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Quitting on the 7th and a stress test on the 8th?


[Ka...]

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Last week was the worst in my  taper.  I had many sx but this one was the most upsetting by far.. I woke up with my heart thumping so heavily..it was scarey, very scarey. Not to mention anxiety. I've had pounding heart for a long time but never mentioned it to anyone (except my bbs)...this episode lasted much longer and much, much more severe.  I went to the ER and a well-meaning nurse strongly suggested I updose.  I declined. He also happened to be tapering from a benzo, and said he had the shakes sometimes.

 

I had blood tests done and an EKG and they said everything was normal.  The doctor did think I had a panic attack, but  mentioned that he would have further tests done. 

 

Last week I decided to quit on the 7th of this month.  Yesterday I received in the mail a scheduling for a stress test on the 8th, the day after I jump, (along with a holter monitor test in late September, which I am not worried about).

 

My question is this dear friends:  Should I take the test or postpone?  I realize that  many symptoms can occur after jumping, and they can last for a long time.  I'm thinking maybe the 8th might be a very good date after all as any symptoms that might occur after jumping might appear later on?  I'm 67 years old, in pretty good health, and in a window right now.  I don't exercise but do household chores when  I feel up to it.  I did do one stress test about 20 years ago.  Although the results were reported normal, it  almost knocked me out.

 

As an aside, I now realize I've been on lorazepam for at least 25 years, as I was on it when my daughter was 12.  I kind of realized it for quite a long time, but when your mind starts to clear, the focus returns.

 

 

 

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Any comments are welcome. :)  I talked it over with my husband, and he thinks I should go through with it..I will call the hospital and briefly explain that  this is the day after I withdraw from a benzo.  After all, they do stress that all medications be brought in for the test.

 

What a long and curious journey this has been and continues to be..but I remain cautiously optimistic...it does get better.

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I think that jumping will affect the results of your stress test and you might as well wait the additional day before jumping.  While my symptoms got worse each day past when I jumped for quiet a while, there is no question that some effects were immediate. 

 

What difference does waiting one more day make when then you will know that you can trust whatever results you get from the stress test, for sure?

 

:)

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Sweet, thanks for asking that question..I was about to add that I am really stuck on that date of August 7th.  It seems that it is a most auspicious day for starting my withdrawal.  In  fact, I think I'd be more nervous about that test if I were still on a benzo, even though I realize it takes a lot more than one day for it to leave my system.

 

I did leave a message for the hospital to return my call, with a brief description of my plans.  I let them know I was open to postponing the quit date for a day, or postpone the stress date for 1-3 months or so..

 

 

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Don't do the test if you don't have any heart problems to begin with. When I jumped, I had anxiety I never knew existed. The test will not be accurate and they might put you on something you don't need, keeping the unnecessary medication cycle going. I mean no disrespect for your husband but this has got to be your decision alone. I, myself, would not do it. I would not even schedule another test until you see how you are doing after jumping.
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I've also thought about  not getting the test until I have an idea of what to expect after I jump...to tell the truth, I'm a little leary about overextending myself, whether not I have jumped, given the sx's I've been experiencing.

 

Lucy, thanks so much for another side to the story.  This is why I posted..to get views of buddies' reactions.  It really helps to get another perspective such

as yours.

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I'm not near as far along as you are, but I wouldn't want to take any tests until I felt better.  If there is a definite reason you feel you need the test, that's a different story. :smitten:
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Yeah, you know what?

 

This benzo stuff really complicates the medical picture. I have worked in the medical field for years. Medical workers are most often habitual in the way they approach things. Pre benzo and benzo tapering and withdrawal, I had a resting pulse rate of 52 and BP of 110/70. During all the benzo tapering and withdrawal and recovery, my resting rate hasn't been restful at all, and the BP has been in the 140-150 range. Depending on who you get for a cardiologist interpreting the results of your stress test, they may or may not understand about benzo withdrawal and its affect on the results. This could end up with treatments and/or more tests that are unnecessary.

 

I personally feel that one of the drugs helpful in this process is propanolol. It's a beta blocker that can be taken as needed for pounding or racing heart. Just something to consider. I simply asked my doctor for an Rx. He's the only who so liberally prescribed the xanax I got hooked on.

 

Not until your recovery is complete will anyone know your baseline status.

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Yes yram, I agree that while we are still under the influence of a benzo, be it in tapering or withdrawal, a true picture can't be assessed of our true state of health.  I guess it can be compared in a small way to suspended animation.  I've read about propanolol, but lately my heart has been behaving; in fact, shortly after that hospital visit, my heart was so calm that I got a tiny bit frightened...was it still beating?  ::)  At my age I  want to take as few meds as possible.  I can see that if those tests were skewed by benzo use (albeit in the stages of withdrawal ), there is a chance the doctor might press me to take  drug(s) that would do more harm than good. 

 

That was one of my concerns, that the test would give a false reading because of all else that is going on with the tapering and w/d. I have an appointment in September for a corneal transplant, and really today I have thought of postponing it for maybe another year.  I wonder what your thoughts would be regarding this..

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I suspect that jumping off your medicine the day before has the potential to skew your results to the point you might as well postpone your stress test for a while because the results will be meaningless if they show elevated heart rate, etc..  I tapered down to .03mg of clonazepam and was still hit like a ton of bricks and in a much worse way than any of my tapers.  I really hope that that does not happen to you, but you should be aware that it is a *possibility*.

 

I'd personally just recommend waiting the extra day to jump, but if your heart is really set on the 7th why not call and request a cancellation appointment?  People cancel/reschedule all the time for all sorts of reasons and I'm sure you can easily pick up an earlier appointment.

 

;)

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Yes, I totally agree that results can be skewed by jumping off and there is that possibility of feeling worse...

 

I did request a cancellation today..had to leave a message, but they didn't get back to me so of course I'll try tomorrow if I don't hear from them.

 

I've been reading your progress log regularly but haven't the past day or so..hope you're feeling much better now.  :)

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Yes, I totally agree that results can be skewed by jumping off and there is that possibility of feeling worse...

 

I did request a cancellation today..had to leave a message, but they didn't get back to me so of course I'll try tomorrow if I don't hear from them.

 

I've been reading your progress log regularly but haven't the past day or so..hope you're feeling much better now.  :)

 

Who me?  Why thanks!  I'm not feeling better physically, at least, but I'm a little more up-beat since I've accepted that I'm going to feel this way for a while and am trying to live my life around it.  I've got a few things coming up that I'm looking forward to that I believe I should be able to do.

 

As for you, seriously look into getting a cancelation appt before you jump- I've never had a time in my life that I couldn't move up a medical/dental appt due to someone else rescheduling.  ;)

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Hi Kat -

 

As an RN, I say wait until a few months have passed

and you are back to your old self. I, too, need some

routine medical stuff done, but I hesitate to do so

right now because of the anxiety about it all, AND,

the fact that we just plain don't know what we will

be feeling like once we come off this nasty med.

 

I am jumping about a week after you....after

many years on the stuff....I have taken the extra

slow and easy route to get off, so I am hoping I

won't have a long acute w/d period....but who the

heck knows with these meds. I wish you the best...

if you were checked out and are OK for now, wait

on the stress test until you are out of the woods

with the benzo withdrawal.

And by the way.....job well done...you are almost

free!

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And by the way.....job well done...you are almost

free!

 

yeah, kat, your taper looks great!  I hope that you are feeling well and that things continue to go smoothly.

 

:)

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Sweet, thanks for asking that question..I was about to add that I am really stuck on that date of August 7th.  It seems that it is a most auspicious day for starting my withdrawal.  In  fact, I think I'd be more nervous about that test if I were still on a benzo, even though I realize it takes a lot more than one day for it to leave my system.

I did leave a message for the hospital to return my call, with a brief description of my plans.  I let them know I was open to postponing the quit date for a day, or postpone the stress date for 1-3 months or so..

 

Hi Kat175.  Congrats on nearing your benzo freedom.  You have been and already are in "withdrawal".  And yes, you will likely feel the impact of your taper for some months. That being said, since you are having palpitations now, and given your age, it's probably a good idea to have  that stress test as soon as possible.  I don't believe one day here or there in regards to your taper will make much difference as to the results.  If you have a jumpy heart right now, they may suggest a beta blocker if you already are not on one.  Do you have a history of cardiovascular issues in your family?  The doctor may also wish to have you try a statin medication as well as a baby aspirin daily if not already doing that.  Regardless of the specific date of your first stress test, it will probably be a good idea to retest in about six months when most of your main side effects should be gone from the taper.  You might also ask your doctor about a coronary heart scan which can also yield good information about calcium deposits.  How is your blood pressure by the way?  Do you have any other significant health issues like type 2 diabetes?  Anyway, I would keep your stress test appointment and after you do it, schedule another one for six months later.  Why wait another day if your last stress test was twenty years ago and you are having palpitations now?  Even if it may be the withdrawal that is currently adding to or impacting your condition, the heart is not something to play around with or delay getting tested given your age.  It may turn out that you have some rebound anxiety or "panic" in the next couple months as you adjust to being off the benzo.  I had two mini panics, one at 3 months off and another at 5 months off and never had a panic attack in my life before that.  One thing that can be helpful is reading up on mindfulness and/or mindful meditiation.  Learning how to breathe through panic or palpitations will be helpful so when you start to feel palpitations, you can stave off a full blown attack.  It worked for me.  Also, what you tell yourself when you start to feel panic can be helpful such as "this is just withdrawal and I need to remember to breathe"... assuming you have no chest pain or other symptoms that would warrant calling 911.  Having a "normal" EKG by the way does not mean you don't have underlying blockage.  Even a "normal" stress test is not 100%.  I think the coronary scan can provide important information and the benzo is irrelevant with regard to that test, other than it may feel a little claustrophobic when you get the test done for a minute or so.  Have you had an echocardiogram?  That is another test they may wish to do.

 

Good luck,

 

Vertigo

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Just to add on to what Vertigo is saying, I agree that if you are having heart palpitations or a rapid pulse then you could definitely benefit from a beta blocker.  It's just that you don't have to have a stress test to get perscribed that, you just need to describe the rapid symptom pulse, possibly have it during the visit, and ideally have a log documenting your elevated pulse measure from a home blood pressure test.

 

My concern about a stress test is that I believe that that is used more to determine serious heart problems, so my concern there would be that you might be inappropriately diagnosed with something serious sounding that you don't really have resulting at worst in treatment you don't need and at best in stress and anxiety you don't need.

 

So, while I am in favor of doing something like presenting a log of your pulse and BP from a home test kit (an excellent investment) which would potentially result in the perscription of a beta blocker if appropriate, I'd have some concerns about the stress test- or at least taking the results from that test too seriously.

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Thanks everyone for your comments. They are very much appreciated. I just got home after being away almost all day, taking my mom to her doctor appointment and other errands.  The hospital did call while I was away, but the office is now closed so I'll have to wait 'til tomorrow.  I had left a short message yesterday and  had notified them about my lorazepam taper and w/d date, and my concerns.  Now I need to make dinner so will post more tomorrow.  ANy other comments are welcome.  Kat
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Hi Kat -

 

As an RN, I say wait until a few months have passed

and you are back to your old self. I, too, need some

routine medical stuff done, but I hesitate to do so

right now because of the anxiety about it all, AND,

the fact that we just plain don't know what we will

be feeling like once we come off this nasty med.

 

I am jumping about a week after you....after

many years on the stuff....I have taken the extra

slow and easy route to get off, so I am hoping I

won't have a long acute w/d period....but who the

heck knows with these meds. I wish you the best...

if you were checked out and are OK for now, wait

on the stress test until you are out of the woods

with the benzo withdrawal.

And by the way.....job well done...you are almost

free!

Hi Lovepema,

 

Thank you so much for your comments...I readily agree with you about waiting 'til we are out of the woods with benzo withdrawal. If my withdrawal symptoms last for a year or 2, like I've often read about regarding other buddies, I don't think I can wait that long...there's so much to do.. so I've decided to wait for a month and then take the test.

I've been following a lot of your posts, and admire how you are handling your tapering with patience and grace.  I'm thrilled that you will be withdrawing soon!

 

Love and prayers,

Kat

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Hi Kat175.  Congrats on nearing your benzo freedom.  You have been and already are in "withdrawal".  And yes, you will likely feel the impact of your taper for some months. That being said, since you are having palpitations now, and given your age, it's probably a good idea to have  that stress test as soon as possible.  I don't believe one day here or there in regards to your taper will make much difference as to the results.  If you have a jumpy heart right now, they may suggest a beta blocker if you already are not on one.  Do you have a history of cardiovascular issues in your family?  The doctor may also wish to have you try a statin medication as well as a baby aspirin daily if not already doing that.  Regardless of the specific date of your first stress test, it will probably be a good idea to retest in about six months when most of your main side effects should be gone from the taper.  You might also ask your doctor about a coronary heart scan which can also yield good information about calcium deposits.  How is your blood pressure by the way?  Do you have any other significant health issues like type 2 diabetes?  Anyway, I would keep your stress test appointment and after you do it, schedule another one for six months later.  Why wait another day if your last stress test was twenty years ago and you are having palpitations now?  Even if it may be the withdrawal that is currently adding to or impacting your condition, the heart is not something to play around with or delay getting tested given your age.  It may turn out that you have some rebound anxiety or "panic" in the next couple months as you adjust to being off the benzo.  I had two mini panics, one at 3 months off and another at 5 months off and never had a panic attack in my life before that.  One thing that can be helpful is reading up on mindfulness and/or mindful meditiation.  Learning how to breathe through panic or palpitations will be helpful so when you start to feel palpitations, you can stave off a full blown attack.  It worked for me.  Also, what you tell yourself when you start to feel panic can be helpful such as "this is just withdrawal and I need to remember to breathe"... assuming you have no chest pain or other symptoms that would warrant calling 911.  Having a "normal" EKG by the way does not mean you don't have underlying blockage.  Even a "normal" stress test is not 100%.  I think the coronary scan can provide important information and the benzo is irrelevant with regard to that test, other than it may feel a little claustrophobic when you get the test done for a minute or so.  Have you had an echocardiogram?  That is another test they may wish to do.

 

Good luck,

 

Vertigo

Hi Vertigo,

 

Thank you for your reply.  I appreciate your thoughtful message, really I do. When it comes to heart problems I agree that it can be very serious.  After re-reading your message, I took my blood pressure and heart-rate, which is 118/72 and 75 respectively.  I don't know if the b/p is too low or not..I very rarely take either.

 

There have been some issues  in my family re: heart problems and diabetes, but I have neither, just the heart symptom due to w/d hopefully.  I also want to stay away from medications if possible, and I know you are trying to be helpful which I fully appreciate.  My heart has been calm, starting  a day or so after leaving the hospital, barring very brief episodes of slight palps, but  they are getting less as time goes on.  I will take your advice about breathing and affirmations...these are things I've mean to do for a long time, especially the mindful breathing, but somehow"forget", so they need to be printed on a piece of paper and put on the bathroom mirror.   I have an appointment with my regular doctor for an exam next month and will mention  those tests you had advised.  Sounds like a very good idea.

 

Today I talked with the receptionist and decided to move my stress test up a month, so I have an appointment for next month, on the 6th. Maybe I will have less symptoms, I really don't know, but am always cautiously optimistic.

 

All the best,

Kat  

 

P.S. My long-suffering husband would really like to get away for awhile, and I did mention to him that we should visit our Florida condo soon...there are people in FL who manage it, but ultimately it's my responsibility and I do work on it at home. It's a very nice condo and we need to keep it up for the renters and ourselves too of course.  Heck, we haven't been there for over a year...we need to get there for our own personal time, too. So, now my hubby is hoping and starting to plan for a 5 week vacation  there in  October...I of course don't know how I'll feel...We've worked very hard for a good part of our lives to get where we are and can travel to anywhere we want.  Thanks for reading this  and letting me vent.  :)

 

Btw, I had almost forgot...the main reason I postponed the stress  test is because I have almost daily bouts of dizziness which usually goes away in  the afternoon. It's been plaguing me throughout the taper and about 1.5 years before I even started tapering.  I had forgotten to mention this symptom when I started this post.  The dizziness is such a constant companion that I accept it as a way of life...until I'm healed that is.  

 

Yesterday when I took my mom to the doctor,  she had mentioned a restaurant my husband and I took her to a couple of months ago...I didn't remember it...when she mentioned a few details, even the food, what remarks I made about it, it did come to mind but I still couldn't remember the name or location, and even though she mentioned a few more details, (as she didn't recall the name), I still couldn't recall it. I'm having some short-term and 2 month memory problems.  This too will pass.  My mom is 92 and her memory is better than mine.

 

I'm rambling now, so just want to tell everyone...keep up your fight. I've always tried to have patience and hope, and will always.. It does get better.  

 

Kat

 

 

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Kat

 

Congartulations on how far you have come!  I also strongly agree with the decision you have made.  I can see you have a lot of friends that care about you and thats great.  (I have a ways to go yet in my Loraz journey so you are an inspiration).

May the Lord bless you, David B

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Hi Kat --- today is your big day! I think you are going to do fine. Having

done a sensible taper, it sounds like. I know it's a crap shoot, but I have

a good feeling about your success here. I think like Vertigo said, that you

have already been in withdrawal.....so after a bit of time off of the med

entirely, well, looks like you will be on the mend. This is what I wish for

the lot of us as well.

 

I am a week behind you....will be taking my last dose next Sunday. I

am hoping for the best and trying not to worry about it....as they say,

our healer in this ordeal is "the tincture of time".  Keep us posted....

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Kat

 

Congartulations on how far you have come!  I also strongly agree with the decision you have made.  I can see you have a lot of friends that care about you and thats great.  (I have a ways to go yet in my Loraz journey so you are an inspiration).

May the Lord bless you, David B

 

 

Thank you David.  I'm really glad you agree with my decision. It is great to have the encouragement of my buddies...it helps a lot.

 

God bless you,

Kat

 

 

 

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Hi Kat --- today is your big day! I think you are going to do fine. Having

done a sensible taper, it sounds like. I know it's a crap shoot, but I have

a good feeling about your success here. I think like Vertigo said, that you

have already been in withdrawal.....so after a bit of time off of the med

entirely, well, looks like you will be on the mend. This is what I wish for

the lot of us as well.

 

I am a week behind you....will be taking my last dose next Sunday. I

am hoping for the best and trying not to worry about it....as they say,

our healer in this ordeal is "the tincture of time".  Keep us posted....

 

Hi Lovempa,

 

I'm so very happy to see you will be tapering next week!  I was a little concerned about quitting, but really so far it's been ok.  It's not to say there won't be  difficult times, but so far so good.  I'll be thinking of you often. Somehow I feel  "lighter", knowing that you will be free soon.  Thank you for your wishes.  You are in my prayers.

 

Kat

 

 

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Hi Buddies,

 

One of the symptoms I've been having lately is  a diminished sense of time. I had decided on my quit date as  the 7th, but somehow it became last night, on the 8th.  I felt it somehow, that it wasn't right, that the time perception was off in this regard. I am sorry..

 

I took my last dose on August 7th at 6 or 7 minutes before midnight.  Yesterday i felt a lot of symptoms, the most prominent was a pounding heart and intense vibrations in my diaphram, but it went away by the early evening.  Later that night, I felt like I'd taken a double dose of lorazepam.

 

I slept about as well as can be expected, about 4-5 hours.  This is more than I had been sleeping for a long time...my sleep had improved the past week or so.  Today I did work around the house and in the garden, but feel really laggy...like I want to postpone duties like phone calls and e-mails, mostly pertaining to business.  There is more fatigue than usual.

 

But I'm so grateful that these symptoms are relatively minor compared to some I have experienced.  That is not to say that I had a very difficult time while tapering.  I don 't feel that my taper has been very difficult, generally speaking.  I did have to go to the ER 2 weeks ago, and the past 3 weeks have been more difficult, but I'm so grateful that these symptoms have been a lot less severe  than they might have been.

 

So I'm just being cautiously optimistic. I hope this message encouraged you all. I feel like this is a new beginning, and can hardly wait for another day to begin!

 

Best wishes,

Kat 

 

 

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