Fixing My Fickle Fibromyalgia


Ramona and Her MotherImage via Wikipedia

The doctor’s appointment went well. Mom drove me and went with me. After years of doctor’s appointments I have realized it is almost always best to take someone with me, as I struggle remembering much of what doctor’s tell me. (With this flare-up Daniel, my dad, and my mom have all gone to one appointment with me.)

My family doctor, we’ll call him AJ, has always been extremely supportive. He diagnosed me in 1998 and has followed my progress fairly closely since then. He remembers the little things and pays close attention to what I say. Each time we visit I am reminded how lucky I am to have finally found doctors who are friendly, experienced, and seriously interested in my comfort and well-being.

AJ quickly quieted my fears of admitting to him my desire to stop taking Cymbalta. He was alarmed by the side effects I have experienced. And I mean alarmed. His eyes got big, at least as big as Ramona’s as I described the sort of disturbing thoughts I have had. And they were not the eyes our beloved pest Quimby, but of Ramona Singer, the “real” housewife of NYC.

He seemed to feel terrible that I’ve had such a rough time and advised me to stop taking the medication immediately (This is somewhat convenient, because I’ve never had to actually pay for the stuff. AJ was generous and gave me samples that lasted the last four weeks but the supply ran out yesterday.) Instead of gradually stepping off of the medication I am to stop cold turkey so as to avoid the side effects.

Although AJ didn’t say much about what stopping the meds may be like, I am already getting an idea of what is in store. Today is the first day I haven’t taken Cymbalta in a month, and I’m feeling incredibly dizzy and irritable. I feel calm, then I feel exhausted, then I feel frustrated, then I want to cry, then I feel hyper, and so on. Part of my brain seems to think I’m going through a real crisis and that having an emotional collapse is definitely the best idea. Another part of my brain thinks nothing is wrong and I am just as capable as ever and I ought to try to accomplish everything I have been putting off over the last month.

So, here I am… Ecstatic to be off of Cymbalta. More than a bit uncomfortable. But feeling relieved and free.

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