I have been a member here for a long time, but post rarely, here's part of my story. I have more health issues, surgeries, and broken bones not listed here. But I have noticed a few people with questions about coming off the pain patches and being scared to do so, so here we go. Sorry it is so long...bear with me.
I just went recently back to my pain management Dr and I have been weaning down on dosages on my own request.This medicine really takes a toll on your life after being on it for so long. (Been on it since 2002) I started at 100mcg, which was way too much to start off on ( I didn't know this at the time) but have taken it upon myself to wean off, my decision, not the Drs. But I have been doing it a little at a time...I will go down to the next lowest dosage and stay there for 2-3 months at a time, until I feel comfortable, then when I feel ok, I would come down to the next lowest dosage. I did ask my Dr to up the dosage of pain pills just in case I had any break through pain and to help combat any withdrawal symptoms that may arise. You may also ask for an anti anxiety med. When going to a lower dosage, I found that my anxiety levels went up ( I do have panic/anxiety (attacks) disorder).
Right now I am at 25mcg, which my Dr told me is where he normally stops and has his patients jump off at. I told him that I was aware that there is a 12mcg patch (the smallest dosage made) and that I would rather try that one for a few more months and jump from there. As I said, you may have to have something to keep withdrawals at bay (I have percocets for break-through pain). The only real discomfort I have had is the anxiety issue which I take .05 valium 3X daily for, and I have had a very slight problem with a touch of restless arm (same as restless leg syndrome).
Now, I would NOT recommend cutting the patches unless your Dr says this is ok! These patches are very very dangerous. I understand that the Mylar patches can be cut (I never have), but I am scared to death of that because I got a bad batch of patches that were in the nationwide recall in 2004, and pretty much went comatose while driving home from work at 5pm rush hour on the highway and totaled my car. I remember being barely alert for a few seconds while trying to stay awake while i was driving at 55mph and scared to death because I could not make my body respond to wanting to hit the brake and pull off the road. None of my muscles would work, they were completely paralyzed! And I was fighting to keep my eyes open. I had been having episodes of falling asleep (or so I thought) at odd times..in the middle of conversations, sitting at my desk at work, and other odd times which I shouldn't have been tired at all. I did bring a lawsuit against the manufacturer and my lawyer would not bring it to court because we could not prove the amount of fentanyl in my system at the time of the crash because they did not do a toxicology. (they only do toxicology if someone passes away) I even had the foil pouch with the recalled lot# and the letter they sent me one month to the day after the accident telling me DO NOT use what I had that they had been recalled and to return them to the pharmacy. Had I not received that letter I would never have thought that the patches were the cause of my accident. I may have had a better case if the nurse in the ER had not removed the faulty patch and thrown it away, it would have been good proof bc they could have seen it was a defect in manufacturing and not sealed properly on the edges.
Long story short, my lawyer got almost 40,000.00, all her expenses to the 5star hotels(brought her hubby as well) she stayed at, all her meals, gas, etc. and they took all the legal fees, (fax and copy costs) and I didn't even get enough to pay my portion of my Dr bills, therapy, or even enough to purchase another car. I got a measly almost 10,000.00 and lost my job (15.00 per hour), livelihood, car, and the essence of who I was as a person was lost. And I am now permanently disabled after 4 ankle surgeries to repair both bones and suffered a yr long serious MRSA infection which went all the way down to the bone, where I had to have home health come in 3x a week to administer Vancomycin through a pic line in my brachial artery. I could not drive, walk, bathe, nothing. All i was allowed to do was get up to go to the bathroom, and get back on the couch and keep my feet propped up for over a year. The last surgery was to remove the hardware on that side for fear of bone infection and plastic surgery to make a flap to cover the wounded area. Before this last surgery, my Dr was unsure if he would have to amputate my leg right below the knee because we did not know how far the infection had spread or if it had gotten into the bone from the holes made from the hardware holding them together.
Okay, I am sorry this is so long and probably way more info than you needed, but I had not posted my story before now. At the time of my auto accident, I was still on crutches from a prior accident in Nov.2001, where I fell off a porch onto a concrete patio and have 2 plates and 7 screws holding the tibia plateau (right below the knee) which spiral fractured into 8 shattered pieces.
Due to all the surgeries, stress, and the broken bones, I have developed Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue along with a side of panic/anxiety disorder as well. As if everything else I have been through hasn't been enough already. It just never seems to stop!
Worst of all in this whole story...I had 1 last partial payment left to pay my car off at the time of the accident! Talk about good luck, huh? Lol I am just very thankful that I hit the concrete railing on the train trestle overpass instead of a head on collision with an oncoming car. The way I was travelling, there was no way an oncoming car could have seen me in their lane of traffic and there was no shoulder for them to have moved to even if they could have seen me. I guess I am a little lucky in that respect.
Cindy, aka, badeggs
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