My battle being a chronic pain patient

So it all started in 2011 my back started to spasm so bad that I would drop to the floor and I couldn’t breathe. So I went to see my primary care doctor and he put me on tramadol because it was suppose to be “non addictive”. Which I may say is a complete LIE!!!! Obviously they realize that now as they have changed the schedule on it.  So I was taking tramadol, soma and naproxen everyday and that allowed me to be the mother and wife I wanted to be without the pain. So as I was taking this medication I was going to physical therapy. Now I didn’t mind physical therapy because it was mostly massages and electrode therapy.  But then she put me on the traction machine and as soon as she started to stretch me out I screamed because it felt like she was ripping my muscles apart. So she wrote a note to my doctor saying she wasn’t going to touch me again until they get my back muscles relax.

So I stopped physical therapy yet my pain kept going up because my body was getting use to the amount of meds I was on. So  what does my doc do he ups my milligrams. So there I am going about my day trying to not hurt myself any more than I already am. So then Thanksgiving of 2011 rolls around and I find out I’m pregnant with my daughter and I STOP all my meds.

Now remember doc said there was no withdrawl with the meds I was on yet the day after I stopped them I felt like shit. So of course me not knowing what withdrawls are I go to the hospital and tell them my story: I’m a pain patient and I just found out I am pregnant this is what I was taking (all prescribed) I stopped everything yesterday.

Yet even though I was a patient under doctor supervision they still put me down as a drug seeker. SERIOUSLY????? i was at the hospital because I had no clue what I felt like shit and now all of a sudden since i told you the truth and it seems all you heard was the pills I take not what i have physically done. Then he tells that the only way to help me is to put me on suboxone which he can’t because I’m pregnant.

Well Mr. Doctor if i wasn’t pregnant i would be here you see my meds come from my doctor and I take them like I’m suppose to. Anyways moving on going to the hospital was a waste of time so I went home made an appointment with my gyno who was so much more understanding. He was the best!! He saw me very quickly then he set up an appointment with a high risk gyno to make sure i was good. So I had the appointment explained what went on and he said I stopped early enough so there should be no problems.

Let me tell you how that one hospital visit ruined going to the hospital for me. So i was 8 months pregnant and I got an abscess in my tooth. My face look like some one punched me and my pain was off the scale. Now I can deal with any pain in my body expect for pain in my head and face. So head aches, ear infections and tooth aches make me want to rip my head off.

So it was a Saturday night and my husband was at work. At this time he was a poker dealer at Foxwoods. So I call my mom (who is the best may I say) and she comes and picks me and my son up. She brings me to the hospital and waits in the car with my 2 1/2 year old. I get in the room and the doctor looks over my chart and automatically judges me because of my last visit. I am a drug seeker to them no matter what is going on. Even though i hadn’t been on any pain meds since Thanksgiving and here we are in June he still just assumed. So he tells me all he can do is give me a shot in the mouth. so i say okay he gets the needle and just barley touches my gums and I grab his arm with the needle in it and pull away. At this point there are tears streaming down my face and I can barley put any words together. So he finally convinces me to get the shot and he has a couple nurses come in to hold me down.  So they held me down and I fought bc let me tell you it hurt worse than anything. So I get discharged my face is numb but it still hurts. If you didn’t know a dentist will put you on antibiotics first before trying to stab you with any needle because they know with the infection in there Novocaine won’t do anything.  I will say the doc gave me antibiotics. So I started the antibodics and I was up all night in pain and the next day when hubby got home from work he took one look at me and made me go back to the hospital. (now you see why i married this man he ALWAYS takes care of me).

So we go back to the same hospital but this time we get a different doc who is an absolute doll.  I tell her my story crying my eyes out she looks at my chart and prescribes me something for the pain and tells me to keep up on the antibiotics. So i went home and slept for the first time in like 3 days. When I woke up apparently my face was 5Xs bigger and hubby of course freaked out and called the hospital and they said to bring me in.

The doc took one look at me and said I was being admitted for IV antibiotics.  I do have to say they were very good about taking care of my pain. So I was healed and went home. So after I got better I finished my pregnancy my daughter came out pissed and healthy. After that I was on tramadol on and off until Oct. 2014 I started taking it regularly again because my back muscles were so tight you could see them thru my shirt. I was sent for a bunch of test and come to find out one of my disc was hitting a nerve which caused weakness and pain in my back and leg.

From there my meds kept going up until I was on Oxycodone. I have always been under doctor supervision I get drug tested every month to make sure i have the right levels in my body.

So now I’m seeing a new doc who has me on an instant release for breakthru pain and an extended release to have a background pain control. So this doctor was pro active and got me tested to check my nerves which where damaged in my leg and referred me to a neurologist. When he looked at my scans and what I’ve already done he recommended surgery. So why the hell not seeing as nothing else is helping.

My back surgery was in Oct. 2015 so by this point I had already been on some form of painkiller for 3 years(not counting the year before I was pregnant). So my body was addicted meaning if I stopped I would go thru withdrawls even though I NEVER abused the medication and took only what my doctor told me to. So I always had the fear of loosing my meds bc then I would have to go without til my next appointment.

Ok let my just add this tidbit here: when you go to a doctor for pain control and they prescibe you, you have to sign a contract YES a pain contract. Which pretty much states that I will submit to a drug test at any time they can call me in, they can call me in at any time to do a pill count to make sure I have all my meds, I can only use one pharmacy and NO other doctor can prescribe me pain pills of any kind without prior authorization. Also if I loose or my meds get stolen or something happens they do not have to refill me at that point they can make me wait.

So now that you understand the hoops I have to jump thru lets move on. So I was set up for surgery the surgery I was having was:

Lumbar discectomy is a surgery to remove a herniated or degenerative disc in the lower spine. The incision is made posterior, through the back muscles, to remove the disc pressing on the nerve. Discectomy may be recommended if physical therapy or medication fail to relieve leg or back pain or if you have signs of nerve damage, such as weakness or loss of feeling in your legs. Credit: Mayfield Clinic

From what I understand this first surgery was going to remove my disc the put a metal holder in the vertebra bone in my back. It is called a coflex implant. As you see below:

3-s2.0-B9781437703733100569-f56-04-9781437703733.jpg Credit: Science Direct

The coflex® Interlaminar Technology is an Interlaminar Stabilization® device indicated for use in one or two level lumbar stenosis from L1-L5 in skeletally mature patients with at least moderate impairment in function, who experience relief in flexion from their symptoms of leg/buttocks/groin pain, with or without back pain, and who have undergone at least 6 months of non-operative treatment. Credit: Paradigmspine

So the reason they did this was because I was young and it was minimally invasive. So we set the date and I got ready. Went had my surgery they upped my meds again because of surgery and went on with my life.

Now while I was taking all these meds and having these surgeries, they both did a number on my mental health. Along with the surgeries my grandma who helped raise me she passed in Dec 2014 and then I had my surgery Oct 2015 and my back was not healing right.

Then in April 2016 my best friend in the whole wide world, my first baby, my emotional support dog got cancer. We were able to amputate his hind leg and I made a promise to him that I would not keep him alive for selfish reasons meaning that if his quality of life was shit I wouldn’t keep him around to protect my heart. So we had a wonderful summer and then right after my birthday in September he started coughing and acting listless and this is the first time I prayed for my dog to have pneumonia. So we took him to our vet who took x-rays and sure enough it was tumors. My mom was with me that day along with my husband and we all said goodbye to one of the best dogs in this world, an animal who saved me from myself. I know he is still with me but it was so hard and it still is.

Anyways, the way that story fits in is in December of 2016 I had yet another back surgery this time they put the metal rods and screws in because my spine did not fuse.

The screws are placed at two or three consecutive spine segments (e.g. lumbar segment 4 and 5) and then a short rod is used to connect the screws (see Figure 1). This construct prevents motion at the segments that are being fused (see Figure 2). Credit: Spine-Health

At this time believe it or not they upped my meds again, I was on enough oxycotin to kill a horse. Seriously they should of never let it get that high, they should of weaned me down in between surgeries. Anyway So fast forward to February 2017 I had my breast reduction.

Why may you ask did I have one well because my tits were seriously to big for my body and especially after my babies they like tripled in size. Like when I was breast feeding my babies I had to hold my boobs up so I didn’t suffocate the poor things. Yeah just picture that and my bra left marks in my shoulders so I was hoping by making them smaller it would help my back…..anyway the breast reduction was not fun but totally worth it. My boobs sit on my chest I don’t have to wear a bra there’s no sweat marks on my shirt anymore. My doctor was amazing too like no scars.  Yet it still didn’t help the back pain.

So at this point we are in February 2017 and I am on a ridiculous amount of narcotics. Lets flash forward to June 2017 when I finally decided I’ve had enough of being a zombie and I wanted to wake up and be a wife and mother and just a functioning part of society. After my first surgery in 2015 when they upped my pills they put me into a zombie like trance and it numbed my emotion and just kept putting me deeper and deeper into a trance. So yeah I start asking my doc for alternative medicine. My doctor brought up medical marijuana and at first I turned it down…let me give you a little history:

I smoked when I was a teenager and it sucked 80% of the time. Either I would just pass out or I would vomit. Now before you guys say anything yes I figured out  now that it was shitty weed. So after researching it and finding an enormous information on cannabis and pain relief I decided to give it a try.

Now the first year sucked because our dispensary’s are like doctor’s office their are only three growers for over 40 thousand patients so they never have the same strains, or the weed isn’t dried out completely just a whole bunch of messes. Also I didn’t know anyone who smoked weed so I couldn’t ask them until  I finally found a friend who told me that there are farmers markets in Mass that have growers from all over sell their cannabis. So I hit one up and I was in heaven. It was like nothing I had ever seen before, you could hold the bud, smell it, even pick out which ones you wanted. There was every kind of wax, wax pressing in progress, glass blowing, edible samples, I felt like I was in California for a second.

That is where I met my caregivers, yes I no longer go to the dispensary haven’t in over a year. I keep my medical card for my protection. So now I’m finally feeling good and I start tapering my narcotics.

At my highest I was at 80mg of extended release twice a day and 30mg of instant release up to six times a day.

Now I am on 20mg of extended release twice a day and THATS ALL!!!!!

I am so proud of myself and it would of been lower already but the fact of this damn fibroid tumor.

As soon as I am healed from this I will continue my taper and finally be free of these evil synthetic drugs!!!!!!!!

Ok so there is so much more I could expand on in each of these paragraphs but I think this is enough for today. I want you all to remember to LIVE you LIFE HAPPY!!!!! Trust me it really opens doors.

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