I've tried to make the best of my detoxing nightmare with the Cymbalta and it's been hard, but I think I may have found one good thing to come out of this whole mess! Before I get there, however, I need to say that I'm at around Day #27 of the detoxing and I think I might - just might - get out of this nightmare eventually. And I say "eventually" with great trepidation for fear of jinxing myself.
But the bit of an upside? The other day I turned to the Internet for some sort of question but as per my usual MO, I ended up looking for everything but what I'd started on. OK, that's nothing new. But I like to think that I'm not alone with this sort of meandering so-called brain which can't help exploring anything and everything that pops into it.
At any rate, last week I'd written that my acid reflex has gotten so bad that I am well into a second bottle of Tums. I rarely get acid reflex but when it does happen, all bets are off because even the "little purple pill" advertised during the nightly news doesn't help, much less Tums. Luckily, I normally have a "cure" for "heart burn" and it's simply stop pigging out and/or get enough sleep!
But recently the GERD has been completely out of control no matter what: sleep or no sleep, eating right or not eating right. Acid reflux had found its way into me and wasn't about to loosen its grip on me anytime soon. Yes, it's another of the many legacies of the Cymbalta fiasco. I'm so glad that this stuff (the Cymbalta) will soon be out of my system and I am saying right now that I will "brever" take this sort of medicine again. ("Never say never," so I'm making up a new word, "brever.")
May I add that over the years I've taken an embarrassing number of antidepressants - as well as all other sorts of medications - because of my CFIDS/ME/CFS and fibromyalgia, and its many comorbidities? I've needed all sorts of medications to address the problems at hand, from steroids to Klonopin to Effexor, from Pamelor to Xanax to about 80% of the medicines out there that have at any time been thought to be great for these problems. Then those medications get replaced by other medicines as new ones come out, as theories and thinking changes....
But the kicker has been that I've never had any sort of withdrawal problems in all the years that I've taken medicine to combat any old thing. Not one medication whatsoever has caused significant problems as far as my (long-suffering) GP, (ever-suffering) rheumy and (most-suffering) me can remember. This is wicked. In the beginning I laughed and said it was no worse than being pregnant - trying to make light of what was happening - and only a semi-joke because my pregnancies were indeed nightmarish. However, I really jinxed myself by "laughing" off the detoxing.
But a little of relief has been found! As I already said, the other day I got onto my trusty iPad and started looking up other symptoms I'm living with and I found a treasure. Yippee! And it's one that is a great bit of info to have, whether you're ill or healthy. Surprise!
Dr. Andrew Weil reported that a group of Polish researchers found that melatonin may help with acid reflex. Wow! If true, this would be truly amazing news to me.
I pulled (ever-suffering) hubs into our bedroom and started interrogating him as to when I complained about acid reflex. What, over the last 37 years, does he remember? Although I trust his memory more than I do mine, I do remember that the first time that I ever had acid reflex was in grad school when I would pull all-nighters, having too many papers to grade, lesson plans to work up, my own coursework attended to, and so forth.
I also remember saying to my fellow students, "don't you just hate that awful burning that goes on if you get only an hour or two of sleep?" They had no idea what I was talking about - perhaps because they weren't idiotic enough to pull as many all-nighters as I did? (But then they were much brighter than I could ever be. Me: I just have more persistence than most. I'm not as smart as most; I'm just a hard worker.)
Anyhoo, hubs and I do remember me having acid reflex when my middle child had colic for 11 and a half months. Yet somehow, I've not had many episodes of acid reflex despite my significant lack of sleep. For the most part, I'm really careful about what I eat. I thought this was why my GERD wasn't torturing me.
So, hubs trudged out to our local pharmacy and picked up melatonin. I've taken it now for the last two nights and blissfully, I've not had much, if any, acid reflex.
It finally occurred to me today that until about a couple of years ago, I'd been taking melatonin every night for at least 25 years - well, more or less. However, somehow the melatonin ball got dropped a couple of years ago. Actually, for any number of reasons many balls got dropped and I've been slow on the uptake in getting those parts of my health routine back on course. I suspect the melatonin ball wasn't picked up earlier because I've seen chatter on the Internet in using caution when thinking about taking melatonin for CFIDS and fibromyalgia. I suppose I've sort of been - kinda, maybe - waiting in the sidelines for some sort of definitive answer one way of the other - or an excuse to go one way or the other with it. (What, me not being able to make a decision? Nah!)
Well, whatever the debate and results may be, the melatonin seems to have helped me in two aspects of this miserable time I'm having vis a vis the Cymbalta withdrawal. I've had two days of little if any acid reflex (no Tums!) and two nights of sleep - and miracle of miracles, the sleep was refreshing!
How wonderful has this been? Considering that one of the unfortunate problems that those of us with CFS and fibro have is that our sleep is non-restorative that's pretty darn good. Lately my sleep has gotten worse, hard as that might be to imagine. Actually, my sleep has felt positively destructive. I feel as if I'm in much worse shape after sleep, as if I'm paying some sort of price for working so hard at getting to sleep and staying asleep. It's gotten so bad that I've been thinking, "how long can I go with such an essential part of life being destructive?" It's like being allergic to water - or oxygen!
So, thanks Dr. Weil, for bringing that rather long-ago study (2007) to our attention. And, of course, melatonin has some pretty great properties: it's supposedly good for our immune systems (which may be controversial when it comes to CFIDS but I'll chance it), great for antiaging and as an antioxidant. I'm sure my brain will get used to the melatonin after a bit and it's effectiveness will be almost zero as far as sleep is concerned, but if I can get a few nights of restorative sleep, I'll consider myself lucky.
In the meantime, I hope this is the end of the GERD. Now, if I could just get over the other gazillion problems that I'm experiencing from my Cymbalta withdrawal. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy - if indeed I had one.
Is this melatonin thing not cool? I'm so afraid that I might be jinxing this "find." Perhaps a "knock on wood" and a tphoo! tphoo! tphoo! is needed - just in case!
In the meanwhile, I hope everyone is doing their very best, only better. Ciao and paka!
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