Lamonda took Chantix for approximately eight days in May 2007. Around the eighth day, Michael became very concerned about his wife. She no longer recognized the people around her and referred to family members as "those people." Lamonda was taken off Chantix and hospitalized but the damage was already done.
Lamonda, although tired from a seizure earlier that day, is adamant about getting her story out. She is happy that finally, people are listening to those who have suffered after using Chantix. Lamonda experienced her problems almost a year ago, well before the serious side effects of Chantix became widely known, which meant that not everyone took her story seriously.
"I wanted to get my story out and we couldn't find help at first because no one would believe what I was saying," Lamonda says. "It's just been one struggle after another. I lost my $42,000 a year job, I have trouble with words—I felt like that lady you wrote that article on was identical to me, except I struggle with seizures and amnesia. I didn't know my family and didn't know my children. I have seizures that I never had before and nightmares—all side effects of the drug. I tried to commit suicide several times. I felt like I wasn't a good mother and not a good wife. They've stripped me of everything and my life has been totally altered. I'll be 50 in April and my grandson is in first grade and he's helping me to learn my phonics all over again. I've lost my memory. I had a chemically hard impact to the brain."
Michael and Lamonda say their neurologist and psychiatrist are upset about Chantix. Their doctor no longer prescribes it because of Lamonda's experiences. They say the doctors had no idea when they prescribed the medication that it could have this affect on people.
"This drug caused me a lot of trouble. I had a life," Lamonda says. "For a year now, I've laid in my bed. Like that lady says, when she goes to Wal-Mart, she panics. I'm just now getting to my family again. I cut myself off from everything—from family and friends.
"I've been the type of person who could handle pressure and do better under pressure. Now, I want to run away from it. I can't deal with the television, I can't deal with arguments, I break down and cry a lot now. I almost caught my house on fire because I would put something on the stove and forget about it. I'm easily distracted and very confused and withdrawn.
"Doctors say that it [Chantix] has caused damage to the lower part of the left hand side of my brain. They think I've gone too long now and I may not heal. The doctors say I'm regressing, not progressing. It's all due to this drug and they never told me about those side effects.
"When you list nausea and diarrhea as side effects, you think you can handle it. This is a dangerous drug. I thought it was my miracle to help me quit smoking. The miracle is I'm still alive. I wanted to commit suicide because there was no point to living. When you have to stay in bed, you can't remember yesterday, you can't remember your children, you can't remember family—what point is there to survive?"
Michael says Lamonda has tried to commit suicide three times. "She would get in these mental states where she's out of it. Somebody has to be around her. She's like a mental patient and says she wants to live with her dad, but her dad has been dead a few years. I walked in on her with a handful of pills and I've taken a knife out of her hands. I believe she would have done it—she was serious about ending her life.
"She doesn't know what she's doing when she gets in those states. She got upset with her son and started walking to Georgia (four miles away) at 10:00 PM. I can't leave her by herself."
There is a chance Lamonda will never fully recover from the damage caused to her brain. She still suffers from seizures and just a week ago talked about ending her life. She also has problems with her memory; often repeating information and asking her husband about information she has already given me.
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"We're living day by day and don't know when she will have a good day or a bad day. It's like starting life over for her. I have to watch what I say to her. We can't have a typical disagreement any more because she gets too defensive. She still smokes, too. More than she used to."
"I think the public should be aware of this and what they [pharmaceutical companies] are getting by with for the almighty dollar," Lamonda says. "The company can make billions of dollars on it but look at the people who are suffering now. Is it worth the billions of dollars? How can you put a price on life?
never took even an aspirin prior to this was an athelete now wheel chair bound