Sunday, March 29, 2015


I spoke too soon it seems. Or call it just riding the waves of this withdrawal.

Last I wrote I was at 18mmg. I stayed on 18 only for about a week, then went to 12. I am getting very impatient to end this already. Each reduction is a Whole Production. My body goes haywire, I roll with the waves, I level out to a higher level of pain. Then I cut another dose. Now I've been on 12 for about a week, and for some strange reason, now, at the end of that week, I am having bad withdrawal symptoms. Usually the worst of the withdrawal is at the beginning of the dosage reduction, but this one is having the side effects hanging onandonandonandon. Headache every day. All day. Better or worse depending on when I last took Excedrin.

It's now clear to me that I will not be off the Fentanyl by Pesach, which is in less than a week. I can't make myself sick over it. Have I told you how HARD this withdrawal is? My support system is not happening recently, either. I was supposed to see my GP last week, and when I showed up for the appointment, turns out the secretary had misinformed me, that my doc wasn't in, and the appointment is for *this* Monday rather than last. I needed the support last week, but apparently Hashem decided I'd be fine without it. Then, I had this appointment with the naturapath that I spoke about last time. I organized places for my kids to be while I go out of town, and took the bus into Jerusalem with a friend. We got to the office of the naturapath, and the door was locked. We were early, so we waited. 4pm, the time of my appointment, came and went, so we called. Turns out that they had canceled the appointment without actually confirming with me. They knew I was coming from Be'er Sheva. I know I had one "missed call" on my cell phone. I was in physical therapy at the time and couldn't get to the phone. After that, I didn't hear back from that number. No text, no voice mail. So when I called them and they told me they had tried to cancel with (with 5 times calling) me before I came in to Jerusalem, it was quite unpleasant; the whole "I did this, you did that", "no I didn't receive more than one missed call, my phone recorded one call from your number", "why didn't you send a text?", blah blah blah negativity. I said "look, I am not interested in arguing. How can we proceed now?"

But, the rest of the day was saved anyway. My friend and I ate a scrumptious lunch in a favorite restaurant in Jerusalem, and we laughed a lot. There is good in every disappointment.

This brings me to:

I smile, I laugh (baruch Hashem), I walk, drive, make food for the family, clean house, and all the normal things that mothers do. Thank Gd I can keep it up. But wow, sometimes I feel like shouting from the rooftops how hard this all is! In the background of my chemically challenged brain all sorts of unsavory feelings (physical feelings) are constantly being triggered, and I keep a poker face.

Then, I think about the terrible house fire that happened last week to a family in Brooklyn.
It was a religious Jewish family of 8 kids and two parents. On Friday night a week ago, their hot plate which was on for the purpose of heating up food for Shabbat, malfunctioned and set the house on fire while the family slept. The mother and one daughter jumped out of a window and are still in the hospital now in critical condition. The father wasn't home. He came home to the unspeakable tragedy of seven of his children having perished in the house fire. His house which he confidently paid for to protect his precious family burned to nothingness.

When I learned about this horrendous tragedy, I, or course, realized that my struggles are so trivial.

All four of my kids are home this Shabbat; Dov hadn't been home for three weeks, because of Yeshiva and B'nei Akiva Shabbats (he is a teen counselor for the youth movement "B'nei Akiva"). I have all of my kids under my roof. Pesach is coming in a week, my favorite holiday of the year (besides the work involved in getting to the holiday). My little family will be together with friends for seder night. We have wonderful plans for the week of Pesach, visiting loved ones up north. I have everything to look forward to. I am on a good transitional path; albeit profoundly challenging. (What transition *doesn't* include challenge? But coming off narcotics over the course of five months has honestly been one of the hardest things I have ever done.)

Two days ago, that bereft father came to Israel to bury his seven children (they lived in Jerusalem for some years, and flew the bodies back to here for burial). It is, well... unthinkable. Unimaginable.

Am I having a harder time than some of my friends living my life since I got sick? Yeah. We all have our burdens, we all have our stories. Mine is public, so it may stand out a bit, but if you talk to anyone and ask the right questions, everyone has an interesting, important story. Everyone.

Big week ahead of Pesach cleaning. I have a big house, and many dirty, disorganized problems to take on. My kids and husband will be home, helping. I will need to take many rests, I tire so easily.
I hope to see the naturapath either this week or next. He said he'd call me with possible appointment times. As for my GP, the appointment that was supposed to be last Monday is not this Monday. There are a lot of things I have to discuss with her about this weaning/withdrawal. I'm on the right track, i just need medical support at this time. I am in a bad way. The insomnia, eating problems... it's gotta be addressed. It will be. Everything at the right time.

I hope to write next week, but if not because things got too busy, i wish all of my Jewish readers a beautiful holiday of Passover! Think freedom. What does freedom mean for you at the seder this year?

from Be'er Sheva Israel, lilah tov; good night.


  1. Hi Sarah,

    I think I may have an explanation for "one missed call" vs. "But I called you 5 times!"

    I have had that happen to me, and I think that, on my phone, it says "missed call" for each number, so that if you have missed calls from 3 different numbers, it says "3 missed calls", but if the same person calls you from the same number 20 times, it will still say "1 missed call".

    Yes, I find that annoying.

    I am sorry that, for the Festival of Freedom you will not be able to celebrate your "freedom from Fentanyl". I will pray that you may be, soon, sleeping, eating and drug-free.

    May your cleaning be done in good time and may you have a very pleasant Seder.

    All the best,


    1. Hi Jeannette,

      Yeah, every phone has it's issues. But, in this case, someone isn't telling the truth, either my phone or the naturapath, but it doesn't matter. My phone shows me how many times one number has tried to call me, as well as other missed calls and the times it was attempted.

      Yes, it would have been nice to be off the fentanyl by Pesach, but alas it's not possible. Things happen at the right time, which is often not when *we* plan them to happen. I am not stable enough to cut out another dose, and I don't want to be sick for seder night. It is what it is.

      Hope you have a lovely Pesach!