Monday, March 7, 2016

Hello, My Name is Kellie Davis and I am an "AFRIN-aholic"

Yes... I am was addicted to Nasal Spray
Part 1: The Backstory
February 2016

Yes... I am addicted to Nasal Spray and trying to get off this addiction. I have been tired, weak and sick for the better part of 2-3 weeks and finally went to the doctor, for a second time, and while explaining my symptoms and etc. said I was addicted to Afrin and almost immediately, the doctor said that this issue could be what is causing all of my pain and discomfort right now. So... The next 2 weeks will be HARD but I have to overcome this... for my health!

I was continuing my Plexus regimen of Plexus Slim, BioCleanse and ProBio5. In fact, I tried NOT taking these Plexus products for a few days and desperately needed them so I went back to taking them. They have been cleared by my doctor as well as the clinic doctor as safe and I have been taking them for well over 2 years. I will continue to take them during this journey! 

So here is the backstory:

In November 2014 I had a major head cold and sinus infection, as usual for that time of year in Houston. I went to the district well clinic and the doctor informed me of my condition and gave me a steroid shot. Within a few days I felt better but I was still having some nasal congestion. I called the doctor and he advised a nasal spray such as Afrin. I DID read the package and it said "do not use for more than 3 days". Well, long story-short... I have been using ever since (15-16 months). At first I used 3-4 times a day and then in the fall of 2015 I tried to quit, knowing this could not be healthy. It was then that I learned that it is very easy to get addicted to Afrin; however, I did now know at this time what the medicine in Afrin would do to someone's "insides". I went 2 days without my Afrin and I just could not take it anymore... I was crazy congested and I could not breath through my nose at night which was aggravating and did not allow me to sleep. I gave in and began to use again but this time just in the morning and evening. I felt good about reducing my quantity of times used. Later in December 2015, I tried to quit again by combining the Afrin with simple saline spray and hoping I could just wean myself off of it but no luck. It was at this point I realized the TRUE MENTAL addiction. I would jokingly tell people I was addicted and never really thought much about it, knowing I NEEDED to quit and SOON.

In December 2015 I began a training program to run a Half Marathon in March 2016. Due to this major life event (for me at least), I just didn't want to have to deal with the 5-7 day "addiction-breaking process". Right after my Half Marathon, Chris and I will be going on a 10-year Anniversary cruise on a new cruise line so once again, my habit will have to get broken AFTER that! Or at least I thought.

I had trained for about 7 weeks and endured long, hard and early morning runs. In fact, on January 30th I ran 9 miles WITHOUT stopping. NEVER in my wildest dreams did I think I would EVER be able to do that. I usually have to stop and walk for a short period of time on practically ALL my runs. I was feeling AMAZING! Then it hit me like a ton of BRICKS!

February 1st
I tried to run 4 miles after school and I just didn't have it in me. I was only able to finish 2 before I literally got sick with pain both in my legs and stomach area.

February 2nd
The next day I had some stomach cramps and was nauseated all day. I wondered what could be wrong but figured it was a stomach bug of some sorts since they were going around. I did not sleep very well this night but again just assumed I had a stomach bug.

February 3rd-7th
These days were much of the same with lots of nausea and stomach pains. I was physically weak and very tired. Most of these nights I was only getting 5-6 hours of sleep and I would wake up in the middle of the night anxious and somewhat scared or worried. Of what? I do not know. On February 6th I did run 10 miles on my treadmill and that took a HARD toll on my already worn out body. This was part of my long run training and I debated about not doing it but I knew the following week I had an out-of-town conference and fitting my long jogs, if not all of my jogs, into my schedule would be difficult so I just pounded it out. The day after my 10 miles I was really weak and tired. The beginning signs of dehydration were showing up but I just didn't feel like drinking water or eating at all.

February 8th
I decided since I was going out of town I would go to our FREE district health clinic and try to get something to kill this "bug" as I thought it was. The doctor asked me several questions and listened to lots of body parts and even did a urine sample test. But everything was negative  (even the pregnancy test... I know you are all thinking that and I was too but NO SURPRISE for us) and after poking around at my colon he told me I was constipated. My descending colon was impacted and blocked. He told me to take a suppository for 3 days and I should be fine. I kinda thought this was a crazy diagnosis but took it for what it was worth and that evening began the remedy process. The suppository didn't work so I took just regular laxative pills and they seemed to help.

February 9th-12th
These days were much of the same as I still didn't feel 100% and was losing a LOT of sleep over this condition diagnosed as constipation. While I was at my conference I would feel fine 1 day and then "crummy" the next. A friend of mine thought maybe it was indigestion as I was beginning to feel less nauseated and more bloated. Plus I was feeling like there was something heavy in my throat or upper stomach. We made a quick trip to a drug-store and got some Alka-Seltzer and I DID feel better. I was not taking laxative pills anymore but I was taking Citrucel as prescribed by my doctor to help with the lower GI tract problem. 

February 13th
I woke up early this morning with extreme nausea and had several moments of dry heaving just trying to "throw-up" so I could feel better (That is the general rule, right?) but I didn't have any luck. I was supposed to run 11 miles in my training plan on this day but I spent most of the morning just laying around VERY weak. I tried to drink water but was just nauseated at that too. Around 1PM I felt better so I decided to run 6 miles on my treadmill as the training program was on the forefront of my mind and had me worried and anxious throughout this whole process.

February 14th-15th
I felt back to normal, maybe not 100% but definitely at least 85% and not as weak, I was able to eat REAL food on these days and again felt like I was on the mend.

February 16th
I woke up again with extreme nausea and was incredibly dizzy. In fact, I tried to jog on my treadmill and was dizzy the whole time. I only did 1 mile instead of the 3 I was supposed to do. The drive to work was literally scary as I was REALLY dizzy. Luckily, by the Grace of God, I made it to my school fine. I felt like I could throw-up all morning and was VERY dizzy. I went to our school nurse around 10AM to have her check my blood pressure and it was a near perfect 123/82. Despite trying to eat lunch I was still dizzy at 2PM so I went back to the nurse to have her check my blood pressure again and it was 130/82, so higher than normal (for me) but still healthy. I explained my symptoms to her and she said it was more than likely stress and acid re-flux but suggested if it did not get better to go back to the clinic and have them draw blood. She kept asking me about prescriptions and medicines I was taking. I do not take meds except for Plexus and birth control. Then one of my near and dear teacher friends overheard and stepped in and said "Kellie, aren't you going to tell her?" At first I didn't know what she was talking about because I didn't really think that Afrin was "medicine", but I told the nurse and she almost immediately said these issue could be related. She advised me to go back to the clinic and have blood drawn for a complete look and to tell the doctor I was addicted to nasal spray. 

February 17th
I felt great all day and not dizzy or nauseous. I was still really tired because I was still not sleeping well or for normal amounts but I did feel fine all day. I came home from school and jogged a mile and still felt fine. I was still really tired from the near 2 weeks of little sleep but I, again, felt like I was on the road to recovery. 

February 18th 
I woke up early once again and felt very anxious but not as nauseous. However, the drive to school and me trying to eat a regular protein full breakfast made me feel bad. I ended up throwing up at school and decided to go ahead and go back to the clinic to get this figured out once and for all. The constipation diagnosis was not healing and I am tired of being sick and tired. I got to the clinic and went through the same steps as before but I added the info of being addicted to Afrin Nasal Spray. The doctor said that could be contributing to my current issues and explained that prolong use of the medicine in Afrin can cause all kinds of stomach issues including chronic constipation, ulcers and so much more. This would then lead my food to settle else where since my descending colon was impacted which is why I was having acid problems the past few days. He reiterated how bad the medicine in Afrin (Oxymetazoline) really is. He said it was one of the most powerful drugs on the market and never should be OTC and has a very high addicting factor to it. That all seemed to be true in my case as I was going on 2.5 weeks of weak and weariness. He gave me a steroid shot and a proactive plan to get my lower GI tract back in tact and get the acid re-flux more under control. 

The rest of that day at school I was very emotional as I realized that the next 2 weeks would be VERY hard and I only have 2 weeks until my Half Marathon and these 2 weeks especially I need to be 100% as I prepare for this MAJOR and physical life event. 

As tired as I was at the end of the day I tried to hold my head high and be strong and know that God will get me through this. He never said it would be easy but He will see me through. I spent that evening researching scriptures and singing songs of praise. I am going to get over this addiction and I am going to run my Half Marathon! I will be stronger at the end of this journey! Stay tuned for the "rest of the story". 

Thank you Lord, for opening my eyes and as the Great Physician I give my life and my health to You. 

God is good... All the time! 

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