Going cold turkey……..

Having made the decision to come off my opiate painkillers I did some research of clinical studies about how best to achieve my aim. The less traumatic route of gradually titrating my doses down over a period of a couple of months was an option but having to cope with further intestinal issues and bouts of vomiting for another eight weeks wasn’t appealing. Going ‘cold turkey’ as they say wasn’t very appealing either but it meant that I could be free in a mere eight days.

The two opiates that I had to stop were sustained release tramadol and high dose short acting codeine. My final dose of tramadol was taken on the morning of March 23rd and my final dose of codeine was taken at 10:30pm on March 24th. Below is a diagram showing the timescale of opiate withdrawal.


I had intended to record my thoughts and feelings over the days of the withdrawal process but the first two days were so difficult I couldn’t even begin to describe how I felt. It is only now on day four that I have regained my ability to think.

I have passed the peak of the withdrawal process and I am on the path to normality albeit with a huge increase in my fibromyalgia pain which was to be expected. I haven’t been able to do my daily walk as I’ve needed to remain close to the loo all week but I have been doing some yoga stretches to try to alleviate some of the pain. I’ve also been trying relaxation while listening to music and that has helped a bit too.

I now feel like I’ve stopped being a ‘sick person’ and I’m finally taking charge of my condition. I am hoping to rehabilitate my muscles with gentle exercise. I don’t think I will ever be pain free but if I can improve my muscle function it will be of benefit to me.

I wouldn’t recommend anyone reading this post to stop taking any prescribed medication without first consulting a medical professional. I saw a gastrointestinal consultant who recommended coming off my painkillers before I did this. I also consulted a pharmacist this week when things got really tough. This course of action was the right one for me and I certainly do not judge any fibromyalgia sufferer that requires strong painkillers to manage their symptoms. I just couldn’t deal with the bowel dysfunction anymore.

Needless to say I have now have tremendous sympathy for all drug addicts. What I’ve been through this week must pale into insignificance to what they must have to go through to get clean.


The Reckoning……..

Although this is going to be a slightly embarrassing post I’m going to share what’s happened to me in the hopes that it may help others to not reach the extreme situation that I’m finding myself in.

When I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia back in 2007 I was put on a cocktail of painkillers. Most of them were opioid based. As well as producing dependency they have the side effect of causing severe constipation. I have been managing this with various over the counter medications and in the past six months prescription strength osmotic laxatives.

It seems the bouts of vomiting I’ve been having all year have been the result of severe constipation and not gastroenteritis. I had an attack yesterday afternoon which I was able to stop with an anti-emetic. Coincidentally I saw my gastric banding consultant yesterday and was shown my CT scan from just before Christmas. The band hasn’t been doing its job for years because it has slipped out of position but what was alarming for me was the shape of my colon. It has become so distended I’m surprised I haven’t had more symptoms.

Enough is enough, with my family history I have to do something as chronic constipation can increase the risk of colorectal cancer. It is now obvious to me that I have to come off all of my opioid painkillers and manage my pain through other means. My consultant said that I can be referred to a pain psychologist for help with this.

I have come off sustained release oxycodone before and I managed the symptoms of withdrawal quite well but I haven’t been free of all painkillers in over a decade and I’m terrified about how bad it’s going to be. Other people see me as a strong person but I’m not. I’ve no idea if I can do this but I have to try.


The Greatest Loser……..

At Slimming World yesterday I was awarded the distinction of being ‘The Greatest Loser’. To the uninformed this would seem a rather cruel thing to do. However at Slimming World this award is given to the group member who has lost the most amount of weight. Since I started in August 2017 I have lost a total of 5st 11 lbs. Adding this to the weight I lost prior to starting I have now lost 7st 12lbs (110lbs). I only have 30lbs left to lose.

After 30 years of struggling with my weight I still can’t believe I have managed to achieve this. My whole attitude towards food has changed. By the time I reach my target weight I will have been eating the way I am for 2 years. My way of eating now has become my new normal. I know my weight battle won’t end when I reach my target weight; in fact I feel that the real battle of maintaining my weight begins. In some ways I think this will be harder than losing weight. Being able to eat a few extras without overdoing it will be difficult for me. I know I won’t be able to eat chocolate again because I have never been able to control my intake; I love it too much and it doesn’t make me feel sick if I eat a lot of it. I know some people who successfully control their weight by dieting during the week and allowing some extras at the weekend and I feel this could work for me.

I have made myself a visual aid to motivate me as I lose the last 30lbs which I know will be the hardest to lose. It’s just a simple A4 sheet with 30 circles that I can add a sticker to as I lose the weight. At the bottom is the Slimming World target sticker that I will receive when I get there.


Being realistic I expect it to take the rest of the year to achieve this goal but I am determined to get there!

Depression, Weight

Finally feeling better……..

The increased dose of my antidepressant, duloxetine is finally kicking in and I am feeling a lot better. I haven’t had an anxiety attack for a week. Even though I am in a major flare up of the fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue I am able to cope with it. I’ve also been able to look after my Mum this week when she’s been unwell with a chest infection.

I’ve done a second class of yoga and have identified that I have no balance whatsoever. Any pose that involves going on one leg sees me wobbling about and falling over. David is worse than me so I am in good company. I am enjoying yoga but find it tough going; after 30 minutes I’m dripping in sweat. I’m so glad the room is in semi-darkness because I’m sure my face is bright red. I love the endorphin high I get after class so it’s worth the pain.

I’d really like to start swimming again but I’m a bit embarrassed about my appearance. As I’ve lost over a 100lb the skin on my tummy, arms and thighs has become really wrinkly and just hangs (I am planning on having a tummy tuck when I’ve lost my remaining weight). I know the skin on my tummy won’t show under my swimming costume. It’s a bit ironic because when I was bigger I was still embarrassed about being seen in a swimming costume. I think I just need to get over it.

At the moment David and I are doing life laundry. It is long overdue and the clutter has really been getting me down. The hardest thing for me is getting rid of things that my children have made. I literally can’t keep it all. I have 4 crates of stuff that I’d like to get down to 1 but I’m not sure I have the heart to get rid of anything. Having grown up children is great but I miss my babies.