A strugle called Ritalin

It’s a while ago since I last wrote, despite my idea to have a regular look back at what happened 3 years ago. But actuality can sometimes change things and ideas.

As might have become clear from my previous entries, one of my major complaints has been the fact that I lost my ability to focus and concentrate. So my oncologist proposed to start taking Ritalin, which also works as a brain enhancer. March 3 was the date I started taking it. It was a revelation!

Clouds disappeared and I felt great. So much so, that I realised that doses of 10mg a time, max 3 per day, would be too heavy, I would go through this world on a cloud. So I decided to dose it at 5 times 5mg per day. And for the first time in my life I had to live by the alarm clock, to have the dosage spread regularly over the day. But it was certainly worth doing it. I was able to read again and to write. And that is why I haven’t written on this blog, I could do some work again. And as my professional site was attracting ever more people, in May we had almost half a million hits, it desperately needed a new lay-out. Our conference was moved to September, which took some extra work and I had to prepare my first conference appearance in almost a year. And it went great. I could function for hours a day and to my amazement slept better than I had in months…

But, already within a week I told a couple of friends that my impression was that the neuropathy was worsening, due to the Ritalin. And right I was. My legs developed the worst form of RLS you can imagine and my hands became, very slowly, so rheumatic, that I even had problems using my keyboard. My conference visit was a success when looking at my presentation, in any other way it was a disaster. Compared to my previous conference last year June, I lost over 50% of my physical abilities. The focusing of my mind went alright, as long as there were no real distractions, so a conversation during a reception or in a restaurant was excluded. And it confirmed my impression that my neuropathy got worse with physical movement, one of the known short-term side effects of Cytarabine, BTW.

4 Days after that conference I got the results from my control scan and the bloodwork, done a fortnight earlier. Everything was great, even such that my next scan will be in a year! Conclusion, you’re a healthy person but your body refuses to cooperate. In the meantime pain had surpassed any level of acceptability, so I decided to do what I have been known to do before, go back to the moment the pain was much more bearable. So I stopped, 2 weeks ago, taking Ritalin. Within 24 hours the pain disappeared for 95%. And I started to smell like myself again, for I really reeked Ritalin during the last couple of weeks. Unfortunately, immediately my brain reacted. So much so, that a week later, last week Wednesday, I was so dizzy and unfocused again, that I decided to seek for an in-between solution. I took 5mg Ritalin at 10.30am. Within an hour the rheumatic problems in my hands came back, after 2 hours my body smelled of Ritalin again and by the end of the day (still only those 5mg in the morning) I was hurting as much as a week before. So I decided to stop completely.

One more week later I am completely lost. My brain stops functioning after half an hour, whatever I’m doing. Only with major effort and a lot of seresta I can bring myself to some extended work. On Tuesday I had an unexpected telephone call from Canada which lasted almost 40 minutes and in the evening a telcon that lasted 1,5 hours. I spent yesterday in bed almost all day. Last Saturday I had to go down town, exactly 20 minutes out and in the door. I was covered in cold sweat when I came back home because of the tremendous effort to focus on keeping myself on my feet, not to overreact to unexpected stimuli (e.g. someone crossing my path in a hurry) and not to bump into every person, not mentioning the overwhelming impressions from being in a Saturday morning shopping crowd in beautiful weather. Add to that the fact that my legs are back to what they were before the Ritalin, semi-numb, wobbling extensions hardly controllable and you might have a kind of a picture of how I feel. Please note that I left out all the other physical problems, my bowel, the fact that my arms feel like my legs, numb and the continuous nagging feeling as if I have been lifting enormous weight for far too long, the increasing tinnitus and much, much more.

Tomorrow I will be seeing a pain physician. Hopefully she will be able to give me some advise. For I am at a complete loss.

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~ by lodewijk bos on June 4, 2009.

6 Responses to “A strugle called Ritalin”

  1. ik ben zo blij dat mijn zoons geen ritalin meer slikken….
    sterkte he….

  2. lieve tante Lo, ik denk aan je

  3. klinkt allemaal niet best Loowke. Ik hoop dat je iets hebt aan die pijnbestrijding deskundige.

  4. Lieve Lo,
    what a very brave decision to end the Ritalin.
    You are -again- a very brave person, therefore someday, somehow, somewhere there must be a solution for your aches.
    I’m sure of that.
    Knowing that such faith can be stretched till eternity,
    but please stay today, tomorrow..
    Moments at a time…
    Wish you all the strenght, also tomorrow!
    With love

  5. Dank aan allen voor de steun!!

  6. The doctor gave me ritalin long time after suffering from back pain, I did not take importance to I found chronic fibromyalgia, and after evaluating and conduct a comprehensive this icon in order to feel pain, until no stamina, after many doctor visits and many tests review told me that the most appropriate to ease the pain were ritalin, vicodin or oxycodone, but I asked my doctor to prescribe me the most effective and less addictive and prescribed Lortab, have already taken this medication 2 years and though it causes some kind of anxiety I control myself properly, I have no problems so addictive, I think if they know their anxiety is effective restraint, this is good because these narcotics findrxonline indicate that opioids can be very dangerous.

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