, we can wean me off it, stay off it for a month to clear my system and then start it up again and see if it works. I feel like this is the human equivalent of “have you tried turning it on and off again”.

I’ve opted for the second one because, frankly, knowing how my body reacted to going on Lyrica, I’m going to be completely braindead if we double the dose. I’m barely functioning now, but at least I’m not putting-my-hand-in-the-sandwich-toaster kind of stupid. Yet. The issue with coming off the Lyrica, though, is the same as going up a dose. It’s not going to be fun. From what I know, it won’t be quite as bad as coming off the Duloxetine, but it’s still not overly fun. And this isn’t the nice, gentle let-down either. It’s a week of every other day and then cold turkey because we need it out of my system asap.

So, tonight is the first night of no Lyrica. I won’t fully feel the effects until about tomorrow afternoon, knowing my body (or maybe sooner, who knows) but I’m probably going to feel like I’m hungover without the ‘fun’ of actually getting there. After this, both my specialist and my GP have said that this is pretty much it. There’s nothing else we can really do without any more research or findings. It’s the end of my proverbial golden road of treatment until someone extends the footpath. Ultimately, if all the Lyrica is doing is stopping those shooting pains (and I’m getting a head full of wet sand in compensation), I think I’d be happier being off it entirely. I’m going to keep logs of how I’m going in regards to pain, just to see if it’s actually worth being on yet another tablet for much ado about nothing in the long run.

Anyway, I’m exhausted, so I’m heading in for the night. As a treat to those who have made it this far, if there’s any animal, mineral or vegitable in particular you want to see immortalised in a comic or just on it’s own, leave a comment and I’ll get back to you at the sound of the beeeeeeep~

[Journal] God damn it

You may have noticed that I have been absent for the last little while. Things are tough on this end.

I had the procedure to repair the damage done to my toe by that arse hat of a doctor. Been keeping off my feet the last few days and in considerable pain. It’s been pouring rain here the last half a week. I’ve had a major pain flare, and then the weather-associated-fuckery to boot, and then the angry toe on top of all of that. I’m a misery burrito right now. Three layers of clothing and then a fluffy bath robe over the top of all of that. I am an angry pinata full of swear words and hatred for everyone and everything. Like assholes who manage to take up two parking spots in something the size of a Prius. When one of those parking spots is a disabled one. The spot I need to use on days like today. If people insist on parking like abortions, I may just have to start keeping a chalk marker in my bag and covering their windows in veiny phallus drawings.

Anyway, I’ve had ideas for comics but just no ability to really hold a pen steady. I’ve also got work for a client that needs to be done, but the same issue. Can’t hold an engraving tool when your hands are wonky as fuck. It would appear that the horribly drowsy side effects of the… Lyrica. That one. I knew it had something to do with music. The Lyrica is evening out. But now I’m also being weaned off the Cymbalta and today is my first day without so I’m wonky in the brain department, having shooting nerve pain, random dizzy spells and want to throw up on people purely out of spite.

if I can get my body to sort it’s shit out, I’ll be back in the swing of things soon. I need to make a few posts, catch up on my reading and nominate some awesome people for an award I was given (which I haven’t forgotten about!).

Anyway, this is as much as I can brain right now.

– Abi

[Journal] The adventure continues

So, over the last two days, I’ve had the two specialist appointments that I had been waiting months for. I won’t go into too many details, but things didn’t go quite as planned. I won’t say that it was necessarily a bad result overall, but it certainly wasn’t what I had expected.

The first specialist was the one I was seeing about the possibility of Ketamine infusions. Within the first five minutes, that was off the cards. It turns out that this particular treatment isn’t available via public health care here. The rest of the appointment followed along the lines of what we could do about changing medications to help with my pain, explaining a few things about fibro and CFS and, of course, confirming that I had both of those and adding a new diagnosis of IBS to the list.

Day two resulted in a script for Lyrica, a plan to be weaned off my dose of Duloxetine and generally a change over of things.

Today was a regular GP appointment to follow up on the specialists and also get some results. It turns out that, despite the constant swelling and bruising and whatnot, my toe isn’t broken. That’s pretty interesting. My bloods show that I am allergic to ALL THE THINGS!, specifically grass, fur of all my favourite animals and any kind of mites and dust. That basically sums up everything I am around, ever. So there’s that. Also got my script for Lyrica filled out and, thanks to the bell-ends running this country, my script isn’t classed as ‘necessary’ under our healthcare and I can’t get a generic form of it. So, I’m looking at $70 a month on top of the $108 a month I need for my private helathcare (that I had to sign up for last night) that I can’t use for another week. Oh, and because of my pre-existing illnesses, none of this will be covered for 12 months, anyway. So I have to give these guys almost a grand and a half before I throw more money at them for my healthcare. I’m not terribly impressed by the entire ordeal, but what can you do? I mean, my options are stick with what I have, be miserably sick and make no process, or beggar myself and have a chance at living some kind of normal and relatively pain-stable life. Of course, we won’t know this until I’ve been on the Lyrica for a while and we’ve tweaked it with other meds, but that’s the gamble you have to make with these things.

So, tonight I take Lyrica for the first time. I’m sore thanks to a weather change, exhausted from all the poking and prodding and walking and generally feeling like crap from it all. I’m going to give myself a few days to settle into the rhythm of things here, so if you don’t see a journal, it’s okay. I am still alive, somewhere. Possibly holed up in my bed and feeling like hot sweaty arse. On the plus side, this should actually allow me to get some sleep for the first few days while my body decides to behave itself, so we’ll see how it all goes.