Trading Tips and Coping Strategies to Taper off a Medication: Meet @texasduchess
Member Spotlights feature interviews with fellow Connect members. Learn more about members you’ve connected with and some you haven’t met yet. Nominate a member you think should share the spotlight.
TERESA: What brought you to Mayo Clinic Connect?
@texasduchess: In 2001, I was put on venlafaxine to control the hot flashes I developed during breast cancer treatment. After 18 years, I thought these were no longer an issue; my oncologist agreed and explained that I should taper off the venlafaxine. I took 2.5 months to taper off 25 mg. Six weeks later, I began having withdrawal effects, as my body had used up all the drug stored in body fat. These withdrawal symptoms were very distressing, and I found Mayo Clinic Connect while desperately researching how to minimize them.
TERESA: What motivates you to take part in the community?
@texasduchess: Other people on the site provided tips and coping strategies that helped me with venlafaxine withdrawal when I couldn’t find a lot of professional help; I want to “pay it forward.”
TERESA: What about Connect makes you feel comfortable to share and to be open with the community?
@texasduchess: Well, you create a username and the site lets you reveal only the details about yourself and your situation that you want to put out there. Other members are there to get and provide help on the same issues you’re struggling with.
TERESA: What groups do you participate in?
@texasduchess: Mostly, I’ve participated in the “Tips on minimizing withdrawal symptoms from Effexor (aka Venlafaxine)” discussion. One of my most distressing venlafaxine withdrawal symptoms is anxiety. I am a two-time breast cancer survivor and I experience episodes of dyshidrotic eczema on my hands, so I have popped into some of the other discussions, such as:
- Do you have to monitor watching depressing movies?
- Question about menstrual cycle stopping then restarting heavily
- Serotonin syndrome
- Long term effects AFTER withdrawing from Effexor
- Episodes of itchy, blistery-looking bumps on the backs of my knuckles
- Throat pain right side only, sore right ear, nose sores 4 months
- Tapering off Lyrica gave me panic, nausea, extreme anxiety
- Rash in Skin Health
- Radiation burns
TERESA: Who has been a special connection for you on Connect?
@texasduchess: I must thank @richyrich for making the original post asking for tips on minimizing withdrawal symptoms from venlafaxine. Members @jakedduck1, @brightwings and @grandmar have very good suggestions. @farmboy’s extreme anxiety while trying to taper made a strong impression.
TERESA: What surprised you the most about Connect?
@texasduchess: I have been amazed at the number of topics and issues you can explore and how much help you can find here.
TERESA: What energizes you, or how do you find balance in your life?
@texasduchess: Ha, still looking for balance! If I had known the difficulty I’d have since quitting venlafaxine, I’d never have quit. My husband has been a big support and calming influence.
TERESA: Tell us about your favorite pastime or activity.
@texasduchess: I am very much a reader — fiction, especially mysteries and romance. On weekends, my husband and I eat dinner with long-time friends and family, and afterwards play games (e.g., Mexican Train, Quiddler, Hand and Foot). I also love pottery and watercolors, and often go to local art shows.
TERESA: Do you have a favorite quote, life motto or personal mantra?
@texasduchess: “Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are. The ones that would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what.” - Maya Angelou
TERESA: What do you appreciate the most in your friends?
@texasduchess: My closest friends have been friends since college. They have supported me through two bouts of breast cancer, hospitalization and surgeries related to that and now, venlafaxine withdrawal.
TERESA: What food can you simply not resist?
@texasduchess: Dark chocolate!
TERESA: If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see cast as you?
@texasduchess: Someone younger and thinner!
TERESA: What do you love about where you live or vacation?
@texasduchess: My husband and I are homebodies, like to sleep in our own bed and must cater to two cats; we don’t often go on vacations.
TERESA: Puppies or kittens?
@texasduchess: Though our best friends have dogs, hubby and I are very much cat people. At one time, we had seven — we adopted a young pregnant neighborhood stray, kept all five of her kittens and then, brought in another neighborhood cat whose owner was put into a retirement home. We’re down to two now, as the others have died.