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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 10:59 pm 
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Well I will start off with a little bit about myself...

I am 26 years old, graduating with my second Baccalaureate degree in May. I got my first one in Emergency Health Sciences and was a flight paramedic for a bit before getting VERY burned out, and deciding to come back to school and go a totally different route. I lived in Egypt for a year a couple of years ago studying Arabic linguistics... that is my new major.

Right before I left for Egypt I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. My education gave me a general familiarity with the disease, although my presentation was somewhat atypical, and I didn't start to suspect until my sed rate and CRP came back through the roof. From there it took a more predictable course, but it was amazing what some Voltaren did for me. We started Plaquenil right before I moved to Cairo just to make sure everything stayed well.

For the longest time, it did. It didn't stop me from climbing Mt. Sinai or seeing absolutely everything else there is to see in the whole region while I was there. A couple of months before it was time for me to move back, things started getting difficult. I started my love affair with prednisone then. Haha.... but we also started methotrexate. Found a really good French-trained rheumatologist in Cairo who knew her stuff. I might not be a physician, but I definitely know enough to keep one straight, if you know what I mean.

The last month was VERY difficult. It mostly involved me and a good buddy that I met in Cairo backpacking around Israel during December. I was raised as an Orthodox Jew, so the experience was incredible. (4 years ago G-d gave me the faith to believe that Jesus of Nazareth is Messiah, Baruch Ha Shem Adonai.) Was in Bethlehem for the Christmas Eve vigil. I don't have any words for that. Out of all the travelling I have done, I can honestly say that month changed my life. But as I said, my body was rebelling. That is difficult to deal with when you are otherwise in the prime of your life...

When I got home, the food shock, culture shock (it goes both ways when you have been away for a long time), jet lag, etc., just made things unbearable. My ESR was routinely above 100 (for those of you who are familiar). For about three months I just we went with steroid bursts, started Enbrel injections, and, unfortunately, pain medication.

I went to my doctor one day and told him that I was sick of it. I was sick of hurting, sick of waiting for recovery. It got to the point that I literally couldn't walk. I was enraged when they prescribed some Vicodin for me. What a band-aid! When I went back and told them I was hurting, he asked if I had been taking it, and we had a long discussion about why there is no shame in taking opiates when someone is hurting, etc.

I did take them and it made things somewhat better. We had to go to Norco 10/325, up to 12 a day to really feel like I had my life back. Then the RA started getting better. One day I just stopped taking them because I realized I didn't need them anymore. Then I thought I must be getting sick. After about 24 hours, my legs started hurting, so I took a couple of pain pills, and I was as right as rain. Then I knew what was happening. Still I decided I wasn't going to take anymore. For almost two weeks, I had awful physical symptoms (I realize this is atypical for length of time), and for two months I was incredibly depressed.

Then I got a skin infection on my abdomen that ended up with me being hospitalized. All of the immunosupressants had to be stopped, of course I had to be on massive amounts of Dilaudid, several surgeries, and was in and out of the hospital for about six weeks. When I got out, the RA was running rampant and I had no choice but to start regular pain medication. I did a very long taper of the Dilaudid and had returned to the Norco in the hospital.

Ever since I have been absolutely terrified of withdrawals- real terror. I tried going down by half a pill, but as soon as even a hint of runny nose or a twitchy leg came back, I would just go back to my normal dose.

It is important to me that I have NEVER taken more pain medicine than was prescribed, never lied to get pain medicine, never bought or sold it, etc. It is truly difficult for me to say whether I liked it from a psychological standpoint because differentiating the euphoria from just being able to walk from some sort of chemical affinity is difficult. It did give you this feeling that everything in the world was beautiful, I guess. I do know this- the pain medicine robbed me of my soul. I don't really know why. I stopped talking to friends, stopped caring about the things I really do care about, and just, well, changed.

About 6 weeks ago I heard about Kratom as a natural remedy for getting off of narcotics. I didn't do my homework and ordered a very powerful extract because I had tasted the powdered stuff and couldn't stomach it. To make this already long story somewhat shorter, I replaced one dependency for another- one that we know very little about. I do know that I have horrific withdrawals if I try to stop and got to the point where I never felt so defeated in my entire life. Because it isn't consistent, sometimes you take the same amount and wind up in nasty withdrawals, and sometimes you end up itching like a fiend.

I don't know if I am an addict per se or not. If I am, I embrace it as the place from which I am starting. I have spent a lot of time thinking about it, almost to the point that it is counter-productive. I am going to see someone to help me figure that out. The fact that I have cravings during withdrawal perhaps suggests that I am. Perhaps I just haven't had the opportunity (or necessity) to prove that I am. But in the end, the result is the same in one respect. I started Suboxone this morning. I knew I needed help to get off of opiates.

When we got to eight milligrams, I told him that I felt absolutely fine. It was strange. I didn't really feel high, but did feel a little dizzy. I went from aching, sneezing, and without any energy to going around doing things that have needed to be done for weeks this afternoon.

My question is this- everyone says that it just makes them feel normal. Maybe I have forgotten what that feels like, and this is my normal. But it seems almost too good to be true. Did we go too high on the dose? Right before induction, I went back to the Norco because it is a known quantity. At twelve a day I was on the verge of withdrawals from the Kratom. I did wait 36 hours between last dose and induction. Am I having an opiate high from 8 milligrams, or is this just normal me?

Do other people feel better than normal for the first few days also? I will soon be reminded of who normal me really is, but I am hoping this is it. Any comments would be appreciated.

Thank you in advance and G-d's blessings on all of you in your own journeys.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:32 pm 
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Yes. You can feel "better than normal" for a few days when you start it especially if you weren't on an extremely high dose of other opiates before. From what you have said, you weren't on an extremely high dose so 8mg could certainly make you better than normal. May I ask how you ended up on 8mg? Once it builds up in your system you may be able to drop down a little bit.

Just a little background..I was on about 280mg oxycontin per day when I got on suboxone. Took sub for 2 1/2 years. When I started I was on 24mg per day and never felt anything from it. Went cold turkey off of it and in two months had two surgeries and the painkillers to go with those surgeries. I still had a fairly high tolerance to the painkillers but NOTHING like before. I decided to go back on the suuboxone. I hadn't had any narcotic in about 4 days. I took 4mg of suboxone and got high off it. I had to increase my dose because of my peripheral neuropathy and landed on 8mg for a stable daily dose. This was last week. I was high from the sub for about 5 days or so. Then it leveled out. The first 2 days were the worst. I don't actually like being "high". I just feel like crap when I am not on anything at all.

You may want to decrease your dose by a couple mg and see what happens. You can always take anothr 2mg if you have withdrawal.

Cherie


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 9:21 pm 
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aleph127-

Welcome to the forum. You asked a very important question, Are you an addict? If you want my opinion- there is a huge difference between addiction and dependence, and what you experienced is dependence. Addiction causes the person afflicted to do whatever it takes to get their drug of choice- you did not do that. However, you are dealing with the effects of opiates changing you and your life. It stinks when this happens. I never wanted it to happen to me, but I succumbed to the power of opiates due to an ailment as well, I feel your anguish.
I have been on Suboxone for almost 3 years, and have started to taper. Late May or early June, I make the jump off. I know it will suck, but I need to do it.
As far as your questions/concerns. The optimum dose for Sub is the lowest dose that prevents withdrawal. For some, that dose is as low as 2mg a day. 8mg may be too much for you, you may want to think about half of that- but check with your physician. I do know that there are some physical symptoms while inducting, but what you are describing sounds like too much Sub. Now is the time to adjust the dose, once you are comfortable, stay with it.

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"It is never too late to be what you might have been!" - George Eliot


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