The Crackdown

It’s literally life and death and I, for one, will not go down without a fight.

Hello dear reader.

I read an article in the New York Post written by Betsy Mccaugh called The Insane Crackdown on Pain Medication. I’ve written several posts about this issue, but I believe people like me who deal with chronic pain are the invisible casualties of this “crisis” and I’m doing all I can to be seen.

Here are some of the facts being overlooked or twisted…”Politicians parrot a false narrative that millions of people are becoming drug addicts because of prescriptions their doctor gave them for pain.” The truth is that…”Only about 1 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain become addicted — according to a systematic survey of peer-reviewed medical studies

Here’s another fact that contradicts what we’re being told by the government…”Illegal drugs cause nearly all overdose deaths, not drugs patients get from their doctor.The fact is that “Fewer than one in five overdose victims even had a prescription drug in their system, and it was virtually never the only drug.

Here’s what it boils down to, the people abusing pain medications get it illegally, and will continue to do so. That’s what needs to be stopped.

It’s very difficult to misuse pain medications you get from a pain management doctor. I go to my doctor once a month (a five hour round trip). Every visit I am required to do a UA which looks for every drug in my system, including alcohol. If anything besides my prescribed medication is found, I risk no longer being treated there. If the levels of my prescribed medication are wrong (too high or too low), I am at risk of no longer being treated there. What’s wrong with the levels being too low? That means you either took too many when you got them or are selling them. I’m sure there are ways around these safeguards, but it wouldn’t be easy and I don’t think it could be done for any length of time.

I went to my doctor last week and while I was there I asked him what to expect going forward. He told me about ‘morphine equivalency’ and that by the end of this year nobody will be able to be above a morphine equivalency of 90. I asked him what the morphine equivalency of what I take now was. He did some quick math and said approximately 170. So my pain medication is roughly going to be cut in half.

With the levels I’m on now, I’m functional approximately 60% of the time. Cut that in half and I’m looking at being in too much pain to function 70% of the time. That’s not a life. It’s torture.

There are many other people in the same situation I’m in. We need to make them see us, make them realize what they’re doing to us, and hopefully change the way this crisis is being handled. Personally, I’m scared to death. If you or someone you know lives with chronic, debilitating pain please add your voice to mine. It’s literally life and death and I, for one, will not go down without a fight.

Until next time…

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Memorial in Washington

This whole situation makes me angry because people like me, and many of you I’m certain, are being treated like we’re doing something horrible by using pain meds for what they were intended to be used for.

Hello dear reader.

The purpose of this blog is to try to find ways to enjoy life as much as possible while dealing with chronic illness/pain. Recently, however, I’m fighting for any quality of life.

I’m talking about our government’s decision to end opioid use. I’ve written before about the difference between use and abuse.

I read an article on Medium about the “Prescribed to Death” memorial being put up in Washington. Here’s the link if you’re interested:

https://themighty.com/2018/03/prescribed-to-death-opioid-memorial-white-house-washington-dc/?utm_source=newsletter_digest&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter_digest_2018-03-29

I have to say in all honesty, this article infuriated me. This was my response:
I am so sorry for people who have lost someone to a drug overdose. That being said, I think this “memorial” is one of the worst ideas I’ve heard.
I live with chronic, debilitating pain constantly. Without the opiods I’m prescribed I would be dead. Period. I take the minimum amount of medication I can and still function. I don’t abuse my medication.
I went so far as to have electrodes implanted in my head (TENS unit). I’ve had my nerves burned. The list goes on and on. Nothing has worked. So I rely on pain meds to get out of bed in the morning, be as functional as possible throughout the day, and be able to sleep at night. I’m one of the majority of people who take opiods. The ones who don’t have a choice, who are responsible and careful with them, the ones who are being threatened with a death sentence by the government.
So put up your memorial if it makes you feel better. And start digging graves for the people like me.

Here’s an example of how insane this situation is becoming…I’m always very careful to read the information sheets when I start on a new medication. I want to be aware of potential side effects and interaction issues. I was put on a different pain medication last week. No matter how responsibly you take them, your body will build up a tolerance over time and they will no longer work. After spending 6 weeks in bed because I was in too much pain to move, my doctor and I decided I had reached that point. I was shocked when I read the information sheet on this new medication. There was nothing about side effects. There were no instructions about things like whether it needed to be taken with food. There were two pages of small print as usual, but the only information was about how addictive opiods can be, how dangerous they can be, how if you took them while pregnant 😯 the baby would be born addicted, and on and on. I had to look the medication up online to find out potential side effects and instructions. Does anyone realize how dangerous that is, to not know which side effects are normal and which are life threatening?

This whole situation makes me angry because people like me, and many of you I’m certain, are being treated like we’re doing something horrible by using pain meds for what they were intended to be used for. It terrifies me because I feel like my quality of life is being threatened… actually, my life itself. Nobody can be expected to live in constant agony, unable to function at all. Suicide rates are going to jump drastically if our government succeeds in making narcotics, opiods, opiates, etc. impossible to get.

Normally I would apologize for going on a rant, but not this time.

What do you think about this issue?
How do you feel about it?
I’d really like some feedback.

Until next time…

The Opiod Battle

I know this can be a controversial subject, but I hope we can start a civil and compassionate conversation about it.

Hello dear reader.

The news lately has been full of (among other things) the “Opiod Epidemic” and how we need to stop it.

Before I go any farther with this I want to be very clear about something. Opiod abuse and opioid use are two very different things. I’m 100% on board that abuse needs to be stopped.

That said, opioid use is not in itself a bad thing. Without opiods I would be dead, plain and simple. I wouldn’t be able to do anything besides writhe in bed screaming in pain. I would have bailed years ago.

Here’s what my mornings are like… I hate, really hate waking up. Before my eyes open I’m being screamed at by no less than four different parts of my body. Opening my eyes usually adds more pain. The VERY first thing I do is take a pain pill (an Opiod). 15-20 minutes later I can usually move without it being complete torture, usually.

Now imagine that scenario without the pain meds. And that’s just the very beginning of the day. I’m pretty sure you can figure out the rest of the day on your own.

I’m very fortunate to have found a really good pain management doctor who works with me to try to take as little medication as possible and still be able to function. I take random UA’s and have to bring all of my meds with me to every appointment.

I’m on Medicare and Medicaid, so the government gets to decide what medications I can or can’t have. I’m afraid every time I go to the pharmacy that I’m going to be told they won’t cover this or that anymore. No, it’s not paranoia. It’s happened a few times.

The point to all of this is that people like me, and there are a lot of us, are paying the price for people who abuse drugs. It seems that opiod use is trying to be stopped, when the problem is abuse.

I’ve put a link on here to an article from The Mighty written by Mikki Ingram. It states the problem in a clear and concise way. I really hope you’ll read it. It’ll open your eyes.

https://themighty.com/2018/03/opioid-study-jama-chronic-pain-problematic-media-coverage/

This is another article well worth reading

https://themighty.com/2018/02/opioid-epidemic-denying-treatment-chronic-pain/

I know this can be a controversial subject, but I hope we can start a civil and compassionate conversation about it.

Until next time…