Monday, March 13, 2006


Today, Venita saw her family doctor, let’s call her Dr. Primary. Venita doesn’t know this Dr. well, having changed family doctors right before this whole thing blew up.

Dr. Primary said she was happy Venita had come to see her. Dr’s been copied on the path reports, and said she was planning to hunt Venita down this week, but in person is so much better than on the phone. Dr. Primary considers herself part of this cancer care team. Dr. Primary sees her role not only as family doctor for non-cancer-related problems, but also as the Dr. responsible for helping Venita hold her self sane and healthy as she goes through this ordeal.

Hallelujah! Venita finally found the Dr. who sees that as hir role!!

Dr. Primary asked all the right questions—about sleep, how often, how long; about eating; about anxiety, panic attacks, fearfulness, focus, stomach cramping, diarrhea. Dr. Primary was batting 1000. She said that people in Venita’ situation start to become unraveled and that she would help hold her together, even when it takes coordination with the cancer doctors. She wants to see Venita every 3 weeks for awhile, just to check up on her.

So now Venita has:

For depression and panic attacks: Paxil CR, 1x/day. starting at 12.5mg for one week, increasing to 25mg after that.

For anxiety: Xanax generic, .25mg, PRN, up to 3x/day.

For sleep: Ambien 5 or 10mg at bedtime.

Venita still has to read the drug info sheets that she received with the scrips. She knows that many of you have used these drugs before, and have explained your experiences, but please share again, even if you want to do that sharing privately in PM or Email to Venita.

Venita is confused about having Xanax for anxiety and Paxil for panic attacks. She always thought those two conditions were the same, but Dr. Primary clearly saw them as different. Any thought on that?

Venita also wants to know about addiction to these drugs and whether that is going to pose a problem. The way Dr. Primary was talking, Venita might need “a little help” all the way through chemo and radiation treatment, which means through year-end.

Tomorrow—Venita rescheduled her dental cleaning back to this busy time. She recently read that dental work during chemo is difficult because of the compromised immune system. Her body might have trouble with the “shower” of bacteria from a cleaning, and any open sores from procedures could be very slow or difficult to heal. The dentist’s office was very accommodating.


Fairydragonfly said...

In my humble opinion, anxiety and panic aren't the same but are usually linked together.

For me, I live with low grade anxiety all the time. Just that uneasy feeling that seems to never leave. On the other hand, I have full blow panic attacks occassionally. Racing heart, shortness of breath, hot flashes, shakiness.

I think your doctor may have prescribed the Paxil to be taken daily to help control the overall anxious feelings and the Xanax for when you have a full blown panic attack.

Try this link:

It is the equivalent to the one I have here in Canada.


Fairydragonfly said...

Of course, after I hit send I had more thoughts.

I have been on seroquel for.. wow.. years and years. I've also been on a miriad of depression meds. I have not found any to be addictive.

I'm not sure about the ambien though, as I have never taken that. Try checking the drugs websites for more information.

Alice said...

Ok,now we're in my area. I never did get much help from paxil but bad side effects but EPID. The Xanax, yes it is physically addictive but when it's needed like in your case you can get off it later. Xanax is faster acting than valium. If .25mg isn't enough just take more. I also found you don't go off cold turkey, I moved down to valium and weaned myself down. But I have severe anxiety so I'am back up again. When you're ready you can get off them, but it's easier to get off the valium than xanax.There is some technical stuff for that but I just know the real life. As for ambien, I didn't like it. It made my stomach upset and gave me a headache. I found taking valium at night worked for that too. I find valium can be used in many cases and at different mg. Also the generic are really cheap and work just as well. I have a bottle in my purse for attacks,one on the night table for sleep and an extra in the drug box for backup. These are my experiences with these drugs. You can contact me with any other questions. Everything is addictive but it doesn't mean you don't need it. And it doesn't mean you can't get off it at some point.


julie said...

hi Venita...i have taken Ambien to help me can become addictive if you take it every day for a long period of time..I found that it can make you drowsy in the am if you don't get a full 8-10 hours of gave ne almost a hangover feeling..but if I did sleep the entire 8-10 hours I was fine..and I always could sleep that long, but had to wake up for work or far as dental issues and chemo..I experienced a lot of problems with my teeth while on mouth became very dry and this led to cavities when I had never had a problem with before the dentist said that the dry mouth you get and the lack of flourinde your body has whiole going through chemo is to, he had me use Biotene rinse and biotene gum which is available over the counter at Walmart, Target, etc. he also gave me a prescription toothpaste that is pure flouride to alleviate any more problems..nobody ever mentioned teeth issues while going through I was glad to have a good dentist that followed my medical problems..I I were you, I woul give the dentist a call and see what he/she recommends for you while undergoing the treatment..I am sure they will want you to usesomeof these products..and believe me, the last thing you want to deal with is a mouth full of cavities...I went from none to 6 withing a few months of chemo...

~*Connie*~ said...

as for Ambien, there was a piece on the today show about sleep eating and Ambien.. I couldn't find a link on but did find this