17 July 2007


Morphine withdrawal side effects are not so good

Feverless chills, shivers, and sweats. Mild nausea, twitches, abdominal pain, amazing fatigue. It's hard to eat much, but I'm keeping it down. I've moved into our adjustable hospital-style bed and propped my head up. Every two days, I reduce the morphine dose that I take every four hours. I have to ride it out, ride it out, and I will.

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I'm sorry to hear this Derek. It's one of the not-so-nice parts of surgery :( John unfortunately is still on his dilaudid/oxycontin doses due to his ankylosing spondylitis; he will remain on these until the new med he has started (humira) kicks in. Once we know it's working, we will start the weaning off procedure. I know for John, for some reason, it's not so intense; some people have much more severe withdrawal symptoms than others. We hope you feel better tomorrow, and more better that day after that and so on. You are always in our thoughts...

Terry & John
As your PKPF (pain killer pal forever), I say 'fight the urge'! Drink lots of water. Hope you're doing great and ttys.
It really sounds awfull ! And so unfair...

I know nothing is fair about illness, but sometimes you get the feeling that somebody who went through too much pain recently deserves a real break and a quiet recovery.

What do the doctors say ?
Derek: You're a musician! Withdrawal is a rite of passage!

Stay strong. I wish I could say or do something that would make this easier for you, but all I can hope for is to give you a temporary smile or chuckle and one more boost to help you put one foot in front of the other.

I was lucky that the minor surgery I had last year needed nothing more than some Ty3s to cover tha pain.

Hope it eases soon.
is it important to withdraw immediately? I doubt you are an addictive personality, so why not take it a little more slowly? I am following you with great interest, because I had a friend who had colon cancer, and survived dozens of procedures. When he died (at age 75) he knew everything about the disease, and I, too, knew a lot. He was a physician, and they believe that morphine is necessary in certain cases.
Hi Derek:

I'd like to wish you a slightly belated birthday and all the best for a quick recovery (and hopefully an easy weaning off the painkiller meds). I've had many family members go through adversity, and in one case, the promise of attending a concert by his favorite band was a major motivator to help him get out of the hospital. It's amazing how our minds can help heal us.

All the best to you and your family,

Andrew Darlow
Hello Derek,

Just wanted to drop you a line to encourage you to keep up the fight!

I love IHR and I NEED another show soon. :-)

I am a podcaster myself (french speaking though :-) ). I wish you all the best.

Pierre - www.lepcc.net
I second Bob up there.. isn't this supposed to give you some fodder for songwriting? (grin) Or an excuse to try out some of BC's finest and overly-potent (according to the United Nations) pain relief?

Hope this stage passes quickly!
just checked out your dads update - sorry you've gone back "in", but glad that you'll have an IV again... call me crazy (and yes, my professional philosophy to drugs is "just say yes!" - i'm a nurse anesthetist remember! ;) ), but i don't get what the whole get off of pain meds is supposed to do...
obviously you cant and wouldn't want to blog every last bit of your regimen, but you are being switched from what to what exactly? you've been taking pain meds for more than 6 months now, with, i assume fair pain relief but not total. i have to think that a) if morphine worked (and it's NOT the strongest IV narc one can get), you are NOT "so far gone" on pain meds or what have you that an equianalgesic dose of oral meds cannot be established...

you can be at home with IV pain meds. perhaps you need a stronger and more consistent oral regimen - more frquent? fentanyl patch? roxinal po? there are many options. i hope you yourself are not concerning more with "addiction" issues in this time and "trying" to white knuckle through and not tke whatever they did prescribe..

in any event, better you go back, get things fine tuned and make sure there aren't any other issues! i'm so sorry you have to ride this roller coaster!!!
hugs and kisses and wishes for some decent narcs coming your way!
your friend,
lisa the drug lady :)
When I was in the hospital for similar procedures, I had a Morphine IV drip that I could activate with a button every 4 hours or so. The doctor said that as soon as I stopped relying on the morphine I could go home. Video games and laughing with friends watching Jackass or sitting in a hospital bed in a morphine cloud - not a very hard decision. I had so much other crap flowing through my body at the time I never really noticed any withdraw symptoms specifically related to the morphine, so I can't relate to what you are going through, but I know you can overcome it with the help of your willpower and family.
not trying to flame anybody or discount anyone's own experience, but what derek is going through - be it a pain medication or not - has absolutely nothing to do with choosing to follow one's own will power. in fact, if i had to make a guess, i'd bet that for someone in derek's situation, the desire for more normality in life and perhaps residue of society's stigma about pain medicine etc... could cause one to - again - "white knuckle" through time periods in which one might think one "should" be "off" the drugs.

again, pain management is and will be an issue for you for the near future- many modalaties (k, that cant be spelled right!) must be employed and narcotics will likely be one of them. you mentioned a bone mets to the sacrum - painful! i am sure your excellent team will work with you to plan pain releif that keeps you comfortable during your healing process and works toward a more narcotic free future! i mean really, has it even been barely what- 2 weeks??? hang in there!!! and i hope they dig up something decent for you to eat!!!!!
Hi Derek, I don't know you but started reading your blog after I heard you on CBC. I just want to say that I'm rooting for you and hope you will be around for a long time to come. Sending best wishes for health and a speedy recovery. :) Michelle
I just wanted to say I especially enjoyed your Moleskine posts. :)

*smiles and hugs*
i always used to love a hangover when i used to drink because it gave me the chance to slow down and really notice the world. is this a ridiculous thing to say to you in your current condition? is there any way to enjoy a morphine withdrawal as a phenomenological experiment?
Hey, Derek. Keep on rockin'. You'll get this licked yet.

Hang in there. Stay strong.

Hey Derek,

Here at the "Lab with Leo", our thoughts are with you!

Let's get you back on TV as soon as you're ready so we can help spread the music/tech vibe you and Paul are making so accessible...

You bring a great energy to the show!

Ryan Yewell
God Bless You. I'll keep you in my prayers.
Hi Derek. Hope this note finds you well. "And this, too, shall pass..." we're all thinking about you.
My Son Ed has been on morphine for 8 weeks due to a motorcycle accident where he was burned over 55%of his body.. Now he has to withdrawl from it as well as atavin. I know that the pain must have been sever.but can they start with a smalldose and adjust it to kill the pain. then take it down slowly. He has been off pain medication for 2 days and has withdrawl symptoms. They will still give atavin in 1 mm pills every 4 hr....What do you think...
Hi Derek
Mi name is Mario Saldana, I am from Mexico
Last Year I found your article in wireless networking for old Apple Laptops and it was the guide to put on line my powerbok 2400c, thanks for that.
Today I wanted, without a reason re read the article again, I read it, and from there I went to your blog and I read your story.
I just wanted to say thanks, and good luck, and that I am glad to have "met" you, from now on the old article on networking will have a whole new meaning to me.
I don't believe you when you say you are not brave, but at least you'll have to admit that you are smart, and i think that sometimes it's a better quality.
Good Luck again
Hi Derek, I discovered your music about a year ago and have used some bits of it here and there in my old podcast. I was really sad to hear of your medical problems and the cancer, which is not the best news. I wish the best for you and your family and I hope you are making music again soon. You will get good news again one of these days just by the law of averages! I will check back and read your blog as always, but I wanted you to know you have a fan who's pulling for you in Minnesota. Keep up the great attitude, and you are an inspiration in how you are handling all of this. I look forward to your podcast interviews.
Hi Derek, I was on morphine for 14 months, due to a deteriorating spine. I have been off now for a month, and the doc says I am still going through withdrawal. My main sympton is severe stomah pain and diahrreah (sp?). I am no longer agitated, have chills, etc. Do you know if this is normal? Thank you.
I have no idea. I didn't know anything about morphine withdrawal until I had it myself -- definitely this is something you need to discuss with your doctor, or if your doctor can't help, another physician or pain management specialist.

I would love to hear back from you.I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis 9 monyhs ago at 43. It has disabled me. I am currently withdrawing from Morphine and getting on Opana. The Embrel and Humira sound great,enbrel did not work for me , Humira they stopped giving me,now I am wondering if maybe it was helping some,because the Opana (which I cycled 1 month the for insurance tries morphine for a monthh) the Opana had worked so well for me for 3 weeks before.It's drawback is that for about 10 days it's tough,it's a tough one to start,side effects,insomnia,vomiting,etc.. but after 2 weeks,it was amazing,I didn't need my daytime Roxicodone for Breakthrough for 1 week soild.
I don't know anyone else with Spondylitis at all,it's so rare. I would love a chance to talk w/u guys about it, I would be so grateful.I have a Wife and 4 year old Girl(Carolina) and I just want to be there for them,and this disease is awful.I would take any advice from your collective experience that you would give.I have learned that sometimes my wife is more helpful at the Doc in telling my symptoms than I am because she goes through them as well,while I just feel so much pain it's all I notice.The Wife an AS patient,I think has to be a special person to stand watching us suffer ,take such good care,put up w/our moods and desperation and yet give us hope while outting ur needs aside for ours and never complaining. God Bless You, Mark in SC
Mark, you left no contact information. How should Terry get in touch with you?
Hey derek, even though this is 2 years old, i know what you went through. Just stay strong and after a while the urges and symtoms will stop. Withdrawl makes you stronger =]
It turned out to be more than morphine withdrawal. That was part of it, but mostly it was an intestinal blockage, which put me in hospital again for another ten days, and took me down to 145 pounds (about 60 pounds lighter than normal).
Like many of you I had no idea, that is until I began the experience myself. I have been prescribed morphine in two forms for approximately two years and am on my way to "weaning" myself after very evasive shoulder surgery. I am attempting to look at it as its own new drug...the experience of reduction, that is. I, fortunately do not experience the psychological dependence like I do the physical. What a cruel and unusual substance. I've never been one to abuse anything...everything in moderation...except in my youth and even then I was conservative when it came to what I put into my body. It is a relief to read about another person dealing with this issue, although I wish I wasn't for your sake. Not many people truly understand just how difficult it can be on so many levels. I tend to get very moody. My doctor and I are not in agreement as to how fast I should reduce. I would like to reduce it quickly...ahh, but I couldn't possibly miss work even though they caused the injury and that is why I'm on the medication. Here's to having our facilities about us and good luck. Peace.