At my usual monthly GP visit, trying to work out if any medications would help my pain, my GP suggested Fentanyl patches. He seemed confident that these might help with the pain, but then looking back, he seemed confident with every new medication he gave me, and they didn’t work!? Anyway, he told me “these are on the same level as Heroin” – WTF – serious stuff then!
The form I received was in patch form, and you stick it to your arm. You can’t stick it in the same place twice due to it possibly affecting/burning your skin, so cautiously I remember trying to make sure I didn’t do this!
I felt ok initially, but then like the preverbial bus hit, I was floored. I felt like I was off my face. I was so woozy, wobbly and nauseous, but determined to give them a good run, I kept with it and tried my best to deal with the sick feeling.
5 weeks in and the pain, yeah it was still the exact same, except I felt about 10 times more nauseous. My head felt like it was on a boat having a party with my jelly-like legs, while the rest of me fought holding back being sick and generally just feeling awful.
I could not go on this way. I was struggling to function, and working my day job was near impossible. Back to the GP I went, this time a different one. She advised me to come off the patches, but gradually. So I had to cut the patches, halves and quarters and eventually I’d be off them. Fine. Anything, just get me off this stuff!!
I did what she told me to do over the next 2 or so weeks, and finally I took the last quarter of a patch off. I was FREE!!
1 and a half days later, at night, while sleeping, I felt this banging on my chest and the noise was almost echoing in my head. I got up and wondered what it was. Then I couldn’t move for pain. My heart. Pounding. Racing.
I tired to calm myself down, taking deep breaths, counting to 10, doing anything I could to take my thoughts away from this brick that was battering my chest. I ended up having to wake the husband and for some reason I got him to listen to my heart. Now if he could hear it, it definitely wasn’t just me. Yeah he could definitely hear it.
Next thing I know, I’m in the car being taken to A&E (just round the corner). And before I knew it, my temperatures’ being taken, I’m being asked all these questions, and all the time i couldn’t hear anything but this banging in my chest. I couldn’t focus on anything.
Then these cables and wires were produced. I’m hooked up to a heart monitor. My heart rhythm is being printed on to paper. PETRIFIED.
My thoughts drifted to ER (you know the awesome American hospital drama) and then I panicked. Im thinking do I have pain in my arms, in my chest. Oh god, I’m heaving a heart attack. I’m panicking but trying not to show it, when all I want to do is scream and cry!
After a few hours of being monitored, I was assured it was NOT a heart attack, they were just checking my heart rate/pace. And the on-call doctor came in to see me. I think he saw the terrified eyes staring back at him and did his best to re-assure me. Then the words: “You are having withdrawals from the Fentanyl”
Withdrawals!! Are you kidding me! Shattered and so sore, I was sent home with some medication to help me sleep and calm me down. Mortified that id just wasted everyone’s precious time off I went to bed.
I have literally never been so terrified in all my life. This one stupid, tiny, clear patch, supposed to help me with pain, had now turned me in to an addict. In only a few weeks, my body had become addicted to Fentanyl. I had become reliant on drugs, even though I had not even realised. I had the side effects of course, but I had no clue my body was now desperate for Fentanyl.
I never ever want to repeat that night again. I was terrified beyond belief, and terrified at just how quickly my body had become addicted to something that I thought wasn’t working, it clearly it was, just not in the way I had thought it would!
Because of that night, I am super cautious at what drugs I’m given now. One GP even had to beg me (and I’m not even kidding!) to take Diazepam because my back had gone in to such a bad spasm he was worried I’d do damage to my back.
You live and learn, and you do what’s best for you. After all YOU know YOUR own body better than anyone, but be careful not to let your body fool you. There’s sometimes more happening that you realise.
*This is my own opinion on my experience with Fentanyl. While it did not work for me and caused me to be in withdrawal, this may not be the case for you. ALWAYS consult with your GP if you are worried, and seek help when you need it*
Read more about Fentanyl HERE.