One of the stranger symptoms I experienced from Leukemia before I began treatment was night sweats. I never really understood how or why my body would choose to sweat so profusely and only when I was trying to get some sleep. After my diagnosis I found out it’s a big red flag that can indicate blood cancers (among other things, but nothing else all that applicative to a 23-year-old male). So over the last two nights when the night sweats returned in force it freaked me out a little bit – maybe it was evidence that the chemotherapy wasn’t killing off the cancer cells as efficiently as I hoped? Why else would symptoms I experienced while the cancer was ravaging my marrow return all of a sudden?

I was so focused on this one symptom that I didn’t really notice I had diffuse pains, trouble sleeping, fatigue and had developed a noticeable case of ‘the shakes’ as well – all of which fits remarkably well with opiate withdrawal! I’ve got to be one of only a handful of people ever excited to find out they’re going through withdrawal. The fact that it took me more than a day to figure it out speaks to how manageable it is and the alternative of my cancer reasserting itself would’ve sucked. The best part is as long as I don’t suddenly need morphine again everything should clear up in another day or two. Its a comforting and rare thing lately to understand what my body is doing, why and when it will stop – compared to cancer and reactions to chemotherapy, withdrawal is a fairly straightforward thing to get your head around.

– Austin

    • Cindy Brown
    • January 27th, 2010 5:45pm

    Austin, I am also a member of the Opiate Withdrawal Club. Ten years ago I tripped over our dog, Abby, and broke and dislocated my ring finger. From that injury I developed a nervous system disorder called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. I went on a truck load of medications, one of them being the every popular Oxycontin. I was taking it 2 times a day for 7 months. Even with lowering the dosage to wean off, the withdrawal was the pits. I remember telling everyone that I now knew why all the addicts were lined up at the methadone clinic so early. HANG IN THERE!!!

    This may be TMI, but I am also familiar with night sweats. It’s amazing how much sweat can escape from the human body with out even exercising and while asleep.

  1. @Cindy Brown

    Now that it’s something I’m experiencing for myself I’ve been really surprised common opiate withdrawal is among users of prescription medications. I was so focused on the pain at the time I never considered the fact that I’d have to come off it. I’m lucky to only experience a slight reaction…

    I think night sweats are some form of cruel joke by our bodies, I’m just unwilling to be OK with anything that interrupts my sleep!

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