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Bump in the road

So much for being free of side effects.

A few things have started popping up since increasing the dose of gabapentin: sore throat, dizziness, fatigue, blurry vision, a bit of double vision, frackin sore kidneys, and a mild tremor in both hands.

It is controlling spasms and TN pain better at this higher dose, though not completely (especially the TN pain), so I will eventually be going up again to 400mg, but I’m going to hold off on that and just try to push through it for now until the side effects fade out. I’ve constantly got a headache from straining to see (which is horrible when you’re sitting in a lecture all day trying to read powerpoint presentations, skim through textbooks, and write notes all at the same time). I’ve given up on trying to really read anything right now if it’s not a few centimeters from my face (which is kinda embarrassing in class) so I’m just sticking with jotting down verbal cues and such from lectures. I almost fell asleep in class a few times today because of the fatigue, which could have been pretty bad if I didn’t have such an understanding professor since they were standing right next to me. Weather has been nuts so on top of the side effects, my back is killing me from trying to keep the driveway clear (key word there: trying. Trying and failing).

Despite feeling crappy right now, I’m still feeling pretty positive about this medication. These things take time…

 

Convalescing

We are getting absolutely hammered by a nasty batch of snow and freezing rain. I won’t be too surprised if I lose power for a bit over the weekend (which would really suck….it’s  going to be around -30C all weekend and all of the heating in my house is electric. if that happens, I’ll have to spend the weekend on my parents’ couch since they have a fireplace). I hurt my back while clearing some of the snow from the driveway last night, so I’m going to be resting that all weekend. It’s not too bad though, should be fine for Monday (I hope…). Lots of homework to keep me busy (yay for research papers!)

Gabapentin is just wonderful. No side effects after that first night, I’m amazed. It’s controlling things pretty well, but I’m still getting a few spasms in my abdomen and pins and needles, so I’ll be going up to the 300mg per day starting tomorrow. I’m starting to feel like myself again, it’s indescribable.

Side Effects: Round One

I have some time to kill so I’ll go through the side effects I had from the gabapentin last night. So far I’m pleasantly surprised.

1) Dry mouth. This was the worst one, but it went away after a few hours. At the worst point, it felt like a had a big lump of sawdust in my throat. Easy enough to manage with water and gum though. If you’ve ever tried nicotine gum and chewed it for too long, you’ll know the kind of horrible dry throat I mean.

2) Giddiness. I started feeling really silly last night. Everything was making me giggle. But, it wasn’t like “omg why can’t I stop laughing?”, I enjoyed it, so no complaints there! It didn’t last long, and while I’m hoping it doesn’t pop up again when I’m in a lecture, at least it won’t last long if it does.

3) Chatty. I’m a very quiet person, I’m constantly being told “you don’t talk much, do you?”  but last night, I just couldn’t shut up. This came along with the giddiness and faded out with it as well.

4) High. Not sure how else to describe it. Floaty is how I described it on Twitter. Was nowhere near as intense as it was with tegretol, took longer to set in, and was very short lived.

5) Tiredness. I’m not even sure if I should put this one up to be honest. I was most concerned about drowsiness as a side effect before taking it, I was expecting it to knock me out. It just made me feel a tiny bit more tired than usual, but the small amount of sleep I had the night before could have been causing that as well. We’ll find out when I take it again today! It just made falling asleep feel more pleasant and easier, I wasn’t struggling to stay awake.

6) Heartburn. This one didn’t happen until I woke up, but it was really intense. Baking soda in water took care of it though. *NOTE: Make sure you have a 2 hour gap between taking an antacid and taking gabapentin*

7) Nausea. Set in fairly early (shortly after the dry mouth, about an hour and a half). It was tolerable and didn’t last long though (1-2 hours) so it didn’t really cause any problems.

 

If there was anything else, it was so minor I don’t remember it. I’m really, really happy with this medication so far. Much easier to tolerate than tegretol. Oh, some else that’s kind of odd: I was expecting to be groggy this morning, but instead it’s the complete opposite. Normally I hit snooze and lay in bed for half an hour or so. Today, I practically jumped out of bed feeling wide awake right away. I absolutely love this medication. I’ll do the 200mg per day for a few days, then start 300mg per day on the weekend. I had a few little spasms in my abdomen but they didn’t feel as strong. Plus, they happened when I was in the giddy stage so I just didn’t care as much.

Remember though, medications affect everyone differently. My positive experience with gabapentin does not guarantee you will have a good experience with it.

Gabapentin!

ahoy hoy!

Been busy with school and such, so quick update:

1) School is great. It’s intense, but interesting. Lots of long breaks throughout the day between classes, so I have time to sit, relax, and eat.

2) Energy level is just….crazy! I didn’t really realize what a dramatic change there has been until I got back to school. I can make it through a full day lugging that heavy bag on my back all day, taking the stairs (YES! no chair, no cane!), walking to restaurants for meals, etc. and still have the energy to do homework and chores when I get home. My energy level is finally that of a normal, healthy person. Incredible.

3) Spasms, TN attacks, and pins and needles: spasms are worst in the evening, especially in my abdomen and legs. Pins and needles in my feet get extremely intense and incredibly painful. Comes on when I’m tired or really warm. Had a wave of TN attacks that lasted a few days that is slowing down now.

4) Gabapentin. I’m taking my first dose of it right now 🙂 I’ll be taking 100mg two times a day, then increasing to 100mg three times a day, then potentially changing again to 200mg twice a day. Will be seeing Dr. Fabulous again in roughly 2 weeks time to discuss the effectiveness, dosage, and side effects. Hoping for few side effects and good results *fingers crossed*. I’ll be tracking the effects of it closely.

I also bought a pain management app which I will be trying out for a week or two before posting a review and link for it.

Necromancy

It’s aliiiiiiiiiive! Been a long time since I’ve posted.

Things are improving fairly well. Back on my feet, without a cane. Still get a few wobbly, awkward spells and dizziness if I push things too hard, but it’s good to be walking again. When I just get going in the morning I actually look normal for quite a while. Still getting lots of pins and needles, buzzing sensation in my legs, plenty of deep twitching but not full on spasms and locked up muscles. Short term memory has perked up quite a bit, probably because I’m not so distracted by pain and exhaustion, which is a huge bonus since I’ll be heading back for another semester very soon. This holiday couldn’t have come at a better time, definitely needed it. The cold is helping a lot too. When my legs start getting really sore I just go outside for a while and sit down on a nice, ice-cold, snow covered lawn chair and all is well.

Appointment with Dr. Kickass went pretty well, though I was still in kind of rough shape. Used the cane to get to her office, did some tests like *snort* “running” and “jumping” (she had to hold my hand while I did it and I still damn near fell over, it didn’t work out well, couldn’t hop on my left foot, running was more like dragging left foot while trying to hop really fast on my right foot without falling), smacked myself between the eyes when trying to touch the tip of my nose with my left hand, but could do it just fine with the right. Got the OK to try 3 different meds, so I’ll be seeing Dr. Fabulous soon to get started on gabapentin (if that fails, I can try the other two). Things appear to be the same in terms of intactness of my nervous system, so that’s a huge relief. She ordered an EMG, which is getting done in a few months. Not really looking forward to that, expecting it to hurt, but if it gets answers, then it’s gotta get done. Will be an interesting experience, I’m sure.

Not getting as stressed out about school. Not sure why, but it’s just not bothering me as much now. Maybe I just needed to actually pass all my first semester classes before I could calm the hell down. Plenty to start stressing about, like my loan coming in late (which won’t affect school itself since I’ve paid all the fees already, but means I’ll be late on some bills), a lecture scheduled in a classroom that doesn’t exist (huh?), and not having half my books for the first month or so because of the loan thing, but I dunno…*shrug* it’ll get done, I’ll get through it. Already psychotically organized, so I’m feeling much more prepared.

Switcheroo

For some reason, things have switched sides. Normally my left side is worse than my right, but right now I only have a bit of pins and needles in  my left side (the back of my arm) and some aching in my left hand, but the entire right side of my body is tingling. The only spots that aren’t tingling are the spots that are numb (hands and parts of my feet). Don’t know why, don’t care. Just want it to bugger off soon.

Since I’m on holidays now I can sleep as much as I need to and do more stretching and exercise throughout the day. It’s definitely helping with my legs and balance. Before bed last night my legs were seizing up and in a lot of pain, got a bit wobbly, but I walked a surprising amount entirely on my own yesterday (in the house, of course, always close to something to cling onto if I fell). Fantastic timing to get some balance back, since there is snow on the ground now (FINALLY).

I’ve been going through some of my books for next semester and it’s proving to be quite a challenge. I can’t get through a single paragraph without getting completely lost. I end up mixing up sentences and words, then struggling to find where I was. This is happening in everything I read, but it’s worse with the textbooks since I’m trying to take notes at the same time. When I try to focus all my attention on what I’m reading by reading it out loud, I just end up spouting out gibberish.

My hands feel really weird today. I’m hoping it’s just a combination of the numbness and aching (plus the bit of tremor that has been popping up in the morning), but it feels…I don’t know, it feels like my hands should be extremely clumsy, but they’re nowhere near as bad as they feel. I don’t know if that makes any sense, it’s hard to explain.

I have to call Dr. Kickass on Monday to find out what time my appointment is and where. I’m fairly certain I have the time written down properly, but I’d rather not chance it. Thanks to the big mess last time I called I’m not even sure which number I’m supposed to call anymore. I’ll just call the neurology department, they have all the information for both the neuro clinic and the MS clinic so they should be able to confirm the appointment for me. Now that I’m down to my last bit of tegretol I’m more nervous about the appointment. Part of me is freaking out that she will decide to not give me a prescription for neurontin, or even tegretol. If that happens I am 100% screwed since nothing else controls the TN pain even a little. I’ll have 3 days left of pills after the appointment, but because of the time of year I will not be able to see my GP to get more. I know that this fear is completely irrational, that she will give me a new prescription for tegretol at least, but still. It’s that horrible lack of control that patients go through that’s overcoming me a bit right now.

I’ve got several notes posted on my desktop for various opinion pieces I want to write over the holidays. I will get them up soon, I just want to edit them a bit (unlike my usual entries) and polish them up before posting.

Hope you’re having a great holiday, will post again soon.

Having a little whine

Have some time to kill before I leave for an exam so I figured I’d pop in and whine.

I had a hug all night in the left side of my chest and stomach. It’s calmed down and is just in my stomach now (every now and then I get a wicked spasm that is visible). It’s making me feel like I’m going to throw up. I normally eat a big breakfast before a test, but that’s not going to happen today. My ribs are on fire too, stupid red hot pins and needles feeling again, from my ribs up into my left shoulder. Burning spots along my spine are back in the same spots as last time. Legs are really sore, but not as many spasms. I’m really tempted to try walking today with the cane. I have a long wait before my exam though, and I have to pick up a big, fat textbook beforehand though so I know it’s probably not a good idea. Knowing me though I’ll probably attempt it anyway. We’ll see how that works out. Have the usual daily symptoms as well like numbness and whatnot, but I’ve kind of gotten used to those so they aren’t getting to me like the hug is.

I’m not anxious about the exam. Before my lab grades were fixed, passing or failing this class relied solely on my exam. Now that the mess with my grades has been sorted out, I know I’m going to pass. I reviewed everything last night and I’m feeling confident about the content. My only concern lies in distraction in the form of symptoms. I’m trying to keep the appointment with the neurologist out of my mind, but it’s hard. I’m really worried about that appointment, even though there really is no reason to be. The worst that can happen is things stay just as they are now, and as things are now I’m managing. That’s if nothing changes with the TN mind you. If that gets worse and there is no change in my medication then I’m kinda screwed. A bit worried about being late to the appointment as well. The person that is driving me there isn’t known for being on-time or early, and I’m expecting traffic to be horrible considering how close it is to Christmas.

The semester flew by, but now that I have no classes left and only exams, things are dragging on. I kinda wish everything would just get jammed into one day instead of having to go back every weekday for the rest of the week to write 1 exam per day. I’m really tempted to go lay down for a bit since I got up much early than was necessary, but I know if I do that I’ll end up sleeping the entire day. I can’t wait until the weekend so I can just stay in my PJs and relax for a few days.