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Old 04-01-2011, 06:59 AM   #1
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Staring into the same precipice

I found this board yesterday, spent hours reading all of the posts, and felt like it was only a good idea to join. I have RSD (nerve damage) in my left foot, and a constantly dislocating left shoulder. My orthopaedic surgeon has been giving me Percocet since June of last year. Although it has legitimately been helping my pain, I have seen my self starting to slide back into the pattern of addiction I had back when I had my three knee surgeries in high school and my ortho then had prescribed me Percocet and OxyContin for 6 years straight. Back then, I would finish 50 pills in less than three days, try to deal with the withdrawals for maybe a day, then cave and call my doctor's office. I would get a rash of sh!+ from the staff there, I'd beg them to just ask him, and later I'd get a call that my prescription was ready to be picked up. Even after that doctor had found out I was doctor shopping, he just told me to stop going to other doctors and then would write me a script for more pills. I slipped into such a bad spiral of addiction that if I couldn't get pills in a timely manner, I would feign injuries to go to the ER and get a script to tide me over; I was drained of any and all drive to do anything but use. The only thing that got me off of the pills that time was when I joined the Marine Corps. My love of the Corps and desire to join got me to quit. Besides an injury or oral surgery here and there, I was doing well.

Than I got a crushing injury to my left foot a few months after I separated from the Corps, and my new orthopaedist has me on Percocet. I just recently dislocated my shoulder as well (legitimately), and I have a lot of torn cartilage as a result. It is very painful to move it, and my foot is just painful, period. The Percocet helps immensely, but I see myself slipping back into some red flag behaviours. I've been buying Ultram online as a back up for when I run out of the Percs early, so I don't have to call early and possibly be cut off. I am really trying to find a dividing line between a legitimate need for pain control and an addict's desire. I see a lot of you got into the addiction issue because of being prescribed these pills for legitimate reasons. It's so tough when you have chronic pain issues that need to be legitimately controlled, but find yourself taking more because your tolerance has gone up, then you go into a depression over your condition, and find yourself taking the pills for more than just pain control, but for mood control as well. It's such a slippery slope. I wanted to join this board to help myself and to help others in the process. We all need a support system, and we all have each other here.

Last edited by RockSteady5803; 04-01-2011 at 07:01 AM.

 
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Old 04-01-2011, 04:06 PM   #2
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Re: Staring into the same precipice

Dear Rock, you actually took the words right out of my mouth. there is a line.....where does one end and the other one begin. I am trying so hard not to take any more roxicodone than I am right now. I am only taking 3 a day and get 4 a day so it isn't like no big deal really. I just freaking hurt. My knee that I had operated on has something going on with it. I think it is going to need drained because it is swelling and getting so hard to move. Almost like it is frozen. I can't sleep from the pain either. It just started getting bad late last night. It was doing somewhat better. I think it is this rain. Everytime someone asks i say "better" because I am sick of hearing myself complain.

Even when I do take a whole roxicodone instead of a half, which has only been a couple times this past few weeks, it doesn't seem to do anything. I hate opiates and I am going to stick to this. I am strong and I will beat it. Welcome to the board. Ttyl.....

 
Old 04-01-2011, 04:48 PM   #3
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Re: Staring into the same precipice

I am so glad to hear that you know what I am going through, oxygirl. Yet I'm not glad, because that means there is someone else out there going through this hell too, if that makes sense. I was hardcore into addiction through part of high school and some of college thanks to my knee surgeries and chronic pain issues. Like I said, the only thing that had gotten me to stop was joining the Corps. You would think it would have been when I nearly didn't get let into my college because I went from straight As all through high school to failing one marking period my senior year due to my addiction. You would think it would have been when I had my friend/physical therapist call and tell my GP and OS docs that I was getting Oxy and Percs from both...or one of the three times I got banned from pharmacies for getting too many narcotics from too many different places. Nope. But I am eternally thankful to the Corps for giving me the power and motivation to quit.

But now I am out, and I have been diagnosed with the RSD and now the dislocated shoulder/torn labrum, both of which cause me insane amounts of pain. My ortho has been such an amazing man, so helpful, and so compassionate. He gives me the scripts for the Percs, which definitely do help. But I find myself having to take 2 or 3 of the 7.5 mgs in order to feel anything. I wonder if this is just a tolerance from the six years of addiction I had where I would take 5, 6, or even 7 5 mg pills at a time to get high (and for pain too, but the analgesic effects would have required a lower dosage, obviously), or whether I am starting to slide down that slippery slope of addiction again. I have even been buying Ultram online so I can take that in between - if I didn't have that "filler", I'd have to call my doctor every four or five days, as opposed to the 12 it should last. I honestly don't know where my pill taking would fall. Part of me wants to talk to my doctor about it, but part of me is afraid of being forever seen as the "addict" after telling the office of my past/tolerance, and not being seen as a legitimate pain patient. Dammit this really blows because on one hand, I'm afraid of screwing up my life again with the pills that I have been relying on for pain management, and on the other I'm afraid of being "found out" for my past and being labelled as such, no longer a "pain patient" anymore. I know that once you are an addict you are always an addict, so I am really trying to watch what I do. It's a very tough road to travel on, oxygirl. Almost like a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. How long have you been on the pills for? What kind of knee surgery did you have? Getting off of opiates is hell, and I know it will be a nightmare to do so when I inevitably must do so again.

 
Old 04-01-2011, 09:40 PM   #4
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Re: Staring into the same precipice

Rocksteady... I dig ur name for one... im a dj. Just checkin in with u, cause I used to take percs regularly, but i stopped because of the acetominophen (tylenol) in them. Its very hard on the liver. Have you considered this? I know you are trying to get off of the pills it sounds eventually, but there are pain meds that arent as hard on the liver. Just pointing that out. And welcome to the board. -second go.

 
Old 04-02-2011, 06:12 AM   #5
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Re: Staring into the same precipice

hey Rocksteady, I actually have been taking roxicodone for about 2 or so years and percocet before that. I want to say 3 years total. I have really bad arthritis in my spine and they have a fancy name for it but I can't recall. Lots of other yucky things going on like bone spurs and things that make it sound like one needs even a higher dose! lol.. Sometimes I think that the names they give us for our ailments sound so bad that it gives us a reason to justify the opiate addiction. I am 42 and never touched a narcotic (except for childbirth and a few car accidents) for more than a few days at a time until I started seeing my rheumatologist. I can't really blame him though. I knew what I was getting in to I just didn't think I could get addicted because I do not have an addictive personality. Boy was I wrong. Physical dependence and tolerance are as bad. addiction is addiction either way you look at it. If it werent for the fear of my doctor finding out I think I would try to get some kind of counseling. I feel like I could really eventually just take a pill during flareups. I can take one pain pill and usually be okay and not need to take another one. And I keep telling myself this crap but I wouldn't know unless it came down to it and I tried it. I am trying to taper on my own without any doctor involved. I don't want cut off my pain meds because what if i can't do without them? I am so confused it isn't funny. Currently though this is my situation. I am prescribed 4 roxicodones a day. they are 30 mgs each. that is like taking 3 percocets that are 10mgs each. The doseage is really high. How did I let it get so high. The doc would ask if it was working and of course the more you take the more it takes. so what worked a year ago isn't working as well now. you get used to the amount. then the body starts wanting it as much as the pain. that is not making sense i know but what i am saying is i crave the drug sometimes more than i need it for pain. I really don't have an addictive personality or i think that when i have a whole bottle sitting in front of me i would take more than i am supposed to.

anyways, are you still working? How old are you? alot of things play into factor as to what you should do. You obviously can't go to work in pain. It is hard enough to be at home with it. I know what you mean about talking to your doc and being afraid of being labeled. I am scared of the same thing. My thing is I hate withdrawls. How did u come off the meds before? Did u go cold turkey.

Btw, the surgery I had on my knee was mainly to remove some torn cartledge and arthritis. I think my body is gone one arthritic mess! I don't have rheumatory arthritis and for that I am so thankful. my biggest problem that I seem to be having outside of pain is I have absolutely no energy. I have to get to the bottom of it. I could stay in bed with my laptop all day. I used to cook at least every night and my house stayed spotless. Now it is go make a sandwich or takeout. I made a meat loaf the other day and I thought to myself, when did i let my life go so downhill? I don't know if it is depression or what. When I see my doc I am going to address that issue with him. I am not sure it has anything at all to do with the opiates but I have to figure out something.

 
Old 04-02-2011, 07:14 AM   #6
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Re: Staring into the same precipice

I am 25 and yes I am currently working as the director of operations at a personal training/massage/physical therapy company. I always loved to work out ever since I was in the Corps, but now it is all but impossible. I live in NYC too so it's not like I can just sit in a car a drive to every place I need to go - i have to walk just about everywhere!

I went cold turkey before I got into the military. Back then I took the pills for recreation for the most part, as opposed to now where I actually have legit pain issues. I just worry about slipping back down the slope of addiction, while I am finding that my current dosage and frequency of meds has been less and less effective as of the past few weeks. Do you have any ideas or suggestions? Any help is much appreciated! :-)

 
Old 04-02-2011, 10:17 AM   #7
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Re: Staring into the same precipice

You are very young to have to rely on opiates. Although I know age doesn't matter when u hurt like heck. If you can take anything but opiates I sure would. You say you live in NYC? We went there for a visit back last summer. I loved it but you do have to walk everywhere. Do you live in the heart of the city or on the outskirts like Brooklyn? Not that I know alot about the geography just curious. Do the doctors anticipate any improvement in your condition? Are you taking any therapy? Honestly, like I said you have a long time to work still unless you can get disability and then that is no life trust me. Opiates are the devils poison in disguise.

 
Old 04-02-2011, 11:59 AM   #8
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Re: Staring into the same precipice

Yes I live in Manhattan. While we do use the trains to get most places, getting from one exact place to another always involves walking on some level. My boss gave me a free gym membership to a place near me so I can PT and try to rehab my foot and shoulder. I have been trying on my foot with RSD now for nine months with no improvement; actually, the pain has only spread and gotten worse. I have been taking ever so slight baby steps with my shoulder, and even just letting it "hang freely" in order to keep some decent ROM in it results in tremendous pain. I have a pretty high tolerance for pain too, thanks to the military: one story I can share is the one time I had a dislocated patella and torn patellar tendon during a run one time, and I just got back up and finished out the rest of the 3 miles that way because there was no way that I was going to let my guys rip me about it and use it as a reason to disrespect me (I had just taken over as an officer in my unit, which was 99.9% men - the type of men who didn't want to have to have anything to do with a female superior). Before I would have been one of those people that scoffed at those who claimed to have RSD, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, or any of that. But now I know how horribly real it is.

As for my RSD, my ortho has said a nerve block from the PM doc may help, which I am certainly willing to try, despite hearing not the best outcomes from others who have had it. I'm willing to try anything and everything though! Especially since my pain is beginning to spread now. As for my shoulder, with the constant pain, very limited ROM, and routine dislocations, my doctor is saying that surgery might be an option, mostly due to the commonplace dislocations. I'm fine with that option, because at least I know 9 times out of 10 that my issue will be taken care of. I've had three knee surgeries before, so surgery is not some big deal to me like it usually is for others. My problem is that I don't know when any of these things may happen, because I am waiting (and hoping! LOL) to go full time at my work so I can make salary and get the insurance benefits I desperately need. I'm almost afraid to tell my boss I may need surgery or anything, for fear of him not giving me the insurance in fear of it costing too much for him. So I'm keeping the silence there for now.

Do you go to a PM doc, oxygirl? I have the referral from my ortho all ready, so all I need is to be able to have the insurance to go! If you do go, what has your experience been like? I'm just afraid of getting an unsympathetic doctor who won't listen and doesn't help like I have heard some have gone through. But I am willing to at least try!

 
Old 04-02-2011, 01:36 PM   #9
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Re: Staring into the same precipice

its mind over matter-sure its easy to take that next pill then the next cuz you feel there not working as well-that is how you slip into the addiction trap-but if you can focus-an just get into the routine of taking your meds as prescribed-but that is the hard part-your mind starts to tell you that you need moe for the same effect-fight it-see if you can stick by the dosing schedule-and they will work-if you are not on the "rt cocktail of meds" well this is another problem. take your meds as directed for a full month and see how you feel-make a pain journal-then bring it to your dr on your next visit-i think you can avoid the addiction trap when taking opiates prescibed-you gotta just put your mind to it and dont let the temptation win
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Old 04-03-2011, 05:56 AM   #10
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Re: Staring into the same precipice

Hey BBo7 that is really some good info you gave. I stick to my schedule but still found that I was physically dependent. I am still taking my meds but I cut my pills in half so actually instead of 4 a day I take 3. I know it sounds stupid but it just bothers me that my body insists that I have my medication. I am trying a very very slow taper. I woke up this morning after sleeping since yesterday afternoon with tons of energy. I would wake up every few hours but would go back to sleep after 30 mins. I am going to church this morning and asking God to take this dependence from me. That really was a good idea though and I think rocksteady will benefit from that tremendously. Thank you.

Rocksteady, I didn't realize the extent of all of your injuries. The first thing is to get that insurance. Is it possible for you to afford private insurance. You are very young or I would seriously think you should just try to get disability. However, younger people heal better than older ones do. I looked up a lot of things yesterday about chronic fatigue and I really thought I had it but after all that sleep and waking up today feeling like my old self I have second thoughts. I have the pain of the arthritis and fibromyalgia but there for several months I could hardly get out of bed. I have been scared to death by this. I just want to be my old self. I would love to go back to work. I used to be a nurse. I go to an arthritis doctor and he is wonderful. PM docs are basically that. Pain management. I want a doc that can help me find solutions and fix it permanent. I know that is far fetched and out there but I don't want to give up. I think PM docs are great though. My mother went to one and then it was so far that her reg doc agreed to medicate her so she didn't have to drive. But most regular docs will not do this. She has been going to him for 20 years and he has been my kids doc since they were born and the oldest is 19 almost.

I absolutely love manhattan. We stayed at the hampton hotel near 55 street I think. it was close to times square and the theatre. I love it so much. I wish I could live there but could never afford it. Are there affordable apts around there?

 
Old 04-04-2011, 03:27 AM   #11
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Re: Staring into the same precipice

Hi Rock, sorry to hear about all you have gone through. We have a lot in common. I also live/work in NYC... my left shoulder has been dislocated numerous times from college football and now I sometimes sub for the NYPD team and it still gets dislocated sometimes.

I almost joined the marines 3 years ago when I broke up with my ex fiancee she also works in manhattan, but anyway the pills stopped me. I was up to eating 15 30mg roxi's a day. I quit cold turkey about 30 days ago now, give or take a day... and I can't even begin to explain how good I feel. I have my life back, and feel normal. The anxiety/depression the pills were causing me was unreal!

I hope you can find it in yourself to come off of them, I know you already know what its like to try but there are things I have done and others that made coming off such high doses cold turkey relatively easy in comparison to others.

If I can help you in anyway I will and I am always here to talk, there are a lot of great people on these boards and I see some of them are already talking with you! =)

anyway, goodluck and stay strong.

 
Old 04-04-2011, 08:35 AM   #12
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Re: Staring into the same precipice

oxygirl - 12 April is when my three month probation period is up, so you'd better believe that the second I get into work that morning I will be calling my boss about going on salary and getting that insurance! I have not been able to go to the PM doc because of the lack of insurance. I do like my ortho so far though, I think he has been absolutely wonderful and very compassionate. I know what you mean about wanting to get back to being your old self though - when I joined the Corps, I became a workout fanatic, and I loved to go PT for two hours a day even after I had gotten out of the military. But since I got this RSD (and now the shoulder issues), I can barely walk, let alone anything else. I am applying to medical school, but honestly I don't know how I would be able to do it with the RSD being this bad right now, and now with the shoulder too. It's so depressing to see things fall apart like this :-(

As for affordable apartments in Manhattan...define "affordable" LOL. Let's put it this way...when I moved out to Vegas and my ex fiancé and I were looking for apartments together, I remember seeing the prices (We had a $640/month 1 BR apt. that was VERY nice, carpeted, pantry, marble counter tops, washer/dryer in apt., balcony, gated, etc.), and saying to my ex, completely shocked, "Shouldn't there be a 1 in front of that $640?!"

Biggzzz - Wow, it seems like we have tons in common! Good and bad, though LOL. The only thing that got me to quit the pills was joining the Corps. Back then I had not legitimate reason to take the pills; but now, I actually do have legitimate pain issues with both the RSD and the shoulder that I need addressed. The pain meds have been helping me function, but I am starting to feel like they are not helping that much anymore after nearly a year on the same doseage and frequency. Maybe it's because my pain has increased, maybe it's because my tolerance has gone up, or maybe it's the addiction coming back. It really worries me. The pain meds help me to work and have any kind of life whatsoever because of the pain, but I feel like it's a double edged sword. That's why I have come on this site, to be able to share and see there are others in my same predicament, and maybe get some advice.

What area of the city are you from? I'm around Columbia U.

 
Old 04-04-2011, 08:50 AM   #13
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Re: Staring into the same precipice

They won't help anymore, and you will continue to take more and more. You already know all of this though, I do not have to explain it to you. You also know that if and when you do stop, the pain will be worse for a few days but that is your body/brain lying to you and trying to get you to take the meds you brain has become used to, it reprograms itself to thinking it's normal to have it and you need it every day.

Sure, you do have real health problems and issues but If you can stop the opiates and try another non-narcotic you would be amazed at how much they actually do help.

I am from Brooklyn originally but now live on Staten Island. I go out in the city on weekends a lot but never lived there, too many people for me (not like SI is much better) but you catch my drift lol

 
Old 04-06-2011, 06:42 AM   #14
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Re: Staring into the same precipice

Hey Rock, just sayin HI and I hope all is well... haven't heard from you in a few days. let us know how things are going!

 
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