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Fentanyl Patch

ellenm4's picture
ellenm4
Posts: 124
Joined: Dec 2011

My onc has decided to put me on the Fentanyl patch 50mcg/hr. He stated that I need to give it a good 24 hours before it has had time to build up in my system. If the pain does not ease, then I may need to up the dose. I will only take the vicoden when I need extra help with breakthrough pain. I know that some of you have either tried or might be using these now. Any information you can give me would be appreciated. I must say when the side effects state one thing...you can stop breathing, well this scares me a little! Please let me know your experiences with this. Today we go get stitches out....YEA!! Tomorrow to see the pulmanary doctor. Will keep you informed!!

Prayers to everyone. Stay strong and head up!!

Love Ellen

AlanRinHBG
Posts: 120
Joined: May 2011

Hi Ellen, first congrats on the surgery and the spirit you show. I was on that same patch for a while when I was undergoing the initial dx and beginning of treatment. It did help with the pain but it has negative effects too. I put it on my upper arm and changed it every 3 days. It really slowed me down and I think it also camoflaged (sp) the progress of the treatment..cisplatin, etopocide and 35 rads. The onco doc wanted me off of it but the pain management docs wanted me to be comfortable. I got off it as soon as I could. It made me tired which I already was. At least I could be tired and painfree. Sounds like you have a combination of other pain meds too. I had no surgery so I can't speak of that pain. I think that as long as you're healing nicely, the pain will go away on it's own in due time. Nothing wrong with mother's little helper for a short time. You'll be able to tell when it's time to lose the patch. I read that it's stronger than morphine and it can be dangerous, you're correct, I did not like it.

dennycee
Posts: 643
Joined: Mar 2011

Congrats on a positive outcome. I am on Fentanyl 25 (72 hr patch) and Norco. The Fentanyl makes me sleepy and gives me strange dreams. I see my doc on Thursday and plan to ask him for something to help with the drowsiness - I think they use ritalin - you may want to talk to your doc about it. Fentanyl is a narcotic (read opiate) but I have not had any problems with breathing or my heart.

The dreams can be nightmares (or not). The nightmares are of the I am at work and my feet turn to tar as the hall lengthens variety. This morning I dreamed that I lived in a mansion and Ricky Ricardo was my dad-fell asleep during I Love Lucy rerun.

Find a way to set reminder to change patch. I have a hard time with the 72 hr thing and don't always remember until pain returns. Its a good idea to write the date you changed it on the patch. As with all pain meds, remember to take colace or other stool softener regularly.

Best regards,
Denny

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

I was on the patch for some time and did fine with it, also finding it quite easy to quit using it, under the direction of my doctors.

I would advise that you pay particular attention to the following, which I excerpted from some online thing:

Do not expose the patch to direct sources of heat, such as heating pads, electric blankets, heat lamps, saunas, hot tubs, or heated waterbeds. Avoid sunbathing; long, hot baths; or other sources of heat to the body.

I bring it up, not from personal experience but because I read, a year or so ago, that someone died while taking a hot bath and wearing the patch.

On the other hand, pain mgmt is critical to your will and therefore your survival.

Best wishes.

Take care,

Joe

ColoradoDani's picture
ColoradoDani
Posts: 65
Joined: Sep 2011

I'm sure you'll get the patch figured out, thanks in part to the good advice here, but I just want to say that I'm glad you're doing so well.

ellenm4's picture
ellenm4
Posts: 124
Joined: Dec 2011

Hi ColoradoDani....how are you dear? That is my only concern right now because I take one day at a time, I like to live for that moment. I must savor the sweet smells of spring time which is around the corner. The tones of little children playing outside and having fun. Hearing the warm breezes that brush across my face. I find that I have become more intune and in touch with myself and all the beauty of nature all around me. I do not think I will ever hurry again. This second cancer has slowed me down a lot and I am happy for that. I think we all need to slow down and savor life!

ColoradoDani's picture
ColoradoDani
Posts: 65
Joined: Sep 2011

Ellen, Craig and I are doing great. I took a bike ride this beautiful sort of spring afternoon and just as I was almost home, I caught the total work out buzz and thought of our lives right now and all I could think is that I'd do everything all over again and that I was happy to be alive, so I know what you mean about savoring life. We can only appreciate what we have right now--and what Craig and I have right now is better than what many people ever get...cancer and all that goes with it considered.

I am glad you're recovering okay. Craig didn't have surgery as the cancer had spread to too many lymph nodes, but I did learn enough to know it's pretty serious and has some major recovery time--so I'm definitely thinking of you as you're on this journey. I hope the patch works out with pain management. Keep us all updated.

ColoradoDani's picture
ColoradoDani
Posts: 65
Joined: Sep 2011

Ellen, Craig and I are doing great. I took a bike ride this beautiful sort of spring afternoon and just as I was almost home, I caught the total work out buzz and thought of our lives right now and all I could think is that I'd do everything all over again and that I was happy to be alive, so I know what you mean about savoring life. We can only appreciate what we have right now--and what Craig and I have right now is better than what many people ever get...cancer and all that goes with it considered.

I am glad you're recovering okay. Craig didn't have surgery as the cancer had spread to too many lymph nodes, but I did learn enough to know it's pretty serious and has some major recovery time--so I'm definitely thinking of you as you're on this journey. I hope the patch works out with pain management. Keep us all updated.

ellenm4's picture
ellenm4
Posts: 124
Joined: Dec 2011

My face had a big smile on it as read that things in the moment are so GREAT for you and Craig.Things like this is all that matters. As we go through life we are building memories that will last a life time and nobody knows how long a life time is. You and Craig are in my prayers and I thank you so much for your's as I make my journey. I am sure this will not be my last, but for now it is my second! Life continues and it is grand!

ellenm4's picture
ellenm4
Posts: 124
Joined: Dec 2011

well I started the patch and I must say that I really think it needs to be stronger. Will be calling the onc today and talk about it. 24 hrs later I still have a level 6 pain, if I can get it down to about a 2 or 3 I will be happy. They have also put me on steriods again thinking that everything I have gone through in the last 4 months and having 3 surgeries that the bronchitubes to the right lung (the good lung) are so inflammed that it is not expanding the way it should and is causing this horrible cough. The air sound is better in the left where I had the upper lobe removed than in the right. So here is hoping that the steriods help and the cough stops! Hope everyone is doing well today! As always keeping us all in my prayers!

Kerry23's picture
Kerry23
Posts: 17
Joined: Mar 2012

Hi Ellen,
The same thing happened to me. I am on percocet and you are on Vicodin so we are pretty tolerate of opiates that is why you didn't feel the fentanyl patch. I jumped to 100 mcg in 2 months. That is the problem with pain meds, you build a resistance way too fast. I am actually trying to get off the patch as my surgery is coming up and I am afraid the lobectomy is going to be painful that the drugs they give me won't be enough. I am bringing my meds from home along with my vitamins. How long were you in the hospital?

ellenm4's picture
ellenm4
Posts: 124
Joined: Dec 2011

Kerry I had my surgery done Feb 20 and came home late evening on the 28th. Tubes were removed the night of 26th. My pain level in the hospital never got below a 5. But you should talk to your surgeon about getting an epidural. I hear these help a great deal. I choose not to have one due to the fact I have severe back problems and was affraid of having this make it worse. But I hear the epidural helps a great deal with the pain, and once it is removed you need to work to get the pain under control really fast. I step up the amount of my patch today. From 50 to 75. I am hoping the 75 will work. I am not looking for the pain to be totally gone, but better than a 5. I can cope with a 2 or even a 3. I have a lot of nerve pain and breakthrough pain. Please do not take meds from home at the hospital. You tell the doctors, the nurses that you are in pain and they need to get it under control....like now! They will work to get this done. Also very important no matter how much it hurts....walk a little everyday (with help if needed) and do breathing exercises. I was told to use the spiralmeter every hour on the hour 10 times exhaling everytime. This dos help in the healing. Are they doing your's VATS? Good luck and please keep us posted on the outcome and your progress. Will keep you in my prayers!

Ellen

Kerry23's picture
Kerry23
Posts: 17
Joined: Mar 2012

Hi Ellen,
Yes, I am having the VATS procedure with a very confident and well known (head of dept) surgeon. Pain is a 5 on an everyday basis here that is why I am on meds at home. I have many other disorders starting with Lyme disease, then the antibiotics made me sicker with fungal infection that is in the blood stream. Can't seem to rid of that. Scleroderma, Raynauds, RA, Raynauds along with other autoimmune disorders. My joints are in constant pain. Now my spine has been screaming, just diagnosed with osteoporosis of spine. Can this get any worse.
Anyway, lets get off that, have you been tired from the cancer. I seem to be tired all the time.
What about lidocaine patch, how does that work?
I will ask about epidural due to my current back issues and pray my levels don't go higher than 5-6. Surgeon is doing 2 insicions, taking lower right lobe with lymph nodes. What did they do to you and are you finished, did they get all? I just have to go back every 3 months for xray
Thank you for talking with me. I am still pretty scared but you have been so supportive. Thanks

ellenm4's picture
ellenm4
Posts: 124
Joined: Dec 2011

Kerry On Dec 7, 2011 I had vats for a wedge resection. I chose not to take the epidural and did fine. Had 3 small cuts and then 2 smaller ones for the drain tubes. Just remember to walk and do your breathing exercise. I can not say that the cancer is what made me tired all the time, but I think it was more from putting my body thru so much in such a short time that did it. Nov, shingles and Mono, Dec I had VATS wedge resection and Mediastinoscopy and port installed and Feb I had upper left lobe removed not done as VATS.
I have a scar a little over 9" in length across my back to my side. I do have a few cracked ribs as well from this. The pain level from this type is much more than the VATS. I have only been on the patch now for a week, started at 50mcg and now at 75mcg. I think next week we will be going up to 100 mcg. We are trying to slowly find the right dosage so I am totally off the pain pills unless I have breakthrough pain. With the breakthrough pain I will then take a pill. It will be nice to get off some of these pills. I feel it is working some, I have went from 2 pain pills every 3-4 hours a day to taking maybe 3 a day with the patch and mostly I take through the night. That is a big difference for me. The patch is the way to go for me. I feel better knowing that I do not have to remember did I take my pills or when did I take it last or did I take too much. This can be a problem for a lot of us. I know that you are scared. I was scared for every surgery I had, so I sat on the side of my bed before surgery that morning and had a heart to heart with GOD. I felt better and said let's do this! With this last surgery, they were happy to inform me that there were no other signs of cancer! Again for the second time in 4 years...I am cancer free! So, I am getting ready to have my port removed. I feel you will be fine dear! I have kept you in my prayers. Yes...you will have pain, but you will wake up and know that you are still alive and can beat this! Please keep me informed!

Love and Prayers
Ellen

Kerry23's picture
Kerry23
Posts: 17
Joined: Mar 2012

You are a doll, Ellen, thanks for your thoughts and prayers. I have just been in pain for the last 5 years, knowing that another one is torture. But like you said at least I am alive. I had to put a patch on this morning from severe pain, but I went 3 days since the last one. I try to spread each one out. The pills I use too so I have to at least try to get off one of them.
Oh, I wanted to ask you something, the last two days, I seem to have a lot of breathlessness, like someone is sitting on my chest. Maybe I should have this done sooner?
I am scheduled on 4-2-12 but I don't want this any larger, right now it 2.2cm. Maybe it was just stress, I had to take a tranquilizer and that helped a little.
They told me I would only have one tube for drainage, so two insicions, on for camera, one for tools, it is called 1 port. Only 25% of hospitals do this and mine is one of them so I am lucky there. Did you have any leakage of air?
Kerry

ellenm4's picture
ellenm4
Posts: 124
Joined: Dec 2011

Only one drain tube is a good deal! I had 2 and they were very uncomfortable to have in. Although I was affraid when they went to take them out and did not give me something for pain first. I almost freaked! But really did not hurt...just felt a little tugging for a few seconds and I exhaled and it was over. Did feel better to have them out. Mine were in 5 days both times. The Wedge resection which was done VATS and also the lobectomy done 3 weeks ago. I did not have any air leakage. I did get a large air bubble under the right lung that started moving right after my lobectomy and it showed in the xray. That is when they grabbed me and started me moving. Now that was pain...but the bubble went away. For me it was hard to tell if the cancer was making me tired or if it was the Mono I had and nobody found out about until it put me in the hospital causing my cancer surgery to be cancelled. I now have a bad problem breathing, and am on 2 weeks of steriods. If this does not help they are doing a brochioscope. YA...another tube down the hatch! LOL They are saying that it could be medically induced COPD. I have no ideal. You continue forward with your surgery. Have they done any breathing function test yet? You know some of the meds can cause breathing problems. Two weeks on the patch and I am down to only 2 pills a day now. Next week I think we will go up to 100 instead of the 75. This should stop all the pain pills....I hope! So...you are still in my prayers and I want you to keep posting and let me know what is happening with you. I also expect you to post after the surgery to say HELLO...I am ALIVE!! :) I am looking forward to this!
God Bless You!

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