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[IP] Perscription Drugs - Diabetes - Pain - My Story

Hi IP Members,
The following is my story of what I've been through the last few months, 
year, and week.  I share this in hopes to "save" one person from having to 
go through the living hell I have in the last three weeks.

1988 Broke C&, pain ever since
Lived with pain with help of PT, massage, acupuncture, and occasional pain meds
1997 moved to AZ - after 30 plus doctors and some horrific experiences 
"thought" I had found the "right" one... someone I could trust.

Over the last year, in addition to the diabetes and gasteroperisis,  I have 
felt really crappy dealing with a low grade fever, low white blood count, 
and low platelets.  I've had many tests done, along with a seeing 
hematologist / oncologist, who, at the beginning of February informed me 
that all my tests were negative and he felt that my problems may have to do 
with drug interaction, for I was on 17 different meds at the time.  At the 
same time my dad came down for his yearly visit and he felt like he didn't 
know me.  Steve, my husband, had been saying "I want the old Frannie 
back".  My counselor, when she saw the complete list for the first time, 
called me a chemical sess pool.  Mind you, each and every time I go to a 
doctor I bring with me an Excel spreadsheet I've made of all my drugs, 
doses, etc.  I always try to go prepared.  So, I went to the two docs who 
had put me on all these meds and told them that I wanted to stop or taper 
down many of them in order to find out if this was what was causing the 
problem.  And this is where my living hell begins, and I mean hell.  I 
never thought I could ever feel lower than being suicidal, but you really 

Three weeks ago, following one of my doctor's instructions, I went off of 
Neurontin and Serzone. I became very sick. Four days later my Dad was so 
scared he called the paramedics because I was shaking so bad, had 
difficulty breathing, and was being ice cold one minute, then sweating the 
next.  Steve showed up and declined the Paramedics offer to take me to 
emergency for fear that they would just put me on more drugs.  Instead, he 
started searching the Internet in order to find some answers about all the 
drugs I was on, how they interact, their addictive properties, etc.

Steve called my other doctor's office and made an emergency appointment for 
that day. She confirmed what Steve had already found out through his 
research that I should have never abruptly ended the Neurontin like I 
did.  She told me which drugs I could go off of and which ones I should 
taper off.  This concurred pretty much with what Steve and I had already 
decided.  So again, I followed my doctor's instructions.  More and more 
research was done on Steve's part for I was no longer emotionally or 
physically strong enough to participate.  All I could do is cry. I could no 
longer eat or sleep and hurt so badly I felt like my insides were trying to 
crawl out of my skin.  At the same time I was physically enduring bouts of 
diarrhea, vomiting, shaking, and sweats.

So after another round of research and ruling out the possibility that I 
might be experiencing (as my mother did) early menopause, we concluded that 
I was going through drug withdrawal.  Two days later I was so debilitated 
from trying to fight the withdrawal symptoms, After making several "crisis" 
calls to local help centers for advice, I discussed the options with Steve 
and my Dad.  We all agreed that I was no longer in control and should be 
admitted to the detox clinic at one of the area hospitals.  We piled into 
the car and drove off.

Five days later I was released.  In those five days I learned a great deal 
about addictive prescription drugs and how devastating they can be once you 
stop taking them.  The admitting doctors at the detox clinic concurred that 
I was on way to many meds and they needed to be out of my system for at 
least two months in order to properly evaluate the root causes of my pain 
and depression.

Since I was now a resident detox patient, it was recommended that I should 
participate in their daily recovery classes as part of my treatment.  It 
was in one of these classes I learned that, in addition to the evils of 
abruptly going off drugs like the Neurontin and Serzone, one of the other 
meds prescribed to me for pain: Oxycontin, was an opiate with the potential 
of being more addictive and deadly than heroin.  Oxycontin was prescribed 
to me by one of my doctors for the treatment of severe pain in my neck and 
shoulders.  Since then, I have learned through a monthly diabetic support 
group I attend, that Oxycontin is also being prescribed for severe cases of 
neuropothy, which is the main reason I feel compelled to write to all of 
you on the list.

I sincerely hope than none of you are ever in such a state of pain and 
misery that you would be prescribed any of these meds, though I understand 
and have heard that in many less severe cases there can be some positive 
therapeutic value for some.  Should you reach such a state of pain or high 
anxiety... BEWARE!  Do the research first about any prescription pain 
killers and anti-anxiety drugs you feel uneasy or ignorant about before you 
put trust in your doctor's advice.  After this experience, I am now 
researching more natural approaches and alternative management methods for 
my pain.  These "prescribed" pain killers can take over your mind and body 
in  ways you can't even imagine until you're off of them, and in my humble 
opinion, no doctor should be prescribing such powerful meds to anyone 
without first listening to your medical history, the possibility of 
negative interaction with other meds you're taking, and any past 
sensitivities to anxiety or pain medications that are labeled as a narcotic 
or opiate.  Most of the time you need to ask because, as with me, many 
doctors don't even bother bringing it up.

As for me, I'm getting better but not yet cured.  That's still going to 
take a while.  And I'm told that even long after the physical symptoms have 
completely vacated my body, I'll still be struggling with all the emotional 
devastation these meds caused for a long time to come.  I never want to be 
where I was three weeks ago, but I'm also not over it all either.  My 
withdrawal from hell is getting better, but it's still there.

Thanks for listening to my story.


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