Friday, April 27, 2012

Is Cymbalta the answer?

SEP 2011 - It seems I have turned a corner. While I can't say I've recovered, I can say that I now see significant improvement over the course of the past month. I'm taking Cymbalta 30mg for the nerve pain, at about 11:30am. That way I'm not a zombie during the workday, but feel sleepy after 10pm or so.
Sleeping itself is very disrupted - like your brain goes at warp speed when you are trying to shut it down; I am very reliant on Ambien and wake regularly.

As opposed to the Lyrica and Neurontin, which each gave me terrible brain fog, fuzzy vision, memory lapses, and all day sleepiness, Cymbalta keeps me more sharp, clear and focused. Yes, I still yawn a lot, but once I got used to it (after about a month) I stopped falling asleep in boring meetings. Well, mostly. haha
I've cut way back on klonopin. I no longer need it every day. Nor do I need the topical benzocaine every day; in fact, I'm no longer carrying it with me like a life preserver, as I did for the past 26 months. I do have setbacks still; typically on days the weather changes, and tense/stressful days. But the burn I feel on those days is no longer the norm, it is FINALLY the exception; maybe 1-2x/week.

I can't tolerate the cold any longer, that really ramps up the pain. I have business trips to cold locales during the winter, so that's a problem. The rest of the year I'm in the South so it's ok.
I'm sharing this info with you to give others hope that when all seems hopeless, there is still a good chance you will improve in time. For me, it seems to have taken far longer than for others. I can't say why. I still have pain level of 4-5 most days...but considering I was 8-9 for nearly 6 months, then 6-8 for nearly a year, it's a definite step in the right direction. It may be the best I ever get. I'm now at 2 yrs 9 months past injury date. Hard to believe
I do hope to get off the Cymbalta in a few months. Right now, I have too much going on to toy with withdrawal symptoms and the posssiblity of pain returning. But I'm hoping this little pain holiday retrains my brain to teach it that pain should NOT be the normal way to feel.
How is everyone else doing?

Back online with new posts and updates

APRIL 2012 - Hi folks, I apologize for neglecting my blog...I actually had trouble logging in due to 2 conflicting Google accounts, and finally found the time to figure it out today. So you will see about a dozen new posts from people who tried to post previously, and I was unable to publish their comments.

I've been through a great deal since August/Sept. I got off the Cymbalta in December - didn't like the side effects. Ironically, though, the pain has lessened so that even when I went off the Cymbalta, it didn't get more painful as I feared ...the pain leveled out at the same place. I don't know if my theory on breaking the pain cycle temporarily to "re-set" your brain may have actually worked.

While I still have pain every day of my life, it's nothing like it was. I want to let people know that there is hope. Doctors are always surprised to learn that I'm still recovering after 2 years, but there you have it.

An important component of this is accepting it, and determining that this is now how you live, and you can deal with it. No, your life is not the same as it was, but you will adjust. Realizing that you are now someone with nerve damage, and I can't allow it to take over my life, seemed to help me with coping and acceptance, but the lessening of pain over time is the #1 helper. It's hard to think about ANYTHING when you are focused on pain and burning all the time.

I still rarely tell anyone about the injury - no one at work knows. I still have deep pain in my upper teeth all along the left side from front to back that I don't know what to do about. I take a small amount of pain medication still, daily, to keep my cheerful disposition!

My tongue still burns every day; less in the morning and building til night time. The throat pain is rare now. The ear pain is sporadic. Headaches - yes, still have those, and wearing a ponytail still makes my head sore. Trying to remember not to be tense, and to loosen my jaw, seems to help. I still cannot lie on my left side because it hurts my face too much; I have to sleep on my back or right side. That's annoying.

I have still never returned for the crown I need to get on my temporary root canal from 2+ years ago; I'm too scared to make things worse.

I'll write more when I have time. Just wanted to let you know I'm back online so please continue to  share your stories!