Bloody Lymey

A Blog About Living with Lyme Disease

Chantix ……….

on February 16, 2013

OK.  This just sucks.  (Is that any way to start a blog properly?  No?  You’re probably right.)

Is it a good writing style?  Like Medias in  res?  Nah.  Not enough action.

I’m getting stuck.  I have so much to say and so much writer’s block.  Maybe it will help if I backtrack:


The only peculiar thing I recall is that I was lactating.  It was long after my son had been weaned.  I asked the doctor.  I squeezed my breast to show him it dribble. He frowned.  He said they could do some lab work, measuring my lactation hormones.  He agreed it was strange after such a long time, but did not think it would hurt anything. I was tired, too.  But I had a preschooler.  Of course I was tired, right?


I had fatigue.  I had a gray complexion. I was freezing. I could hardly move.  Mom compelled me to see the doctor.  They discovered I have hypothyroid.  They put me on meds. I felt better for a few months.


In January I started Chantix.  After a couple of weeks I stopped smoking.  I started to have vertigo – it was horrible.  I would bump into things.  I felt like I could tip over.  My perception of the world was weird ………. it looked like I was going uphill on even ground, or I would misgauge the stairs – how far up or down – and trip or stumble.  There was ungodly pressure in my eyes.

Doctor took me off of Chantix.  My symptoms continued to grow worse.  He talked about MS.  He talked about a neurologist.  Trouble was, he was ALL talk.  By May? I had a new doctor, new symptoms, and thought I was going to die.  We discovered it was Lyme Disease.  We started treatment.  I wasn’t cured – far from it.  But things seemed to be looking up.


Symptoms come and go. It seems to be a way of life.  I’ve started to embrace the times when things are easier, when I can walk farther, play with my son longer (or at all), get more done, feel more productive and useful………..


You probably saw the writing on the wall (or in the title).   In 2009, after having stopped smoking for 1 year and 7 months, I blazed up.  Finally? I had the gumption to stop again this year.  Since Chantix totally ruined my urge to smoke – and I had no side effects from it, just a coinky-dink with the Lyme Disease – I went back on it.

It did what it was supposed to.  Yes indeed.  Ruined my beloved habit.  I stopped.  (Insert fierce fist pump here ………… woot, woot!!!)   But?  I was taking things hard.  Something annoying would piss me off.  Something disappointing would devastate me.  I had to ask people if I seemed okay.  I SEEMED okay, yes.  So no bad behaviors ………. just emotionally overreacting to things.  I had to stop.  I had to get off of this.  I stopped taking Chantix.

Two days later? I could NOT get out of my pajamas.  I was listless. Disinterested.  Hopeless.  Sans anything resembling ambition – even the basic ambition to be in clean fresh clothes.

I read on the internet that people had trouble getting off of it without weaning themselves. I cut half of one and took it.  In an hour or so I felt more functional.  I called the doctor – she said there are no withdrawal symptoms and to just stop. I smiled and nodded politely, saying “OK.”  But? I cut them for a few days and now I’m off. It’s been a week.

And?  I’m having that vertigo.  I’m having clumsiness, inadvertent staggering & swaying – bumping into things.  The dizziness is bad enough to give me nausea – like motion sickness.  I close my eyes when I do the dishes, opening them in glimpses to see if I’m done scrubbing.  There’s this pain in the lower part of my head in the back and it shoots down the back of my neck; it’s absolutely stunning.  My joints feel weird ……….. like when I was a kid and we used to hold hands and touch an electric fence?  That disjointed/dislocated feeling without properly being dislocated?  It feels like that.  And my arms feel heavy to the point where I use two hands to drink from my glass with dinner.  I walk with my hands in my pockets  – it’s like the weight of my arms is too much for my shoulders or something.

I’ve felt like this. It’s very familiar.  But most of these symptoms were specific to the early spring of 2008, morphing into other Lyme symptoms and worsening.   Is it a coincidence?  Is it the Chantix?

I’m not jumping the gun.  There was something wrong with me before I ever thought of taking Chantix in the first place, never mind the second place.  But I’m mentioning this to my doctor.  Damnit!  And she was SO careful to ask me a lot of pointed questions about my medical history and my history with Chantix.  I fluffed it all off.  It was the Lyme Disease.  Everything got worse long after I stopped Chantix.  Gimme.  Help me stop smoking.  Thanks.

But if you’re reading my blog or things about Lyme Disease and you have used Chantix before?  Google Chantix.   Or better yet?  Check out:  (or paste:  .  There’s a wealth of information there alone – and not just the “what,” but also the why.

I’m glad I stopped smoking. I really am.  But I’m wondering if it was worth what I’m feeling now – and how long will I be feeling it??? – to not have any nicotine withdrawals.  At least those go away.

I’ll keep you posted


Update:  March 12th, 2013:  I’m still smoke free.  The dizziness ebbed.  The muscle weakness eased.  I’m feeling a lot better.  No permanent damage, I guess.    I don’t feel like I could, in good conscience, recommend Chantix.  On the other hand, it helped me abstain and get through the hump.


One response to “Chantix ……….

  1. I am sorry to hear that you are suffering due to something you did to better your health. I understand the frustration at trying to understand the cause as we have played detective for so long putting the puzzle pieces of our lives and disease together. I hope these side effects do not set of any type of spirochetal uprising in your body. I have never smoked, but still can appreciate your article and the information you provided for others. Thanks as always!

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