A person is hindered in their movement by a huge, massively oversized medication tablet tied around their waist.

Reevaluating Your Medications

Generally speaking, I have enough trouble holding all the pieces of my life together at this point; I rarely have the extra time or energy to borrow trouble from tomorrow.

I have been so focused over the years on finding something, anything, that will help me manage the pain, fatigue, and disease progression that comes with my psoriatic arthritis. I’ve cobbled together a decent management plan that includes diet, movement, prescription medication, over-the-counter (OTC) medications, and supplements.

The trip that made me question everything!

In my haste to get everything under control and because I was just in so much pain, I didn’t stop to thoroughly question what exactly I was putting in my body. And further, what some of the consequences could be. So now, I find myself in a position where I really need to reevaluate all my medications.

Now, I know that is a bit vague. And I want to be super-clear in that I speak to my personal experiences and PsA management journey. I believe in full transparency, and what works or doesn’t work is unique to each of us. As well as the decisions we make about how we go about finding what does or doesn’t work for us.

So a few months ago, we went out of town for a fairly short trip, roughly 5 hours away, to visit family. In the usual mom runaround of trying to get everyone in my family ready to go, I forgot my medicine. I know, I know. I can see you shaking your head at me now. Argh.

What medication withdrawal looked like

We were going to be gone just a few days, so I rationalized that I’d be fine. At the time, my biologic was administered at the office, so I only had to worry about my Arava, Prozac (low dose), and Lyrica. That there, my friends is where I was so, so, very wrong.

It wasn’t until a few short hours after I “missed” my Lyrica dose that I began to struggle. I started with an upset stomach (not unusual for me), so I still thought I’d be fine. Then it quickly spiraled to sweats, lightheadedness, shakes, and this terrible sort of anxious weight/pain in my chest.

I seriously couldn’t even think straight. I called my doctor and the pharmacy, and because of the classification of my Lyrica, basically, neither could help me.

How did I become dependent on a medication?

So I had no other choice but to cut our visit short. Not only for me but for my husband and children too. They were ultimately “okay” with it, but I could tell they were trying really hard to hide their disappointment.

This experience led me to question: how did I let myself become so dependent on a medication? In my haste to find something, anything that worked to manage my symptoms, I sort of blindly accepted all of the risks and warnings simply because I trusted my doctor.

Honestly, I think many of us have found ourselves in the same boat. We just want to feel better. We just want our lives back. And we want to make it to the end of each day feeling semi-human.

The decision to reevaluate my treatments

Now I want to be clear, I’m not blaming my doctor, nor am I saying anything in particular negative about Lyrica - it works for me. What I do know is that I can’t personally ignore what I now know. I can’t put myself back into a situation where I’m not comfortable.

In a perfect world, one where my doctor had all the time in the world to spend with me, and one where I spent more time doing significant research and not being so desperate to try anything, perhaps I would have made a different decision. I don’t know.

What it comes down to is where I stand now. I am uncomfortable with my body being so overly dependent on such a highly controlled medication. In fairness, my husband kind of thinks I’m crazy because, after all, it worked well.

A new plan for my psoriatic arthritis management

Perhaps many of you will agree with my darling hubby and say I’ve lost my marbles. If something works, stick with it. That’s okay. I fully accept that we each need to make the decisions that we believe are best for each of us. But for me, knowing what I know now, I’m simply not okay with it.

I know I have a long road ahead of me, as weaning off of Lyrica is not an easy process. Especially since I’ve been on it for a few years now. Not to mention the risk I’m taking as the beastly side of my disease is reawakened.

If worse comes to worst, medical marijuana was recently legalized in my state. But again, I’m not keen on finding myself in the same predicament a year from now. But alas, we shall see, I guess.

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