Compulsive hoarding is a mental disorder that is just beginning to be understood. As a hoarder, I have acquired things over the years with a specific purpose in mind at the time of the acquisition, used some of those items for their intended purposes, forgotten the goal for different objects, but now that I find that they have outlived their purpose in my life I am struggling to rid myself of those same things.

You can read the start of my journey here.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I wasn't onto anything.

Several weeks ago, I thought I was onto something. Turns out I wasn't.

For years, I drank a 2 liter bottle of caffeinated soda every single day. Sometimes more. According to the pulmonologist, it likely helped keep my asthma from getting out of control over the years, so I didn't feel too bad about drinking it.

However, 3.5 years ago, I gave it up completely. I felt fine. It took me a few days to get through the headaches, but my energy level stabilized, and I didn't feel bad for having stopped drinking the caffeine. Last October, when we got sick with the Swine Flu, and my asthma went way out of control, and I had to be put on steroid after steroid after steroid, I started drinking cola again. And it definitely helped with the breathing. I have no doubt in my mind that it did.

However, I've also had problems with it. I've been having problems with peripheral neuropathy when I drink the caffeine, and I'd totally forgotten that I'd discovered it quite by accident last summer.

We were out of town, and it was breathtakingly hot outside, and I was so thirsty that water didn't seem like it was cold or wet enough. So I got a raspberry iced tea. And man, did it taste good! We got home a short while later, so I filled up my mug with ice and cold water and continued drinking nothing but water for the rest of the day.

However, later that evening, I noticed that I was having problems with peripheral neuropathy. It was like I was being stuck with pins and needles indiscriminately all over my body. Like someone was doing a bang up job on a voodoo doll, and I was the intended target. And I never would have thought of the caffeine or the tea, except that I was paying attention to my body for a different sort of reaction from the tea. I don't remember now what it was, I just remember being surprised when I put 2 and 2 together and came up with caffeine = pain. And I didn't drink anymore tea or anything with caffeine in it until we got sick in October.

Then when my asthma went haywire and I started drinking the cola, the neuropathy didn't bother me at all. It's like my body used all the caffeine I'd ingested to help with my breathing, and it didn't bother my nerves. And I've been drinking the equivalent of 3-12oz cans of cola every day since then. That's about the same amount of caffeine in a single 8oz cup of coffee.

The last several days I've been getting sharp shooting pains like one gets when their feet get too cold in the wintertime, and you come indoors and they start to thaw. I've hardly been able to make a fist with my hands from the pain in my forearms. And even though it's been near 80 in the house, I've had to keep a sweatshirt on at all times, or I ache all the way through to the bone. I have to sleep under thick heavy covers, or the pain wakes me up.

I know that some antibiotics have the potential to cause peripheral neuropathy symptoms. In fact, I started one such antibiotic before I'd finished my steroids the other day. So here I've been thinking this whole time that my problem has been with the antibiotic. And it may be partially to blame, but I think it's more likely the caffeine. I've taken this antibiotic in the past with no problem whatsoever. The pain has come just from the last couple of times I've taken it. And both times have been while I've been drinking the cola.

I have been breathing much more freely. The bronchitis appears to be gone. I think that at this point my body just doesn't need the caffeine, because the steroids worked, and I'm breathing better. That in fact it's trying to tell me to stop with the cola. I'm listening. I've had to take a half a vicodin every 4 hours today to keep the pain manageable, and even then it hurts.

Yep. I'm listening.

The message is loud and clear.


  1. Very interesting.I know I drink way too much coffee, but I hadn't put it together with my pain level

  2. That's interesting. Since starting the C, I've cut waaaay back on Diet Pepsi. Maybe that's got something to do with feeling better as well.

    However, we'll see what comes up soon. I've got a cold and it's headed straight into my chest. Surprise, surprise.

  3. Oh, good for you!

    Good luck with it. You already know it's not a whole lot of fun to give it up, but you can do this!!

    I can tell you for sure that after I gave up the soda I felt better.

    I don't know if it was all the chemicals in the soda (Diet sodas are very, very, VERY bad for you) or the caffeine, but either way, it was a smart move for me.

    But I went through some major withdrawal.

  4. Oh how quitting soda is such a HUGE struggle for me, I've never been really successful at it. I know I need to. I just don't WANT to. Good Luck, I hope you feel better soon!

  5. I hope you feel better soon too good for you for listening to your body .

  6. Thanks for the support on this. Sounds like most of you are familiar with how incredibly hard it is to give up! I've heard that you don't have withdrawal symptoms from caffeine, if you are consuming under 300mg a day or something like that. I'm WAY less than that, and I know I'll be having withdrawal symptoms. That's okay. Once I get through this, I'll never have to deal with them again! :)


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