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Old 03-12-2006, 01:41 AM   #1
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Largeman HB User
Life after opiates: 8 months later

I very much doubt there is anyone left on the board back from July, but if you were then perhaps you will remember me. To those who don't, let me give a quick recap: I spent 2 1/2 years addicted to morphine (about 100mg a day) that was prescribed by my doctor to treat various ailments (mostly back related).

4th of July weekend (July 2nd) I decided to begin my independence from drugs and reclaim my life. It was the hardest thing I've ever done and remains the thing I am most proud of. I remember the fears that I had back then -- the fears that almost kept me from reclaiming my life. I was absolutely sure I wouldn't be able to handle the withdrawal. It terrified me. I also remember when I was lurking and I would read about the cravings people felt even after the withdrawal faded and the emotional struggle they endured. I knew I was too weak to handle that.

The day I quit I was sure it was temporary because those pills had such a grip on me. I remember counting my pills to make sure I had enough - and I remember doing this several times a day. I remember reaching for that little bottle every morning before I even had my eyes open. I remember telling myself that I wasn't really addicted because my pills came from a doctor and I had a legit medical problem (even though I knew I was lying to myself and that I did take them for emotional pain too). I remember feeling that my life would always be tied to those pills and that I wouldn't be able to escape. I was desperate and depressed and even though I was still too drugged to realize how much of myself I had shut off by using - I knew I was in trouble.

So I quit. July 2nd; the day that changed everything. That morning I stood in front of the bathroom mirror and instead of taking my dose of 12-hour morphine I looked at myself and I cried. I cried because I was scared - of what I had done and what I was about to do. This would be one of several times during the first few days that I would do this. I quit cold turkey, without attending any kind of counseling or program, without tappering, without any other prescriptions of any kind -- not because I am a hardcore tough guy (trust me, I'm not). Quite the opposite, I did it that way because I was scared to reach out and tell anyone.

Week one was pure hell. The only place I had to turn was this message board and the only people who kept me going were it's members. Reading about what other people in my position were doing really helped. The encouragement and support I got was tremendous. Being able to ask questions about my withdrawal symptoms and being inspired by others taking the same journey as I was really made those sleepless days and nights much easier.

Little things started coming back to me during this time; like music. Listening to and being moved by music was something I didn't even realize I lost while I was on drugs. I was like a deaf man hearing for the first time. Little things like taking a drive a night or walking along the beach all of a sudden felt amazing. It was sort of like coming back from the dead -- and it in many ways that is was I was doing. Withdrawal sucked, but for every bad symptom there seemed to be three new good things reawakening in me.

One of the things that surprised me was the length of time it took to get past the withdrawal - mine was severe. I had insomnia and restless legs for a long time. Even in October I was still battling those two lingering symptoms periodically. I won't lie, that really sucked, but it was hard to be too upset when suddenly I had my life back. I was going out with friends again, I had a social life after spending too long locked away from everyone. Oh and the pain that I had that prompted my start on morphine? It really wasn't as bad as I remembered. Today I am able to manage it with FOUR ADVIL! That's it. I cannot believe how much fear had held me back. It turns out that when you take opiates for a long time your body lessens or stops it's production of it's natural painkillers - which is why even after taking the morphine I still hurt and seemed to be getting worse. I'm healthier today than I've been in five years.

Mentally I never struggled or had any cravings. NONE. EVER. I have no idea why this is. Maybe I just got lucky, but once I quit that was it for me. Today I'm not even sure why I even liked them to begin with because I ALWAYS feel happy. I can't imagine a better feeling that having my life back. Simply put; those pills don't have to chase you forever. Over the course of the past 8 months I've had a handful of dreams where I had accidentally taken a pill and the freaked out. I would wake up each time so relieved and grateful that that part of my life was over.

I'm glad I quit cold turkey and -looking back- I'm grateful for the suffering I endured during withdrawal because I know I never want to go back to that again. It serves as a reminder of what I allowed myself to become and what I will never be again.

If you are reading this and thinking of quiting or just starting out let me just tell you that you really can do it. I did it at the worst possible time in my life. I had a million things going on but I knew I had to put all that on the shelf and tackle this beast before I lost my nerve. I am not a strong person nor am I brave - my fear is what motivated me to quit and stay quit. Use that fear to your advantage because I assure you it gets better. You don't need pills to cope, you think you do, but you don't. And once you are free of them you won't even remember why you turned to them in the first place. I've been where you are right now and I know how scary it is. You are not alone -- many of us have been where you are and there really are some success stories out there and you can be one of them.

So why did I drop back in after so long? Because I'm in excruiating pain today. I have an impacted wisdom tooth that is positively killing me. I am on 23 hours of the worst pain I've had since withdrawal and I cannot see my dentist until Monday morning. When I was offered a prescription of vicodin to tide me over until Monday I didn't even hesitate to say "HELL NO". Maybe I could have taken it to ease the pain and been fine, but I am not willing to play games and risk it. I remember how it feels to be in the beginning of withdrawal and I never want to put myself in a position to relive that again. I can handle a tooth ache, I can't handle losing myself again. As I reflected over the past 8 months I remembered my time here and I wanted to say thank you to those who helped me get to where I am today and to offer encouragement to those who are where I used to be.

Good luck exploring the infinite abyss,

-Large

 
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Old 03-12-2006, 02:48 AM   #2
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Blasterboy HB UserBlasterboy HB User
Re: Life after opiates: 8 months later

wow large, that is an awesome story and I know that some new members are going to find inspireation from it, I certainly did! I bet Jenna wil, I know she's going CT right now from a similar place that you've been from.

Thankyou so much for your brave story. Are you enjoying life now and do you have any sort of recovery program like NA or Church etc? How have you managed life's issues and the emotional pains without the pills that you used to use?

 
Old 03-12-2006, 04:07 AM   #3
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Largeman HB User
Re: Life after opiates: 8 months later

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blasterboy
wow large, that is an awesome story and I know that some new members are going to find inspireation from it, I certainly did! I bet Jenna wil, I know she's going CT right now from a similar place that you've been from.

Thankyou so much for your brave story. Are you enjoying life now and do you have any sort of recovery program like NA or Church etc? How have you managed life's issues and the emotional pains without the pills that you used to use?
Thanks man! I'm absolutely enjoying life now, mostly because I feel like I'm part of it again. In the very early days of my pill addiction those little pills made me feel like I could do anything but by the end I wasn't doing anything. They didn't help with pain anymore and I they didn't make me feel better emotionally - I was always in pain and always depressed. I lived in constant fear that either my pills would go away or I would be found out and my career would be ruined. I wouldn't say my story is one of bravery, but rather one of luck. I dodged a big bullet because craving never happened for me.

I'm happier now than at any other point in my life and the people around me who watched me slowly disappear during my addiction are thrilled to see that I've re-emerged a different person. I practically became a recluse on those pills. I never wanted to go out. I wanted to be alone, in the dark, tv on, in front of the computer, with my pills at my side. When I'm happy now it's because I'm genuinely happy, not just self-medicating myself in to denial or blocking everything out.

As far as any program, no I haven't been involved in any. Same with churches and temples (I'm an atheist). This was done cold turkey and without a support system beyond this website. I definitely do NOT recommend doing it this way but it was the only choice I felt I had at the time. I don't know that if I hadn't gone through cold turkey that I would be clean today. I am one of those people that NEEDED to experience that hell fully in order to be sure to never let myself return. I know if someone is going through it right now you probably want to punch me in the kidneys ("grateful for withdrawal??!!!" *PUNCH*) but it really is the thing that saved my life.

Today life's issues all seem small compared to what my addiction did to me. I really can't imagine anything worse than the addiction and subsequent withdrawal. Just reflecting back on that time has helped immensely. I still have everyday stresses and things like that but I seek out trusted friends now and use releases like working out or kayaking or writing to work through them. Because my physical pain (which was my primary reason for starting pills) is practically nonexistent today I try to get out more, get to the beach more, and just enjoy all the other ridiculous things L.A. has to offer. Just having gone through all of this has really changed my outlook on life and I appreciate what I have far more than I ever did before.

As I sit here practically drooling from the tooth pain though I feel good because my resolve hasn't waivered an inch - I will not take a narcotic again. Period.

My heart goes out to those who are going through this right now - especially those of you who are suffering the added stress of money problems, taking care of the kids, trying to keep your job, spouse trust issues, guilt, and that dreaded lonliness that comes when you can't stop fidgeting and can't get any sleep. Whether this is your first time quitting or your 100th - stay strong, there are a lot of people pulling for you.

Oh, and Jenna, congrats and good luck. I had insomnia before I ever started withdrawal too and I actually think it helped prepare me since I was used to staying up all night anyway. Look at it this way, now you have a chance to catch up on all the movies you didn't see this year. I remember having all those questions and being terrified when I found out that after day two things actually could get worse. My withdrawal was probably abnormally long, but you can get through it. The days do begin to move faster and pretty soon the worst of it is in your rearview. Welcome to the rest of your life

-Large
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Old 03-12-2006, 04:26 AM   #4
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funnymermaid HB User
Re: Life after opiates: 8 months later

Wow! What an inspiration you are! Thanks!

 
Old 03-12-2006, 05:34 AM   #5
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Largeman HB User
Re: Life after opiates: 8 months later

Quote:
Originally Posted by funnymermaid
Wow! What an inspiration you are! Thanks!
Ha! I think you have that backwards - you were doing dishes on day 9 and on my day 9, if you go back and look at the old posts, I was probably laying on my couch whining and watching 90210 reruns.

Household chores on day 9? Now that's inspirational. Heck, I'm going on 9 months off the pills and I STILL haven't done any dishes!

-Large
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"Everything looks perfect from far away"

 
Old 03-12-2006, 08:39 AM   #6
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funnymermaid HB User
Re: Life after opiates: 8 months later

Thanks so much for making my day Largeman! I sure hope that your impacted wisdom tooth gets taken care of "quickly". That's why I delayed my C/T deadline date. I had an abcessed tooth that swelled to the size of a grapefruit and the pain was unreal! I dealt with that then "jumped off the cliff" ! So I really feel for you and that pain. I couldn't have dealt with it, you're one really strong person & I admire you so much!

 
Old 03-12-2006, 08:57 AM   #7
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Largeman HB User
Re: Life after opiates: 8 months later

Quote:
Originally Posted by funnymermaid
Thanks so much for making my day Largeman! I sure hope that your impacted wisdom tooth gets taken care of "quickly". That's why I delayed my C/T deadline date. I had an abcessed tooth that swelled to the size of a grapefruit and the pain was unreal! I dealt with that then "jumped off the cliff" ! So I really feel for you and that pain. I couldn't have dealt with it, you're one really strong person & I admire you so much!
Aw, thanks Wanna hear the crazy thing? I'm managing the tooth pain with ...WATER. How wierd is that? It's not like this is holy water, it's just regular bottled water. I mean this is really horrible pain, but if I have a little bit of water in my mouth on the right side then the pain is almost non-existent. Of course this all but rules out sleeping but I'd gladly trade sleep for pain relief. I try to look on the bright side; this gives me a chance to watch my Charles in Charge Season 1 DVDs straight through. You just can't put a price on quality time like that.

-Large
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Old 03-12-2006, 09:33 AM   #8
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hoapfloats HB User
Re: Life after opiates: 8 months later

Hey Largeman, What an awesome post you are such an inspiration to us all! I am clean now from a really bad 3 yr vike addiction for a little over a month now. This is honestly the longest I have ever made it. I finally got so mad at the pills and myself I decided to quit, I am 25 yrs old and was really missing out on life. You are so right it feels like you are comming back from the dead, yesterday was a beautiful day here and it felt so good to sit outside in the sun and just chill. I am still experiencing insomnia and rls, when does that get better? Each day I feel more like my old self, happy, I too will never take another narcotic, I never want to go back to that life style. Anyways thanks again for your post, it gives me the motiivation to never give up seeing how long you have been sober.

~Kelley~

 
Old 03-12-2006, 10:10 PM   #9
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Largeman HB User
Re: Life after opiates: 8 months later

Quote:
Originally Posted by hoapfloats
Hey Largeman, What an awesome post you are such an inspiration to us all! I am clean now from a really bad 3 yr vike addiction for a little over a month now. This is honestly the longest I have ever made it. I finally got so mad at the pills and myself I decided to quit, I am 25 yrs old and was really missing out on life. You are so right it feels like you are comming back from the dead, yesterday was a beautiful day here and it felt so good to sit outside in the sun and just chill. I am still experiencing insomnia and rls, when does that get better? Each day I feel more like my old self, happy, I too will never take another narcotic, I never want to go back to that life style. Anyways thanks again for your post, it gives me the motiivation to never give up seeing how long you have been sober.

~Kelley~
Hey Kelley,

Congrats on clearing the month mark! That's awesome. I remember being quite annoyed that all of my symptoms didn't disappear at the 30 day mark. I set a bunch of arbitrary goals and deadlines for my body and brain to feel better -- but of course it happens in it's own time. I used that anger to help fuel me to continue and it worked.

The RLS was the absolute worst. That always drove me nuts. It seemed to get worse the more tired I was, which is ironic since the RLS wouldn't let me sleep. I found that OTC sleeping pills only made it worse too. It came and went for me several times. I would go through a couple of good days where I thought I cleared the hurdle only to find myself dealing with it all over again. I believe it was around 45 days that things really started to clear up and if I remember right it was around 2 months that I was pretty much symptom free (except for the occasional flair up) and by 3 months I felt better than before I ever started pills at all.

You've made it past the hard parts and I'm glad to hear you are enjoying life again. It only gets easier now.

I was incredibly lucky and found a dentist who was willing to open up to see me today so my tooth problems are over. Turns out it wasn't a wisdom tooth - I needed a root canal instead. Far less painful and I'm feeling soooo much better now.

-Large
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Old 03-13-2006, 12:28 AM   #10
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Re: Life after opiates: 8 months later

Oh dear. Well done for overcoming such an addictive drug. I have recently started taking Morphine due to pain caused by pancreatitis. I was hospitalized in November and it was very serious, and to this day, the pain hasnt really eased. I was prescribed tramadol, but a few weeks ago I was in so much pain, i ended up back in hospital because the tramadol wasnt working. They prescribed me Sevredol 10 mg, and I have been taking 20 - 40 mg a day, but I am very scared of becoming addicted and building a dangerous tolerance. I really do hope it doesn't come to that, but realistically I will be prepared, thanks to your story I gave up a terrible dependancy to alcohol so I think I will be able to manage this. I hope.

 
Old 03-13-2006, 03:56 AM   #11
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Re: Life after opiates: 8 months later

Largeman,

So glad to hear you found a Dentist! That's really neat about how you controlled the pain with water. I'll try that on my next tooth, I've got 1 more tooth that's not in such good shape. I've read alot where methadone destroys teeth and I wonder if that's why I've started having dental problems


The RLS is driving me nuts! You're so right, the more tired I get, the worse RLS gets. This seems to be my worst symptom right now and it's driving me nuts! I have a long elongated heating pad that I put on my legs and that helps a little. I wish that would go away. I've wondered "why" it affects the "legs" so much.

Thanks for giving us such inspiration Largeman!

Day 13 and still clean

 
Old 03-13-2006, 05:20 AM   #12
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lisaaahubb HB User
Re: Life after opiates: 8 months later

Hi Large and all
I, too am experiencing an impacted abcessed wisdom tooth. I have had excrutiating pain since Thursday.
I have tried advil, tylenol, ibuprofin 800mg....NOTHING IS WORKING.
I have no money or dentist to speak of at this moment. I don't know what to do. My face isn't swelled yet, but i have an aweful taste in my mouth.
And i feel like i am sick, really tired and worn out.
I just read your post and tried the water and nope not working.
My husband isn't feeling like it is a priority right now. He went as far as to move all of his stuff out, cuz i am interfering too much with work...calling him and calling him...gosh i should know better than to think he would help me. \
But that is another whole story in itself.
How long can one go one in pain like this, will it go away on its own. How do you know if it is abcessed? I see a huge lump, a white lump, but isn't that what it looks like when it pops threw the gum?
You are all inspirations to me. I am going thru some very tough times right now. I don't think i will be as strong as you when i finally GET to the dentist. I do have about 3 Kefex antibiotics, left from when i had my breast implants done. I wonder is i should give them a try today.
I am freaking out that my face is gonna swell. Not as of yet, but i am sure if i don't address this, it will happen.
I have no access to money, my hubby controls it all. We have no dental insurance. Would my health insurance cover this? I blew off two different dental surgeons last week because my husband never showed up with a check for me. I am drooling and in searing pain over here....i even tried to used some numbing toothache stuff that numbed everything but that tooth...ugggghhhhh....what the heck>?
Well Large and Funnymermaid, you are both inspirations to me....
Thanks for sharing ....it is good to know there is someone else out there drooling over their computer desk with a toothache....LOL
luv,
LISA

 
Old 03-13-2006, 07:57 AM   #13
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hoapfloats HB User
Talking Re: Life after opiates: 8 months later

Thanks Large, honestly I never thought I could be clean for over a month, if I can do it anybody can. That is encouraging at least the rls should get better for me in the next couple of weeks. I have such insomnia now too, in the beginning I could sleep but now I am up every hour on the hour and sometimes I will wake up again at 4 am and not be able to fall back to sleep. You are right I tried some otc sleep aids and they mede my rls and insomnia worse. Honestly I feel so much better now then I did when I was abusing the vikes and tussionex(12 hr release vike) I feel happy now even though I still have a long way to go as far as getting my life back to what it was befoer I became an addict. Anyways thanks so much for your motivating posts, I can not wait until I have that much sobriety like you, you are awesome!!

LISA- Hi hun how are you? I have been thinking about you, I hope things get better with you and your hubby. Do you think he is using? As far as your tooth goes yes it souds impacted, I too had all that 2 yrs ago and had to get all 4 removed. Do you have a Gental Dental near you? They are really cheap but good and will set you up on a payment plan and will see you right away and bill you so you do not need to have money when you go in. Maybe something like that or another affordable place with payment plans, because an abcess is nothing to mess with. Let ust know how you make out and good luck!

Kelley

 
Old 03-13-2006, 11:16 AM   #14
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funnymermaid HB User
Re: Life after opiates: 8 months later

Lisa,

Yes. the white lump means it's abcessed. Why don't you go to the emergency room? That's what I had to do, my son flipped out when he seen how big I'd swelled to and made me go. It can cause "brain damage". You don't have to pay at the emergency room, they bill your health insurance. They fast-tracked me in there immediatelty and gave me a shot of antibiotics. They'll also prescribe antibiotics to take afterwards. Just tell them you need something for pain that not a narcotic. Please try it, I hate to hear how you're in so much pain. The emergency room will help you out.

 
Old 03-13-2006, 11:34 AM   #15
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Largeman HB User
Re: Life after opiates: 8 months later

Quote:
Originally Posted by lisaaahubb
Hi Large and all
I, too am experiencing an impacted abcessed wisdom tooth. I have had excrutiating pain since Thursday.
I have tried advil, tylenol, ibuprofin 800mg....NOTHING IS WORKING.
I have no money or dentist to speak of at this moment. I don't know what to do. My face isn't swelled yet, but i have an aweful taste in my mouth.
And i feel like i am sick, really tired and worn out.
I just read your post and tried the water and nope not working.
My husband isn't feeling like it is a priority right now. He went as far as to move all of his stuff out, cuz i am interfering too much with work...calling him and calling him...gosh i should know better than to think he would help me. \
But that is another whole story in itself.
How long can one go one in pain like this, will it go away on its own. How do you know if it is abcessed? I see a huge lump, a white lump, but isn't that what it looks like when it pops threw the gum?
You are all inspirations to me. I am going thru some very tough times right now. I don't think i will be as strong as you when i finally GET to the dentist. I do have about 3 Kefex antibiotics, left from when i had my breast implants done. I wonder is i should give them a try today.
I am freaking out that my face is gonna swell. Not as of yet, but i am sure if i don't address this, it will happen.
I have no access to money, my hubby controls it all. We have no dental insurance. Would my health insurance cover this? I blew off two different dental surgeons last week because my husband never showed up with a check for me. I am drooling and in searing pain over here....i even tried to used some numbing toothache stuff that numbed everything but that tooth...ugggghhhhh....what the heck>?
Well Large and Funnymermaid, you are both inspirations to me....
Thanks for sharing ....it is good to know there is someone else out there drooling over their computer desk with a toothache....LOL
luv,
LISA
Hey Lisa, I remember you. I'm sorry about your tooth, that is just horrible. I've never experienced pain as bad as tooth pain -- I'm not even kidding. Take the Keflex ASAP because you definitely have an infection (just make sure it hasn't expired). The abscess is what is causing the pain right now more than anything. The infection is also why you have that bad taste in your mouth and why you feel sick. It is imperative that you see someone about this because left untreated an abscess will bore in to the jaw bone and the infection can spread. The pain isn't actually in the tooth, which is why clove oil and orajel won't touch it (nor will advil) - it is at the nerve in the jaw. An anti-biotic will clear the infection and relieve most of the pain.

Your husband is wrong -- it absolutely is a priority. Left untreated the infection can spread to your heart and cause a heart attack. This isn't just pain we are talking about, it is your life now. So that ought to change his outlook a bit

Unfortunately health insurance won't cover a trip to the dentist, however it will cover a trip to your primary care doc for a strong anti-biotic and non-narcotic pain reliever and anti-inflamatory. Getting the infection under control is the priority and doing so will lessen the pain dramatically. I know that when money is tight all of these options sound impossible. One thing you should look in to is your local dental school. They offer a very very reduced rate to work on problems like yours and alot of times they will even do it for practically nothing or give you really easy payments. It's worth a shot.

As for the water trick, here's how it works: Take room temperature water and get about half a mouthful. Then tilt your head to the side of the pain and hold it there. Don't swish it or anything, just let it sit there. It may take a minute or two to feel the pain lessen. If it doesn't work the first time try it again. I went through 2 gallons of water over 36 hours and this literally saved me from jumping off a bridge. That pain can be so intense it drives you insane. Hopefully this will provide some level of relief while you are making arrangements to get it treated. Also if you have a noticable cavity, you can buy temporary filling material at any pharmacy.

If nothing else, at least try the ER -- regardless of finances they have to treat you and they can give you the anti-biotic while you are there.

Keep me posted!

-Large
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