A long night.

The last couple of days have been pretty lousy. Sorry, I know I haven’t been blogging anything very positive lately, my body just seems to be going through one of it’s really low points.

I’ve been dealing with some major urinary retention issues which are just miserable, especially during the night. Even when I can hardly go at all I still have to go often, which is a terrible combination. I spent the entire day yesterday thinking I was going to have to go to the hospital again like the last time this happened.

This is how my night went:

12:30 am I go to bed.
1:30 am I’m almost asleep but I have to pee, which I spend the next hour relentlessly trying to do before I actually can – though not very much.
2:30 am I’m back in bed but I can’t fall asleep.
3:30 am I have to pee again which takes me another 35 minutes or so.
4:15 am I’m back in bed but my bladder hurts and I still can’t catch any sleep.
5:30 am I get back up again for another bout of the same.
6:10 am I finally get back into bed and manage to fall into a light sleep.
7:00 am I’m awake again.
8:00 am I give up for a while and try to go pee yet again with more difficulty.
8:30 am I head back to bed but can’t fall asleep and am in a lot of pain.
10:30 am I get up again to try to go pee (for what feels like the millionth time).
10:50 am I get back into bed and still can’t fall asleep.
1:00 pm I finally just give up and pull myself out of bed.

My doctor thinks this is probably from my back. This time we’ve ruled out all of my medications as the primary cause so I’m afraid that it is too. I’m feeling really frustrated and exhausted. My neurologist’s appointment is still so far away and my referral to the urologist to make sure nothing else is causing this seems to have gotten lost on it’s way.

Headaches: I Hate Thee

The morning after taking my last Cymbalta (the previous night) I woke up with a bad headache, nothing too out of the ordinary. Usually I take my painkillers before it gets too out of control because once it’s really bad it’s also much harder to treat, but because my bladder was still troubled from the Cymbalta I tried not to risk taking anything for as long as possible because narcotics can also cause urinary retention in some people. I usually take two Tylenol 3s (Tylenol, codeine, caffeine) and two muscle relaxers for the headaches. Trying to keep my use of painkillers as sporadic as possible I only take them when the headaches are getting beyond my ability to tolerate, but because of the urinary retention I was advised by the pharmacist to absolutely refrain from taking any muscle relaxers. The Tylenol 3 only really ever just takes the edge off of a nasty headache but without the muscle relaxers it does nothing at all. So, instead I was told to take 4mg of my Dilaudid, hoping that it wouldn’t affect my bladder. It did the trick on my headache for a while and allowed me to relax a bit but when it wore off my headache began to slowly return with a vengeance. Whether this was what some doctors refer to as a ‘rebound headache‘ – a headache made worse by the use of narcotics one they’ve worn off – or just a coincidence the pain eventually consumed my every thought completely. Sleeping was impossible, reading, television, computer were all out of the question. It was all I could do to gently pace or rock back in forth in a feeble attempt to distract my mind in the slightest. I couldn’t take any painkillers again, aside from the fear that I was in fact suffering from a rebound headache made worse by taking anything in the first place, the Dilaudid also made me unable to urinate for 11 hours. I knew any more of it and I’d be in the hospital with a catheter again. The headache was one sided, extending from the back all the way into the front. The worst of it was in my ear and eye. Every time I had to cough or get up it felt like my head was literally going to throb to the point of explosion. Eventually at around 6:30 in the morning I couldn’t take it and ended up in the hospital. At that point I would’ve volunteered without hesitation for a catheter if they’d be able to give me something for the pain, one of the nurses even suggested it. But instead after a quick exam the doctor had mr injected with a medication specifically for migraines. I had low hopes for it working but to my surprise by an hour afterward the pain was significantly reduced to the point that I felt somewhat like a human being again. I was in too much pain to really register much of what was said to me at the hospital so I intend to ask my doctor what medication I was given next time I’m in to see her.

My headaches have been relentless since then. I’m exhausted and becoming increasingly depressed by the amount of pain I’ve been in lately. I’ve always been extremely aware of the negative impact of narcotics on the body, how over time they can increase your pain levels, how quickly you’re body begins to tolerate them and how you’ll eventually need more and more to achieve the same effect. For the 4 or so years that I’ve been on them I’ve made it a point to do my best to keep my use of them minimal. I think it would be harder to do if they worked better on me, but even the modest amount of relief they offer is tempting even on a good day. I only take them on average about 2 or 3 times a week. Sometimes I take them a few days in a row during a bad spell, sometimes I go a few weeks with nothing during the good. I keep a journal detailing my use of them, this way I feel more aware of my habits and even of the pattern that my pain sometimes fluctuates in. Narcotic use is a slippery slope and though I’ve never been tempted in the least to use them recreation-ally I’m also not naive enough to think myself invincible to addiction. That’s why I take precautions, I’m still only 18 and I’ve got a long way to go in life. It is known that those who actually use these types of medications for pain are less prone to fall into addiction but even so it’s not impossible.

Q: “Always fall in with what you’re asked to accept. Take what is given, and make it over your way. My aim in life has always been to hold my own with whatever’s going. Not against: with.” – Robert Frost

{Any medical terms and/or definitions featured on this blog have been thoroughly researched by me as to not lead to any false consumption of information by the reader. Though, that aside; I am not a doctor and the medical information on this site should not be taken as a substitute for the advice of medical professionals. If you’re experiencing any health issues don’t hesitate to contact your doctor.}


Duloxetine/Cymbalta

Cymbalta was the latest antidepressant (SNRI class) prescribed to me in the hopes of helping to manage my chronic pain. I’ll re-post the same thing I published a few posts ago about the motivation behind prescribing antidepressants to patients with chronic pain as my doctor explained it to me. She said that some people get defensive at the suggestion of antidepressants for pain as if the doctor thinks that the pain is in your head because your depressed or something but the truth is: “we know that you have this disorder, we know that the pain is in your ligaments and tissue and not in your head” but that after being in chronic pain for long periods of time your brain begins to overfire pain signals (as I’ve talked about before) and that the use of antidepressants is not to treat the root cause of the pain, – they don’t work for that – but instead to treat that amplification of the pain caused by your brain signals.

So with this thought and hope in mind I resigned to trying Cymbalta. However, I didn’t get far. Only two nights into taking the medication I once again began experiencing the very rare side effect of urinary retention. I could feel it becoming harder and harder for me to urinate and at one point, again, went almost twelve hours without going. Obviously this isn’t something you can just allow to happen so I ended up having to stop them almost as soon as I started. I was disappointed that I didn’t even really get to give them a shot, but also relieved that I didn’t have to struggle through the other side effects I inevitably saw coming. So, I can’t be of too much use to those trying Cymbalta for pain, I didn’t get much of the experience. 

{Any medical terms and/or definitions featured on this blog have been thoroughly researched by me as to not lead to any false consumption of information by the reader. Though, that aside; I am not a doctor and the medical information on this site should not be taken as a substitute for the advice of medical professionals. If you’re experiencing any health issues don’t hesitate to contact your doctor.}

Escitalopram/Cipralex

Sticking to my commitment to detail my past medication experiences this time I’m writing about the antidepressant (SSRI class) Cipralex. It’s been a year since I was briefly on Cipralex. My doctor wanted to try it on me because I’d been experiencing mild anxiety and restlessness. I only ended up being able to take it for about two weeks and I can’t remember much of my experience throughout that time except that it gave me upset stomach. I ended up needing to immediately stop taking it though, when I experienced a very rare side effect known as urinary retention. This is the inability to urinate. Not knowing that it would last or what was going on I went about 17 hours without going – not for lack of trying mind you – before it became unbearably painful and I was taken to the hospital. My bladder had to be drained via catheter. The nurse said that the bladder comfortably holds about 500 ml of urine – mine had 1200 ml – so you can imagine how painful it ended up being. By the time I got to the hospital I would’ve been up for anything to get rid of the pain. My doctor said I was the first patient she’d come across who had had that type of reaction to a medication in 20 years. Needless to say she also said she would never put me on any similar medications again.

{Any medical terms and/or definitions featured on this blog have been thoroughly researched by me as to not lead to any false consumption of information by the reader. Though, that aside; I am not a doctor and the medical information on this site should not be taken as a substitute for the advice of medical professionals. If you’re experiencing any health issues don’t hesitate to contact your doctor.}