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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 1:52 am 
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Thank you if you're still with me at this point--seriously!

I also get odd bladder spasms and pain around the, er, as Monty Python would say, “naughty bits”. I’ve been getting more and more flares recently; I would estimate I’ve spent at least half the month dealing with them. Neurontin is one of the things that is supposed to help with the neuropathic pain, but I’m at the maximum dose and it has no effect. I go to see a urologist next week, but I’ve already tried the standard treatments (Elmiron, etc.) and they have little effect. Maybe he’ll have some other answers for me.

Add in kidney stones (just a half point more painful than migraines) and sciatica, and I would say my pain pathways are pretty busy. I ask for IV Toradol if I have to go to the ER for a stone, and I use ice packs for the sciatica because it really is the most effective way to calm that nerve down; even a shot of Demerol doesn’t work as well. And my first line of defense with the cystitis flares even now is to use an OTC anesthetic and see if that does the trick. So it’s not like I was reaching for the oxy every second for every ailment.

Regardless, this fall I just cracked…I’d been using the migraine pain meds not only for headaches but also for the IC and for what I thought were stomach cramps due to a very stressful clinical rotation (I’m an ultrasound technician); I wonder now if the cramps weren’t mild withdrawal. And eventually, using it just for psychological relief. Anyway, I was so sick and tired of pain, a bunch of other crappy things were happening, and I developed a sort of rebellious entitlement mindset.

Docs are terrified to prescribe Schedule II meds where I live, so I found a “pain management” doctor in another state who prescribed an insane amount of 30 mg oxy, and I just went nuts on it. I call that period my “pharmaceutical temper tantrum”; I kept telling myself that I’d put up with enough, I desperately needed and deserved a break, nobody was going to tell me how to take care of my body and mind but ME, and to hell with caution and the DEA and everything else. I’d put on my comfy pajamas, fix a cup of warm milk or cocoa, take a few meds, and settle in. It was like Doris Day decided to become a pillhead.

I was astonished at how quickly I became hooked. I tried early on to find help, but was unsuccessful. I made a couple of calls to a psychiatrist who had an excellent reputation and worked with sub, but he never returned my calls. I finally found a therapist who specialized in pain patients and arranged an appointment, but she called me the morning of the appointment to cancel because she wasn’t comfortable working with people who misused their meds.

I cold turkeyed over the New Year (great way to ring it in!) but went right back to using, in part because of PAWS and the IC, but also because I wanted the comfort. I thought I could handle my meds, and I failed spectacularly. That was when I went to my family doc for help, (I posted the outcome of that disaster earlier) and now, here I am, still getting hot flashes on occasion but faithfully taking my 16 mgs of suboxone.

But at least things are looking up—I have an appointment with a therapist who specializes in chemical dependency, and I intend to use every minute of the 32 visits our insurance will pay for each year. I have also found a new family doc on our insurance plan who has an excellent reputation, has been addicted herself, and who has worked extensively with sub.

I have to confess, I really want and need to get off of suboxone as soon as I can, and I also need to figure out how to address the pain issues, because even though I got my cardiologist to agree to let me go back to triptans, I absolutely cannot treat the headaches with it every day if I have a week-long run of attacks. I have unstable angina as it is, and failing to balance the triptans with pain meds puts me at high risk for another “cardiac event”.

It’s ironic, because if I’d done the balancing act earlier, I wouldn’t have had heart problems, but I didn’t want to ask for pain meds and my neuro never suggested it (turns out it’s standard practice to juggle rescue meds with triptans in a case like mine). I’ve got a lot to work out. Going through an untreated migraine is NOT an option for me. If I thought I had to face life knowing I had to endure multiple migraines, it would in all seriousness drive me to the brink. So I don’t know what to tell my neuro. After my recent experience, I’m thinking I don’t want to tell him anything, although I know it’s “right” to do so.

OK, it’s way past time for me to shut up. Thank you, everybody, for “listening”, sorry to repeat myself in places, and I hope I will have some wisdom to impart or just a willing shoulder for any of you to lean on, too.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 4:37 am 
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WOW !!!


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 10:57 am 
Morningglory, Thanks for sharing more of your story. You've been through a lot! I can't imagine suffering from migraines and other sorts of pain issues from such an early age. Honestly, I think it's a miracle you didn't abuse your meds or become addicted to opiates before you did. It was obviously a very gradual process for you to go from occassional opiate use to eventual dependence and ultimately abuse and addiction. I feel it can be a fairly blurry line with some level of uncertainty as to when, how and even if we crossed the line into addiction.
It sounds to me like you've already analyzed that issue and came to realize at the first of the year that you indeed had 'crossed over'. I hope you are able to see that despite the way some of your healthcare providers have treated you, this is not your fault...not completely anyway! You certainly didn't set out to become a drug addict.
You have a lot to work through. I'm glad you've found a doctor who's gotten you started on Sub and I'm glad you'll be getting some therapy. This is a tough battle you've found yourself in...but you're not alone. There are several others here on the forum who have to deal with chronic pain. If you haven't already, read around the forum as much as you can, even the older posts. Educate yourself about ALL methods of pain relief, even unconventional alternatives may bring you some help....DOQ swears by 'triggerpoint therapy' and often recommends a workbook that has helped her tremendously. It goes without saying, the if you're serious about recovering from opiate addiction, you'll have to find methods to control your pain that don't involve the regular use of opiates. At least, in most cases. My hope for you is that you're able to find healthcare providers who will work with you on all aspects of your needs. I think it will be important for them all to know that you are struggling with dependence/addiction to opiates. If your docs don't know you're on Suboxone, it's going to be quite difficult for them to treat your pain. It will be hard, no doubt, to manage all this. Know that we're all here for you and looking forward to seeing how everything goes with you. Hang in there!


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:11 am 
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Thanks for your encouragement and advice, Setmefree. I'm understandably nervous about talking with my healthcare providers, but you're right, they have to know. I think I need a little down time first, to let the sub do its work and clear my head!

I remember DOQ's recommendation of the triggerpoint therapy book; I'm going to look it up on Amazon and maybe get a copy. There's so much about the workings of the human body that remains mysterious.

I do think maybe the sub is helping with the lower levels of discomfort with the IC, which is fantastic. I think someone else on this forum has it, too, and was using Percocet.


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Fond Du Lac Psychiatry
Dr. Jeffrey Junig, M.D., Ph.D.

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