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RachelSusan

RachelSusan: Zoloft - on, off and reinstated

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RachelSusan

I would like to say hello and thank this website for giving me hope. I have spent the last few days reading a lot of the posts and have found them to be full of information and great advice. The success stories are wonderful to read.  I have never been in a medical situation like this and I was feeling lost and alone until I found Surviving Antidepressants.

 

I was put on Zoloft (50 mg then upped to 100mg) in February 2016 due to depression over a long-term illness that at that time was still un-diagnosed. I got a diagnosis for my illness in April of 2016. I was hospitalized for that illness both in April and March and it was eventually brought under control.  Once I got home from the hospital (both times) I was very weak and I had very confused thinking.  I had multiple at-home treatments and medications to keep track of. Somewhere in there I messed up my Zoloft and either went cold turkey or was only taking it intermittently, but did not realize it at the time.

 

Starting in May and ramping up in June I had all sorts of symptoms, which nobody in the medical field could figure out, including me. I was put on Gabapentin (600mg then upped to 900mg) to help with the symptoms. My symptoms included headaches, nausea, feeling hot and sweating but having a low body temperature, as well as the feeling of internal tremors in arms and legs, and actual external tremors. I also had jerky arm movements. I had what I call “vertigo light”, the whole room didn’t spin, just the floor moved when I tried to walk; I felt like I was drunk. I had brain zaps, motion sickness, insomnia, dizziness, nausea, and pressure in the ears like when flying on a plane. My memory was also bad. After endless nights of searching the Internet with my symptoms I realized I had withdrawal.  Counting the actual amount of pills in the bottle and looking at the day it was prescribed confirmed that I had not been taking my medication. Once I realized what was going on I contacted my psychiatrist and I went back on at 50mg, which was twelve days ago.  A dosage that high might be a mistake after reading about “reinstating” here on this sight, I don’t know yet.  Since reinstating the brain zaps and vertigo have disappeared, and the other symptoms have gone down in intensity, however I am getting them more frequently.  I’m now getting them every day, for at least a few hours and sometimes all day. Before going back on Zoloft they were really brutal but only for a few hours at a time, none of this all day stuff. Klonopin seems to help however my psychiatrist has suggested that I use it sparingly, he said that the Gabapentin should be helping with the symptoms. By the way, I feel I have an excellent psychiatrist.  He did warn me when he put me on Zoloft not to go off of it without talking to him first and that there was tapering involved. He also responds to my frequent and desperate e-mails on a timely basis.  I do recognize though that I need to be proactive when it comes to my health. This is my first time with a drug in the SSRI class. At this moment my goal is to stabilize. Eventually I would like to get off, but right now I just want the physical symptoms to go away. By the way, the depression, which was acute in February, seems to have disappeared, both while on and off the Zoloft.  I am open to opinions, questions, and suggestions.  Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Edited by scallywag
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scallywag

RachelSusan, -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA)

I hope you'll find the information in the SA forums enlightening and helpful for your taper.  I'm sorry that you are in the position that you need the information, but am glad that you found us.

It sounds as if you've read around the forum and may have come across these topics. Regardless, I'll post the links so that you'll have them:

Introduction to antidepressant withdrawal syndrome

What is withdrawal syndrome?

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

Tips for tapering off Zoloft (sertraline)

Tips for tapering off Neurontin (gabapentin)
 
If I've understood your post correctly, this is your current meds dosage routine:
 

50 mg sertraline (Zoloft)

 

900 mg gabapentin (Neurontin).

 

Is this correct?

If yes, please confirm.

If no, please post the correct drugs and dosages.


A request: Would you summarize your history in a signature -- drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-18 months particularly? Any drugs prior to that can just be listed with start and stop years. Please put your withdrawal history in signature
 
Two tips:

  1. You may way want to follow this topic so that you get notifications when someone posts in your thread.  Click the gray "Follow this topic" button. A dialog box appears:  select one of the notify options, then click follow this topic in the dialog box.
     
  2. Setting this web page as a bookmark or favorite in your browser will help you navigate back to it.

This is YOUR introduction topic -- the place for you to ask questions, record symptoms, share your progress, and connect with other members of the SA community.

 

Have a look at the topics I've linked (if you haven't already). Come back here and post any questions you have.
 

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RachelSusan

Hi Scallywag,

Thank you for getting back to me. Yes you have my dosage correctly.  At the bottom of my post in light grey I've listed my medications, however I will go in right now and try to add a little more information.  Thanks for the suggestions.

Rachel

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RachelSusan

Scallywag,

 

Thanks for the links, they are most valuable.

 

Here is my question, since I reinstated 12 days ago and I have only gotten relief from the brain zaps and the vertigo, but all other symptoms are hanging around, does that mean I reinstated with too much, and is it too late to do anything about it? Is it better now to just stay at the 50mg and ride it out?  I hate to treat my brain like a bouncing ball, up and down. Also because I am not sure if I stopped taking the Zoloft completely or I just took it intermittently and exactly when I did this, sometime between April and June I believe, this adds another layer of confusion to the problem.

 

Thank you again for answering me.

Rachel

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oops44

hello rs

 

i see you're having a rough time, plenty of that going on. seeing you suffer this way makes me wish i had all the answers to help you but i am in uncharted territory myself. it sounds like you have some relief from symptoms due to reinstatement. i myself still experience anxiety and everything that accompanies it daily but it is getting less intense and less frequent. it takes time and i find acceptance helps tremendously. i didn't know what that meant at first, not really anyway. suffering = pain multiplied by resistance. acceptance removes resistance from the equation leaving only pain, which i believe with the right attitude is manageable. suffering - ruminating, and stewing over things out of our control - won't help. obviously its impossible to not think negatively about your situation but if you can avoid it i promise it helps a lot. thats not to say you have to like what is happening to you or stop trying to make positive changes to your situation, just make room for it.

 

i can't speak to your medical situation. ill leave that to one of the moderators. i can't tell you if you should stick with 50mg or go lower or higher. i can tell you that the most important thing for you right now is to stabilize, and to do that means holding at the lowest dose that alleviates your symptoms. you may have to hold for some time before you can begin a successful taper. its up to you to appraise your situation and determine if you are feeling better than when you reinstated. hopefully a mod will be by shortly and they can make up for my shortcomings on the subject. if you have any questions ill be up for a while yet.

 

hold on breathe and think happy thoughts. distraction might help until you get some answers. watch a happy movie or check out the symptoms and self care forum on this site. anything written by altostata or any of the mods is a good place to start.

 

heres to making it through the night to see the dawn

 

 

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oops44

also there are many helpful links in my intro thread. check them out too, they may help on account of them being so helpful….;^)

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scallywag

Rachel, it can take some time for your CNS (central nervous system) to settle down after reinstatement, especially after a wild ride like a cold turkey stop or inconsistent dosing.  As long as you're not having an adverse "side" effects, staying at your current dose is best.

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RachelSusan

Hello Scallywag,

 

Thanks again for the links and the input.  Each time I hear from you, and now Oops44, it's a lifeline that I can grab onto for the moment.  As you suggest, I won't change dosage of Zoloft. There are a few suggestions that I picked up here from Surviving Antidepressants that I am now implementing.

 

1. Epsom Salt baths

I am not much of a bath person but I picked up the Salt and had the first bath this morning.

 

2. Magnesium Supplement

Picked it up last night.  I am a little fearful to start because the Epsom Salt is also Magnesium. When I do start I will be cutting up the pill and trying to get it down to about a small dosage.   Do you, or any one else, know how much the Epsom Salt bath puts into our bodies? I don't want to overdo between that and the supplement.

 

3. Omega-3 - Had it in the house and have been taking it, but not regularly.  Will take a regular dose. Am splitting it between morning and afternoon.

 

Karen

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scallywag

Hey Karen, thanks for the feedback. It's always nice to know our words make a difference. :)

 

You're wise to approach supplementation with caution. I have no idea how much Mg you'd absorb in an epsom salt bath; there are at least 3 variables -- concentration in the water, temperature, duration of bath.  What form of magnesium are the tablets you purchased -- oxide, citrate, glycinate, other? What's the dose of the tablet?

 

When a someone is taking multiple medications, we ask that that you post an interactions report. Follow the link below to get your report. Just select the text, copy it and paste it in a post here in your intro thread.

 

Drugs_dot_com Drugs Interactions Checker.

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RachelSusan

Magnesium Oxide.  I think I read somewhere on this website that citrate is easiest on the stomach. Is it worth returning?   250mg.  I have a pill cutter.       

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RachelSusan

taking:

sertraline and gabapentin Interactions

Applies to: Zoloft (sertraline), gabapentin

Using sertraline together with gabapentin may increase side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, and difficulty concentrating. Some people, especially the elderly, may also experience impairment in thinking, judgment, and motor coordination. You should avoid or limit the use of alcohol while being treated with these medications. Also avoid activities requiring mental alertness such as driving or operating hazardous machinery until you know how the medications affect you. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns. It is important to tell your doctor about all other medications you use, including vitamins and herbs. Do not stop using any medications without first talking to

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oops44

looking forward to a report on your experience with the supplements and salts as i am considering them myself, possibly after I'm comfortable in my stabilization. also you can run the supplements through the interaction checker along with the drugs you take, if you didn't already figure that out on your own.

 

hope they work as well for you as they have for some of the others around here

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RachelSusan

Hi all,

I've been back on the Zoloft 50mg for 14 days now and last night I had the worst night in a long time.  Woke up about 2 am and then stayed up most of the night feeling hot (temperature was lower, 96.5 F or 35.83 C), profuse sweating, and had what I call "internal tremors" and muscle twitching, It just kept coming.  It hurt so much I finally broke down and took a Clonazepzm 0.5 tab, which helped a lot.  I finally feel asleep but woke up again to more more internal tremors, but no muscle twitching, nor feeling hot.   Since I reinstated the Zoloft 14 days ago the brain zaps have stopped along with the motion sickness, and the headaches are little less frequent however I still have what I call debilitating symptoms at least 50% of the day and of course last night was new in its duration (much longer), but the severity was about the same as before reinstating. I am feeling weak and wiped out but I am going to get up and eat something light and then see how I feel.  Any body else out there have nights like this? If so any information you could share would be appreciated.

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RachelSusan

Hi Oops 44,

I will answer your post when I am feeling a little bit better.  Hope the anxiety isn't getting you today.  Yell at it and tell it to keep it's dirty claws off of you. 

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oops44

oh no need to rush, i assumed it would be a few days before you developed an opinion about the supplements anyway. and don't worry yourself about taking the clonazepzm last night if you are, you're going through a lot of things right now and we do what we must for relief. just keep your eyes on the prize and take it slow and do whatever you gotta do to get through. 

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RachelSusan

Hi Scallywag,

It's now 16 days since I reinstated.  I thought I started to feel a difference about 14 days but I wasn't sure. Now there is no question.  I am still experiencing symptoms (like insomnia right now) but they are so much better than before.  I've gone from laying on the bathroom floor sweating and shaking to driving my car, with the music on and singing off-key to my favorite tunes.  My plan is to stabilize until I am feeling well and strong and then taper.  Scallywag once I am feeling good again what are you thoughts on how long to wait before I should start a very slower taper? Thank you for your help Scallywag and answering my first post when I could barley get my thoughts out in a cohesive manner.

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AliG

Rachel. I'm so pleased for your progress. It's awesome that you've experienced a reduction in symptoms. You're obviously stabilizing and can go ahead now in a slow and steady manner. I would only think about tapering when you're feeling fully ready and able. Listen to your body - and only cut when you feel relatively symptom free . Maybe check this link :

  The slowness of slow tapers

 

What are you doing for your insomnia?  Have you tried Magnesium ( Epsom salt baths) or Melatonin / Guided sleep meditation ?  What have you explored so far ?

Ali

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downtongirl

Hi all,

I've been back on the Zoloft 50mg for 14 days now and last night I had the worst night in a long time.  Woke up about 2 am and then stayed up most of the night feeling hot (temperature was lower, 96.5 F or 35.83 C), profuse sweating, and had what I call "internal tremors" and muscle twitching, It just kept coming.  It hurt so much I finally broke down and took a Clonazepzm 0.5 tab, which helped a lot.  I finally feel asleep but woke up again to more more internal tremors, but no muscle twitching, nor feeling hot.   Since I reinstated the Zoloft 14 days ago the brain zaps have stopped along with the motion sickness, and the headaches are little less frequent however I still have what I call debilitating symptoms at least 50% of the day and of course last night was new in its duration (much longer), but the severity was about the same as before reinstating. I am feeling weak and wiped out but I am going to get up and eat something light and then see how I feel.  Any body else out there have nights like this? If so any information you could share would be appreciated.

 

Hello RachelSusan....yes I am struggling with reinstating/switching from effexor xr to prozac.  I took my last effexor 4 weeks ago and have been on just the prozac but have been up and down in trying to find the right prozac dosage for me.....today is my 3rd day of 15 mg in the m morning.  I had an ok day Friday, better day Saturday but not a great morning so far.  I hope things continue to improve for you.

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RachelSusan

Hi Ali,

 

Thank you so much for the link.  I found out about Epsom salt baths on this site and have only been doing it since the middle of last week. As to the insomnia, I usually jolt awake and then find myself hot and sweating. Tonight it only happened once, prior to that it was off and on all night long. I not sure if it's the stabilization or the Epsom baths, or both that are helping. I've used Melatonin in the past and sadly it didn't help me, although it might this time around. I'm not sure what guided sleep meditation is, although I do my own form of meditation I started years ago.  I hope to start exercising again, I think it will help.  Prior to about 3 days ago I couldn't leave the house because the physical symptoms were so bad. Definitely things are looking up!

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RachelSusan

Hi Downtongirl,

Sorry you are not having a good morning.  This really is a struggle, isn't it? Right now I feel this site is a lifeline.  I have a small but supportive family, but no one really can understand what it is like. I really hope your day improves.

R.

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AliG

Rachel. Sometimes it can take a while for some of these protocols to have an effect . I found that I had to keep trying different things , and eventually something sticks that helps and then you can build on that . There are certain things though that many here have had success with like the Epsom baths/ magnesium supplements, fish oil , melatonin,  yoga and meditation including sleep meditations. This is just one but there are many on You - Tube.

 

http://www.mindfulmuscle.com/5-top-guided-meditations/

 

Self care is so important through this process, and any tools that you can gather around you right now will help to ensure the longevity of your " life after drugs". It is possible to be whole/healthy and free of them. If you can build yourself up with coping strategies now then you will have a firm base to work from for the future. 

 

It sounds like you are already getting a glimpse of what life can be like , again with your " singing in the car " . That is a great sign and even if it's a window it's a positive.

 

If you can look on this as a time to change your life for the better, then it could possibly be considered to be worth it. That's how I view it now. I see it as a metamorphosis.  :)

Ali

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RachelSusan

Ali,

I love the link for sleep meditation. Thank you! It's morning here but when I started to watch I found myself getting sleepy. I will use it tonight for sure. 

R.

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oops44

thats some good news rs. i was beginning to wonder how you were doing and am glad to hear you're chugging right along. its quite the relief to finally see progress, is it not? almost indescribable really.

 

personally my plan of action for tapering is first to make sure i am in fact stabilizing and not just experiencing a short window or any other such trickery, for i am highly suspicious of my recent good fortune and keep constant vigil in the case of a sudden reversal. once satisfied i shall wait 3 months then assess my situation. i will not attempt to taper while any withdrawal symptoms or exotic stressors are present if i think it unwise of counterproductive to do so. that being the case i would continue to hold another 3 months and reassess. 

 

so if all goes well after i give my nerves 90 days to acclimate, a slow and methodical 10% reduction will commence. my situation is such that i see no reason to rush.

 

but obviously everyones situation is different, and i didn't mean to blabber on as i have. what i really want ed to say is CONGRATU-FREAKIN-LATIONS RACHELSUSAN!

 

keep on chooglin on rs

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RachelSusan

Hi Oops,

 

Great to hear from you. FREAKIN-CONGRATULATIONS to both of us.  I too am highly suspicious of my good fortune. I am still getting a few symptoms and every time I do I freeze in my tracks and hope it's not here to stay.  But I can really feel the difference.

 

My taper plan is rather similar to yours.  Great minds think alike!

 

I've been using music a lot to try and get me going.  However one song popped into my head yesterday, which I can't get out. It's a song which my female relatives used to listen to over and over, and over again when I was a kid, and I never liked it, in fact it drove me crazy.  It's "I Am Woman" by Helen Reddy. (so sorry Helen, please forgive me). Now I can't get it out of my head and it's worse that a large dose of Sertaline.  I don't know why I remembered it but I did and looked it up on YouTube, which is how I got stung. Don't do it Oops...don't go looking for it, it will give you a relapse. I am going mad with that one line "I am woman, hear me roar."  Since I seem so intent in going back in time I'm trying to replace Helen with a little of Janis Joplin and Led Zeppelin. Other than this one setback I am moving along.

 

I've got my fingers crossed for both of us, along with everyone else suffering from Withdrawal!

 

R.

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RachelSusan

Over all I am doing better.  The insomnia is decreasing. I am going a few steps forward and half a step back.  This morning I'm having a feeling of internal trembling and some jerky movements. I think I am somewhere around 18 days back on Zolft after a brutal WD.  I wish I had found this site before I went off cold turkey.  I look forward to the day I can be off everything.  I keep reading the different topics and reminding myself slow and easy will do it.  The last few days I have been experiencing pressure in the ears.  Like when I fly and can't clear my ears.  Doing meditation now and gentle walking.  It is helping.

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downtongirl

hello rachelsusan...glad things are improving for you....your symptoms of internal trembling and jerky movements are those new since reinstatement or did you have those in acute withdrawal?

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oops44

"Dont do it Oops…don't go looking for it"

 

and with that statement you sealed my fate. how could anyone not be overwhelmed by curiosity after reading it? i never had a chance. very catchy indeed and fortunately no negative attachments for me. its a fun song.

 

the worst part was the little suggestions they give you on the righthand side of the screen. patty griffin was in the mix, one of my all time favorite gals. i could only handle a few moments though like looking at the sun. she's much too powerful for me right now. i would classify patty as weapons grade music or perhaps music of mass emotion. i find i have to be very careful with music as of late.

 

hope you find a way to stay in good humor. that internal tremor stuff sounds terrible.

 

all the best 

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RachelSusan

Having bad symptoms, help. Reinstated July 8, 2016 at 50 mg. Didn't start to get relief until July 22, and then relief came fast. Symptoms completely gone for a few days. July 25, symptoms started coming back.  They are continuing to get worse. Doctor wants to up-dose me to 100 mg, my last known dose before I went off, but I am resisting, thinking that perhaps I am in a wave. Need Moderators to weigh in here. Thank you.

 

symptoms: internal tremors are non-stop since the 25th but perhaps not as intense as prior to reinstating, not sure, as note taking didn't start until after reinstatement.  Headache and nausea coming back but duration and severity not as intense as prior to reinstating.  Yes taking fish oil, but because I am in confusion having trouble reading bottle.  says on front of bottle: 1200 mg/360 mg Omega-3. On back of bottle:  EPA 360 mg DHA, 240 but I'm not sure if that is per pill or per dose.   Recommend dose is two per day.   Also taking 75 mg Magnesium supplement and all other stuff listed below in signature. 

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RachelSusan

Also have in house Klonopin 0.5 which I know takes care of a lot of the symptoms in about the 45 minutes it takes to work,  however have been resisting this short term help, trying to stay off. Need Mods thoughts on this as well. Taking another bath soon along with meditation.

Thank you.

RS

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scallywag

RS - sorry the symptom wave is slamming you right now. It definitely sounds like a wave to me.

 

Regardless, you're the one who gets to decide whether to ride it out or to updose and by how much.
 

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oops44

poor girl, its terrible that you're in this position and i truly feel for you. my eyes are welling up reading about your pain. i can only imagine what you're going through.

 

its a tough spot to find yourself in, having to weigh your need to reduce your medication against your need to function. i hope you find the strength to pull through. however you choose to do it, it will be ok.

 

lots of testimonials of people going through the same thing you are on this site. maybe read a few before you make your decision? see how they made it through.

 

get better rs. don't ask to get better just take the better.

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RachelSusan

To Scallywag,

Thanks for getting back to me so quickly.  I guess I am just so confused even though I have read the link to reinstatement over and over. Cloudy thinking and all right now.

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RachelSusan

Hi Oops,

Great to hear from you. I read the reinstatement forum over and over before this particular set back, now that I am in the wave I can't seem to think clearly. I am a fighter so I know I will pull through, but my goodness, it is awful. I have read about other people's sufferings on here and I have cried for them.  BTW, I love your silly jokes. 

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bubble

Hello RachelSusan,

 

How about you wait for a day or 2 to see what happens with these symptoms? It's never a good idea to have a knee jerk reaction to change the dose in response to symptoms. A bit more time will create a pattern that will help you make a decision.

 

This seems like a wave and I would expect a window soon. Stabilisation isn't turning a corner but windows and waves.

 

Keep us posted and I'm hoping for a window soon.

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RachelSusan

Thanks Bubble,

Thanks for the advice.  I am taking it.  I've been reading a lot of the different posts on various forums here, and even go back and reread ones that I think pertain to me.   I believe I've learned a lot but during a wave suddenly I loose my clarity of thinking. My brain turns to mush. Sometimes I can't even put a intelligent sentence together. Thank you for lending me your judgment while mine is missing somewhere in "Wave World"

Karen

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bubble

That happens to all of us. That's what makes a wave a wave. And that's why we have each other here :)

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