The Fears of a Chronic Pain Sufferer

What if I cannot get another prescription for my hydrocodone measly 5 mg. for my pain? What if my doctor won’t change my prescription for a larger dose that might actually kick my pain? What if I can’t get any pills between now and when  finally see a pain management doctor in December? What if I have to take that mandatory drug test and get a dirty result for THC, even though I plan to quit 45 days in advance? What if I can’t ever get pain pills after that?

What if the pharmacy flags me as a drug seeker because of all the prescriptions I have (including the narcotics)? What if my previous doctor (that I fired!) sends my records before I ever meet the pain doctor and screws me over?

What if I have to suffer this pain without any marijuana OR pain pills?

Why should I have to worry about the ability to get a prescription for a well-documented case of pain that I have suffered over 20 years? Why should I be presumed guilty and have to submit to, in my opinion, unconstitutional drug tests, just to receive a prescription to help me live? Do I have to do that for my blood pressure medicine? Do diabetes patients have to pee in a cup to get their insulin? Why are we treated like drug addicts? Why do physicians, nurses, and even pharmacists treat some people like drug seekers when all they do is suffer from constant pain? What if that becomes me?

Why should I have any of these questions?

WHY?

Dear Doctor

Dear Doctor,

I’m going to come clean with you. Actually, I’ve tried to be clean, because I know I’m going to have to submit to a urine test. So I’m going to be totally honest with you and pray this doesn’t backfire on me. When I do that urine test, I’m pretty sure there’s going to be a positive result for THC in my metabolites. But I can assure you that I have not used marijuana in over three weeks. I’ve been trying to be clean in order to get my prescription for hydrocodone. So I’ve had to do without both my pills for most of the past month, and the marijuana.

Since I’ve come clean, I have suffered the pain tremendously. I didn’t realize just how much a part that marijuana played in making me feel less pain. See, there’s never a day that I’m pain free. When I take one of the hydrocodones by itself, yes, the pain is a little less intense, but perhaps I’m not taking a large enough dose. After all, you do have me on the lowest dosage. But when I took a pill and used marijuana, I actually felt almost “normal.” What’s normal? Well, I mean what it must feel like to be a person who doesn’t suffer from intense pain. All the time. All the blasted time. So when I stopped using marijuana, and had to mete out those pills, there were days I could barely function.

I have become very frustrated. I started a blog about my pain. I wrote a manifesto, which actually started that blog. I found out there are hundreds of people just like me, suffering from chronic pain, unable to obtain the pain relief we so desperately want. What we desperately need. We just want pain relief and respect. I started sharing my story, and I’ve become somewhat of an activist. I think that marijuana should be legalized, particularly for medicinal purposes. I learned that this plant has been used close to 5,000 years to help ease medical maladies. It’s been proven to help with so many things. I know it helps me. How?

After I stopped marijuana, the insomnia kicked in. Doctor, you know that in my case of having fibromyalgia, that’s the worst thing that can happen to me. I usually can’t fall asleep until after 3:30 a.m. I’m working on a huge deadline at work, and it’s awful hard to focus and concentrate when I’m in a mental fog because of lack of sleep. This is the worst part, because the lack of sleep also makes me irritable, depressed, and angry. I’m angry because I’m in a situation where I cannot get pain relief, although I know it’s out there. I’m afraid when you get back that positive test result, you’re going to either cut off my medication, or refuse to see me anymore.

But you have helped me. You’re the first doctor willing to treat me for my condition. You’re the first one to write a pain prescription for me. You haven’t treated me like a drug addict. You’re the one that told me about the release Tramadol, so instead of popping four pills a day and going on a yo-yo of pain, I’m taking only the one in the morning. That helped somewhat. And the Lyrica you prescribed, that does help, too. But when I reach the late afternoon (even when I did use marijuana), the pain creeps back in. Maybe I need a higher dosage of the hydrocodone and/or the Lyrica.

I’d like to sleep again, but I don’t want to take Ambien, Xanax, or any other prescription. I know that marijuana is my natural sleep aid. I’d rather do something natural than add to my ever-growing medicine cabinet.

Another thing marijuana helps me with is my appetite. Most of the time now I’m nauseated, and I have absolutely no appetite. It’s hard for me to eat. And I like food! I like to cook! And bake! But now I barely have the energy, and I’m in too much pain to really want to do anything. I’ve already lost eight pounds. Not that that’s a bad thing, because I could be thinner. My point is, I’m not trying to lose weight. It’s coming off because I barely eat. Have you ever been able to eat when you’re nauseated?

I want to have an appetite again, but I don’t want another prescription. I’d rather use my natural remedy, the marijuana plant.

I’m wondering where you stand on medical marijuana, especially because we have that on the ballot this November election here in Florida. How do you feel about marijuana use? Do you know what cannabis cures? Do you support the initiative? If so, will you help me obtain medical marijuana? Because if recent polls indicate anything, and because of the dialogs I’ve had with other folks here, the initiative should pass overwhelmingly. I really do want to know how you feel about this issue. After all, you’re the one and only doctor willing to treat my pain right now. My primary doctor referred me to you because she knew you could help me, and she herself is fearful of the DEA.

Because I haven’t had many conversations with you, I hope you understand my hesitation in talking to you earlier. Sometimes I wish I could have gone in and talked to you, to get your advice, to know what’s going to happen after I take that drug test. You currently are my lifeline to living a life with lessened pain. I know it’s never going to go away, but it IS treatable. It can be more bearable.

So Doctor, when the lab notifies you that there’s THC in my system, please, please, please believe me and my words. I give you my honest word that I have not touched, nor looked, at marijuana for over three weeks. I don’t want to wait any longer to find out what happens. There’s a good chance you’re not going to write me any new prescriptions because of that THC. Because of the DEA. I know they’ve made it more difficult for you to treat us chronic pain patients. But I do plead with you that you treat me with compassion, and that you do not withhold my pain relief. I hope you’re willing to TREAT me, like you have in the past. After all, I’ve shown absolutely NO signs of drug abuse, you even have that written in my records. This was going to be, I believe, only the third prescription in six months (now it’s seven), that I was going to pick up. I have not abused my pills. And I’m not an abuser just because I used marijuana.

I did what I could to survive with my pain. It’s with me always. It will be with me until the day I die. I can live with that if I can have lessened pain. Please help me doctor. HELP me. Understand me. Believe me.

I have not used marijuana in weeks. I desperately need that pain prescription. I want to feel “normal” again. Do you understand?

There, I came clean. And I tried my best to be clean.

Thank you,
Your Patient

Chronic Pain Sufferers Suffer Even More Now

The DEA recently changed Hydrocodone to a Schedule III drug, making it even more difficult for chronic pain sufferers to obtain the pain medication they NEED to survive in the United States. When we take pain meds – even every day – we are not drug abusers. Why? Because the pain meds actually TREAT the pain and allow us to function. It’s the abusers that messed it up for us. If you take pain meds and you’re not in pain, yes, you will feel “high.” But not so for us.

Now we must go to our doctor to pick up our prescription – and only WE can go (no-one else). Then, most likely, we have to take a drug test in order to pick up the script. At the drug store, we have to show our identification to pick up the medicine. Our information is entered into a drug database. In short, we are treated like drug abusers and/or criminals. And these drug tests? You have to take them even if you haven’t shown ANY SIGN of drug abuse. That’s just not right.

A lot of folks in pain use marijuana, which is a natural pain reliever. It aids sleep naturally, which is so very important for fibromyalgia sufferers. If we cannot sleep, our condition worsens.
So imagine the frustration we face. If we use marijuana, we have THC in our systems for days – or weeks even – and thus, have a positive result on the drug tests. So then the doctor refuses the pain medication.
Imagine if you had to pee in a cup to receive blood pressure medicine. And a positive result meant you wouldn’t get your meds. You could have a stroke and die. So you tell me – is this fair? It surely isn’t. Why are we treated any differently?

Join me in our fight to get the help we need. That includes #medicalmarijuana. Educate yourself. This PLANT has been used for almost 5,000 YEARS as a natural remedy for MANY ailments. It was a negative spin made in the early-mid 1900s that changed the views about marijuana, and made users look like criminals. I can assure you that the “typical stoner” image most people have is INACCURATE. If you think people who use marijuana are lazy or stupid, don’t have any motivation, and eat munchies all day, you are WRONG. Lazy people are lazy, regardless if they smoke pot or not. We users are professionals, we are responsible adults, we give back to the community, we are GOOD PEOPLE.

I’m in pain. Serious pain. I want help. I don’t get the help I need. I’m treated like a drug addict. Is this wrong? I think so. If you think so, too, help me spread the word. It’s about time we #legalizemarijuana and stop wasting taxpayers money on the “war on drugs,” which has literally pissed away our money. According to recent polls, 88% of Floridians support the initiative to legalize marijuana. I would be there are about 88% of us who use marijuana – in the USA – where supposedly we are free. REALLY?
Think about that.

The Injustice! Is This Legal?

med mar

If a cop pulled me over, he/she must have reasonable suspicion to search my vehicle; I would have had to act in some way to justify the search. Same as with my house. The police just cannot show up and search my house without proving to a judge that they have reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing on my part. But how is it right that I must submit to a drug test for my doctor in order to receive any pain pill worth a darn (yep, meaning a scheduled narcotic drug) when there is absolutely no reasonable suspicion that I have been doing anything wrong?

I have been a patient for over six months and I was going to pick up only my third prescription for Hydrocodone, you know, that whopping five milligrams of pain relief. (insert huge sarcasm here) That meant I made sixty pills last for six months. As a matter of fact, in each of the doctor’s notes, it says that I show “no signs of drug abuse.”

So you tell me – I’ve done nothing wrong, exhibited no bad behavior, but in order to pick up that prescription, I must now pee in a cup to prove I haven’t been using other drugs. Like I said in my first post (THE MANIFESTO), that’s a problem for me because I have been using marijuana for many, many years to help my pain. Remember, I suffer from fibromyalgia, and for the last 20 years, I’ve never been prescribed narcotics. I had to do whatever I could so I can function as a normal human being and not end up in the bed suffering from pain each and every day of my life. So yes, I used marijuana. Big deal.

I quit using marijuana weeks ago just so I could pass this stupid, unjustified, unreasonable test. I am angry because although I have a few pills left, they’re the only ones I can take to relieve my pain. They will run out within a week. I go without some days because I know there will come a day – soon – that I hurt so, so, so bad, that I have to mete out these pills.

So although I haven’t USED marijuana is weeks, I’ve taken ten at-home tests so far and each one has resulted in a positive result. I haven’t even LOOKED at marijuana, much less used it. I feel really sorry for anybody having to submit to these tests. They don’t actually prove that you’ve been using marijuana recently, only that THC remains in your fat cells for a long period of time. Considering I’ve used marijuana for how long? I may never test negative! So how is this test correct? How is it legal? I haven’t been using marijuana, and I haven’t been abusing my pain meds, but I am GUILTY until proven innocent. That goes against the grain of what America is supposed to be. It just doesn’t make sense. And it makes me angry as hell.

Why marijuana is illegal is because of a series of misinformation spread by those that wanted to benefit from the sale of alcohol – way back around the Depression. Suddenly, marijuana became a bad, bad thing, even though it had been used for thousands of years to treat medical maladies. Suddenly marijuana users became seedy criminals.

That’s the farthest thing from the truth. I am about as far from being a criminal as you can get.

So anybody, tell me, how is this random drug test legal? How is this justified?

Oh yeah, those pharmaceutical companies (who lobby Congress and donate tons of money … think about that …) don’t want to lose any money. Keep on pumping us up with non-narcotic remedies and make a fortune, instead of us being able to grow a naturally-growing plant and use it for free.

I’m mad as hell. And you should be too. Maybe the United States isn’t such a free country after all. Next thing you know, maybe we’ll have random searches in our houses to get rid of that “evil weed.” Be careful, America, what you wish for. It might just come true.

Signed, from a non-marijuana user testing positive,
Your Activist to Make Marijuana Legal Once Again

P.S. Thank you @thcterry for the wonderful graphic that explains all the wonderful uses of marijuana!

My Manifesto | Truth About My Pain, Pot, and Pills

Imagine that you feel like you have the flu – but without the “sick” part of it (you don’t have the stuffy head, cough, etc.) – meaning your entire body aches, you feel like you’re running a fever, and you have ZERO amount of energy. Now imagine feeling that way every day. EACH DAY. Can you even imagine?

Okay, now let’s add constant neck and shoulder pain that hasn’t subsided in over 20 years. Constantly. In pain. For over 20 years.

Yes, 20 YEARS. 1040 weeks. That’s 7,300 days. 24/7 constant, chronic pain.

I’m sure that most of you CANNOT imagine what this feels like, but if you’ve got fibromyalgia, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

CONSTANT pain. Constant. Imagine your brain yelling, “pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, pain …” 24 hours per day, seven days per week, 52 weeks per year, for over 20 years.

This is me. This is my life.

And it sucks.

So what do you do when you’re in constant pain? You do WHATEVER YOU CAN to make the pain subside, or at least be less intense. But how? In the United States, getting a prescription for anything that contains a narcotic is almost impossible. Let me tell you how many times I was given a prescription containing narcotics for fibromyalgia.

ZERO. NONE.

Yep, zero times. (But I did manage to have a couple of prescriptions written when I was in so much neck pain I couldn’t move my neck, and then for my neck surgery. I always managed to mete out these pills.) Not until we got a rheumatologist in town, after I had gone through intensive physical therapy, after I had neck fusion surgery, was I given a prescription for hydrocodone specifically for my fibromyalgia pain.

Because HEAVEN FORBID should anyone be able to feel good! That’s against the law.

Yes, I left with a prescription for hydrocodone. A WHOPPING 5 mg. Wow. (To give you an idea, you can get aspirin with 8 mg. of codeine over the counter in Canada.) Now the 5 mg. didn’t take away the pain, but made it less severe. I can actually function like a normal human being! Now I don’t have to make those pills from my surgery last over an entire year. Never once have I obtained codeine illegally. NEVER.

So I’ve been going to this doctor for over half a year now. I went to pick up my THIRD prescription (that’s only three in six months, do the math, I didn’t take a pill every day), but I was told I needed to go pee in a cup for a random drug test because of the new federal laws. Even though I’ve exhibited ZERO signs of being a drug addict, I’m assumed guilty until my urine shows that I’m drug free.

That’s a problem for me. A huge problem.

WHY? Because I did WHATEVER I COULD to ease my constant, chronic pain. That meant I smoked pot. Marijuana, mary jane, reefer, blunts, call it what you will. I call it my lifesaver.

Fortunately, I couldn’t take that drug test right then and there because of a previously scheduled appointment. I would have failed that drug test on the spot.

I’ve had to give up marijuana to pass this drug test. So now I’m faced with a serious decision.

Do I give up the marijuana that had long-lasting effects on my pain? Or do I give up the pills that occasionally make me forget the pain for say, maybe an hour? Sometimes two, if I’m really, really lucky. And that’s only every other day. The pills, yes, do more than the pot, but only for a fraction of time. I can’t be popping pills several times per day because I don’t have that type of prescription. And I doubt I ever will if these federal laws continue to exist.

Do I get high from these pills? Not really. But why? Because I’m in CONSTANT, CHRONIC pain. Those pain pills actually treat the pain, and thus, it doesn’t make me high. Now a person not in pain? Would certainly be high. Yes, these pills would make you feel good.

But feeling good is a problem in the United States. We have a war on drugs here. We have people sitting in prison for doing drugs. For feeling good. Feeling good shouldn’t be a bad thing.

So here I sit, mad as hell. And I have EVERY RIGHT TO BE ANGRY.

I shouldn’t have to suffer when there’s relief to be had. Nobody should have to suffer. But we with CONSTANT, CHRONIC pain do suffer. We suffer from pain ALL THE TIME. CONSTANTLY. CHRONICALLY.

What’s so ironic to me is that I can go buy a bottle of booze, which totally impairs me. Pot doesn’t. (How many car accidents are caused by driving drunk? Too many to count. But yet, how many car accidents have you heard were caused by smoking pot? Yep, none.) Or I could go buy a gun without any background check. Both the booze and the gun could hurt numerous people. But thank goodness, I’m not crazy. I don’t want to get drunk, nor do I want to shoot anybody.

I don’t even want to shoot the lawmakers who passed these drug laws. What I would like, though, is for any one of them to “fill my shoes” for a day. Heck, not even a full 24 hours. Let’s just give him/her half a day of CONSTANT, CHRONIC pain. But no pills, no pot, no booze, nothing. Then tell me how you feel.

I’d just like some pain relief. That’s all I’m asking! That’s all we’re asking.

And then let’s have this one person tell me if these laws are worth it.

Because what the majority of Americans think about pot? Is not true. We’re not all lazy potheads, who sit around doing nothing, eating bon-bons all day long (because heck, if you get stoned, you get the munchies, right?) Before prohibition, marijuana was legal. As a matter of fact, it was ILLEGAL NOT TO GROW IT! That’s right, the hemp used from marijuana was used to make rope, which was very necessary in the shipping industry.

So … a bunch of folks set out to make marijuana users be BAD PEOPLE around prohibition time. Unfortunately, that misperception stuck. All the way into the year 2014.

Well, let me shoot down those untruths.

When I was in college (oh yes indeed, I went through college, got a degree, made the dean’s list, was a member of Phi Theta Kappa, all while being high), my roommate mentioned something about stoners being lazy. “Really?” I asked? “They’re late, too. Never on time,” she said. “Oh?” I replied? I let her go on about her misperceptions.

“Have I ever been late for anything?” I asked. “No.”

“Do you think I’m lazy?” I asked. “Heavens no,” she replied! “You go to college, you work part-time.”

Well, guess what. I get stoned. EVERY DAY! Gasp!

Not only did I get that college degree (with honors), I worked every spare minute I could during college. After college, I got a professional position – where I excelled. And I still smoked pot. (I even went back to college to learn Spanish.)

Yes, I’m a stoner. And I’m not ashamed of it one bit. This marijuana is the ONE AND ONLY thing that has allowed me to survive the past 20-30 years. It has been my major source of pain relief. It was the only thing I could turn to.

A little bit about me: I am a professional woman, with a full-time, prestigious position, working almost 15 years for a world-wide company. I work with many folks who smoke weed just like I do. Some of us joke that if we had mandatory/random drug tests, our company would have maybe 3-4 folks left. The rest of us would fail that drug test.

We’re all UBER intelligent people. And we smoke pot.

Outside of work, I was on the Board of Directors for a non-profit agency for five years. I was the head of the Public Relations program. Still smoking pot. I helped our fundraisers go from $25k per year to $50k. I completed the annual fundraiser 100+ page catalog during the same time I was putting together my son’s school’s annual yearbook. Oh, by the way, I took all the pictures for that yearbook, too.

I hope you’re getting my point.

I’m not a lazy, no-good, good-for-nothing stoner. Not many of us are.

Lazy people are lazy people, whether they smoke pot or not. There are lazy people who smoke pot and lazy people who don’t.

But there are doctors, professors, lawyers, all sorts of professionals – respected members of society – that smoke pot. I’m one of those respected members. I’ve got a house almost paid off, I don’t have any bills outside of my monthly American Express card, which I pay off in full each month. I’m probably one of the most active parents at my son’s school. I volunteer regularly. I’m a good person.

You wouldn’t ever know by looking at me that I smoke pot. I have a lot of friends who don’t know I do. Because it’s still a bad thing … in their heads.

But not in mine. I know that I’m not a criminal. I’m a thriving individual that gives back to my community, sometimes more than 100 percent. I’m an overachiever. And I smoke pot.

So here I sit, writing this manifesto, marijuana free for an entire week. And I’m in pain. Bad pain. But in order to get that prescription for those 5 mg pills of codeine, I can’t get that other pain relief. Like I said, it’s a serious decision. Get some relief now? Or pay for it later with a failed drug test. So I remain pot free.

Pain, pain, pain, pain, pain. Pain, pain, pain, pain, pain. Imagine your brain repeating that every second you’re awake. Imagine being in constant pain. With no relief. Can you?

Because I’ve been a “chronic” user of marijuana for I’ve lost count how many years, it could take up to 12 weeks – or more – for me to pass a urine test. My next appointment with my rheumatologist is in a couple of weeks. I’m sure I’ll fail that urine drug test.

And I won’t be receiving any more prescriptions for hydrocodone.

That’s why I’m mad as hell.

Wouldn’t you be?

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Well … I feel much better now that this manifesto is written and ready for the world. I’m sure all of you (or at least some of you) understand why this is anonymous. I mean HEAVEN FORBID should I have to pee in a cup for my employer.

To see other Manifestos, check out the Daily Post’s Weekly Writing Challenge here.