Addiction: Substance Abuse Community
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Avatar universal

Detoxing after Eight Years

Howdy all.

My situation is a little different than most, but the results are the same.

I've been dependent on various combinations of Norco (10/325), Time-Release Morphine and Oxy for the last 8 years to battle extreme pain from scoliosis.  Combined with epidural injections every 2 months, I was fairly comfortable and never took Norco for the effect. (I hate feeling modified).  I haven't had a drink in years, since the meds I take for RA preclude drinking.  I don't find I miss it.
I was up to 7-8 Norcos a day for quite some time until we switched to a baseline dose of 30mg MS Contin twice a day + 3-4-5 Norco as needed.  Sometimes I only needed 1.

Last year, the injections stopped working and my pain was spiraling out of control.  The analysis was that my receptors were conditioned to my current opiates, so I was switched over to Oxycontin / Oxycodone combinations of TR + short-acting 10/350(?).

I HATE Oxy!  I cannot emphasize enough how BAD this crap made me feel.  I was thoroughly overmedicated, falling asleep at the dinner table and still in pain.  

A couple of months before the surgery, I had become so depressed (not characteristic for me at all) that I was ready to either OD or blow my brains out.  My Dr. put me on LexaPro and things slowly evened out.  I have to day I feel really excellent these days and hope to wean myself off the happy pills as soon as I'm done detoxing from the Norco...

All of this was to buy time until the surgery this June where most of my spine was bolted to a pair of steel rods that run all the way into my tailbone.  + another surgery 3 days later in my neck to fuse C5-C6, as 2 fingers on my right hand were going numb (swell).

I sailed through recovery in the hospital and was home in 6 days.  I hated the Dilaudid they were giving me.  I caused headaches (I get migraines) and as soon as they could put me back on oral meds, I had them put me back on the TR Morphine / Norco combination, because I just feel better - no side effects that make me just want to stay in bed because I feel miserable.
About 3 days after being home I felt too medicated and ratcheted my dosage of Morphine down from 3 TR a day to 2.  Much better!  No pain and not sleepy anymore.
Add the occasional Norco when I've overdone it in PT and I'm OK.
NSAIDS are NOT an option for someone who's post-op like me.  Maybe in another 3 months, but that's it.  Unfortunately.
At my one-month post-op checkup with my pain management doc I told him to get me off the Morphine and then the Norco.  Incredulous (apparently no one comes in asking for this) he switched me down to 15mg MS Contin 3 times a day to replace the 30s twice a day.  Every week thereafter, 1 dose is removed until they're all gone.

2 days ago I took my last Morphine dose.  Since we're busy running around taking care of business, when I start to detox (which *****) I throw a Norco at the problem.  Starting yesterday I commenced breaking them in half.

The problem is, my sleep (which is usually less than 5 hours a night anyway) ***** now with my legs feeling like they're trying to run out of the bed and my nerves on fire.
Waking up this morning at 3 am and unable to sleep I started researching full detox and am going off all the meds NOW.

The recommendations I've found on this forum look very helpful and I'm grateful to all who have posted their suggestions and support.
Now for the fun...
13 Responses
495284 tn?1333894042
I would of put 3 trombones in my bed if they said it worked!!  I am glad to hear you got some sleep.  

Congrats on 7 days!  You are doing great~
1801781 tn?1461629469
Leg pain..restless legs cramps are usual with withdrawal as well as sleep issues.  Check with your doctor about help.  I take a restless legs medicine called carbidopa levo ER that is non addictive and really helps.  I take about 2-6 a day and have no side effects.  Keep hydrated and eat healthy to help your brain detox.  Some say that the opiates actually depress you.  I believe it and hope you find that that is relieved as you stabilize.  Many say that once off the opiates..their pain levels may increase (brain likes the pills) and will subside and actually improve.  I hope this works some for you.  Benadryl helps some with sleep as well as OTC Alteril.  Walking (if you can) can help with the leg issues.  Epsom salts 2 cups in warm bath can help with the legs as well.  

Be prepared to be out of sorts and flu-ey for a week or so.  Day 3-4 seems to be the worst for most.  Keep posting and asking questions, it helps.
Avatar universal
Thanks for the support.

How about the chronic sneezing I've had for several days?  I never sneeze, but lately it's out of control.  I'm assuming it's related to the detox.

I work out regularly.  Several times a week I use the recumbent bike we have at home and do PT twice a week to get me back to where I need to be after the surgery.  I work out really hard, work up a good sweat and always feel better when exercising (I was a black belt instructor for 10 years and used to run 5 miles a day and a 10k up an 1,800' mountain once a week just for the view - until my knees gave out)
So I'm pretty accustomed to being in better than average shape.  For me, exercise is mandatory and makes me feel a lot better - even when detoxing.  We usually walk 1.5-2 miles a day too, but we have to get an early start, as it just a little hot here in Texas at the moment... ;-)
3112653 tn?1351622081
oh my lord yes hun the sneezing is dextox.  I never sneezed until I came off the medicine I'm still sneezing but not as bad, it gets better it does I'm on day 14 of being clean and each day is so much better. you can do this honestly you can we are all here to support you its gonna be hard but it can be done. I to have a terrible back and my knees are bad also I had three bad car wrecks totalled all three cars one wreck threw me through the windshield. and thats how i got on the stuff but I have found that my pain is not as bad now as it was when I was on the pills crazy I know but true it our brain telling us we need more and more. anytime you need someone just to vent to or questions we are here hang in there.
2122807 tn?1560619706
hey sweetie,
it's liek your story is my story, without the surgeries but down to the numb hand, yes.
You can do it. These things, as solo said, will make the pain worse as time goes on in many cases.

It's a horribel ride and the best ride of your life because it leads to freedom. As far as the pain goes a book helped me out big time, it's called, "healing back pain" by dr john Sarno MD. check it out, very useful, and as far as the WD symptoms, the worst for me was the anxiety, and it GOES AWAY, and you are lef tiwth your life back. YOu will do more than sneeze, which i was so shocked to do, I ihadn't sneezed in years, but you will smell the roses, literally, and taste comes back, and music and all the feel good things come back.
you can do it, and like solost said, we are here for you, tell us anything, but please tell us.
I am on day 38 and kissing the ground!!
I feel MAHVELOUS! and you will too when you get out in this light with me, ok?

Avatar universal
Wow. All I can say is thanks.
Avatar universal
Something I discovered yesterday.  My symptoms all but disappear when I'm engrossed in a movie.  It seems taking my mind completely off the detox is a great help.
I also feel much better when I'm going my regular exercise routine or at least stretching.  Swimming also helps.  I haven't tried the epsom salts bath yet.  That will be this morning after my workout.
Maybe I should go to my workshop and start building something for the grandkids.  That should keep my mind busy for a long time.  And help me sweat the toxins out.  Texas.  Summer.  Giant garage.  = Sauna!

Just a thought.
Avatar universal
That sounds like a great idea!
Keep the mind & body busy!!
Almost set up to jump!
Avatar universal
Hey, I would live to hear more on how you are doing. Please keep posting. Your helping me as well
Avatar universal
OK,  Here's the latest.
Day 2 was odd.
I woke up feeling like I had a sinus infection (likely due to the runny nose thing).  Took some Advil Migraine for that.  No cramps or twitchiness / sweats, even though I thrashed all night in spite of taking an Ambien to sleep.  If I got an hour sleep it was a miracle.
Walked 1.5 miles (slow, as I was pretty tired), road our exercise bike 21 minutes.  Took a swim & felt a little better.  Took Clonidine & Xanax around 7 pm & still felt twitchy & restless.  Took 2 Melatonin around 9 pm and hit the bed like a rock.
Normally I sleep 5 hours a night.  I don't need more, I just wake up between 3:30 & 4:30 depending on how tired I am.

Day 3 I wake up at 6am and feel like a zombie (too much Melatonin)
Walked 1 mile really slow and call it a day.
Back to bed.
Awake and alert at 10am.  I haven't slept this late in decades.  It's weird to wake up when it's light.
Surprisingly today is a pretty good day, other than needing multiple naps to recover from too much Melatonin.  I don't notice any cramps or twitching until night, when I once again opt for dosing on GABA and (1) Melatonin - I'm learning...

Day 4
Up at 4:45 am with a kitten wanting my attention and I feel pretty good.  A little clammy, but otherwise fine so far.  The Clonidine seems to make a world of difference, but I'm done with the Xanax.  Makes me tired and I hate it.  I don't want to trade one form or dependency for another.

That's it so far.

Keep in mind, I tapered off my usage over about a month or more to get to a level where I felt detox would be manageable.
Avatar universal
One point of consideration.
Even if I'd felt Cold Turkey would be a character-building exercise, with over 2 feet of steel rods and more screws and bolts than I can count freshly installed in my spine, it seemed prudent to minimize the effects of detox as much as possible.  
Twisting any of this hardware out of shape would have been a critical and possibly life-altering error at this stage.
Avatar universal
On the topic of RLS and how it can destroy your sleep, I received a suggestion that I tried last night and I slept a lot better.
Drink a glass of tonic water. the quinine seems to quiet the nerves.
I know this sounds weird:
Put 3 bars of zivory soap in the bed. Placement seems unimportant.
No explanation, all I know is I slept a lot better than the last 2 nights.

This is Day 7
Avatar universal
Amen to that.

Sometimes we have to consider that before science and technology produced  many thousands of pharmaceuticals, people had come up with effective remedies to a great many things on their own.

And I have to agree with the trombones.
I would have piled up 3 of my guitars in the middle of the bed if I thought it would work.  Of course the kittens might have some complaints...
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495284 tn?1333894042
City of Dominatrix, MN
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phoenix, AZ
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