Take Away My Caffeine and I Will Get Stabby

I am a big coffee drinker. I’ll finish whatever my hubby leaves in the morning – likely 2 cups (12-14 oz cups) then brew another pot that I will drink throughout the day. My stainless steel coffee pot keeps it piping hot for well over 12 hours after brewing. Basically I drink about 8 cups a day (again not actual 8oz cups – more like 12oz). I drink it black most of the time but occasionally I will add coffee-mate creamer.
In addition to the 8 12oz cups of Sumatra – I drink on average 4 cans of diet dr. Pepper.
I don’t drink any of this to stay awake or wake up. Caffeine doesn’t seem to have any real measurable effect on my alertness. I drink them because they are G-O-O-D. I love them.

I also drink to self medicate. I have tried (very unsuccessfully) to give up caffeine. It ends by the 3rd day with me laying in the fetal position with frozen peas under my head in a pitch dark room while wearing ear plugs because even the sound of the fan above makes me want to unzip the top of my head and remove my brain. I wish this was an exaggeration.

My head doctor years ago (not the one with the couch – the one with the stethoscope) suggested I give it up cold-turkey. He prescribed 30 vicodin because he said, and I quote “You’re gonna need those – I’m sorry”. That was not a good sign.Β I left his office with 30 heavy-duty pain meds (that I believe in themselves are highly addictive) and not a lot of confidence.

Day 1 as I recall (this was at least 5 years ago) was not so bad. I missed the taste of my coffee but drank water which I enjoy too. I do like a hot beverage in the morning so basically I just drank hot water. I drank milk with dinner which I always did as a kid so it was a nice treat – made me feel young.

Day 2 Β early morning – I could feel pain brewing in the back of my head. My first instinct was to grab a diet Dr. Pepper but instead I drank more water and took 2 Advil. No need to break out the big guns for the minor pain I was feeling. It wasn’t really even Advil worthy but I thought I was being proactive.

Day 2 early afternoon – I remember a throbbing. I remember every noise hurting like someone was stabbing me in the ear. I took more Advil. I laid down with frozen peas under my head and watched Diego with my son. I hated my doctor. I wanted caffeine.

Day 2 evening – If anyone talks to me I will stab them. When I can walk straight I am going to stab my doctor. More Advil. At this point I was in so much pain that I had forgotten I had actual prescribed pain medication available. All my bags of peas, corn, and mixed vegetables were now thawed. I couldn’t eat dinner because it would have been vomited shortly there after and there isn’t anything worse for a migraine than vomiting.

Day 3 – early morning – can’t speak without my own voice hurting my head. At this point I did remember the vicodin I had come home with. I took one with great enthusiasm (by this I mean I crawled to the kitchen and fumbled with the child safety cap poured out a giant horse sized pill (at least I remember it seeming to be huge) and swallowed it without any liquid). A bit later the throbbing dulled and aside from the needles stabbing my eyes in the form of light I was in much less pain.

Day 3 – early afternoon – throbbing is back with a vengeance and even the sound of my heart was too much for me to bear (I’m fairly certain this is the correct use of the word bear vs the other bare – stupid homophones). I popped the tab on a Diet Dr. Pepper and gulped it with all the enthusiasm of a college student at a keg party. The caffeine hit me much harder than the vicodin did. Within the hour I could stand the light of the afternoon. The throbbing had dulled to a nearly manageable amount. I took 4 Advil (that’s 800mg) and laid down with my re-frozen bag of peas.

Day 3 – evening – 2 more Diet Dr. Peppers later – I could function almost like a normal person.

I have never since tried to reduce my caffeine intake. On a side note – I did not drink soda’s ever while pregnant, I didn’t want the artificial sweeteners and I hate the taste of non-diet soda. I did drink coffee but not in the amounts I did while not pregnant. I don’t know why but I rarely suffered from migraines during any of my three pregnancies. I never took the remaining 29 vicodin. I also never returned to the neurologist.

You may wonder how I can recall this event so vividly when it was so long ago. Well – unlike with childbirth my brain doesn’t seem to want me to forget the agony I was in when trying to give up the caffeine. It (my brain) almost hurts just considering it.

I am writing this in response to Melissa over at Sweetly Voiced. She posted that she is trying to reduce her caffeine intake. It makes me wonder if I should/could do the same.

I just met with a new doctor here in CA. We discussed my migraines and the fact that they seem to be getting worse in the last few months. He was concerned that the pain has increased as well as the frequency and duration. He had me go in for an MRI – turns out I do have a brain and all seems well with it. He prescribed a new migraine medication for me. This was before FFL and he asked that I not start it until after my vacation. It can lower blood pressure and he wanted me to be in my home environment before taking it. It is a twice a day medication that is supposed to block the migraines. I had forgotten about it until I started writing this post. I guess I will start it tomorrow and after a week or so maybe try to start weaning myself off the caffeine. Not the coffee – I will just get decaffeinated – I still love the taste of my Sumatra. I would like to give up soda. As much as I love Diet Dr. Pepper it doesn’t do anything good for my body and may contribute to weight gain or at least my inability to lose weight.

*I would never actually stab anyone – just thought I should clarify that.

About Christina

Mom of 3 kids, all 3 have Type 1 diabetes - I blog to share stories. I am not a medical professional and my thoughts are my own. Please do not make changes to your medical care plan based on my stories - always consult your medical team. Hope you find something in my ramblings helpful and or amusing. You can find me on twitter @momof3T1s and on my Facebook page Stick With It Sugar. May all your dreams forever be bolus worthy.
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22 Responses to Take Away My Caffeine and I Will Get Stabby

  1. 1Bolus@ATime/Click says:

    My hubs thinks that coffee should be it’s own food group. πŸ™‚ I am not and have never liked coffee but I do like a mean cup of tea in the winter. πŸ™‚ Your story struck me bc I just started suffering from migraines a couple months ago and finally seeing a neurologist in 2 weeks. In the meantime my endo and PCP have been tag teaming with various blood pressure meds, I simply can’t imagine adding caffeine withdrawal to the likes of a migraine. Sorry, but yes I giggled at the visual image of you on Day 2 evening. Thank you for helping me see the humor in even the most painful of things completely not diabetes related. πŸ™‚

    • Christina says:

      coffee SHOULD be its own food group – you married a smart man.
      I wish I liked tea more. I like iced tea – especially Sonic’s Sweet tea only I get it cut in half with half unsweet because the amount of sugar they use to sweeten their sweet tea should be a crime. It sucks when I forget and have a full strength sweet tea and then worse when I let my T1D kids drink from it then wonder WTH when they spike. sorry I digress.
      So since I know nothing about you other than you too are up very late on a monday night – Im up waiting on a 408 to return to some reasonable number that I can rest easy with knowing dd will be snug as a bug without any uglyness.
      I have a long history of migraines. They began in 1998 when I was just 23 years old. they started out once a month and coincided with when I ovulated (TMI – oh well). They were considered hormonal migraines. I hear this is often how migraine sufferers are born – stupid hormones. Sadly they worsened and became more frequent and I tried a barrage of medications. then they stopped entirely – this of course was when I was pregnant with my first child at age 25. they stayed away for my entire pregnancy and the first 6 months I was nursing. They returned when I….wait for it….yup started my periods again. (sorry any guys reading the comments section but chances are you have had sex education and you are not learning anything new here) Hormones strike again! This pattern continued for two more pregnancies. At this point I would love to get pregnant again just for relief from the migraines (not gonna happen). My point is – consider keeping a journal. Write down when you get a migraine and at what point in your monthy cycle you are. Also keep track of foods you eat or beverages you drink. I have certain triggers (I mean aside from 3 kids, 2 dogs {one with diarrhea right now}, 2 cats, a husband and my crummy sleep habits). I don’t drink wine at all – huge trigger – especially red wine. I also avoid many hard cheeses – Brie can be a trigger to but I would also get stabby if anyone took away my Brie. Some people can get migraines from chocolate but I refuse to accept that – clearly those people have some anti-chocolate agenda.
      My migraines no longer seem to be associated with hormones – now they just screw with me whenever. My husband thinks its all in my head.
      Good luck to you – glad to hear you are talking to doctors about it. I can offer you this advice – try to avoid self-medicating with caffeine – it is a vicious circle and one that is very difficult to get out of. Just my two cents.

      • Alanna says:

        “My husband thinks it’s all in my head”

        uhhhh duh, where else are HEADaches supposed to be?

        Also, your husband clearly has never been hormone or drug deprived. He has also clearly never experienced a real migraine. HEY HUBBY: Compassion here!?

        • Christina says:

          Alanna – the ‘its all in my head’ was mostly a joke. Chad has been very supportive over the years and if I am in the midst of a really bad migraine he encourages me to rest and he deals with everything while I do. However if my hubby ever does stop being supportive Im gonna call on you to whip him into shape. πŸ˜‰

  2. Chris Dean says:

    I currently have multiple Docs that have recommended I “cut back.” I have likewise recommended they “mind their own business.” I mean, until there is a methadone-like clinic for caffeine? It ain’t happening!

  3. scully says:

    I think I just deleted the comment I wrote.
    and now I have to try and re-write it but I don’t remember what I wrote… hang on… let me have some coffee…

    well… basically what I said was, I don’t see the big deal. Unless it’s causing all sorts of problems then maybe simply cutting back slightly (and slowly) is all you can do. πŸ™‚

    • Christina says:

      I don’t think too much caffeine is a huge problem. In Mel’s post she recognized that caffeine does effect her blood sugars so for her reducing caffeine will possibly give her better BS control. I applaud anyone working towards better control. I have heard that caffeine in general can effect BS but it is different for everyone.
      Obviously that isn’t why I want to reduce – I want to reduce to help get to the root of my migraines and eliminate them if I can. I can’t do that while yo-yo-ing between actual migraines and those caused by caffeine withdrawal. Also – I would really like to reduce my weight and diet sodas have been shown to increase weight or at least make reducing weight more difficult. I drink so much soda and coffee I never seem to leave room for water. Cutting down the caffeinated beverages should leave more room for water and water is a great way to start weight reduction. I should mention I am not overly unhappy with my appearance. My goal is less about appearance and more about improving my health.
      If caffeine consumption isn’t causing any other difficulties I won’t reduce it since I love my sumatra just the way it is.

  4. katy says:

    that is an impressive amount of caffeine!

    i get migraines too. with mine i am relieved (almost happy) when i throw up, because that\’s the beginning of the end of it.

    when i quit diet coke, my migraines went away. i blame my migraines on the aspartame, not the caffeine. diet coke sneaked back into my life. i get occasional migraines. so dumb.

    good luck with your caffeine shift!

    • Christina says:

      I don’t believe the migraines are caused by too much caffeine – they are worsened when I don’t get as much caffeine as I have grown my body accustomed to. I didn’t consume a whole lot of caffeine when the migraines started – I found that consuming caffeine lessened the migraines so I drank more. My body became addicted to caffeine and additional migraines come when I try to cut back on the caffeine. Re-bound headaches basically. Its a vicious cycle. I know that if I gave up all caffeine I might be closer to identifying the root cause of my migraines. I know aspartame is not good for us, studies have shown that. I’m not sure it caused my migraines or contributes to them now. I have drank diet soda (diet coke as a kid) since I was about 11 when my dad decided to give up regular soda for a diet. Switching to diet soda never helped him lose weight – in fact I think it made him gain more.
      no good can come from diet sodas – but I would never suggest to any of my D friends they shouldn’t drink it. There are bigger evils – like DKA.
      Everything in moderation.

  5. kelly2k says:

    It’s impossible to quit coffee/caffeine cold turkey!
    I’m with you, keep the sumatra and cut back on the soda.
    I gave up drinking diet soda in college. I was drinking something like 6 diet pepsi’s a day and I knew that wasn’t good. I switched to iced tea and felt so much better – And ironically, I lost a few lbs. Now I drink two huge cups of coffee in the morning and drink water and green iced tea. Also, Iced tea is super easy to make!

    • Christina says:

      Yup – I think thats my plan – give up soda and move to more iced tea and water. I really need to do better with water anyway. The biggest challenge will be getting hubby to do it with me. He drinks more soda than I do and if its in the house I would be too tempted.

  6. Alanna says:

    When my father was diagnosed with cancer he cut caffeine, sugar, processed foods, sulfites, meat….and pretty much everything that makes life worth living.

    He described the change over…as worse than any withdrawl that may be portrayed on the television.

    He started with drinking is regular AMOUNT of coffee, but mixing the ground 60/40, then 50/50, then 40/60 etc with Regular and Decaf. Eventually he got down to drinking decaf and really enjoying it.

    But you can’t cold turkey yourself AND function. It’s like asking a heroine addict to just…give it up and move on. Caffeine is a very powerful drug.

    A delicious, wonderful amazingly powerful drug.

    Excuse me while I go get a coffee.

    • Christina says:

      wow giving up all the comforts of modern day life would be hard – and doing it while battling cancer would be ever so much more difficult.
      I don’t know that I will give up all caffeine but my soda consumption has to stop. The times in the past that I have gotten off diet sodas I do remember loosing weight even though I replaced them with lightly sweetened (real sugar) tea. In fact the time I lost the most weight was after the birth of my second child when I wasn’t drinking soda at all. I lost 80lbs in 6 months. I ate all my regular meals plus 44 ounces of full strength Sweet tea and a reese’s peanut butter cup everyday. I called it my sweet tea reeses diet. I lost so much weight my friends became concerned that I was ill. I never had it checked out but I would bet my thyroid went all screwy for a bit in between pregnancies. After I got pregnant with my third child I started gaining lots of weight again (more than would be recommended with any pregnancy) and I plateaued at 145 (30 lbs heavier than my pre-pregnancy weight) until my first child (my youngest) was diagnosed with D. Within a year of his diagnosis I was up to 165 and have been there since. I blame sleep deprivation and lack of exercise since I eat fairly healthy in general. I do need to have my thyroid checked since I have noticed a number of things that could be caused by a thyroid problem.
      Even though I will likely keep the caffeinated coffee in my life I should still cut back and will do so very slowly. Its really safest for my family that way – cold turkey could get ugly for them.
      Thanks for sharing and enjoy your coffee. πŸ™‚

  7. Brea says:

    I got migraines a lot too, and take medicine twice a day that could lower blood pressure. Hmmm. But it’s worked well for me, so hopefully it will for you too!

  8. Scott E says:

    Clearly, the only solution is to have another baby!

    Honestly, though, I think the best solution is to s-l-o-w-l-y wean back (but not off entirely) on the caffeine. Stopping cold turkey would be too much of a shock on your body, and I’m not a fan of taking drugs – particularly painkillers – when you could just avoid the shock to begin with.

    Coffee is like comfort-food. It just fits in certain settings. A good cup of coffee has certainly discouraged me from eating dessert at times, which is a good thing in my mind. For me, it helps with blood sugars, but it could equally help with weight, if that’s a concern.

    I guess I’m not helping. Perhaps you could go back to Florida where it’s so disgustingly hot and humid that you can’t stand the thought of a steaming beverage?

    • Christina says:

      While I’d welcome another child with all my heart – it just ain’t gonna happen.
      Yes weaning is the answer. Yes coffee is often my dessert too even though I normally drink it black. When at Starbucks I do get a Non-Fat venti cinnamon dolce latte with only 3 pumps of syrup, no whip and easy foam. That is my guilty pleasure especially on chilly nights.
      Mostly the air temp does not discourage my coffee consumption. although I do drink iced coffee more in the summer but then I add creamer too which adds calories.
      Thanks for the support and encouragement Scott.

  9. Elisheva says:

    Ooh. Making coffee now… Good morning πŸ™‚

  10. Karen says:

    I LOVE Diet Dr. Pepper. Like can’t-live-without-it love it. And, it’s not the caffeine. I buy caffeine-free (only get the regular kind if I’m out and caffeine-free is not available). I didn’t become so in love with this beverage until my daughter was diagnosed with t1d…and I have put on about 40lbs in that year and 7 months. I try to quit…and I usually can only make it about 2-3 days before I cave and buy one from a machine….just one! And then I just go ahead and get the 12pack ’cause I know I’m going to keep going back to the machine. So..the weight gain…I’ve heard/read that studies show that diet soda drinkers gain weight but I thought that they said it was just because they ate more because the sodas were less filling or they felt like they could eat the extra calories since they were drinking diet….but not so? That sure is even more incentive to cut them out. And yes, I’m sure the sleep-deprivation has a lot to do with it as well. I avoid caffeine( I buy decaf coffee, too) because I once was addicted and remember so well the HORRIBLE headaches that come with withdrawal. I figure anything that does that to me cannot be good. I also used to have migraines. Yeah…used to. Have not had one since I had (sorry guys) ovaries removed 2 1/2 years ago. So, hormonal trigger is a real thing. I’m sorry that I laughed so at the images you invoked of your suffering. Maybe because I could relate so well…and you are quite a funny gal:)

    • Christina says:

      Hey Karen thanks for stopping by. I do think there is more to weight gain via diet sodas than simply us eating more. I drink diet because of the taste. I started when I was 11 so its all Ive ever really known. I’ve also read that the sweetness makes us crave more sweets. I think it is something more chemical. I just know when I give it up I lose weight. Granted when I give it up I drink more water and increasing ones water intake can lead to some weight lose by itself.
      I think my real weight gain problem though is the sleep deprivation and stress. My body stays in a fight or flight mode producing more of one hormone and less of another. I have heard that in general an imbalance of any hormones can cause weight gain. With my stress level and limited sleep it is likely that I have elevated levels of cortisol. Cortisol can be a leading cause in abdominal weight gain (this is where most my weight gain is – also it is the worst place for weight gain because it puts me at a higher risk in developing other chronic illnesses). I am not a doctor and I haven’t spoken to my doctors here in CA about my concerns – its been 4 years since I spoke to a doctor about my weight concerns. I don’t suggest you wait that long if you are concerned. Again – it isn’t about appearance (although I would love to fit into my favorite jeans again – I miss them – my ass looked hot in those jeans) – its about health. I want to be around for my kids and grandkids and my current lifestyle isn’t the best way of going about sticking around.

      Moving on to migraines – wow when you sent the ovaries packing the migraines stopped? I mean it makes sense but it also goes back to the friggen hormones – migraines likely caused by imbalance of hormones that were produced by the egg cartons.

      Im glad you laughed – I like to make people laugh and while at the time it was not funny Im glad I can make light of it now.

      I’ll let you know when I decide to give up the diet soda – maybe we can keep each other in check.

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