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Old 07-24-2011, 11:25 AM   #1
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Frustrated!! I need help finding a solution!

I posted on the addiction and recovery board but got very little response....so I am trying on this board because I am looking for friendship, advice, etc.

I don't even know where to start with my story so here goes....My back problems began about 6 months after the birth of my 3rd child. It gradually got worse, but I didn't want to pay for an MRI so I kept putting it off. I found a doctor who would prescribe me pain pills without requiring an MRI. In the mean-time, I visited a chiropractor regularly, used a heating pad, used a tens unit, etc. to try to ease the pain. (I want to mention here that my husband didn't really believe me about the pain...he just thought I wanted pain pills). This went on for about a year and a half before the pain had gotten so bad that I asked to get an MRI.

Lo and behold, I had multiple problems.....2 discs had collapsed on each other, 3 discs showed signs of bulging and severe degeneration, several of the facet joints were degenerated and "locking up," two nerve canals to my legs were being pinched, and I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease. I was sent to a specialist who suggested surgery. My husband fought the surgery because of money and thought it was the wrong thing to do. I felt no other option because I could not keep up teaching, taking care of my kids, and just living life in general. The surgery was absolute hell....worst experience of my life and incredible pain! My oldest son, who was 17 at the time, never left my side for 2 weeks....He took care of me, the house, and my 2 year old daughter. I don't know how I would've done it without him. The surgery involved decompressing the 2 collapsed discs and putting screws in to keep them in place and a cage filled with bone paste was placed around 3 discs. I have a scar that runs half way up my back!

I had to return to work before I was ready due to money....our finances were already a mess and me taking off 6 weeks for surgery pretty much ruined us. I kept waiting to feel better....the pain was constant and I was getting pretty depressed. Seven months after the surgery, I asked my doctor if I could try physical therapy. He said that 90% of people can do it themselves and don't need therapy and that I was expecting a miracle, and that I would never be normal again. This devasted me, but I couldn't accept it....I was 37 years old, had children to care for, and a teaching job. So, I tried 8 weeks of PT....no improvement in my pain. By this time, I knew I was addicted to pain pills, but what I was taking wasn't controlling my pain. I began "doctor shopping" (Which shames me to this day) and started buying them from a guy (Which shames me even more).

I finally went to see a neurologist and he performed an EMG on me and found that I do still have nerve damage from my lower back down into my legs. He said that really nothing could be done about it. And, by this time, the pill addiction was out of control.

I went to see a counselor and have another appt tomorrow. She talked me into telling my PM doctor. I did some research on Suboxone and worked up every nerve I have and went to see him. He was so kind and told me that I had done the right thing and put me on Suboxone. I am on Day 4. It is controlling the pill cravings, but it is NOT controlling the pain. And, I feel a bit more depressed (I've dealt with depression a long time).

I realize that it is trading one addiction for another, but I have come to the conclusion that if I want to control my pill addiction and have any quality of life, then I will have to take something....even if it is trading one addiction for another. However, I'm not sure that Suboxone is the right thing for me. It's not controlling my pain and I do feel some depression from it. So, I've been wondering about Methadone? It scares me though and I'm scared to ask my doctor to change me to it...... I would so appreciate any opinions or suggestions from anyone on my situation!!!

Angela

 
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Old 07-24-2011, 12:59 PM   #2
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Re: Frustrated!! I need help finding a solution!

Angela, I really feel for you. I hope you can get the information you need here on this board. I've been dealing with my chronic pain for about ten years now. I don't think it's controlled very well but it's better than nothing.
If you look up addiction on the search site you might get some useful stuff.
I've been on methadone and wasn't real impressed. It didn't control my pain very well but made me sleep pretty much all the time.
I get the impression your husband isn't very supportive? That's too bad. I've seen people like that many times. Waite until the shoe is on the other foot. He will need some understanding some day.
All I can say to wrap this up is you are not alone. We all suffer from depression at times. We all have the same fears as you. You need to keep on keeping on.

 
Old 07-25-2011, 12:02 AM   #3
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Re: Frustrated!! I need help finding a solution!

Hi Angela,
Methadone might be a very good choice for you, both for managing the pain-Methadone is notoriously good for managing both neuro ( nerve) and mechanical ( structural) pain.
Suboxone is a very good medication when it comes to treating addiction but at the doses used for treating addiction, it is not as good at managing pain , because of the higher doses. Sub , when used for treating pain is usually used at much lower does. It seems to be a bit inconsistent when it comes to treating pain- some report great relief, others none or very little at all.
I know that Methadone sounds scary and it can be if not used properly, but if it is, it can really be of great help for those who need it for both addiction and pain treatment. And it has the added benefit of being one of the least expensive medications for pain treatment on the market.
Talk it over with your doctor, and see if you can give it a try. The worst side effect from the methadone that I ever had was sleepiness. That usually does subside within a couple of weeks so keep that in mind. If you can get over that hump of the adjustment to it, you may find that it was the best decision you could have made. Best of luck to you,
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Old 07-25-2011, 09:17 AM   #4
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Re: Frustrated!! I need help finding a solution!

Maybe a stupid question, but I don't see addiction here? I mean were you doctor shopping because your pain meds were not working and you needed more? Or you were shopping to get high?

I was in a situation once where I was in so much pain (was not diagnosed yet) for years, and then it got at least x10 worse, that I thought about buying meds. I had no insurance and no one to turn to. I was going into work, not sleeping, crying.. etc.. it was horrible. I too have nerve damage in my legs.

So I do understand that you get to a point where you will do/say anything to get meds.. because otherwise how do you continue to live?

Just wondering which it was.. also why would they just take you off and not control your obvious pain? Are you just expected to suffer now? Confused a bit

 
Old 07-26-2011, 05:35 AM   #5
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Re: Frustrated!! I need help finding a solution!

I agree with bunny. Why do you think you were addicted ? If you were prescribed the meds legit for your pain and you took them FOR pain and not to get high, weren't out shopping for them or buying off the street etc, you became dependent on them and would suffer withdrawals if you suddenly stopped. That is a side effect of being on long term opiates..if suddenly stopped withdrawals happen

 
Old 07-26-2011, 02:50 PM   #6
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Re: Frustrated!! I need help finding a solution!

Hello guys, thanks for your responses!

Frederick, you gathered it right....my husband has not been supportive at all. He has many chronic pain issues as well, and he HATES pain pills and what they cause. He is VERY strict about what he takes...so much so that he refuses to take what the doctor prescribes and lays around in pain much of the time. He has been on my case this whole time worried about me getting addicted. I guess his heart was in the right place, but I think he actually made my addiction worse. Anyway, we have done some soul searching together recently, and he has been very supportive of me starting on methadone....so that is a relief to me!

Back, after reading your post, I felt the strength to ask my doctor for methadone instead of suboxone. My pain is better controlled with the methadone, but I still have some concerns about my addictive side. But, THANK YOU so much for your post! You gave me the strength to ask for it!

Bunny, my honest opinion of my situation is, if I would've gotten better pain control after my surgery, I wouldn't have the addiction problem that I have now. I kept seeing my neuro-surgeon for 8 months after my surgery. He didn't want to mess with me and my pain and refused to listen to me about my pain. He basically treated me like a drug seeker. I still don't know why he didn't want to refer me to physical therapy or why he didn't send me to PM. I started doctor shopping and buying off the street to keep my pain under control because he wouldn't help me. And, at this same time, I was fighting with my husband ....he didn't believe I was still in pain and wanted me to stop taking them altogether. The thought of trying to work (I'm a teacher), take care of my 3 year old and go to my teenagers' activities, and just live a somewhat normal life without any pain control scared me to death! So, I do think that if I would've seeked out PM sooner, I wouldn't be in the addiction state that I am in now. I did begin to like the feeling of the pills and craved the numbing feeling and felt like I couldn't function without them. And, I started buying more and more, so it did turn into a full-blown addiction. I hope this all made sense....????

Thank you so much for your replies and i hope you continue to correspond with me!

 
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Old 07-26-2011, 02:58 PM   #7
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Re: Frustrated!! I need help finding a solution!

Back,
I started on methadone yesterday. So far, it has been great with relieving my pain. I do feel more craving tendencies with this than I did with Suboxone, but I am so hopeful that I have found what will work for me!! Thanks again for your post!
Angela

 
Old 07-27-2011, 06:26 AM   #8
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Re: Frustrated!! I need help finding a solution!

Bunny, (Or anyone else...lol)

I saw this post by Otter0407.....

"There is even a term called pseudoaddiction, which describes a state in which the patient's pain is under-treated or untreated and all they are doing is trying to get some relief for their never ending pain. And they are frustrated and upset because they hurt and no one is helping them, so sometimes their behavior is considered to be "drug-seeking" when it is the normal behavior of a person who justs wants a break from the pain."

I believe this might be a term to describe me....what do you think? I am going to do some research on it.

Angela

 
Old 07-27-2011, 04:38 PM   #9
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Re: Frustrated!! I need help finding a solution!

Hi Tryin,
I'm glad that you were able to talk honestly with your doctor and that he switched you over to methadone. I 'm really glad to read that it is helping with the pain levels. You and your doctor may need to slightly increase your dose to help manage the craving though, and like I said before, you will find that most of the side effects will ease in time. Methadone, like other long acting medications take a few days to build up a blood plasma level in your blood stream but once it does, you should be getting both pain relief and lessing of your cravings.
As far as pseudo addiction goes, it may be because you were in pain post op that you exhibited signs of addictive actions, which is what pseudo addiction is. It is a set of symptoms and signs ( behaviors) typically shown by addicts - focus on obtaining their drug of choice, concerns about supply- getting more of that drug, going to different doctors to try to get more- it can happen in someone who is truly in pain that is being undertreated. It stops being pseudo addiction though when one is given a supply of their drug of choice, and then they are still doctor shopping, getting it from illegal sources, etc..because it is not so much about getting pain adequately treated but more about the feeling that the drug gives.
I think in your case, you started off with not so much pseudo addiction but a surgeon who felt that surgery should have fixed the problem, therefore, there was no problem and like many people who have had back surgery, there is ongoing pain. Surgeons are relatively good at treating post op pain, but for long term management, they are the worst in most cases in trying to get them to see that for whatever reason there is ongoing pain........and that needs to be addressed right away for the best outcome.
Methadone, along with maybe some injections, and physical therapy with direction from therapists who are versed in treating back pain would be really helpful for you......I think that you did a very brave thing in being honest with yourself and your doctors.
I wish you the best, if I can help with anything, feel free to PM me.
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Old 07-27-2011, 05:22 PM   #10
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Re: Frustrated!! I need help finding a solution!

You should get much better control with the suboxone, I've known a lot of people with Back injuries that use Methadone and they have no addiction issues. Methadone just seems to work really well on back pain....another one of those mysteries from the PM world.*L* So has your husband got on board with your treatment plan and is he supporting you now? Your teenage son seems like a very caring, strong, giving young man, you must be very proud.

As a side note to answer Bunnies Q, you can't take narcotics while on Suboxone. It is a an opiate antagonist and if you try to take opiates/narcotics while your on it, it will throw you into immediate withdrawal, serious feel like you were in Hell withdrawal.

Take care and I hope things work quickly for you and you get some relief.

kat

 
Old 07-27-2011, 06:51 PM   #11
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Well, it is day 2 1/2 since i started methadone. It has been pretty good for my back pain.....not so great in stopping the cravings. Let me elaborate on that, I'm not out drug hunting or doctor shopping (won't do that ever again nor do I even want to!!! Seems repulsive to me!!). My cravings are more thinking about pain pills, shakiness, easily agitated, antsy (sp?)......feels like I am in withdrawals. I went today to talk to my doctor about upping my dose (I personally don't think it's a very high dose....5mg - 4xday) and to ask him about this pseudo-addiction thing. I have an appt. this coming Wednesday, so he asked me to wait until then before increasing anything. I just can't believe how well the suboxone blocked my cravings! Pain pills actually seemed repulsive to me while on it. Wish this methadone was doing the same!!! Seems weird to me....I really didn't think I would have such cravings while on the methadone....

Kat, yes, things are much better between us now. He knows that I am trying so hard and researching for information. And, he's actually helping me by letting me talk about it. Before, he would just get mad. And, yes, i am so proud of my son!! He is my oldest and we are pretty close. He still helps me out a lot!! My middle child is 16, and he's not into helping mom...LOL. But, I love him dearly too! My third child came along later, and is 3. She has been a blessing to us, but it has been so hard to care for her with this back pain!

Back, thank you so much for the information and your kind words. I agree with you about my neuro-surgeon....I must have shown some addictive behaviors post-op so he never believed me on how bad my pain really was. I truly believe that this term, pseudoaddiction, describes me.....maybe for several months after my surgery. But, I have turned it into a full-blown addiction now. I feel that if I had gone to a PM doctor a few months after my surgery and got some real help, maybe all this wouldn't have happened. This last year has been miserable....soooo much pain, sooooo much depression, soooo much shame. But, it's OK, cause I am trying to get help!! I anticipate this next school year being a lot better!!!!!

Kat, did you mean "You should get better control with the Methadone" in your first sentence? LOL

Last edited by Mod-S4; 07-31-2011 at 11:27 AM. Reason: Posts merged.

 
Old 07-27-2011, 07:39 PM   #12
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Re: Frustrated!! I need help finding a solution!

*lol* yes I did, all these med names floating around I get confused!

 
Old 07-27-2011, 07:57 PM   #13
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Re: Frustrated!! I need help finding a solution!

tryin=

your doctor i believe started your dose too low-the 1st 3 days should have started at 10mg 3 times a day-then up 5 more mg every 3 days until your appropriate dose is reached-i have noticed many others started on methadone at 30 mg a day on many other posts-i have read about many having great success with this medicine. good luck!
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Old 07-28-2011, 07:00 AM   #14
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Re: Frustrated!! I need help finding a solution!

Kat, LOL...I figured that was what you meant. And, I understand...so many drug names mentioned!

BB, That's what I think too...my dosage is too low. He started out saying he was going to have me take 10mg 3xday and take a fourth one on bad pain days...then changed his mind to 5mg 4xday and that's it. I went in to see him yesterday and asked him to up my dosage and he said to stay on this dosage and come to my appt next Wednesday. Well, that is a week away!! His office is open tomorrow, but if I go in again and ask for an increase in dosage, I'm afraid it'll make him mad!

I really do feel better pain control. But, I feel withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Should I work up my nerve and go talk to him again tomorrow about increasing my dosage???

 
Old 07-28-2011, 04:46 PM   #15
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Re: Frustrated!! I need help finding a solution!

Tryin,
First, hang in there. Methadone works differently than other opiates. It builds up to a steady level over the course of several days. Methadone takes far longer to clear your system than other opiates. Thus, it takes longer for it to build up to the right levels.
Your doctor did the right thing in starting you on the dose that he did. Methadone needs to be slowly tapered to the proper dose. He wasn't doing a straight out conversion for you, he was dosing you for addiction and pain management. He was watching out for your best interests to make sure that you didn't have reactions to the methadone before increasing your meds. Hang in there, the cravings will go away on methadone, just as they did on suboxone. Putting you at a higher dosage without knowing how you would respond to it was have been dangerous and foolhardy of your doctor.
You really are doing quite well , considering everything that you have gone through and you will find relief for the cravings with methadone as well as have good , reliable pain management.
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