1st 90-Day Challenge – Goal 4 Met

When I started this 90-day journey, I came up with five goals that I shared. They were as follows:

  1. “Have an abdomen measurement of less than 30 inches”.
  2. “Develop a derailment plan that will successfully get me back on the wagon when I lose focus.”
  3. “Exercise at least 150 minutes per week and enjoy it.”
  4. “No longer need to take nerve pain medication.”
  5. “Find 100 go-to foods for emergencies.” This goal was revised two months in to be “Increase knowledge of physiological processes related to obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, etc. and counsel friends on what I learn.” You can read more about the change here.

Since I am nearing the end of the 90-day process, I wanted to start blogging about the results for each goal. I will do these one at a time, starting with the one that I achieved first.  This blog will cover Goal 4.

I started this challenge taking 25mg per day of amitriptyline. I sparingly used other pharmaceuticals for situations that elicited pain or created anxiety. I have not taken amitriptyline since February 10, 2019. Unfortunately, I have still taken a few other pharmaceuticals intermittently to control pain and/or anxiety. Below is a chart that shows my decline of amitriptyline as I weened myself off of the drug.

Time Period

Number of Days Amitriptyline Dosage Required other Medication

Day (-10) through Day 4

15 25mg 1

Day 5 through Day 10

6 20mg 0

Day 11 through Day 12

2 10mg 0

Day 13 through Day 22

10 20mg

0

Day 23 through Day 24 2 10mg

1

Day 25 1 0

0

Day 26 through Day 33 8

 

10mg

0

 

Day 34 through Day 77 42 0

10

I am thrilled to be off of the amitriptyline for 42 days straight. However, it concerns me that I have needed to use temporary medication to get by for 12 days total during this experiment.

The next step is to look at what required additional medication, especially once I stopped the amitriptyline. It concerns me that the number of days where I took other medication has become more frequent after I stopped the amitriptyline. I want to be sure stopping the amitriptyline was the correct decision and hasn’t encouraged me to take medication I otherwise would not need.

Those days where I took some other form of medication were Day -5, Day 24, Day 35, Day 38, Day 39, Day 40, Day 47, Day 48, Day 59, Day 64, Day 75, and Day 76.

Day -5 was when I was on the highest dose of amitriptyline and under was struggling form horrible hormonal control (as evident by blood work at that time). I was traveling and my emotions were very weak. This is a good use of PRN medication.

Day 24 was the second day of my second (of three attempts) to lower my amitriptyline dosage to 10mg. I was tired from not sleeping well the previous night and sore from exercise. Tylenol PM seemed like a lifesaver, although the quality of my sleep was not as expected. It was perhaps too soon to reduce the amitriptyline dose at this point.

Day 35 was a rough day for me and I ended up with sympathetic anxiety (I didn’t even know that was a thing), despite feeling fine personally. It affected my food choices, as well as my emotions. Looking back, I should have been able to handle it better, but live and learn. Amitriptyline would not have benefited me in this instance.

Day 38-40 was related to a painful medical procedure and the anxiety that went alone with it. This is to be expected with my situational anxiety regarding being cut on and completely expected at this point.

Day 47-48 was related to pain after exercise. This is right when I was really ramping up my fitness and I must have done too much too soon. This may have been alleviated by the amitriptyline, but it occurred almost two weeks after stopping it and it only lasted two days. I feel this is a good use of over-the-counter pain medicine.

Day 59 and Day 64 were both related to the same issue. I had a crazy busy week with school, work, and planning a party. To meet my self-care needs, I got a massage on the evening of Day 58, but unfortunately, my relaxation was negated by someone else’s anger (similar to what happened on Day 35). I got past it initially, but Day 59 was rough. I struggled at work, somehow pulled it together to take my final exam, and then lost it completely both emotionally and from a nutritional perspective. I took something to help myself sleep, hoping I would be back to normal the next day. It didn’t help, but I made it through the next few days without needing any more medicine, but my trigger point pain was out of control; it even hurt to try on clothes. I made it to Day 64, but was so tired and so itchy, that I took a Tylenol PM for rest. I definitely think the amitriptyline would have helped me through this week, but I made due with minimal pharmaceutical help, so that’s good.

Day 75-76 was this weekend. I was struggling with the after effects of something resembling the flu (and/or poor air quality after I recovered from the flu-like whatever I had) and therefore behind in my work, both at work and schoolwork. I also didn’t get to do as much yoga as I would have liked, and the yoga I did was difficult due to temperature issues at the facility (cold yoga is not for me). So, for the third time during this challenge, I was unable to deal with emotions from someone else. I held it together, but it definitely took its toll on me from a nutrition perspective and a physical one. This happened after another massage, and I believe that makes my body more susceptible to taking stress back on. Afterwards, I was in horrible pain due to trigger points reappearing throughout my back and shoulders.

I feel like I have come a long way in how I deal with the effects of stress, but I certainly cannot claim victory in this area. In fact, I am so concerned by this problem that it will be one of my goals during my next 90-day wellness initiative (along with possibility of working to improve my digestive function). I have learned to control my verbal response to other people’s negative emotions (usually) and my blood pressure has improved tremendously in these situations, but there still seem to be negative consequences on my body. Learning to let go of what’s not mine and diffusing difficult situations is key to my overall wellbeing.

As far as the amitriptyline, I have met my goal of stopping nerve pain medication. My overall pain levels have been manageable with the exception of the examples listed above. I am proud to take any regular medication, with the exception of fish oil and Vitamin D (and for the past 7 days, Tamiflu, but thankfully that’s over now). I would like to get to a point where I no longer need any medication, including PRN medicine for anxiety, inflammation, pain, sleep, allergies, etc. That will be something I have to work towards, but it’s a huge win that I can now say I take no prescription medication on a daily basis!!

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