twoapennything: "Dear Boss" Letter from Jack the Ripper to Scotland Yard - 1888 (Triumph)
[personal profile] twoapennything
BTW, I really appreciate you guys hanging in there with me as I bitch and moan about my health. My goal for 2009 is to regain my health fully and to implement strategies for pain management that are helpful and not all-consuming.

I had this long entry typed up whinging about why I'm on pain management, but I deleted it because, really, who wants to read that shit? LOL! Basically, I am on clinical pain management for arthritis in my knees (I'm trying to stave off full knee replacements as long as I can, and quite honestly I don't know why my knees are so crappy. I had my first knee surgery when I was 15 and my second when I was 16, for a condition called Plica Syndrome. I think there might be some nefarious genetic thing going on . . .) Anyhow, I don't like the way I feel when I'm taking narcotics every day; I can't take NSAIDs because of the GI bleed I had last year from ibuprophen, and really it's too bad because ibuprophen works really well for me. I was supposed to see my doctor Thursday, but I cancelled because of the blizzard and I ran out of pain meds last Tuesday. God almighty, let me tell you what: opioid withdrawal - and I'm having a very minor bout of it, just to be clear - is horrible. Just UGH. No wonder heroin addicts keep going back to the drug! I did some research online and found a forum post that had some really great suggestions for dealing with minor opioid withdrawal more holistically that mainly involves a structured daily schedule, NSAIDs (obviously, I skip this step), exercise, outdoor activity, vitamins and treating individual symptoms of the withdrawal with various medications (i.e. a Unisom for insomnia; Clonidine for anxiety/creepy crawlies; Immodium for stomach upset *hemhem*).

I don't like feeling like I am going to be that person who is eventually an invalid, and whose life revolves around pain medication and doctor appointments. I have lost 125 pounds in the past 18 months and I didn't do that in order to become a reclusive sickly woman. I still want to peel off another 40 pounds and I can't do that if I'm not exercising, and I can't exercise if I'm not feeling tip-top (well, okay, we all have our days where we're not feeling tip-top, but you know what I mean - in general, we need to feel okay most of the time). So, it's important to me that I change my pain management regime - I've been on 22.5 mgs of oxycodone (Percocet) for 11 months now, and I'm just not happy with that. As you all know, my health has been awful this past year and I can't help but believe that being on narcotics full-time contributes to how I feel emotionally and mentally, and when one is feeling generally sedated, maybe depressed, maybe dull-minded, then everything is affected negatively.

So, yeah, I'm here, in my fifth day of opioid withdrawal, determined to make some changes in my life that bring more of a balance to my personal health and weight loss goals. Mainly I feel okay - the anxiety is the symptom that I'm finding most uncomfortable, and I've experienced it only one day (yesterday) so far. Coincidentally, Ariel takes Clonidine, so I filched one (Mother of the Year moment, yes) and it did help alleviate those symptoms.

I'll call on Monday to make a new appointment with my pain doctor, but I plan to discuss my treatment regime with him in depth. I'm not sure if this is the pain management clinic for me ultimately, to be honest. Long story short, although I was originally referred to the pain management clinic for my arthritis, I have two other conditions that require pain medications, and when you sign onto pain management, you sign a pretty thorough contract about how you will handle your pain medication needs. Essentially, you agree that you will under no circumstances fill any narcotic prescriptions from any other doctors, hospitals, urgent care centers, etc. I understand this is to reduce incidents of "doctor shopping" and try and prevent severe addiction (to give you a comparison, a hardcore pain pill addict can easily take upwards of 20-50 pain pills per day, or more; you can imagine the level of withdrawal that comes with that kind of narcotic consumption). Anyhow, when addressing one of my pain issues that the oxycodone doesn't work for, they immediately wanted to put me on the Fentanyl patch, which, NO. Fentanyl is a whole 'nother level of narcotics* and . . . JUST, NO.

I think it's time for me to do some research into alternative pain management clinics, ones that provide a more well-rounded approach. Narcotics are sometimes necessary and understandable, but there are other tools, such as TENS units, acupuncture, massage, non-narcotic nerve blocks, etc.

*Fentanyl is an odorless, rapid-acting opioid (or synthetic opiate, narcotic analgesia), which depresses central nervous system and respiratory function. It is the most powerful opioid known, with a potency approximately 80 times that of morphine and 100 times that of heroin. (Wiki)


I have $7.34 in cash until I'm paid on the 31st. LOLOLOLOL!!!! Because, really, how lame is that? One of my New Year's Resolutions this year was to not use credit cards anymore and to pay cash for everything (I have a few exceptions to this rule, such as buying plane tickets, etc). We have a set budget and we're sticking to it. IT'S REALLY HARD! *FLAIL*


Here are, hopefully, my upcoming travel plans. April: possibly Las Vegas to visit [ profile] cryptaknight and to see The Cure (Liz, I'm still waiting on the funds that would facilitate this). May/June: Birmingham to visit [ profile] longtimegone! June: New Mexico and Arizona, roadtrip to Orme for the annual reunion. It's not my reunion year (I'm class of '87) but a lot of my friends from high school are going, and I would really love to see them, and also to show Shawn and the kids where I went to high school and what that experience was all about. Then, we plan to visit the Grand Canyon, which Shawn really wants to see. I hope to visit my cousin and aunt in Phoenix while we're there, too. And, of course, to visit my New Mexico friends on the way there/back. August: Roadtrip to Hudson Bay, Saskatchewan, for a week on Shawn's father and step-mother's farm. Total R&R, and I have not yet gone up with them to the farm. Shawn's dad and stepmom are awesome, and it'll be good to see them again, and hopefully Shawn's brothers and sister, too.
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