Tag Archives: Pregabalin

Give and Take

backflipIf I could do backflips and turn cartwheels, I would.

For the first time in over four years, I have zero nerve pain in my legs. It’s nothing short of a miracle.

Yesterday, after consultation with my MS nurse and GP, I doubled my dose of Pregabalin. Within hours my legs felt, well, normal. I prodded them, stood up, sat down, walked across the room.

Ah. Of course. As with anything MS-related, it gives with one hand and takes with the other. Sure, I could feel my legs, but my balance was shot. I staggered around the kitchen, unaware The Teenager had snuck up behind me for a fridge-rummage.

‘Wha’s up with you, muv?’

‘S’alrigh’. Meds. Strange.’

‘You’re talking funny.’

‘Yar.’

‘Can I have a tenner for the cinema tomorrow?’

‘Erm, yesh.’

I was slurring my words. My head was spinning and I felt drugged. The Teenager found the last yoghurt I’d been hiding behind the jam and wandered off, tutting.

I flopped onto the sofa, polished off the chocolate Buttons and tried to think. Pregabalin is also prescribed for Generalised Anxiety Disorder as well as neuropathic pain, so I guess that’s where the drugged, cotton-wool-brain feeling came from. It can also affect balance and speech. Excellent.

I weighed up the pros and cons. The nerve pain is manageable during the day, excruciating at night. I’ve spent hours whimpering on the sofa in agony, unable to concentrate on anything. Whole evenings have been wasted. Could I swap this for a spaced-out feeling? Would I trip more than usual?

I’m going to give it a go.

The pain in my legs has defined my life too much and is a constant MS-memento. Unfortunately I still have the numbness in my feet, so the foot-drop is here to stay and sometimes I can’t feel my feet at all, although the pavements are there to remind me as I trip over yet again.

So for now, I will ricochet around the house, falling over the rugs and the cat, but I won’t mind so much as my head will be floating around somewhere else. I haven’t been outside yet – I’m about to get ready to take The Teenager to town for lunch.

Should be interesting?

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So MS Isn’t Painful?

MS painThere’s a misconception that MS is somehow pain-free and more of an irritant than anything else.

You know, the stumbling, the dodgy memory, the heat intolerance, the fatigue. In the grand scheme of things, not a bad little illness to have, right?

Wrong.

Sure, we can ‘laugh’ at the stumbling walk, until we trip down the stairs or fall over the in the shower, still clutching our Herbal Essence. We can put up with the joshing about our forgetfulness and fondness for post-it notes. As for the fatigue, well that’s just downright cushy of course. But pain?

Well, over the last month or so I’ve been in a lot of pain. First up was the heat intolerance. People will tell you it’s perfectly simple – just stay out of the sun, pop a hat on and drink lots of water. Why didn’t I think of that? If it were that easy, I would stay in a shady corner until the Christmas goods start appearing in the supermarkets.

So, the heat made me wilt. It pulled the plug on my energy, which was bad enough, but it then began to bring up intense itching, which to my horror, turned into a grotesque rash of blisters. To cut a long story short, after steroids and jumbo-sized bottles of grotty cream, it’s under control but I’m now left with ugly scarring all over my arms. And they still itch at the merest hint of sun, even through clothing. The boss has moved on from nicknaming me Half Shift to Apocalypse Zombie.

So far so bad but worse was to come. I’ve always had neuropathic pain in my legs, feet and arms and my dose of Pregabilin has been steadily increased to cope with it but over the last two weeks it morphed into something truly evil.

Take yesterday. I had a good day at work, got home, sorted The Teenager out (he’s on exam study leave, aka, doss around in bed all day eating toast), and put out the rubbish. Then blam, a whoosh of extreme nerve pain. I lay on the sofa whimpering and it rendered me useless. I tried to lie still, but the pain kept coming in hideous waves, along with intermittent violent twitching in my legs.

Sleep seemed the only answer so I set my alarm and tried to doze off. Only to be awoken by The Teenager crashing downstairs looking for the vacuum cleaner (he’s quite unfamiliar with it). Of course, after being holed up in his room all day, he wants to clean it at 8pm. He bashed every skirting board with the vacuum, sang (badly) at the top of his voice and chatted shouted to his friends on the X-Box before rushing back downstairs to make some toast.

So the next person who tells me I’ve got off lightly with MS, please excuse me while I trip you up and poke you with a cattle prod.

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Pass Me The Spanner, Numpty

beautifulA most interesting day at work, what with the higher dose of Pregabalin settling down – it was a bit like ER, with The Builder subtly creating all the drama:

‘Spanner’

‘Yup, Boss.’

‘Snips.’

‘Yup, Boss.’

‘Hammer.’

‘Yup, Boss.’

‘Tape’.

‘Well, I have The Best of The 80’s?’ or ‘Simon and Garfunkle’.

‘Plumbing tape, you numpty’.

‘Yup, Boss. Just joking.’

And so it continued. I floated around, munching on granola bars and slurping endless cups of coffee (mine was the pink ‘Hello Kitty’ mug, the Boss got the ‘Mr Busy’ one). I seem to be having a mini-relapse since upping the Pregablin dose – my hands moving a few seconds too late or too early, feet not moving properly or dragging, dropping things and generally feeling spaced out.

A few hours later, we wrapped it up and I was dropped off at home.

The most important thing is, my nerve pain has been reduced drastically and it’s a feeling that goes way beyond relief – the nagging, crawling, aching pain in my legs every evening, making the smallest tasks impossible, has been knocked back down to just my feet. Which isn’t brilliant, but a whole lot better than before.

I can now stand up properly when The Teenager gets back from school, and look semi-parent like. I no longer lie on the sofa all evening, dreading getting up. I can read a book without the constant, nagging pain pulsing away, ruining everything.

The downside is I still feel as if I’m trapped in a marshmallow cushion. I can’t concentrate. I am very, very slow. Everything is now somehow wondrous. When I cooked pesto pasta for The Teenager this evening, I spent an inordinate amount of time just staring at the sauce after I took the lid off. So green, so pesto-y, so, well, wondrous.

I’m sure it’ll pass and my mind will realign itself with my body again (by the weekend, PLEASE). But for now, as my body refuses to do what I command it to and my mind is somewhere completely different, I will make the most of stopping to pick up leaves from the garden, turning them over and marvelling at their unique patterns, and allow myself to admire the beautiful, brown, shiny spheres that are … Maltesers. Beautiful.

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Floating In A Most Peculiar Way

FloatingI had a consultation with my fabulous neurologist last month and we got round to discussing meds.

When the bullying started at work, I began a low-ish dose of anti-depressants (Citalopram) and they helped a lot. They got me through everything, including the legal case that followed and coming to terms with my diagnosis.

Two years down the line, I wanted to come off them as life is much, much better now, brilliant in fact, but was worried about how I’d feel. Would the pity-parties-for-one return with a vengeance? Would my Wotsit consumption multiply?

At the same time, the nerve pain in my legs and feet has increased and we discussed upping my Pregabalin dose. Luckily, Pregabalin can also be used for anxiety, so coming off the Citalopram could be a lot easier.

I then saw my GP who recommended decreasing the Citalopram gradually, i.e. moving to alternate days before cutting out completely. Sounded good?

Well, after a week I felt like death warmed up; inexplicably unmotivated, fed up, grumpy. I got worried.

Guess what? MS cog fog strikes again – I have a meds box I fill every week as I can’t be doing with faffing about with packets of pills every day. I diligently cut down the dose and popped one in the box every other day, completely forgetting I took two a day. So I basically reduced my dose by 75% overnight.

Anyway, I started the increased of Pregabalin yesterday and I don’t know if it’s psychological, but already the nerve pain has dropped dramatically. It is bliss. Unfortunately, they also made me float away quite alarmingly and lose track of where my feet where.

I went on a shopping trip with my mum. We wandered around, chatting, catching up until she said,

‘You ok dear? You seem a bit, um, odd. You’re walking funny.’

‘I’m floating! Floating. Feels kind of nice. Whoops. I meant to bump into that flower display you know. And the loo-roll pyramid.’

‘Quick, take my arm, there’s a small child in your way and you’re stumbling all over the place.’

The toddler, who was splayed on the floor, crying and drumming his feet was saved by my mum’s speedy actions. I waved at him and smiled, recalling The Teenager doing the exact same thing not so long ago.

When I got home with my shopping (a framed black-and-white picture of some empty park benches, a couple of books, a bowl and a fridge magnet), I gently bobbed on to the sofa and nodded off.

Cutting out the Citalopram is like severing the final link to a horrendous 2012 – it feels empowering. As for the floaty feeling, it’s still with me, but I’m sure it’ll settle down in the next couple of days, but for now, it’s a cushion, and it’s rather nice.

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