Trading Tips and Coping Strategies to Taper off a Medication: Meet @texasduchess

Mar 13, 2020 | Teresa, Volunteer Mentor | @hopeful33250 | Comments (17)

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.

17.2.2020 Valerie @texasduchess.Connect member 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:

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.

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@bubberonnie
Of course every drug is different for different people but Klonopin was the worst drug I ever took maybe because I took an enormous amount.
I refuse to take benzodiazepines of any kind unless I’m in convulsive status and then I have no control what they give me, better to get some of that than be in a coma.
Good luck,
Jake

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@jakedduck1

@texasduchess
Howdy Tex,
The first thing I noticed was how pretty you are. I am a cat person too. We had two cats but they have both passed on now and I don’t want to get any more pets because I can hardly bear it when they pass on even though the last few times we had the vet come to the house it was still hard. I’m really sorry to hear about your terrible illnesses I sure am glad you made it and found your way here, You have helped so many people.
I like Maya Angelou, she wrote,
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. I like that saying.
Oh brother, another dark chocolate nut. What is it about that hideous tasting awful bitter dark chocolate, I’ve tried it and it is grotesque I just can’t understand why everyone here seems to like it so much,
Anyway It was nice learning a trifle bit more about you
Jake

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Thanks, Leonard. The photo was almost a deal-breaker. I didn't want to submit a photo. Luckily, that one is a few years old (my hair had come back in after chemo and was no longer a Don-King-the-fight-promoter afro). I keep asking our company photographer to use the "40 40 lens" when I'm in photo shoots—takes off 40 years and 40 pounds; he keeps telling me he's left it in his other camera bag. D*mn.

I certainly understand not wanting to experience another pet loss. It IS hard, but just about anything worthwhile is. All of ours have been/are special and I'd have hated to miss out on any one of them. (We've lost three in the past year–the downside to their being siblings.)

There's dark chocolate and then, there's DARK chocolate. I've tried some of the really high-percentage chocolates and yeah, they're an acquired taste (if you want to acquire one for that). I think most of us who like dark chocolate aren't talking about DARK chocolate. It has to have enough fat to be smooth and sugar to be sweet, but not overly so. Finding out that the dark chocolate Reese's Cups are not as good as the regular chocolate ones was a great disappointment!

Breast cancer can be a killer and its treatment isn't a beauty regimen … but it's a crisis you get over (if you find it early enough). Those of you who are dealing with life-long conditions (epilepsy), or debilitating ones (MS, ALS, etc.) have it harder … truly, grace under pressure.

I enjoyed your spotlight some months back and was very excited to see it. You were/are one of the posters I felt an immediate connection to and I liked your no prisoners/no bullcr*p responses.

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@texasduchess

Thanks, Leonard. The photo was almost a deal-breaker. I didn't want to submit a photo. Luckily, that one is a few years old (my hair had come back in after chemo and was no longer a Don-King-the-fight-promoter afro). I keep asking our company photographer to use the "40 40 lens" when I'm in photo shoots—takes off 40 years and 40 pounds; he keeps telling me he's left it in his other camera bag. D*mn.

I certainly understand not wanting to experience another pet loss. It IS hard, but just about anything worthwhile is. All of ours have been/are special and I'd have hated to miss out on any one of them. (We've lost three in the past year–the downside to their being siblings.)

There's dark chocolate and then, there's DARK chocolate. I've tried some of the really high-percentage chocolates and yeah, they're an acquired taste (if you want to acquire one for that). I think most of us who like dark chocolate aren't talking about DARK chocolate. It has to have enough fat to be smooth and sugar to be sweet, but not overly so. Finding out that the dark chocolate Reese's Cups are not as good as the regular chocolate ones was a great disappointment!

Breast cancer can be a killer and its treatment isn't a beauty regimen … but it's a crisis you get over (if you find it early enough). Those of you who are dealing with life-long conditions (epilepsy), or debilitating ones (MS, ALS, etc.) have it harder … truly, grace under pressure.

I enjoyed your spotlight some months back and was very excited to see it. You were/are one of the posters I felt an immediate connection to and I liked your no prisoners/no bullcr*p responses.

Jump to this post

Hi @texasduchess It's so nice to get acquainted. We haven't been in the same forums so I don't know if our paths have crossed before, but we do have a few things in common – first our love of dark chocolate, although I do go for the ones over 70%!
I love the Maya Angelou quote. So very true.
If your picture is not with the "40 40 lens" then you certainly do not need that.
JK

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@contentandwell

Hi @texasduchess It's so nice to get acquainted. We haven't been in the same forums so I don't know if our paths have crossed before, but we do have a few things in common – first our love of dark chocolate, although I do go for the ones over 70%!
I love the Maya Angelou quote. So very true.
If your picture is not with the "40 40 lens" then you certainly do not need that.
JK

Jump to this post

Hi, JK. My husband says I have "girl-o-vision" when it comes to photos of myself (term comes from the Eyebeam cartoon strip in which the female characters hated having their pictures taken and thus, most photos of themselves).

Some years back, you could find "palettes" of high-content chocolates made from cocoa grown around the world. Each chocolate disk was labelled as to the country of origin and cocoa percentage (some were as high as 85%). We enjoyed comparing the various chocolates–kind of like doing a wine-tasting. You could definitely perceive the flavor difference in cocoa from one country to the next. Some of the higher percentage chocolates were lovely if they had enough fat to give them a good "mouth feel," but whew, a few were a bit too dry–like trying to eat dry cocoa powder used in cooking.

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@bubberonnie

It’s an endless loop of hell. I developed PTSD when I almost died from an Afib attack, in Feb. 2013…they gave me blood thinners, cuz I had TIA’s (suspected) and I started internally bleeding. Nightmare…that’s when parasthesias and insomnia started. No ne knew what to do. I found a psychiatrist who started me on Xanax, which did the trick. Since then, more doctors, changing recipes and…still addicted. Endless loop. Try to get exercise, but meds put on weight and I got Mor depressed. Very long, involved mess. Meditation doesn’t work. CBT therapy doesn’t help. I’m so fed up. Tried alternative therapies…acupuncture, etc. nothing. 69 years old. Retired at 65 on total disability, because of the heart, the PTSD and being almost deaf. My profession was speech pathologist…so, really needed my hearing. I’m so fed up. New psychiatrist trying new recipe with Klonapin, Spread out through the day. Works sometimes,,… not others.

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Hi @bubberonnie and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. You may be interested in following the Depression & Anxiety group here: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/depression-anxiety/
In this group, you'll meet fellow members like @texasduchess @jakedduck1 and others who are walking sometimes similar paths, sometimes different paths to yours.

Here are some specific discussions that may interest you:
– Any positive stories about Benzo tapering? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/benzo-tapering/
– Anyone Else With PTSD? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/anyone-else-with-ptsd/
– Heart Disease: Let’s Talk About the Emotional Side https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/heart-disease-lets-talk-about-the-emotional-side/

There are many more discussions. I encourage to browse the groups and discussions.

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