Night Howls

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  • AllyJayAllyJay Member Posts: 592
    Hi there @kmakm. My pattern was I'd drop off, exhausted, at around ten at night, then when the rest of the household went to bed, piddling in the toilet (No flush unless floating logs present) type noises would wake me up. Then the head starts up, and, in order to break the circuit of random thoughts in the blender, I'd turn on my bedside light and read my kindle until it started drooping from my hand. Rearrange all support zonta type pillows after turning, then try again. But between my fucked fingers. wrecked wrists, knackered knees, stuffed shoulders, I was doomed anyhow. The night consisted of that initial hour and maybe an extra half hour with it, then mere cat naps between each difficult turn. My GP said to me that if my sleep problems were of a passing nature, such as having recently been in hospital and having my sleep cycle disrupted, or a one off event, such as a house move or some such, he would be very reluctant to put me on nightly medication, probably for ever. (However long that may be). He said to me, "But you're 60, this has lasted for years, and due to your pain issues waking you each time you need to move, I would be negligent if I didn't". He added that if I was someone trying to get scheduled drugs off him because of other issues, I wouldn't have waited eighteen months before begging. I have a script for strong painkillers, Temgesic, which I am allowed one four times a day, and I only ever take one at night. This also reassured him that I wasn't an irresponsible person. He also said that the amount of cortisol flooding my body would be from severe, ongoing, protracted stress, not at all helped by near total lack of sleep. He finished with the statement that he thought nightly sleep medication was the least of my problems and stated that in his opinion, anybody who had gone through cancer treatment was suffering with post traumatic syndrome to one degree or another. He said that if he couldn't cure any of my multiple medical problems, at least he could get me some sleep, so I could deal with them better. Perhaps copy this and take it with you to your doctor, and see if her peer and his reasoning would touch their heart. xoxo Ally.
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,447
    Deliciously logical. Thank you my friend. K xox
  • iserbrowniserbrown Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 3,630
    For those that haven't seen this fact sheet before you may find it helpful
    https://www.bcna.org.au/resource/fact-sheet-sleepless-nights-breast-cancer-and-sleep/
  • kezmusckezmusc Member Posts: 1,188
    @Kiwi Angel  I miss it too.  No matter how much I know I shouldn't.  Being vague, sore and numb inside really isn't my idea of living quite honestly.  My sleep has greatly improved after each break but the back and hip pain is getting worse and my bed is now not a place of comfort and rest. I have to constantly move position or sieze up. Luckily I can fall back to sleep reasonably easy these days. I also snore like a train since chemo and half the time my husband sleeps in the spare room. I feel I have aged 10 years in two.   :neutral: 
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,447
    @Kiwi Angel Perhaps it would be a good idea to have a few sessions with your counsellor to sort through the stew of grief, stress & treatment that's landed you here.

    Quite suddenly in the last month I've been having a lot of dreams about my deceased sister for the first time since she died. Some of them are nice but many are not and I wake up crying. I raised this with my psych and she said maybe it's because there's room for the first time.

    Processing this cancer stuff takes time and we can't wish it away. It takes its own sweet time. I know you had a difficult bereavement not long before you were diagnosed. Your life is different now, and what suited you before, your job, is maybe not suiting you now.

    Talking all this through with someone might bring some clarity to where you find yourself now. None of it is linear, but a change of job might help you find a better place to sit in your survivorship. Would it hurt to look around for something different?

    Big hug S. K xox


  • ZoffielZoffiel Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 2,813
    @allyjay, I don't think they understand we are not demanding a good night's sleep every night. We just want to be able to have one occasionally. 20 serapax last me 3 months. Thankfully my very sensible GP is OK with both my long term sleepers and pain pills--provided I don't push my luck and use more than my agreed allocation.
    As far as addiction is concerned, yes it happens but if the dosages are kept to a bare minimum you've got to wonder how great the risk is. And even if you do get to really, really like them I can't imagine you taking to a life of crime to support your habit.
    Mind you, you'd make an interesting burglar. I've got this vision of you trying to break into a house to steal the silverware. Walker? Check. Assorted support devices? Check. Totally wrapped in blankets to dampen the sound of creaking joints? Check. All you'd have to do then is find a mark that has no stairs and ample parking :)


  • Emma17Emma17 Member Posts: 16
    Heads up to anyone travelling to or via Hong Kong...zopiclone is available over-the-counter at many pharmacies.
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,447
    I agree @Zoffiel. It took me the best part of a year to convince my GP that I'm not an addict. A bottle of Temazepam lasts me nine months because I use it like a treat. But it doesn't knock me out. Next time I see her I'm going to ask for something that will. It's been over 18 months since I had a full night's sleep. When the longest 'sleep' you've had in that time is your double mastectomy and reconstruction, I reckon you get to ask for a stronger medication!
  • kezmusckezmusc Member Posts: 1,188
    I tried getting something for my back and hip not long ago.  My regular GP was not on that day so had to see someone else.  Now keep in mind I have had zero drugs prescribed, apart from one box of diazapam on the day of diagnosis, in 2 and a half years. Nil, nothing, as he saw whilst scrolling through my now very long history.  When I explained the situation and that panadol and voltaren just wasn't cutting it anymore he says "so you've come  seeking drugs"  I said yes, politely got dismissed and told to do stretches.  WTF.  Doing stretches in your sleep is somewhat difficult I would imagine. I couldn't even con him into a box of Mersyndol now he knew what I wanted it for LOL What a twat. 
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,447
    @kezmusc Clearly doesn't believe in "First, do no harm"... What an unsympathetic doctor. I'm so sorry you've had that experience. K xox
  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 2,939
    WOW, @AllyJay - what an amazing bloke you have as a doctor?   Does he have a twin who is also a doctor? Can you send him to Forster??  I am doctor shopping as my original GP left for Victoria mid 2018 & the one I was seeing after that is now off for 6 months, having just had a baby ...... so I need to break someone else in now!!

    That's interesting, @Emma17!   I had a friend just come back from Hong Kong!  He goes a couple of times a year as he has family there.  I may ask him about zopiclone next time he goes!  I wonder if you'd be required to have a script for it tho, for bringing it back into Aussie?

    More than a twat, @kezmusc - a fxcking mongrel!  FFS - I'd be letting the manager of the practise know - as that is not acceptable.  So he is basically calling you a liar (that you aren't in pain & are just after drugs for recreational use) and yet it is HE who appears to be an incompetent doctor, in not allowing you relief from your constant pain.  Has he never seen a patient before who is on cancer medication that has horrible side effects?  Highly unlikely.   I hope you get something to help you soon & get your regular GP back as well!  xx


  • Kiwi AngelKiwi Angel Sydney, NSWMember Posts: 1,915
    @kmakm strangely I don’t feel like I would have much to talk to a counseller about. Work is stressful but my boss is trying to help me out there and I am looking at other jobs. I was talking about the lack of ability to handle stress now, my even lower tolerance for idiots and the fact what is important to me now has changed. I am slowly starting to put myself first and not make everything my problem. I’m slowly improving. If I could get decent sleep that would make the world of difference - I could get back into running which helps my mental health no end. 

    Thank god god I don’t have issues getting temazepam- not that it does much. Still have just about a full box but got another script yesterday. 

    Good u r processing your sister Kate - your have had so much trauma in such a short time - u are coping amazingly well and it will take a long time to process it all. 

    Thanks for all your advice and support as usual lovely ladies!!
  • SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 4,257
    You know what?  Who gives a flying f#*$ if you have to take one every night?  Sorry...my aggression is directed at doctors who have absolutely no idea what we go through.  I've learnt the hard way not to give a GP who has no idea, the time of day.  Stuff to help you sleep - surely trying to function on a couple of hours a night is seriously harmful to your health.  (Funnily enough, I went to see a GP at a different practice close to work a couple of weeks ago.  Of course, he took a health history and I did ask him how much he knew about breast cancer treatments.  Went back the following week with the kids for their flu shots and he had acquired couple of books on breast cancer on his shelf.)
  • Emma17Emma17 Member Posts: 16
    @arpie I'm sending you a PM.
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,447
    That's fantastic to hear @Sister. I've mentioned before that my GP spent a few weeks doing a breast cancer course, inc survivorship issues, because she was seeing increasing numbers of BC patients. I like professionals, people in fact, who are open to learning new stuff. To deepening knowledge. Impressive.
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