Feeling restless anxious I can't even describe it

So this is the deal - I had my second RABVD treatment on 7/12. After a couple of days I started feeling very restless, just an odd feeling inside that I don't even know how to describe. Did anybody experience this? Do I need anti-anxiety drugs? What IS it? I can't take it! I can't relax, can't sleep, having this constant "racing" inside feeling. Any input will be appreciated.

Kama

Kama-
Did you experience this following both chemo treatments or just the second one?

And are you also receiving Rituxan along with ABVD?

Ross

I did experience this with my first infusion but exactly on day 7-8 I started feeling good, just back to my old self. This time it's taking way too long! I spoke with my nurse today and they called in Ativan for me since they think this may have something to do with anxiety. They also asked me to stop taking Senna as it may cause some cramping, and they mentioned that I may be going through a lot of hormonal changes which are causing the stomach pain/crampiness/I don't know what! :)

I'm receiving Rituxan with my ABVD.

Ross - is there anything I should know about Ativan? I heard it has some side effects while taken for awhile. Is Zanex better. Any suggestions will help.

Kama

Kama-
First off, smart move calling your doctor's office, they need to know that you're having this problem, it needs to be addressed, to be documented, etc.

as for ativan, pharmacologically it's not terribly different from other sedatives in its class, including valium (diazepam) and restoril (temazepam), or xanax either for that matter. they're all short-acting anti-anxiety drugs that aren't meant to be taken for very long-- they often address an acute symptom of an underlying condition. clearly you're familiar with xanax, I don't think ativan will be any different for you, it should work as well or better. side effects won't be any different than xanax.

just be judicious about when you take it; you can pop over to the support groups here for prescription drugs and find people hooked on these sedatives, benzos are a ***** to beat once dependence has kicked in.

Ross

Kama,
Ativan can be your friend, just don't abuse it. I always get really hyper the night before chemo so I take Ativan to control the anxious feelings. It works for me, but I do not take it too often.

It sounds like you are experiencing these anxious feelings a couple of days post chemo. Hmmmn. I have experienced these anxious feelings also. You may want to seek out medical marijuana. This could tame those anxious feelings and make you feel much better. You do not have to smoke it, you can eat cookies or bread. I'm not sure where Ross stands on the medical marijuana issue, but it definately helps to take the edge off.

I do not take Rituxan as part of my treatment, so this could be the difference between our treatments, as I am ABVD only.

Good Luck to you and hang in there,
-Paul

Paul-
As medicinal marijuana goes, personally I am all for it. The fact that the DEA still lists marijuana as a Schedule I drug is appalling-- schedule I means that the agency believes the substance has no medicinal value whatsoever. Even something like 1-piperidinocyclohexanecarbonitrile - which is a precursor to PCP - is a schedule II substance, meaning that it can be prescribed under strictly controlled conditions, although I can’t imagine a health scenario in which a doctor would think “I think this patient needs to get wet.” [i.e. use angel dust; anyone see “Training Day”?]

Maybe such a substance has some medicinal value, I don’t know. But I think that marijuana’s medicinal efficacy has long been established. My only fear about legalization is this-- what industry is already well-prepared to enter into growing weed on a massive and inexpensive level? Big tobacco.

Ross

Guys, I really appreciate your comments. I did take Ativan last night and I have to admit - my 3 yo woke up about 5 times (sick with fever) and I was able to go right back to sleep so I'm assuming the drug helped a little. I feel a little better today but I didn't take it this morning as I don't want to be drowsy or sleepy at work. I also stopped taking Senna as my oncologist thinks that this could be the reason for a little stomach pain/cramping. I hope these steps will help me feel back to normal for at least a couple of days until I hit my body with the 3rd infusion on Monday!

Thanks again. will keep you posted.

Kama

Kama,
I meant to say something about the Senna. Between my 2nd and 3rd treatment, I tried Senna tea to ease the constipation. Senna made me cramp and have nausea so bad... It was horrible. I have since thrown out the Senna tea and use Metamucil and Aloe Vera Juice. If I need anything stronger I use Miralax. Miralax is great because it is tasteless and can be mixed with practically any beverage.

Take care,
-Paul

I am taking Ativan to sleep at night- is this too often? I don't want to be dependent on it, but also want to sleep. Any suggestions?

Taking Ativan every night to get to sleep, for how long? There is a difference between dependence and abuse. If you need it to get to sleep at night then you may have developed some dependence, but that doesn’t automatically suggest addiction or abuse, not at all. But you do need to be careful. Whether or not you have addictive tendencies, undergoing cancer treatment can create all kinds of avenues for addiction because of the fear and anxiety, and because of the relief you get from the ativan. I think you should talk to your doctor about this; while he or she may be approving your ativan prescription, don’t assume that they have a handle on this-- it may require you bringing it to their attention. In fact they might be surprised by how often you’re taking it. Or not. The only way to know is to bring it up. You may be hesitant to bring it up because you don’t want them to stop prescribing it to you, but that reaction on its own may be indicative of something more serious as well. Hopefully your doc will be receptive of your willingness to discuss the issue with them.

Hi Ross,
Thank you so much! It didn't even occur to me that taking it every night might be too much. I am going to talk with my doctor and also try using benedryl or something less potent. I'll see what my dr. says. The last thing I want right now is another problem :)

Kmelick-
Taking it every night may NOT be too much, that's an individual thing. I think the concern starts when you can't get to sleep without it, and when you start taking more than you're supposed to merely to achieve the same effects. One huge problem with taking sleep aids for a long period of time is that, take my word for it, eventually, you'll forget how to fall asleep on your own. Sounds ridiculous, but if you take sleep aids long enough, it can happen. enter insomnia.

Benadryl is a good alternative; that's the active sleep ingredient in over the counter sleep aids like Tylenol PM. Although yeah, I would strongly suggest you talk to your doc first and make sure that benedryl is OK to take while undergoing treatment. Plus it's important that he or she is aware of what you're up to, this way they can make the best treatment decisions for you based on all the information. Who knows, maybe ativan is better right now than benadryl- that's something only your doc and pharmacist would know.

Ross