Friday, November 1, 2013

Will Killing my Pain Kill Me?

Pain management appointments are quite frustrating.

I've been to two so far at my newest doc.  And he seems to know his stuff, medically speaking anyway.  He has me taking more (as he calls it) more good stuff and less bad stuff.

What did he mean?

More narcotics and less acetaminophen .  And it's a big jump for someone like me.  Don't get me wrong, I've taken every single pain killer out there - at least once - what with all of the surgeries I've had and the different hospital stays.  But, I was only taking the "hard core" pain killers for short amounts of time.  I'd take what I was given, as prescribed, and then go on with life. 
I've never done it like I'm doing it now.  Every so many hours for an extended period of time... So, while I'm happy this new doc is doing what he can for me, I'm a little frustrated that I need to take opioids for so long. 
I know the dangers of this, as well as the upside to it.  Dangers, obviously is a risk of dependency and becoming addicted to a certain drug.  I had to watch a few people I love deal with addiction from strong narcotics - and they weren't taking them for the "high" either - they had them for legitimate purposes and innocently took them as prescribed, but quickly became addicted.  It was hard for them to get off of the strong pills. 
Of course, the upside to taking such strong and powerful medication is the whole reason I'm taking them anyway.  To have less pain.  And I definitely see that now.  I have less pain.  I'm not free of pain, but I am definitely seeing my pain levels (on a scale of 1 - 10) go down.  Which is a wonderful experience!
But, while I have less pain, I'm also worried about the bigger picture.  Less pain today might mean more pain later, when or if I ever become so dependent on them that I would have to have withdrawal symptoms because of getting off of them. 

I remember the one and only time I went to a casino to actually gamble.  We went with some really good friends of ours.  I remember watching old women and retirees - with nothing better to do -  slip quarter after quarter and dollar after dollar into a slot machine, hoping that it would pay off and all the bells and whistles would alert them and everyone else in the surrounding area that they had won the jackpot.  I had a lot of pity for them.  I thought, "How silly!  Why not just keep the money you already have in your pocket?"
I know they were after even bigger money and the eventual pay off would be somehow worth losing hundreds of dollars at the hands of a big name casino. 
Am I headed for that same outcome?  Am I going to be like those old women sliding money into a slot machine, hoping for the next big payoff?

Am I going to be asking my doctor, month after month, for a better pill, a bigger pill, in hopes that I can have even less pain?  I know that my body will become "used" to whatever I take, especially if I take things for a long period of time.... But, I am also in need of that relief. 
If I don't take anything, if I just stop taking pills that help make my pain better, I will be at the mercy of intolerable nerve pain that will literally make me want to blow my brains out. 
I've been there already!  I do NOT want to go back to that!  EVER!

Even now, as I type this post up, I feel some of my nerve pain, and this is just three hours since I've taken my last pain pill.  So, I know that stopping now is NOT an option.  Unless of course I want to die at my own hands.  Which, I don't.

So, this is how life looks now. 

A cocktail of medicines - some for high blood pressure, some for high cholesterol, others for my underactive thyroid, others still for migraines.  I also, of course, take large doses of insulin throughout the day, via insulin pump.  But, now I'm also taking meds for pain.  And these meds are the first thing I reach for every morning.  They're out there in the front of all the other pills I take. 
Let's face it, I've been taking all of the other medications for years now, but I don't feel the "goodness" that they provide.  I mean, I can see the positive effects of those things by looking at blood work and getting results from the nurse.  And I see the positives from insulin therapy because I test my blood sugars all the time.  But, all of those positives are perceived by me differently than when I feel the positives from a strong narcotic.
Because, I actually feel the effects of my pain killers.  And I like the feelings of relief I get from those. 


I know that I need to manage my pain, and I know that this doc will help me do it, and I also know that I can get help from that same doc if I ever want to stop taking strong pain killers.  Him and his staff have a myriad of resources to give to those who need to stop or no longer have any need for narcotics.  I'm actually hopeful (as silly as it sounds) that someday, in my lifetime I will see a cure for small fiber neuropathy.  I've been told for 2 years now that there will never be a cure, but I've also been told that a cure for type 1 diabetes is out of the question.  And lately, there has been two vaccines on the news and on the web that are just one funding step away from human trials to not only stop the virus that causes type 1 diabetes, but one of the vaccines will actually reverse those who are already afflicted with it!
So, when a doctor tells me that there is no cure, I tend to take his words with grain of salt - at least eventually I do. 

So, anyway, that is it for now... I'm actually in quite a bit of pain as I end this post.  I will be using today - this rainy and windy day - to write a little bit more in my book. 

Thanks for reading, my few, but dear readers...


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