Burning the Old Year
Dragonfly: Any of various large insects of the order Odonata or suborder Anisoptera, having a long slender body and two pairs of narrow, net-veined wings that are usually held outstretched while the insect is at rest. Also called regionally darner, darning needle, mosquito fly, mosquito hawk, needle, skeeter hawk.
Poetry: The art or work of a poet.
Prolixity: Excessive wordiness in speech or writing; longwindedness
Burning the Old Year
I pray you all have a peaceful, healthy, blessed Christmas and an enlightening New Year!
I’m amazed & grateful to God that I survived 2020. I’m finally off the Gabapentin/Neurontin completely after titrating for nine long, slow, grueling, horrifying, deeply depressing, painful, mentally disturbing months. I’m still having bad days, but I feel my brain healing. I feel as if I’m coming out of a coma. My memory has improved 100% & I’ve lost 10 pounds since stopping completely.
My sweet 91 year old mother and brother-in-law have both survived COVID, so we’re grateful for that, especially since Mama smoked 2 packs of ciggies a day for 75 years. She had zero symptoms.
Even though our brindle Pit Bull literally ate our old sectional sofa—-cushions, wood and all—- this year, we’re happy to have our crazy Scooby Doo. Now I can get a new couch—-that’s bulletproof! There’s nothing on earth that Scooby won’t eat or attempt to eat. The two cats are happy and healthy at 18 years old. Garfield runs from Scooby, but Little Debbie stands her ground and scratches his nose or Velcro’s herself to his head. It gets wild and funny.
Thank you to all of my faithful blog followers and visitors. I appreciate you all.
Wishing everyone love, blessings & happiness,
Now there were shepherds nearby living out in the field, keeping guard over their flock at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were absolutely terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! Listen carefully, for I proclaim to you good news that brings great joy to all the people: Today your Savior is born in the city of David. He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a vast, heavenly army appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among people with whom he is pleased!”
When the angels left them and went back to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, that the Lord has made known to us.” So they hurried off and located Mary and Joseph, and found the baby lying in a manger. When they saw him, they related what they had been told about this child, and all who heard it were astonished at what the shepherds said. But Mary treasured up all these words, pondering in her heart what they might mean. So the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen; everything was just as they had been told.
A couple of my favorite live Christmas songs:
Three weeks ago
in the early evening
I sat at my desk composing
a new spin on language...
harnessing the powers of the universe,
and inner space.
Treading softly, breaking taboos,
that never before existed,
I destroyed imaginings that cried
out not to be.
I became the High Priestess
My writing only lead to more writing.
Words multiplied like rabbits in my brain---
pregnant with language---
my imagination in labor,
gloriously giving birth
to newborn poems.
[ A ]
Long ago, in Kentucky, I, a boy, stood
By a dirt road, in first dark, and heard
The great geese hoot northward.
I could not see them, there being no moon
And the stars sparse. I heard them.
I did not know what was happening in my heart.
It was the season before the elderberry blooms,
Therefore they were going north.
The sound was passing northward.
[ B ]
Tell me a story.
In this century, and moment, of mania,
Tell me a story.
Make it a story of great distances, and starlight.
The name of the story will be Time,
But you must not pronounce its name.
Tell me a story of deep delight.
ROBERT PENN WARREN
From New and Selected Poems 1923-1985 by Robert Penn Warren, published by Random House. Copyright © 1985 by Robert Penn Warren.
On top of my experience shared here, Hurricane __________ (fill in current Greek name) is heading to Louisiana. So far, this is our ___th (fill in blank) named hurricane this 2020 season. Since we finally, after 25 years here without one, shelled out $900 for a generator, I am certain we will not have another power outage. We had 15 days powerless, so hence, the generator.
This is my personal experience taking the drug Gabapentin for over 8 years. I was originally prescribed the drug after a back surgery where the surgeon damaged my sciatic nerve (the reason for the surgery was that I had a tiny chipped bone, shown on the x-ray, pressing on the sciatic nerve causing severe pain...) .”Simple, 15 minute surgery,” said the lying surgeon, “and your sciatic pain will be gone!” I woke from the surgery with more serious sciatic pain AND ever since, my right leg and foot is numb. (I developed a limp which caused my left knee to go bad necessitating a total knee replacement. Two years on and the knee pain has never abated. It’s like I’m carrying a bowling ball in my knee). I never got the feeling back in my leg/foot although the surgeon insisted it was temporary.
The Neurontin (brand name) - Gabapentin (generic name) did help the burning nerve pain at first. Over time, the drug became less and less effective, but it helped me sleep. Nighttime is hell, when the pain is the worst, therefore the insomnia. Many times the doctor tried to drastically up my 600 mg per day dosage. Shockingly, the pharmaceutical companies recommended doses are 1500 to 5400 mg per day. The pills come in 100, 300, 400, 600 & 800 mg doses.
I thought, how hard can stopping Gabapentin/Neurontin be? It has a short half life, five to seven hours. It is not an opioid, narcotic or a benzodiazepine, right?
Gabapentin, an anticonvulsant, was originally used to treat ONLY two things: seizures and severe pain from shingles.
It is now, in 2020, being prescribed (off label) for bipolar disorder, neuropathic pain, diabetic neuropathy, complex regional pain syndrome, attention deficit disorder, restless leg syndrome, trigeminal neuralgia, periodic limb movement disorder of sleep, anxiety, depression, migraine, insomnia, drug and alcohol withdrawal. Gabapentin has become a “catch-all” medication (Prescribe it for everything!!!!) due to the uncertainty around its exact mechanism of action. Still, despite the common practice, off-label prescribing presents deadly serious dangers to the millions of Americans taking these medications. I speak from experience.
According to an article in “The New York Times” in May, 2019, “ One of the most widely prescribed prescription drugs, gabapentin, is being taken by millions of patients despite little or no evidence that it can relieve their pain.”
I seldom come across comments on patient forums stating people had no problems with Gapapentin/Neurontin. I didn’t think my problems were that terrible before I tried to go off the drug. All medications, of course, come with cautions and potential side effects, which, ironically, are under the heading: less common. That’s a joke. In January I saw a video on YouTube of a younger woman who had been on Gabapentin for almost 20 years and was thought to have Dementia. Her family was in the process of institutionalizing her when her close neighbor/friend suggested it might be the Neurontin. Turns out it was the Gabapentin destroying/fogging her brain. It took her over a year to get off the high dose she was on and then for some of the adverse effects to slowly dissipate. After two years, she is still experiencing withdrawal symptoms...
This drug was highly recommended and prescribed to me by a neurologist and a pain management “doctor”. Neither warned me of the drug’s dangers, not once. My pharmacist never warned me of the dangers either. I wish I’d had an inkling of how dangerous, difficult & psychologically damaging this drug was to discontinue before I had ever taken the first pill. I wish someone, anyone had warned me that it damages the brain.
Consider yourself warned!
Do not ever, ever, ever take Neurontin/Gabapentin/Gabarone/Gralise. If you value your brain, do not take this drug! It basically, over a short time, made me feel like a zombie. I felt like I was sleepwalking through my life. I contemplated suicide often.
Below are a FEW of the side effects I experienced over eight years taking the drug for severe neuropathy pain in my legs and feet. I can’t recall all of them because...memory loss. It helped the pain for a while, but at far too high a price... Gabapentin is being widely used to replace opiates when, in fact, it is a thousand times more dangerous.
My ‘come to Jesus’ experience was this year, in a rare lucid moment, when I picked up a book and couldn’t read it because I’d read one paragraph, then forget it, or not comprehend what I’d just read. I normally read a book a day and have for over 40 years. Now, I have to listen to audiobooks. I’m avidly praying my concentration returns once I’m done slowly titrating myself off this hideous poison. I’ve been told that some of the withdrawal symptoms last up to two YEARS. Just this week, I had a scary, panicked feeling that reality, without Gabapentin’s numbing effects, was crushing me...I had a serious panic attack and took a second 100 mg dose that day. I’m trying to be kind to my wounded, battered brain. It’s hell getting off this toxic shit. I’ll say that over and over...
The side effects I experienced, every one listed here, came to me GRADUALLY, over time, not upon first taking the Gabapentin. I was shocked when I began making the list:
Red, burning feet
Weight gain (I gained over 30 pounds that stuck like glue no matter how healthy I ate.)
Swelling in ankles & hands, intermittently
Severe stomach upset
Memory loss, short term
Pain in back (Oh, the irony)
Red, hot ears
Strangely, the withdrawal symptoms have been eerily similar to the side effects, the insomnia being the worst, then the feeling of reality crushing me. Some of the less serious side effects are lessening after several months of slowly titrating, thank God.
My first attempt to cut down my low 300 mg twice per per day dose almost killed me. I, wrongly, tried cold turkey before knowing the dangers of doing that. I went 5 days with not one wink of sleep. No one believes me, but I would lay in bed, eyes closed and not sleep. It was terrifying. During this period I had hallucinations, visual and audio. I “saw” someone shining flashlights in the window. No one was there. I “heard” doors being slammed and loud, clanging sounds. I had a seizure.
I stopped the withdrawal experiment immediately because it scared me, horrified me, which led me to start researching the drug. That’s when my doctor poo pooed my “imagining these side effects“ and encouraged me to UP THE DOSEAGE! No shit, the idiot wanted me to take more of this poison... I refused to let him up the dose and he refused to lower my dose to the 100 mg capsules. Most patients are on up to 5400 mg per day which is pure abuse! But low or high dose, the withdrawal is as acute. I’m down to 100 mg per day using water titration and it’s taken me months to drop down very slowly to avoid more withdrawal, but, make no mistake: you will experience withdrawal no matter how slowly you titrate or how low the dose you take.
I wanted to post this to warn others of the extreme dangers of taking AND stopping Gabapentin/Neurontin, which should not even be on the market, in my opinion. It literally rewires your perfect brain, sadly. Hopefully, very slow titration will help my brain to uncross the fucked up wiring caused by the Gabapentin.
And, trust me, the doctors and pharmaceutical companies can care less. I highly recommend reading Gabapentin patient forums and articles on the dangers of this newest panacea, money maker for big pharmaceutical. Pharmaceutical companies are all about money, not individual patient care.
Doctors are no longer treating chronic pain patients with safer, lower dose opioids. Instead, they’re pushing this dangerous Gabapentin poison on people in severe chronic pain. It’s a travesty and a living nightmare. Your brain and your entire nervous system become numbed...to everything, in a nightmarish way.
In ten lifetimes I would never have taken this shit if ANYONE had warned me that it could cause Dementia-like symptoms over time. There were days when I couldn’t remember what happened the hour before. It was horrifying. I’m just happy (but still in severe withdrawal misery) that I had a moment of lucidity and the strength to decide to stop taking it. Most days I feel like I’ll never get my functional brain back, but then I’ll have flashes of memory that I thought had been lost...and it gives me hope.
Suicide rates in chronic pain patients are skyrocketing because they’re desperate to STOP THE PAIN! There’s an excellent documentary on Amazon titled, “Pain Warriors” about the needless suffering of chronic pain patients. Another travesty...
I am among those harmed by new, draconian pain management “guidelines”. I recently quit my pain management after 8 years of being treated like a criminal drug seeker (for two low dose Percocet in the end, which, by the way, gave me little relief for only a few hours). It just wasn’t worth the harassment. And yes, I was seriously harassed by my little pain management doctor, may he burn in hell.
He had me on a working dose of medication for many years...which gave me my mobility, enabled me to go to the gym, grocery shopping, cook, clean house and have some semblance of a life...all gone now. Today, I can barely walk to my mailbox to get the mail... Then he got busted, investigated, whatever by the DEA for overprescribing. Not to me, for sure, but to others. That’s when individual patient care went out the window and robotic prescribing by a government chart (his story, not mine) started. WHY? To save his sorry, greedy ass from losing his medical license. He’s not suffering but his patients are, greatly. I know this from talking to dozens of them in his waiting room the past few years. And he is one of only two pain management doctors in my area and the other doctor does not accept new patients. I feel cornered and helpless...
I’m thinking of trying medical marijuana, recently approved in tincture form only, in my state. The Catch-22 here is that it’s not covered by insurance and is exorbitantly expensive for someone in my well-below-poverty-level income range: $250 for the doctor (dealer, really) visit (many visits annually) and up to $150 per month for the “medication”. I’m conflicted: do I stay in constant, debilitating pain or cancel my cable, lower my already low grocery bill, stop using heat to lower the electric bill, etc. to find the funds to do it? I’d be paying roughly 24% of my total annual income...for a bit of pain relief. That’s criminal when I was getting major pain relief for under $40 per month in pain management before the doctor’s criminal issues. I may try it for a month to see if it even works. I’m skeptical, but hopeful. I can’t go on living in the level of pain I am in. It’s almost unbearable...
Note: Lyrica is also in the “GABA” family of drugs. Be very wary of taking it, too.
(Sometimes I Feel So) Uninspired