Serotonin Syndrome

We need to be our own doctor.  We’ve heard and perhaps said this from time to time, and allow me to further amplify this notion with today’s post.  We need to be our own doctor because doctors themselves are extremely busy individuals – period. ¶ For the past few weeks here along the river, we’ve been battling with a number of physiological changes in Bonnie that have made no sense at all.  I was really hoping the trip south this past Thanksgiving weekend with family was going to do the trick – it did not. ¶ In life we oscillate between sin and medicine.  The idea behind this quip is that negligence leads to illness.  The time to be concerned about sickness is when we are HEALTHY.  It is then that we can avoid damaging our system. ¶ Bonnie was a victim of a disease that struck without her complicity and I’ve said it more than once either in the form of a post or poetry – “Cancer F’n sucks!”  Through my research on a great number of cancer related medical terms on the disease which knocked at our door in January, 2011, I learned (or read) that cancer, et al, may very well have been averted if our society were to spend as much on the war against illness as it has on military wars.  We are also told there is a delicate connection between certain maladies and our nervous systems.  Undue worry may bring on illness as well.  To combat this threat we must have equilibrium, equanimity, a sense of humor and the capacity to play.  Here we are our own doctors. ¶ The initial intention of this blog was to keep our friends and family on the East coast aware of the day-to-day struggles and ultimately the achievements of kicking breast cancer’s ass and today we find ourselves wrestling with a whole new bag of tricks; the recognition and treatment of serotonin syndrome.  In a nutshell: This syndrome is an increasingly common adverse drug reaction, which can be life-threatening.  Despite the common use of medications with direct or indirect serotonergic effects, many physicians are not aware of the presentation and management of serotonin excess.  This is particularly true of less severe presentations of serotonin syndrome, which still contribute to patient morbidity.  Family physicians need to be more aware of serotonin syndrome. ¶ Bonnie visited with her primary breast care physician yesterday; Dr. Amy Shaw who researched serotonin syndrome and found Bonnie showed multiple symptoms.  I am extremely proud of the way Bonnie handled this entire event; from feeling poorly, having the shakes, not being able to go to the bathroom regularly, and mood swings and yet she finds the power to march into Dr. Shaw’s office at 3:30 yesterday afternoon and walk out with an entirely new game plan, a sense of relief and finally some much-needed sunshine. ¶ We sat down together last night when she arrived home with research materials on serotonin syndrome and now that we have a name for what’s been ailing her we can now start connecting the dots to fix it.  The intent of this post is to keep Bonnie’s Beautiful Boosters updated and for those of you battling breast cancer or any other form of cancer – trust yourself, trust your partner and trust your caregivers, but most of all – you need to listen to yourself – be your own doctor.

Special thanks to Rabbi Samuel Silver for his special to the Sun-Sentinel on “Being Your Own Doctor”.




2 thoughts on “Serotonin Syndrome

  1. Oh no!  I hope you can gather your collective strength once again for this new battle. Love, W&T


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