Three steps forward, one step back

Medication, the bane of my life. That said, just recently I haven’t done too bad about withdrawing from some of it. I had manage to knocked out both the OxyContin and the OxyNorm. My next challenge was the Tramadol, which was going well but has since gone tits up!

My cunning plan to change from OxyContin to Tramadol went OK with only a minor hiccup over two days. I was taking two Tramadol three times a day then managed to get it down to just two at night, all was well. On Tuesday night I went down to just one Tramadol confident that my withdrawal was going so well. My stump became more active and it took longer to get to sleep but I persevered with it and dropped of eventually. Wednesday night was not so easy and I was going to get up and take another Tramadol but stood my ground, after a worse night than the previous one I did eventually manage to get to sleep. Thursday night and I was in a dilemma as to what to do, after some though I decided to go back to two Tramadol and get a decent nights sleep. This didn’t work and the nemesis sensation was as bad, ages to get to sleep, awake at 06:30 and didn’t get back to sleep again.

Friday night was the worst night of all, let me try and explain this night from hell. Even when things were good, as soon as I was in bed and snuggled down to sleep, a switch would flick in me and the ‘Space Dust’ nerve feeling would come over my stump. Friday night started in the same way but with a more intense feeling. On top of that, and deep in my stump where my foot that isn’t there spends the night (slightly below the stump during the day, weird I know), there were intense nerve sensations in my amputated foot. I can’t say it is painful because it is not, apart from the stabbing pain I got in one location later on in the night. It is just the worst feeling you can imagine, like an itch you cant scratch that gets to you as much mentally as it does physically. The problem for me is when this sensation is happening my body’s automatic response is to tighten the stump muscles as tight as possible. When this happens I feel the tissue slide too far over the bone and as the muscles relax I can feel it slide back. When this is happening every 5 minutes or so it’s not good.

So what can I do? Well my automatic muscle tightening response works for all of about 5 seconds then the wave of sensation comes back as intense as it was before. Sometimes I try and talk myself out of it by saying “it cannot be there as my foot isn’t there”. This works sometimes on a very mild sensation but not on this one. I twitch my buttock muscle, which can alleviate it slightly, but the minute you stop the effect wears off and back to square one. I lay on my stomach with my hand under the front of my stump, I wiggle my fingers to stimulate the muscle, again this works a little while the movement is there but the minute I stop the sensation is back to full strength. I lay on my side or back but that makes no difference, I rub or squeeze the stump but the same result, helps a little while there is movement but as soon as you stop it is back.

At 01:30 I was till awake, tossing and turning with no relief. I have no idea what time I actually feel asleep, as that was the last time I looked at the clock. I am trying to rest to go to sleep, yet trying to keep my mind busy thinking about anything other than the horrible feeling in my stump. I am now physically and mentally exhausted and my stump is now hurting from the constant muscle contractions. I feel like I could scream, it’s the most bizarre feeling, I have no control over my stumps reaction to it and I wish I could switch it off as quick as it switches itself on. Eventually at some point in the early hours of the morning I did go to sleep.

At 03:30 I was awake again and I felt exhausted. Even more disturbing was the fact that I still had the nerve sensation all be it a little less intense than earlier. Normally with my sensation once I have been asleep and wake up, no matter what time of the night or morning, it is gone and will not return until I hit the bed the next night. OK that’s not strictly true, sometimes I do get a touch of it during the day but not that often. I was going through all the processes I had before with the same thoughts running through my mind, should I have a small shot of OxyNorm (liquid Morphine) to get me through. I didn’t, I didn’t want to give in to it and I didn’t want to start relying on that stuff again.

I must have got back to sleep between about 06:00 and 07:00 but was awake by 07:00. I had my morning medication at about 08:00 and had made the decision to increase the Tramadol to one in the morning and lunchtime and two at night to see if it will make a difference. Who would have thought that by stopping one pill it would cause me such a problem and send me backwards instead of progressing as I was. Time will tell if increasing the Tramadol again will work but I would rather that than go back to the OxyContin or Oxynorm. Two out of three medication withdrawals is not bad I suppose, as long as I am taking more steps forwards than I am backwards then I’m still winning the war on my stump.


Post Update

Taking the Tramadol during the day again has had a big difference and I am now OK again at night. I will speak to my GP about the issue to seek advice and see where we go from here. I am not too bothered at the moment as I can drive on the medication I am taking now so it is not making a massive impact on my life.


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