What a Ride: The Wave of Withdrawals

First I must state that I am so very lucky to have found a doctor that’s not only compassionate, he knows his medicine. He knows about fibromyalgia, and is PROACTIVE and has seriously started to TREAT ME. Unlike the typical 6-8 minutes with the doctor, “so how’s the pain?” Well, it still sucks. I hurt all the time. “Well, here’s your prescription for Tramadol, see you in six months,” my doctor spends TIME with me. I get to email him and I get replies within a few hours. From him. Not a nurse. From my doctor.

But I know all too well that my situation is NOT THE NORM. I know personally what it’s like to be treated like a pill-seeking drug addict, guilty until proven innocent (i.e., those unconstitutional drug tests – that I must PAY FOR), I know what it’s like to be shamed and cut off from my meds – just like that. A snap of a finger. Although my pharmacists have NEVER treated me like a druggie, I know from reading other’s experiences where some refuse to fill the valid script! Or shame them in front of other customers! We in chronic pain are not the problem, but we’re treated as if we’re the solution, by making folks pee in a cup, or show up – get this – within the hour of being called – with their prescription bottle to count the pills.

The war on pills is never going to succeed, just like the war on drugs. Is it any more difficult to get weed? Pills? Heroin? Meth? Cocaine? Ummmmmmmmm, NO. I use cannabis to relieve my pain, stimulate my appetite, and help me sleep, and have done so for over a decade. It’s no more difficult to obtain today than 10 years ago. As a matter of fact, the plant has been developed stronger, and better. What I’m trying to say is, the junkies out there? Will continue to steal pills to sell them on the street. They will obtain the pills just as easily as they did before.

But those of us with chronic pain? We pay their price.  …

Wow. That was supposed to be a short and sweet introduction to what I really wanted to talk about. Ha! My new doctor, the one who knows his shit, figured out immediately – on my first visit – that my combination of meds were not effective in treating my fibromyalgia. He drew a picture showing how all of the different meds work together. I was on the wrong combination – and had been – for the last decade. So let’s start switching meds, but only one at a time. So the first to go was the wicked Tramadol.

Those that have told us that Tramadol is not addictive certainly have never taken the drug. Not addictive? I’ll tell you what happens when you wean off of Tramadol: a non joy ride through mood swings, panic attacks, frustrating insomnia, night sweats, terrible irritable bitchiness, sadness, depression, and utter lethargy. As in can’t keep my eyes open, until it’s 3:00 a.m. and then I’m up. Up up up up up up with pain pain pain pain pain pain pain pain pain

Finally, it ended. After several months, the wave of withdrawals from the wicked, evil Tramadol subsided. About fricking time. Now I could switch to a different medication, and after several dosage adjustments, it’s working. I feel much – oh so much – better. So the switch to one med got me off of two.

As I told my doctor, after losing my mind – like not knowing words – and gaining 15 pounds in three months without changing eating habits, AND while exercising at least an hour per day, it’s time to get off the even more wicked, evil, oh-so-deceptive Lyrica. From what I’ve read, I’m in for a heck of a ride. This stuff? I have to wean off of very carefully – and not as quickly as I did the Tramadol. Doc agreed. I will follow the weaning schedule, just so I can switch to another med.

Now I forgot my train of thought. This happens quite frequently – yet another reason to rid my body of wicked, evil Lyrica. This drug actually did lessen the pain signals in my body, and it’s a shame the side effects are so awful. Just yet another medicine I’ve tried.

Frickin’ frackin’ here we go again. Fasten your seat belts and hold onto the bars.

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Sick of Being Sick of Being Sick …

It’s a never-ending cycle, I might get a few days where I feel okay (because feeling GOOD is a rare day indeed), but most days I wake up and by the time I get to the coffee machine, I say to myself, “I feel like shit. I’m tired of feeling this way. I’m sick of being sick.” Almost every single day I utter these phrases. I used to wake up and say, “I feel like shit.” My hubby pointed out, “but you say that every day.” Does he become immune to my constant utterance of “I’m sick of being sick of being tired …” each and every day? Do I become complacent with feeling this way?

In a sense, I think some of that is true for both of us. While my dear hubby is a super compassionate person, and he certainly tries to be compassionate about my never-ending pain cycle, he certainly doesn’t KNOW my pain. I don’t want him to know it. I have almost accepted that this is my way of life. I’m going to wake up most days and feel like shit. That’s just my life.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve joined pain/fibromyalgia forums on Facebook, and I get depressed reading about other people’s depression, and how they feel like shit, and about how badly they’re treated at pain doctors, or rhematologists, or whatever doctor, when you’re not treated with compassion by your own doctor, face it, you are SCREWED. And sadly, most chronic pain patients are at the bad end of the shaft. From the doctor (“it’s all in your head,” “if you weren’t fat you wouldn’t be in pain,”) to the pharmacist, the stories I have read horrify me. That’s what I face. I’ve already had my own terrible experience with my rhematologist, and instead of putting up with her cruel treatment, I fired her. It felt good to send a letter that I was no longer a patient! Now I have to wait until December to see a pain management doctor. In the meantime, it’s up to my primary physician. Will she give me another two prescriptions in the meantime for my pain pills? And oh my, since Hydrocodone is rescheduled, can we change it to something that might just kick my pain? I mean 5 mg. of hydrocodone just doesn’t kill the pain. It does make life more bearable, but not better.

Trust me, if I could choose between feeling good or taking pills? I’d go for the feeling good! Please don’t treat me like a drug addict. Just treat me with compassion.

Because I’m sick of being sick of being tired all the time.

sigh

What’s Wrong with Feeling Good?

Let’s say that you’re having to take blood pressure medicine – every day for the rest of your life – to treat your high blood pressure, and your medicine runs out. Instead of the pharmacy automatically notifying your doctor that you need a new script, you have to personally pick up your new prescription at the doctor’s office. (Only you can pick it up.) When you arrive, you are notified that you must go to the lab, pee in a cup, and then come back for your prescription. So you go back and you’re told that you cannot have your blood pressure medicine. Why? Because you had something in your system. Perhaps it was a double patty cheeseburger with bacon. Perhaps it was THC. So now you don’t have any blood pressure medicine. What does that mean? You could have a stroke and die. Is that right? Of course not. It probably seems ridiculous to you. It should seem ridiculous, because it is. We could take the same situation and apply it to cholesterol medicine, or any medicine that you rely on to keep yourself alive.

Having fibromyalgia and suffering from chronic pain shouldn’t be treated any differently than prescribing medication for your high blood pressure; yet we are subjected to random drug tests in order to receive our prescriptions for pain medication.

The imaginary situation I described? That’s exactly what we with chronic pain have to do. And that’s just not right. What happens to me when I don’t have any pain medication? Well, I’ve had to mete out about ten pills over the last three weeks, which means I’ve gone days without any pain relief. It’s been a terrible, excrutiating time for me. I’m now suffering a fibromyalgia flare because of no pain medication, and no marijuana, which acted as my natural sleep aid. Now I have insomnia and cannot get to sleep.

Remember, marijuana is a natural plant, which has been on our planet Earth for thousands and thousands of years. Who knows, maybe millions. And for over 4,000 years marijuana was used as a therapeutic medicine for all types of ailments. So I’ve got a double whammy right now – I cannot use marijuana in order to pass a drug test. I’ve been marijuana free for 18 days now and still test positive for THC, which makes me even angrier because I HAVEN’T USED MARIJUANA but I’ll test positive for it. And then I’ll be denied any further pain medication. I had to sign a drug contract! Do you have to sign a contract for medicine that you take daily? Of course not! So how is this the slightest bit fair?

That’s not all. Without that marijuana as my natural sleep aid, I cannot get to sleep at night. This is probably the worst side effect, and the absolute worse scenario for a fibromyalgia sufferer. We never reach that deep, deep stage of sleep, so our muscles never relax. Last night, I got less than four hours of sleep. The night before was about the same. Imagine this happening every night. Today I can barely function. I cannot just call out of work because I’m tired. I have very important work to do, but my head is full of “fog.” This is what it feels like on a “fibro flare.” Your ENTIRE BODY screams at you, and the pressure points and in my case, neck and shoulders, scream in agony CONSTANTLY. There isn’t one moment that I am pain free. And I might just face the situation where I run out of pills (I have ONLY TWO), and if I don’t pass that drug test, I don’t get my prescription, which means I suffer even more.

Marijuana is a plant. It is natural. It grows wild. It’s just like any other plant. But it’s therapeutic. It’s ALREADY been proven – thousands and thousands of years ago – that it IS therapeutic. So why in the heck aren’t we using it now? Why can’t I use it to help me sleep, to help my appetite (which I have none now), to help lower my blood pressure, to ensure that I don’t develop glaucoma like my mother and grandmother, it helps fight cancer (which my dad and other grandmother died from), it helps ease my pain, and so what if it makes me feel good?

What’s wrong with feeling good? Why is marijuana illegal? Because it makes us feel good. Again, I ask, what’s wrong if I want to feel good from using a plant?

Why do folks drink alcohol? Because it makes them feel good. But that’s legal. Why do folks smoke cigarettes, one of the most proven addicting substances? Because it makes them feel good. But that’s legal too. Why do folks drink coffee? Because it helps stimulate them. It makes you feel good. But that’s legal. But yet you cannot use marijuana, which isn’t addictive, nor is it debilitating like alcohol. But it makes you feel good.

It’s high time we got the truth out about marijuana. It’s a plant, it’s natural, and there’s absolutely no reason why a person shouldn’t be allowed to feel good.

And it’s a downright shame to make me suffer even more because I used a natural plant to help relieve my chronic pain. Gosh, I’m angry.

And I’m going to spread the truth.

Please help. Share this post – and any other blog post – that talks about this subject. Join me on twitter, @chronic_pain. You wouldn’t believe the number of people who feel the same way.

If you want change, you have to BE the change. Let’s make our voices HEARD!

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