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A few months ago, I began searching in earnest for information on UROD (and Waismann in particular) all over the web. I found a confusing mix of horror stories, a few positive testimonials (which frankly I found suspect), and positive testimonials on the websites of the providers. There were also a few abstracts available from JAMA that seemed to show the procedure was still being tested (these were contemporary, not the one study usually shown here by detractors.) I also visited with several doctors and pyshiatrists in my local area who knew little or nothing about the procedure, but did want me to report results to them if I tried it (how encouraging :p). In the end, after extensive talks with the Waismann PA, I decided to take a leap of faith, fly out to California, and try the procedure. I made a commitment to myself that I would return here and describe to the best of my ability what happened so that others might at least have one more detailed data point to use in their decision making. The following was/is my experience (These notes are from day 9 after my procedure):
Before I begin, I am a late 30s male who had used suboxone for approximately 2 years after +/- 1 year of prescription painkiller (primarily percs). My sub doc originally prescribed 24 mg/d from which I tapered to 4 mg/d in about the first 8 months on suboxone. I took approximately the next year off from tapering, then resumed tapering in the final months of my use to +/- 3 mg/d.
Now back to the treatment experience: I arrived in California late on a Tuesday night, a driver met me at the airport and took me to the hotel where I would spend the night. The next morning at 8 AM another driver arrived at the hotel and drove me the short distance to the hospital. When I arrived, I was promptly checked in the hospital, put on a morphine drip, and made quite comfortable. The Waismann rep was very reassuring and made sure that I had anything that I needed and the nurses at the hospital were very conscientious about checking on me (this occurred throughout the entire hospital stay).
The Waismann rep was also kind enough to go through the employees cafeteria for what was one of the best hamburgers I had ever eaten (fresh baked bun and all, thank you Christina). All medications that I brought with me were catalogued and taken for the duration of the treatment.
I was given a list of the meds to check (and they were promptly returned on my last day with Waismann). The rest of the day was spent doing a few diagnostic tests (urinalysis, EKG, blood pressure etc.) and relaxing as much as possible in a hospital bed. Dr. Lowenstein also came by to explain the treatment and answer any questions I had (and there were a few :)) This day was actually quite nice, the food was good, had a TV and bathroom in private room.
Towards the end of the day, they began prepping me for the procedure in the morning. All food and liquids were discontinued after 8 PM and doses of clonidine were administered periodically with blood pressure tests to prepare me. At approximately 4 AM, I was taken to ICU and slept until approx. 9 AM when the doctors arrived to begin the procedure. This was now Thursday morning.
I remember little about the procedure itself. I was handed a small cup which Dr. Lowenstein I believe explained contained broken up xanax and naltrexone. I took this medication which is the last thing I remember until late that night. I had the briefest sensation that my body had scaled over with hot scales. This subsided very rapidly (within a minute or two) and the rest of the night I was in and out of sleep aided by meds given by the attending nurses. There was also a sitter with me from Waismann that sat in my room all night and took care of any need I had though there were few.
The only real discomfort I encountered was the desire to get out of the ICU early Friday morning. Curiously, the nurses in the ICU were much louder than in the other parts of the hospital where I stayed. There was some clock watching going on Friday morning and I badly wanted to go back to a regular room. I felt pretty good and was tiring of being in the hospital. At approximately 6 AM, I was moved out of ICU to a much quieter area of the hospital and started on 2 bags of saline. Until this point I had had no GI problems or discomfort. The saline seemed to kick off a bout of diarrhea and I had to make about 5 trips to the bathroom in fairly quick succession. Also, as I took the saline I became very cold. This was probably the most unpleasant part of the entire treatment (being very cold) and I dreaded staying in the hospital for the amount of time necessary to get the 2 bags of saline in. At 8 AM, Christina again came by to check on me and I requested that I be allowed to go to the retreat as quickly as safely possible.
She and the Waismann PA, April, promptly performed the diagnostic tests necessary to allow me to be released from the hospital which I passed. I was not required to take the full two bags of saline which was a relief (seems odd I know, to be worried about saline, but it was making me very cold). Nurses came in and remove my IV, I immediately got up, got dressed and pulled my two heavy bags out to the nurses station.
The two Waismann personnel and hospital nurses got a bit of a laugh and had to tell me that it took about 45 minutes for the driver to get to the hospital from the retreat and they were still finishing the discharge papers. I was ready to get out into the sun and warm up a bit!
I felt mentally good at this point, had no anxiety and was in good spirits. Things also looked quite a bit clearer which surprised me as I believed the Suboxone was not dulling my senses as much as I have found that it was. Physically, I was also mostly good. I felt a little weak and my legs were moderately sore. I also believed that the hospital was using some sort of foul smelling disinfectant that I was ready to get away from. Unfortunately this was a side effect of the procedure that lasted several days, but reduced in severity quickly. Approximately 45 minutes later, the driver arrived and I walked out of the hospital with the Waismann staff insisting that they help me with my bags. I was ready to go!
I got in the car and met Jeremiah, who was one of the "sitters" (for lack of a better word) at the retreat. He drove me to Domus which took approximatley 45 minutes. I had never been to this area, so enjoyed looking out the window and talking about the area with J. He did remark that I looked remarkably good and that so had the gentleman that had undergone the procedure the day before. This leads me to believe that my experience may have been to some degree easier than others. I was quite impressed with the retreat itself when we arrived. It was a beautiful house with just about any amenity you can think of. Every room had a private bath and flat screen TV. There was exercise equipment, pool, hot tub, pool table, massage chair, game machines, and just about every other diversion you can imagine. The place was also stocked to the hilt with Propel, water, sodas, and snacks. I rarely ate any of the snacks as there was a chef present each day to make each meal and fresh snacks for the day (Thank you Bill and John). Chef Bill immediately asked about my GI symptoms and spent the next two days preparing meals that successfully got rid of my diarrhea completely after about 2 days.
The people at the retreat were very caring, were willing to keep my company at any time (and did so often), and did everything they could to make my stay comfortable. My mood was very positive the entire stay and I was in a very optimistic state of mind. This was no doubt aided by the positive staff, the good attitude of the one other gentleman at the retreat who I befriended, and by the daily "therapeutic" activities (actual therapy by an analyst, messages, yoga, relaxation therapy, etc.)
There were two activities per day and I participated in them all even on my day of arrival. Mentally and emotionally I would say that I was at or near 100% during my stay.
There were more physical symptoms. My legs did continue to stay cramped more or less the duration of my stay (4 days) but the intensity declined markedly each day until it was only apparent after exertion. I also had some difficulty sleeping and averaged about 4 hours a night. As previously stated, I had diarrhea for several days and smelled an unpleasant smell (which was not there) for several days. I was also more easily fatigued than normal and took some rest breaks during the days. Even though I was fatigued, I still managed to put in some time on the exercise bike each day and did yoga on the day it was offered.
I spent a fair bit of time each day in the hot tub (even one day in the cool rain) and the other gentleman at the retreat and I got along well and spent quite a bit of time together. It was nice to have someone there to talk in the hottub with etc. (even more so since he also was in a very positive state of mind).
Each and every one of the people that worked at the retreat was a blessing. The staff (sitters) worked 8 hour shifts and were always around serving us in whatever capacity was needed. They also controlled all medication, and were conscientous about its use and record keeping. The chefs also worked constantly, crafting delicious homemade meals with the finest ingredients which I devoured starting the second day there when my apetite returned it full force. I had a slight cold when I arrived which continued through my stay.
At one point I asked if the chef had any local honey because I thought it might be allergy related and local honey often helps allergies. He did not have any local honey, but immediately volunteered to go down to the local farmer's market and procured some for me. This was typical of the service I recieved. Everyone was always willing to serve in any capacity needed and I truly appreciate it. Thank you Jeremiah, Louise, Jaman, Ingin, Jaimie, James, April, Chef Bill, and Chef John. You were there for me when I needed it. Each of the planned daily activities or therapy sessions were also excellent. I got much out of my three visits with the analyst Mr. Livingston (far more than any of my previous visits with "counselors"), and it was apparent that the various consultants that came in (counselors, yoga instructors, masseuse) were experts. I left the retreat on Tuesday, one week after I arrived in California, and was quite capable of travel. I had a comfortable trip home (halfway across country with a stop and plane change included).
Since I've been home, my sleep has gradually increased each night and I slept over 7 hours last night. I still get tired easier than I used to (or at least I seem to, its hard to compare since I'm not sure I felt things in the same way when I was on Suboxone). I had one day where I was more tired than others, but other than that I seem to be improving each day. I worked one partial day and one full day already. I also try to keep myself busy and have appointments set up in the coming week with a therapist. My legs still ache on occasion and diarrhea returned for a few days on return home, but things are very good all things considered. I have had no cravings, but not sure if this is due to the treatment or because of the drug i was detox'd off of. I rarely "craved" the Suboxone either. I take half a tablet of Naltrexone daily and seem to have no side effects.
I made a commitment to myself to write this review (good or bad) when I returned home because there were so few detailed testimonials on the internet. I was very afraid of the treatment, but am very glad I went through with it. I questioned the staff incessantly about how others tolerated the treatment so I could share that information as well. They were fairly forthcoming, but obviously were bound by confidentiality and could only say so much.
The following were my general impressions on how different people tend to respond: It sounded like younger patients seem to tolerate the treatment better than older at least physically (although the other gentlemen at the retreat with me was 20 years my senior and he responded very well). It seemed that mental state and attitude plays a factor (doesn't it always?) with those coming of their own volition doing better than those maybe pressured by a spouse or parent.
The other obvious correlation was to drug type and dosage (and possible length of use). It sounded like Methadone and Fentanyl users tended to take a few more days to "feel better" than did users of other drugs and that tapering into the treatment was a good idea. Suboxone at the dosage I was at was very tolerable, at least for me, and I had cut my own dosage by half again the day before treatment.
I also know that the other gentleman at the retreat had attempted to taper some off his pain meds and it apparently paid dividends. On my last night at the retreat a new patient came in who appeared to be having a harder time. He was young and looked very physically fit (my guess is a fighter of some sort or personal trainer). After listening to him it was apparent he had gone out for one last blowout before the treatment and he looked like he was paying for it. One surprise to me about the treatment is I was not intubated. I asked about this as my throat was slightly sore the day after treatment. The PA explained that they no longer have to intubate people because of advances with the meds used and that was also the reason for no food or water after 8 PM the night before treatment. Apparently the risks of vomiting during the procedure have been mitigated.
I hope this information is helpful to others. I am sure I have forgotten many details, but have tried to make this as comprehensive as possible. I looked for good information for several months and was distraught when I found few detailed testimonials (good or bad). I was distrustful of the good because they lacked detail and could easily have been shills (not saying that they were). Also, some of the negative reports seemed to come from people with their own possible agendas (again this may have only been my impression). There appears to be many agendas in the world of drug treatment and hope this account can at least shine a little light on one of the most underdescribed types of opiate detox. If you have any questions, please respond and I will attempt to answer them. I probably won't check in often, but want to be of help to any others if I may be.
Oh - I forgot one of the most persistent and slightly annoying yet benign side effects of the treatment. You are probably going to be sneezing a lot for a few days - I know I did. Also, my detox was done with the Waismann Institute in California. I do not know about differences in outcomes amongst the different providers. The Waismann people were not terribly complementary of other providers, but I do not know if they were talking their own book so to say or had legitimate concerns. My guess is some of both.
I apologize if this is a duplicate post... haven't seen my original post up and wanted to make sure this got posted.
Welcome and thank you for taking the time to share your experience with ODR. It's nice to read something other than a horror story about UROD.
Up until now there havent been a whole lot of positive stories from those who have tried this detox method, but I have to say that just about all the good stories that do show up here have been from patients of this same facility.
Apparently someone has finally tweaked the protocol enough to make it tolerable and effective.....And I'm relieved to hear that you were given the pills and didnt get the naltrexone implant.
You dont say how long it's been or maybe I missed it. Also, how much Naltrexone are you taking daily? I have heard very good things about low doses of naltrexone (mainly ULTRA LOW doses aka ULDN) and wondering if this is contributing to your positive outlook. For most, that everlasting PAWS syndrome after getting off Sub is a b*tch.
I am at the end of day 9 after the detox. Apparently I messed up my time zone when creating an account - it is about 1 AM Sunday here (I guess beginning of day 10). I am taking 25 mg of naltrexone each morning. I really have no idea if it is affecting my mood, but suspect that activity is doing me more good than anything. I spent 3-4 hours today doing manual labor, drove around for a couple of hours running errands, and spent the rest of the time visiting with friends and watched a movie. There are still a few nagging symptoms, but I try not to give them much thought. My legs still cramp pretty easily after doing physical work although this may just be normal soreness as it has been a while since I've done much physically taxing work. I also notice a transient period of feeling a little off each afternoon. I suspect that these are just normal feelings that I have forgotten or that were covered up by the suboxone. I do notice now that I have conditioned myself to think about these problems in a negative way - my initial impulse is to try to think of a medical solution for each discomfort even if it is just thinking about taking ibuprofen for the leg discomfort. These "ideas" quickly go away if I put my mind on something else and just tell myself the feelings are normal. I have some unlearning to do, but expect things to keep improving. If I have another low energy day, I'm not going to worry about it and just go with it. I'll keep you updated on any PAWS symptoms - the legs may be one? It could be that my expectations were just so low that the discomforts seem minor. I was also very ready to get off suboxone. I was withdrawing more and more from life the last year that I was on it and sometimes felt it a great weight hanging over me (probably dread of the ultimate withdrawals). Subs also gave me headaches at times and made me lethargic. I find it valuable to remember that I really didn't feel so good while medicated.
I will need to make a decision about the naltrexone in a few more weeks. I have been contemplating only using the naltrexone through the period where there could still be any suboxone in my system (+/- 21 days) instead of the Waismann recommended 9 months. I am a bit concerned that the naltrexone is blocking my natural endorphins and think I might be better off it sooner than later. I spoke with the Waismann staff about this and they indicated that at 25 mg/d you should still get the affect of your natural endorphins (or part of them) and asked me consider and reconsider their advice of taking naltrexone for 9 months. I would greatly appreciate anyone sharing their experiences or opinions on this subject.
Did you find out what exactly is used during rapid detox by Waismann ?
If you did the procedure in Calif then they must state exactly what was used and how it was done.
Personally I think going through acute WD is a good kick in the butt and hence a useful reminder not to go back to opiates.
I am curious though as to how the body reacts after day 3 of Rapid detox vs. day 10 or so of regular quitting. I am four months into quitting Sube and am still not fully functional. My sleep is still messed up, blood pressure is still high, some fatigue is still there, lack of motivation or interest, etc.
You are on day 9 and you report very little discomfort. Hope that is how it will proceed for you, but just please keep everyone updated on your recovery as you go further into staying sober.
detox from sub is a different ball game. It takes much time to recovery. those that deotx from cleaner opiates reovery faster but we all face the same thing. Detox is only a small part of reovery.. just opens the door for recovery. Hang in there. It will get better but just takes much time. best believe that the 100 or so detoxes didnt do anything for my reovery. Did not deter me from using again either.
I know what your going thru... been there done that. Hang on.
omission is not honesty, only a different way of lying.
Congrats on making it this far. The Naltrexone may be "healing" your brain from it's opiate use. 25 mg is a fairly low dose (although I have heard of others using as low as 5mg per day). And there is a chance when you go off the Naltrexone you can have more significant PAWS. Good luck and keep us posted.
Mo - I do not remember exactly what they used in the treatment. I remember them giving me a few broken up pills before getting started (Xanax and Naltrexone), but believe that I ultimately also recieved Versed for sedation and some amount of naloxone for the actual detox. I cannot confirm the naloxone part as I simply don't remember. I can call and ask if you like (or you could call them - I'm sure they would explain better than me). I hear what your saying about acute withdrawals, but for me at least, the idea of being extremely ill for 2-3 weeks was a severe impediment to me stopping. Taking that amount of time off work or being unable to care for children for that long was a serious issue. I would have continued to taper if I could not have done the Waismann procedure and hoped for the best. When you state you are still having issues after 4 months, are these very mild differences in how you expect to feel or more troublesome? I still do not feel 100%, but feel pretty good. I had some IBS type problems yesterday morning (diarrhea, stomach pain after eating), but I can not for sure say it was related to the treatment. I have had these symptoms before and had forgotten to take my proton pump inhibitor pills for a few days which could easily have caused the issue. It could be an affect of the treatment or just a problem I have. I had a good day yesterday all in all (did yard work, visited family) and today (worked all day). These were days 10 & 11 I believe (haven't been counting). I did feel a little of that "buzzing" feeling on waking this morning and have felt slightly off a few times during the day, but nothing serious. I slept a full night last night and about 6.5 hours the night before.
I am very curious if we are not just experiencing reality in a different way than we are used to. I do feel some weakness and fatigue, but I also used to lay around and nap a lot while on Subs. I have also aged a few years since all this started. I wonder if my "fatigue" is just normal "tiredness" and I am out of shape. It is hard to tell, but that is what I have decided to believe at least for now. I guess I'll have to see how I feel in a couple of months. You also spoke of a lack of motivation. I do find myself less interested in some things than I used to be but more interested in others. My desire to be around other people has increased while my desire to play on the internet and do solo activities has decreased a bit.
Tomorrow morning will be 2 weeks since the treatment. I felt "normal" today, but did have some "digestion issues". I had to attend a function last night and did drink some wine and eat some rich food which may have caused the problem. This seems to be the most lasting problem in my case if it is related. MY GI tract functions properly for a few days then regresses for a day. Someone suggested to me that this might be an issue with naltrexone. Anyway, so far so good. Hopefully things will continue the upward trajectory.
im glad you're doing ok, i too did the Waismann Method and had somewhat similar experiences. I had been going through a cycle of oxycontin, Suboxone and tapering for years untill i did their procedure. Let me first say ive been clean ever since, and didnt need to go through more withdrawals in order to remind me not to pick up again! I cannot really add to your detailed account of the procedure as you covered that well, but i just want to share my recovery since.
I did meet with a few other patients in the post procedure facility the Waismann Method offers, and it seems everyone had individual experiences of the process. I didn't hear anyone regret it though. but some people felt tired for a few days, some a little weak. My issue was digestive in nature..I guess years of my body being constipated had accoustomed it to function a certain way..having said that im really hard pressed to find anything negative to say, as my experiences were so much better than all the pain and anguish id suffered through for years prior.
Like ive said i spent a few days at their facility ( Domus- Really great place btw and staff were unreal in their compassion and level of care) and while there i felt pretty weak and had the aforementioned digestive issues. I left after a couple of days. I was able to function but would advise a gradual reintroduction to your normal lifestyle, not because of any specific concerns but a level of comfort really helped. Everyday life can be stressfull and its nice to be able to relax for a while.
I was never really a sporty type ( years of snorted oxy coating my lungs didnt help) but once clean i really felt i had been given a chance to live the life i wanted to, so my wife and i started going to the gym. It prob took a few weeks after the procedure before i felt strong enough to go, but if you take it slowly its really a good thing to do. That was almost 5 years ago and although im 46 im actually fitter than ive been since i was 16! i think the important thing to remember is take it slow, stay in your comfort zone and enjoy yourself. You have won the oppotunity to live again, and for me that was such a freeing feeling. I had spent years with the only end in sight was my death..pretty crappy! Im sure somedays will be better than others, but everyday from here on in is better clean than using.
Im just addressing the physical ramifications of my dependency, the mental aspect of addiction shouldnt be neglected either though. I don't know what form that may take for you, whatever works best for you, whatever resonates. Its great you have the oppotunity to find these things out now!
Physically just bear in mind your body is re-acclimatising itself to working without the opiates that poisoned it for so long, so just be patient if it feels strange sometimes .. It really does get back to normal, and for me that "normal" turned out to be better than i ever remember it being..Good luck and protect your sobriety with your life!!
Relaybane - thank you for the kind words and advice. I read your testimonials prior to going to California and they did help me make my decision. I really appreciate and thank you for sharing your experience. There were so few shared positive experiences (or negative for that matter) to draw from that your's made a big difference. The negative experiences seemed to outnumber the positive here and on other sites, but I always wondered if those who have bad experiences are just more apt to share them while those that do well tend to move on and not look back. I have also wondered if the procedure has just improved over time or if there are just a lot of poorly administered treatments. Hopefully, more people will share their experiences in the future and a better, fuller picture will emerge about people's responses to the treatment.
As an update, tomorrow morning will be 3 weeks from the treatment. I have generally felt good this week. I have had no cravings or anxiety, and I feel mentally and emotionally good. I also have adequate energy/motivation and have had no problems working, taking care of kids, and have been out to the movies and a few social events. I have had some digestive issues however (diarrhea about 3 of the days) which seems to come and go day by day. I have been starting to wonder if this is an adverse reaction to the naltrexone or just part of the recovery. I had a case of gastritis about two months prior to the treatment and have always had some issues with the GI tract, but I'd say this is different. Hopefully it will resolve soon or I may try skipping the naltrexone for a few days to see if it is a reaction to the meds. I should be clear of opiates at this point and expect that skipping the naltrexone would have no negative affect (any experiences with this?) I have also experienced night sweats about 3 of the nights this week, but have slept sufficiently each night. My body still seems to have some reregulating to do. Overall, I'm doing well and seem to have made major progress in the last three weeks with the exception of the GI upset. To be clear, I have had no nor have ever had any nausea or vomiting, its all the other kind of GI upset :P.
If anyone has any experience or ideas about the possible side affects of naltrexone, I'd appreciate hearing them. I realize you are not doctors and will confer with mine before making any change, but am interested if others have had similar experiences (cramps, diarrhea). I am also curious how long those of you who have taken naltrexone stayed on it, and if you experienced any changes when you ceased taking it. One of the previous posters wondered if the naltrexone was partly responsible for my good mood, and I would appreciate any ideas on that subject as well.
If you are sure you will not take opiates then stop the Naltrexone. It is merely to kill any temptation to use. Some report causes digestive disorder. I took it ten years ago for a month and did not have any symptoms. Naltroxene is what they gave you during rapid detox to dislodge and opiates from your receptors in a rapid way.
5 weeks down and all is well. I did stop taking the naltrexone and my diarrhea problems went away. I did not notice any increase in cravings when stopping the naltrexone, but did feel slightly different for a day (tired). I basically feel normal and do not seem to have any troublesome PAWS symptoms. I do notice that I continue to feel better as time goes on. I thought I was back to normal last week (after the GI upset stopped), but feel better this week than last. Now if spring allergy season would be a little gentler :) I have had a more stressful couple of weeks than usual with some rather large life changes, but don't have any real anxiety and things feel right. I'll report back in a couple of weeks, especially if something changes. Take care all.
Information in this forum is not monitored or provided by a medical professional. The information reflects member opinions only. Do not act on advice from these forums without first consulting a qualified medical professional. All content is copyrighted and protected by Aelius Group.