Dear Kate: Yesterday was one of the worst yet. Day 4 of withdrawal. Joe called Dr. Hernz to make sure he called back.
Hernz said the reason I was having such bad reactions probably was because I was weaning off too fast from one dose to another, that it takes your body 10 days or MORE to adjust to the new dose. Yet it was him who told me before I started that I could go down a dose every 5 days! Then when I checked in with him, he said I should wait 7 days, which I did and started weaning down my second dose.
So here I am 5 days in my second wean down on top of 5 days of my first wean down, which adds up to 2 wean downs in 10 days instead of one in 10 days! Did I say that so you can understand? This is not right!
He also told me he told me to wean off so fast because I complained so much about the sedation aspect and said I wanted to get down as soon as possible and he wanted to please me!! I told him he was the doctor and he should have been honest with me and told me NO, he wouldn't recommend fast withdrawal and why. Besides, I never told him how fast I wanted to do it, just that I couldn't bear living with the sedation much longer. He started increasing my dose in late March, that's how many months?
On top of that he said I was catastrophizing and talking gloom and doom. Maybe I am but from those who've I've talked to who have been through weaning have felt and said they felt just like I did. He also said in so many words that I'm sort of like a little baby. Well, maybe I am but how many 76 year olds has he dealt with who had the guts to wean off meds? Even he said most people can't handle the anxiety aspect of withdrawal and go back on the meds. Unless or until someone has gone through panic attacks and/or weaning off drugs, they shouldn't judge someone else. He knows from experience I am extremely sensitive to medication and need only baby doses of anything.
I went to be really early last night and got a good night's sleep. I didn't email you because I just didn't want to talk about it before trying to go to sleep.
Oh, and by the way, I told him he never told me that I would experience really bad anxiety or even that everyone does when going down or off meds of this sort. Nor did he tell me about anything else I would experience, like upset stomach, loss of appitite, etc. The more info I have the less it bothers me.
In spite of how bad I felt yesterday, I am feeling much better today anxiety-wise but I feel like I have been wrung out to dry. Sedation is practically gone.
I have made the decision to stay at the dose I'm on for now. Not only do I have to give my body a chance to recuperate but I'm not doing anything else until after I see the endocrinologist.
I am never going off Xanax completely. I have suffered from panic attacks for too many years of my life from an early age on and I'm not going off because people say this is an awful drug. People who have abused and misused the drug for the wrong reasons have given it such a bad name that sufferers like me are going to doctor's who refuse to give them the drug.
In 1988 I was on Trofinal for maybe 5 years or less and using .25 xanax sparingly and did pretty well but I decided I didn't need it anymore and went off the med. I went downhill pretty quickly and waited too long to try to get back on and when I tried I went through hell. My neuologist wasn't in the city anymore and I went from psychiatrist to psychiatrist and one was worse than the other. I didn't know then how overly sensitive I was to meds so of course I had bad results.
Dr. Hernz was the only one who told me if I was having certain symptoms after three days on Effexor, I would be having the same symptoms 12 weeks later and why waste the time. None of others did that. I was on Xanax .25 (XR wasn't out yet) when I went to see him for the first time and he did ask if I wanted to get off them and I said I didn't. I had just gone through 3 years of nighmare and had just finally allowed myself to take the Xanax and was afraid to take the Effexor without it and he went along with me.
Do I wish I had never taken the drug knowing what I know now? Yes and no. Before the last 5 months it gave me the ability to live 12 years of life without suffering one panic attack and the ability to just live life in all it's wonder. For years I never even need to take a .25. I'm 76 on August 25th and I'm too old to wean off completely. If, after a long while, I decide I want to wean off one more .5, then I'll consider it but not now and not lower unless it's absolutely needed.
Both my husband and my daughter have Hernz's telephone emergency number and know that it's imperitive to tell the doctor's immediately that I'm on Xanax and what dose - the same with Effexor XR in case I have a stroke or heart attack and can't speak for some reason. So I have the bases covered, Which reminds me I need to give the info to my son, Michael, the P.A. to keep with him.
I know this is long. I'm sorry but I had to tell you what happened. BTW, between just you and me, are you ever allowed to speak to people on the phone? I know you get paid for your work and you deserve to but there are ways around that, too. Just curious and had to ask.
Until I hear back from you,