Insomnia

Feelingalone74
Feelingalone74 Member Posts: 243

Hey Ladies   

Any suggestions  on  how  to  get  through  insomnia ? 

Only sleeping  2 hours a night for weeks  now,

Reluctantly  got a script for  ambien this week, 3 nights later  and it's  not helping,

I've been  doing meditation  for deep sleep  from  you tube but relaxes me but doesn't  put  me to sleep.

I hate putting  things in my body so I  so wish I could  sleep . 

The anxiety  of treatment  starting  is getting  the  best of me

 

«13

Comments

  • zsazsa1
    zsazsa1 Member Posts: 547 Member
    What I found useful was a

    What I found useful was a laptop playing David Attenborough nature shows.  They were calming, pretty, and his voice was calming, droning.  They were just interesting enough to distract my mind, to let me fall asleep.

    I didn't use meds for sleep - too afraid I'd become dependent upon them.  But I AM dependent upon "Frozen World" and the other "Our Planet" videos!

  • MAbound
    MAbound Member Posts: 1,164 Member
    anxiety med?

    I'm not sure that a sleep med addresses the anxiety that you are dealing with and perhaps that is why it is not working. That would be a question to ask your pharmacist so you can go back to your doctor about it. There are others who have had to take anxiety meds to help get them through all of the unknowns and waiting on the front end of treatment, so maybe they'll be along to help with that. There is no shame in needing help coping with this because it's scary stuff and rest is so important to getting through it all.

    I hate taking meds like you, so while this may sound crazy, what helped me was saying thank you to God each night for all the good things I've had in my life. I tried to name each memory, so it helped to keep me focused on the positives and reduced my anxiety. The older you are, the more ground you have to cover and I found myself falling asleep before I could finish. 

     

  • MoeKay
    MoeKay Member Posts: 396 Member
    I didn't sleep for months and I was a mess

    After completing treatment, I was very anxious and unable to sleep.  I think part of it was due to being thrown into surgical menopause and the other part was worry over the possibility of recurrence.  I too do not like taking medication, so I thought I could tough it out, but I was wrong.  I couldn't function in work and the quality of my life deteriorated significantly.  I tried a number of things suggested short of medication, such as relaxation tapes, warm milk, and evening yoga classes, to name a few.  None of those things helped at all.  I was eventually able to break the no-sleep cycle with Ativan, but because I am so anti-med, and because Ativan is habit-forming, I was very cautious to not stay on it any longer than necessary by carefully weaning down the dose as my sleep improved. 

    Sweet dreams!

  • Armywife
    Armywife Member Posts: 449 Member
    edited July 2019 #5
    I'm sorry

    I'm sorry you're not sleeping.  I know that well - I started having insomnia even before diagnosis and then of course the anxiety made it worse.  I've been on ambien for years - my doctor said that restorative sleep is that important.  I keep thinking I need to wean from it, but honestly I don't want to think too hard at night so I allow myself that respite.  It still works for me, but I know it doesn't work for my husband.  Do ask your doctor to help you find something that does work.  It's important to rest during this time.  You're going to be ok!

  • Feelingalone74
    Feelingalone74 Member Posts: 243
    zsazsa1 said:

    What I found useful was a

    What I found useful was a laptop playing David Attenborough nature shows.  They were calming, pretty, and his voice was calming, droning.  They were just interesting enough to distract my mind, to let me fall asleep.

    I didn't use meds for sleep - too afraid I'd become dependent upon them.  But I AM dependent upon "Frozen World" and the other "Our Planet" videos!

    Zsazsa yes that is what I'm

    Zsazsa yes that is what I'm afraid of becoming dependent on something. I will try the nature shows that you suggested and see how that goes. Thanks so much

     

  • Feelingalone74
    Feelingalone74 Member Posts: 243
    MAbound said:

    anxiety med?

    I'm not sure that a sleep med addresses the anxiety that you are dealing with and perhaps that is why it is not working. That would be a question to ask your pharmacist so you can go back to your doctor about it. There are others who have had to take anxiety meds to help get them through all of the unknowns and waiting on the front end of treatment, so maybe they'll be along to help with that. There is no shame in needing help coping with this because it's scary stuff and rest is so important to getting through it all.

    I hate taking meds like you, so while this may sound crazy, what helped me was saying thank you to God each night for all the good things I've had in my life. I tried to name each memory, so it helped to keep me focused on the positives and reduced my anxiety. The older you are, the more ground you have to cover and I found myself falling asleep before I could finish. 

     

    Mabound , yes I think you may

    Mabound , yes I think you may be right that what I really need is anxiety medicine and not sleep medication. Because all of the no sleep deprivation is a result of anxiety. And a nurse  did suggest that yesterday but of course I'm so reluctant that I declined her talking to my doctor about it. I'm thinking that I'm going to have to given even though I don't want to. I do try to thank God each day and for everything that I have and had throughout my life and for helping me get through each day but unfortunately even replaying good memories in my head doesn't put me back to sleep

  • Feelingalone74
    Feelingalone74 Member Posts: 243
    MoeKay said:

    I didn't sleep for months and I was a mess

    After completing treatment, I was very anxious and unable to sleep.  I think part of it was due to being thrown into surgical menopause and the other part was worry over the possibility of recurrence.  I too do not like taking medication, so I thought I could tough it out, but I was wrong.  I couldn't function in work and the quality of my life deteriorated significantly.  I tried a number of things suggested short of medication, such as relaxation tapes, warm milk, and evening yoga classes, to name a few.  None of those things helped at all.  I was eventually able to break the no-sleep cycle with Ativan, but because I am so anti-med, and because Ativan is habit-forming, I was very cautious to not stay on it any longer than necessary by carefully weaning down the dose as my sleep improved. 

    Sweet dreams!

    Moekay, I think you're right

    Moekay, I think you're right that the surgical menopause is not helping things either. I have been trying to tough it out as you said you did but I'm now going on the third week of no sleep and it's definitely catching up to me . Today I'm very exhausted. And my husband is worried that if I don't get sleep but I won't be well enough to get the port put in next week and be strong enough to withstand treatment the following week. The nurse that I spoke to you on the phone yesterday suggested Ativan. I might have to give in though I don't want to. Eere you able to drive and go about daily activities went on this? 

    I hope to have sweet dreams  soon. 

  • Feelingalone74
    Feelingalone74 Member Posts: 243
    Armywife said:

    I'm sorry

    I'm sorry you're not sleeping.  I know that well - I started having insomnia even before diagnosis and then of course the anxiety made it worse.  I've been on ambien for years - my doctor said that restorative sleep is that important.  I keep thinking I need to wean from it, but honestly I don't want to think too hard at night so I allow myself that respite.  It still works for me, but I know it doesn't work for my husband.  Do ask your doctor to help you find something that does work.  It's important to rest during this time.  You're going to be ok!

    Armywife, I'm sorry u endured

    Armywife, I'm sorry u endured insomnia as well I know you're right that sleep and rest is so important to keep up my strength. Thank you for your continuing Positive Vibes and reassuring me that I will be okay. I've only been taking the Ambien for four nights now so maybe it's not then enough time?

    It means a lot you ladies are all amazing and your advice and support help me so much!

    Hugs to u all!

  • BluebirdOne
    BluebirdOne Member Posts: 552 Member
    I have had intractable insomnia for almost 17 years.

    It came with a vengeance during menopause. I tried everything, drugs, exercise, diet. I had the kind of insomnia where I did not sleep ALL NIGHT, at worst, and at best I got few hours a night. Long before cancer. I tried Ambien, (terrible side effects, but works if you want to walk around half drugged).  What is worse, no sleep vs. drug induced day time misery? Take your pick. I also during those early years used Ativan, which initially works, then the effect declines and you can become dependent upon it. I learned that after a while on it when i started having extremely vivid nightmares that it is time to stop for a month or two. I became a resident of Colorado where I could use THC 10 mg. gummies that actually worked. Not perfect, but I could take them for months on end with out having to stop. I could fall asleep by timing when i took the gummy, and for the most part, stay asleep. Nothing has ever given me a reliable 8 hour sleep. Mostly I am grateful to fall asleep, as that was a big problem before. Staying asleep is another story, no matter what I take. When I was diagnosed with cancer, I was eagerly taking ANYTHING, DRUGS, THC, to finally get some respite from insomnia. It is a terrible and ongoing problem for me. Everyone reacts differently, but the emotional stress of cancer and not sleeping so you have some time to process your condition is vital. Take what works for you. I am now taking a combination of THC and Trazadone, an anti-anxiety and anti-depressant, not relying on the Trazadone as much. For me, being able to fall asleep is key to my sanity as laying awake, hour after hour after hour after an exhausting day is torture. Falling asleep fairly easily, even if I don't stay asleep all night has worked out better as at least I get some relief, some sleep and the night time terrors can go to sleep as well. Luckily, when I do stop the drugs, I have had no withdrawl or side effects, so I don't worry about addiction. If you are legally able, do try THC gummies. I can't recommend breaking the law. In the end having some good nights when I was able to fall asleep for 2-4 hours is key to actual survival. I also listen to podcasts where I have learned which ones are so boring that they put me to sleep in minutes! Remember that you need sleep to heal your body, and sleep to give your mind a respite. Puting a few things into it to achieve those short term goals is not wrong, especially considering what we go through with treatment. I will take almost anything that works well, even if it is only for a month. Good luck to you.

    Denise 

  • BluebirdOne
    BluebirdOne Member Posts: 552 Member
    edited July 2019 #11

    Thanks Denise, you're right

    Thanks Denise, you're right sleep is so essential for healing. The lack if sleep over the last week has finally caught up to me. I fall asleep easily but can only sleep for 2 hours and wide awake the rest of the night with a racing mind. I know  I definitely  don't want to take any illegal drugs  and will only take what the doctor  prescribes.

    Thanks for wishing me good luck!

     

    For many of us the first weeks and months are

    so hard to deal with. This is totally normal and know that as time goes on and your knowledge of your treatments increases, the terror descreases in direct proportion, at least for me it did. I am one year out from dx and surgery and probably the first four to five months of dealing with the most emotionally and physically terrifying part of my life that brought me to where I am now. The physical stress for many of us pass, but the emotional aspect is a daily struggle for me. I can't speak for others. Coming to terms with your individual dx, treatment and prognosis will take all of your strength and reserves in the early days. For me, the stress of treatment retreated, but I was and still am emotionally fragile, but compared to one year ago I can truly think of myself as Super Woman, able to leap tall buildings, I am faster than a speeding bullet, and I am more powerful than a locomotive! We all deal with this in our own ways, commesurate with our dx and treaments. I have come to terms with my new life which means I am totally in denial most of the time, because you have to when thinking positive. The point is that we all develop coping mechanisms and as time goes on it does become easier for most of us. You are not alone, your feelings are so very normal and we are here for you.

    Denise 

  • Armywife
    Armywife Member Posts: 449 Member

    Armywife, I'm sorry u endured

    Armywife, I'm sorry u endured insomnia as well I know you're right that sleep and rest is so important to keep up my strength. Thank you for your continuing Positive Vibes and reassuring me that I will be okay. I've only been taking the Ambien for four nights now so maybe it's not then enough time?

    It means a lot you ladies are all amazing and your advice and support help me so much!

    Hugs to u all!

    Well...

    Honestly if it hasn't worked yet for you, it may not. It worked the first night for me.  I believe for most people Ambien works within an hour.  Even after all these years, I fall asleep pretty quickly with it most nights.  It gets me at least four or five hours and then my sleep is light and full of really vivid dreams, which is more exhausting than being awake.  Have you tried taking any melatonin? Someone told me you can take up to 10mg for a more natural sleep.  I haven't tried it yet.  Also, lots of people swear by benadryl or tylenol pm.  

  • Feelingalone74
    Feelingalone74 Member Posts: 243

    I have had intractable insomnia for almost 17 years.

    It came with a vengeance during menopause. I tried everything, drugs, exercise, diet. I had the kind of insomnia where I did not sleep ALL NIGHT, at worst, and at best I got few hours a night. Long before cancer. I tried Ambien, (terrible side effects, but works if you want to walk around half drugged).  What is worse, no sleep vs. drug induced day time misery? Take your pick. I also during those early years used Ativan, which initially works, then the effect declines and you can become dependent upon it. I learned that after a while on it when i started having extremely vivid nightmares that it is time to stop for a month or two. I became a resident of Colorado where I could use THC 10 mg. gummies that actually worked. Not perfect, but I could take them for months on end with out having to stop. I could fall asleep by timing when i took the gummy, and for the most part, stay asleep. Nothing has ever given me a reliable 8 hour sleep. Mostly I am grateful to fall asleep, as that was a big problem before. Staying asleep is another story, no matter what I take. When I was diagnosed with cancer, I was eagerly taking ANYTHING, DRUGS, THC, to finally get some respite from insomnia. It is a terrible and ongoing problem for me. Everyone reacts differently, but the emotional stress of cancer and not sleeping so you have some time to process your condition is vital. Take what works for you. I am now taking a combination of THC and Trazadone, an anti-anxiety and anti-depressant, not relying on the Trazadone as much. For me, being able to fall asleep is key to my sanity as laying awake, hour after hour after hour after an exhausting day is torture. Falling asleep fairly easily, even if I don't stay asleep all night has worked out better as at least I get some relief, some sleep and the night time terrors can go to sleep as well. Luckily, when I do stop the drugs, I have had no withdrawl or side effects, so I don't worry about addiction. If you are legally able, do try THC gummies. I can't recommend breaking the law. In the end having some good nights when I was able to fall asleep for 2-4 hours is key to actual survival. I also listen to podcasts where I have learned which ones are so boring that they put me to sleep in minutes! Remember that you need sleep to heal your body, and sleep to give your mind a respite. Puting a few things into it to achieve those short term goals is not wrong, especially considering what we go through with treatment. I will take almost anything that works well, even if it is only for a month. Good luck to you.

    Denise 

    Thanks Denise, you're right

    Thanks Denise, you're right sleep is so essential for healing. The lack if sleep over the last week has finally caught up to me. I fall asleep easily but can only sleep for 2 hours and wide awake the rest of the night with a racing mind. I know  I definitely  don't want to take any illegal drugs  and will only take what the doctor  prescribes.

    Thanks for wishing me good luck!

     

  • Feelingalone74
    Feelingalone74 Member Posts: 243

    For many of us the first weeks and months are

    so hard to deal with. This is totally normal and know that as time goes on and your knowledge of your treatments increases, the terror descreases in direct proportion, at least for me it did. I am one year out from dx and surgery and probably the first four to five months of dealing with the most emotionally and physically terrifying part of my life that brought me to where I am now. The physical stress for many of us pass, but the emotional aspect is a daily struggle for me. I can't speak for others. Coming to terms with your individual dx, treatment and prognosis will take all of your strength and reserves in the early days. For me, the stress of treatment retreated, but I was and still am emotionally fragile, but compared to one year ago I can truly think of myself as Super Woman, able to leap tall buildings, I am faster than a speeding bullet, and I am more powerful than a locomotive! We all deal with this in our own ways, commesurate with our dx and treaments. I have come to terms with my new life which means I am totally in denial most of the time, because you have to when thinking positive. The point is that we all develop coping mechanisms and as time goes on it does become easier for most of us. You are not alone, your feelings are so very normal and we are here for you.

    Denise 

    Denise thanks for the

    Denise thanks for the affirmation  that my feelings  are normal. It sure is a lot to deal with....emotionally  draining . Time heals all things and I'll be  glad when I  can put at least the physical  aspect behind me and only have  to  deal with the emotional . 

     So grateful  for all u ladies that are here for me,

  • Feelingalone74
    Feelingalone74 Member Posts: 243
    Armywife said:

    Well...

    Honestly if it hasn't worked yet for you, it may not. It worked the first night for me.  I believe for most people Ambien works within an hour.  Even after all these years, I fall asleep pretty quickly with it most nights.  It gets me at least four or five hours and then my sleep is light and full of really vivid dreams, which is more exhausting than being awake.  Have you tried taking any melatonin? Someone told me you can take up to 10mg for a more natural sleep.  I haven't tried it yet.  Also, lots of people swear by benadryl or tylenol pm.  

    Armywife ,  I think your

    Armywife ,  I think your right it doesn't  seem  like  it's going to help me , I wish I could take  melatonin as I'd rather take something  natural    but I  also have a blood disorder that I have to take Warfarin for a certain medications interfere with it and melatonin was one of them cuz that was going to be my first choice to try.

    I may try Tylenol  PM . 

    Thanks 

  • MoeKay
    MoeKay Member Posts: 396 Member
    Ativan Information from NAMI

    The National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) website on Ativan (lorazepam) states the following:  "Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you because you may notice that you feel tired or dizzy."  See:

    https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Treatment/Mental-Health-Medications/Types-of-Medication/Lorazepam-(Ativan)

    As I'm sure you're aware, everyone reacts differently to medication.  It's been close to 20 years since I took Ativan, but I remember that it was around the holidays when I began taking it.  I was off work at that time, so I didn't drive for the first week or so and by that time I knew that I was not tired or dizzy and that my reaction time was not impaired. 

    If nothing else works for you and you do end up on anti-anxiety medication, I would approach this option as a short-term solution.  I never had sleep problems before or after this episode, and my goal when I started the Ativan was to find the fastest way to break the no-sleep cycle and wean off the medication. 

    Best of luck to you.

  • Feelingalone74
    Feelingalone74 Member Posts: 243
    MoeKay said:

    Ativan Information from NAMI

    The National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) website on Ativan (lorazepam) states the following:  "Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you because you may notice that you feel tired or dizzy."  See:

    https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Treatment/Mental-Health-Medications/Types-of-Medication/Lorazepam-(Ativan)

    As I'm sure you're aware, everyone reacts differently to medication.  It's been close to 20 years since I took Ativan, but I remember that it was around the holidays when I began taking it.  I was off work at that time, so I didn't drive for the first week or so and by that time I knew that I was not tired or dizzy and that my reaction time was not impaired. 

    If nothing else works for you and you do end up on anti-anxiety medication, I would approach this option as a short-term solution.  I never had sleep problems before or after this episode, and my goal when I started the Ativan was to find the fastest way to break the no-sleep cycle and wean off the medication. 

    Best of luck to you.

    Thanks MoeKay! I reluctantly

    Thanks MoeKay! I reluctantly got a script for the something yesterday at my chemo teaching appointment. I  took one last night. It did not help I still woke up several times during the night awake since 4 AM. I hate taking these kinds of medications and then if they're not working makes it even worse they only gave me four hoping that if I got back on a good sleep pattern and I would not need them. I do not want to take anything long-term or run the risk of getting addicted to anything if that's not my style of life. Interesting enough they said if I took it by 10 I would be able to drive my car the next morning. I don't feel dizzy or light yeaded just a headache from no sleep. I did drive my car to an appointment this morning I made it home okay. Thanks for wishing me luck Hugs

  • oldbeauty
    oldbeauty Member Posts: 319 Member
    edited July 2019 #18

    Thanks MoeKay! I reluctantly

    Thanks MoeKay! I reluctantly got a script for the something yesterday at my chemo teaching appointment. I  took one last night. It did not help I still woke up several times during the night awake since 4 AM. I hate taking these kinds of medications and then if they're not working makes it even worse they only gave me four hoping that if I got back on a good sleep pattern and I would not need them. I do not want to take anything long-term or run the risk of getting addicted to anything if that's not my style of life. Interesting enough they said if I took it by 10 I would be able to drive my car the next morning. I don't feel dizzy or light yeaded just a headache from no sleep. I did drive my car to an appointment this morning I made it home okay. Thanks for wishing me luck Hugs

    Temazepam (brand name Restoril)

    I was prescribed Temazepam (I forget dosage) when I had my first recurrence while living overseas in 2012.  The doctor said it provided a full night's gentle sleep and I'd wake up the next day refreshed without feeling hung over or dopey.  That, in fact, was my experience and I highly recommend it.  I told my US doctor what I wanted for sleep aid when I had my second recurrence in 2017.  While she was not unfamiliar with the drug, my impression was that it was not a "go to" drug for US doctors.  I did not take it for very long and I've used it only sporadically since and not recently.  But I suffered no ill effects and no seduction into dependence (unlike Oxycodone which I've had after shoulder surgery and that stuff wants to suck you in very quickly).  Sleep is essential for healing and mental health.  Please talk to your nurse and doctor about your problem and explore the medication possibilities.  You are unlikely to get hooked, given your reluctance to use these substances.  But you probably need something that will work for you to break the cycle.  Best wishes, Oldbeauty 

  • LisaPizza
    LisaPizza Member Posts: 348 Member
    oldbeauty said:

    Temazepam (brand name Restoril)

    I was prescribed Temazepam (I forget dosage) when I had my first recurrence while living overseas in 2012.  The doctor said it provided a full night's gentle sleep and I'd wake up the next day refreshed without feeling hung over or dopey.  That, in fact, was my experience and I highly recommend it.  I told my US doctor what I wanted for sleep aid when I had my second recurrence in 2017.  While she was not unfamiliar with the drug, my impression was that it was not a "go to" drug for US doctors.  I did not take it for very long and I've used it only sporadically since and not recently.  But I suffered no ill effects and no seduction into dependence (unlike Oxycodone which I've had after shoulder surgery and that stuff wants to suck you in very quickly).  Sleep is essential for healing and mental health.  Please talk to your nurse and doctor about your problem and explore the medication possibilities.  You are unlikely to get hooked, given your reluctance to use these substances.  But you probably need something that will work for you to break the cycle.  Best wishes, Oldbeauty 

    It's a drug class that

    It's a drug class that classically causes dependence.  I think we're all just different how things affect us. I relied on oxycodone with every chemo cycle, but never felt any inclination to use it beyond that. I was so grateful my gyn onc never questioned all my refills!

  • mamlicsw
    mamlicsw Member Posts: 33

    Thanks MoeKay! I reluctantly

    Thanks MoeKay! I reluctantly got a script for the something yesterday at my chemo teaching appointment. I  took one last night. It did not help I still woke up several times during the night awake since 4 AM. I hate taking these kinds of medications and then if they're not working makes it even worse they only gave me four hoping that if I got back on a good sleep pattern and I would not need them. I do not want to take anything long-term or run the risk of getting addicted to anything if that's not my style of life. Interesting enough they said if I took it by 10 I would be able to drive my car the next morning. I don't feel dizzy or light yeaded just a headache from no sleep. I did drive my car to an appointment this morning I made it home okay. Thanks for wishing me luck Hugs

    Sorry for your insomnia.  I

    Sorry for your insomnia.  I feel your pain.  I've been working some with my doctor as well as scounting around for solutions.  Right now I get some sleep (but very little REM sleep I feel) using a combination of 5 mg of melatonin and 5 mg of Ativan.  My PCP said we'll work on weaning me after treatment but sleep and treatment are key for now.  It's not like it's producing a very desirable result, just better than no sleep.  Hope you are able to find something as even some sleep is a definite improvement.

  • Fridays Child
    Fridays Child Member Posts: 250 Member

    For many of us the first weeks and months are

    so hard to deal with. This is totally normal and know that as time goes on and your knowledge of your treatments increases, the terror descreases in direct proportion, at least for me it did. I am one year out from dx and surgery and probably the first four to five months of dealing with the most emotionally and physically terrifying part of my life that brought me to where I am now. The physical stress for many of us pass, but the emotional aspect is a daily struggle for me. I can't speak for others. Coming to terms with your individual dx, treatment and prognosis will take all of your strength and reserves in the early days. For me, the stress of treatment retreated, but I was and still am emotionally fragile, but compared to one year ago I can truly think of myself as Super Woman, able to leap tall buildings, I am faster than a speeding bullet, and I am more powerful than a locomotive! We all deal with this in our own ways, commesurate with our dx and treaments. I have come to terms with my new life which means I am totally in denial most of the time, because you have to when thinking positive. The point is that we all develop coping mechanisms and as time goes on it does become easier for most of us. You are not alone, your feelings are so very normal and we are here for you.

    Denise 

    "I am totally in denial most of the time."

    I totally love that comment!