Discussions that mention vicodin

Pain Management board


Brian, sorry it took so long to respond. I've been meaning to and just haven't gotten around to it, but I really appreciate you asking.

Honestly, I've been tremendously better. I'm not back in school for a second semester. I did not have a good reaction at all to the Methadone, so my PM doctor changed me over to the Duragesic Patch. He told me right off the bat that he didn't think the 50mcg he was giving me would work, just because I have proved to be so naturally tolerant to everything else. For whatever reason, my body just does not respond in the way it should to the medications are prescribed to me, and as you can imagine, it's been very frustrating. I was very eager to try the patch though, although a little discouraged because my doctor did not want to give me any breakthrough medication. Well, Friday will be a month after I started the patch, and I don't feel it has done a thing for me. Now, I have been on opiates for several months now, and I don't know what I would feel like if I wasn't taking them. It could be that the medication is cutting my pain up to 50%, and I just can't tell because the other 50% is still so excruciating. But, I have felt absolutely nothing from the patch; no drowsiness, no dizziness, no side effects, but most importantly, from what I know, no pain relief. I'm going back to my PM doctor on Friday to see what to do. More on that in a minute.

I saw a neurosurgeon about a month ago, per the recommendation of my spinal surgeon. I don't know if anyone else has had this experience, but I found it really hard for a neurosurgeon to take me in as a patient after already having surgery. My spinal surgeon finally had to make an appointment for me. He's been so helpful with anything I've needed, and it's been great. The neurosurgeon I saw spent about an hour with my parents and me, some of it being time getting down my history and checking me out physically, and then looking at my MRIs and giving his opinion to us. He looked at the MRI I had gotten in November, two months after my surgery, and then explicitly went over it with my parents and me. My spine surgeon told me after the MRI that the only thing he saw on there was scar tissue, which he thought may be causing me pain, which is why I went for an epidural, and then he thought it was nerve pain, so I went for a nerve root injection. The neurosurgeon felt otherwise. He noted that there was still a piece of disc pressing against the nerve root at L5-S1, and he thought it was significant enough to do another identical surgery (micro-discectomy), which was his recommendation. Before I saw him again, he told me to go get an EMG done by a neurologist.

We were all really surprised at these contrasting readings of the MRI. I don't think we ever received the report from this MRI, but I would imagine if a disc is herniated enough to a point of needing surgery, it would at least be something that a doctor would recommend, and my original surgeon did not. However, I was glad to get an answer from someone, as it almost validated all of my pain. The word psychosomatic came up a few times before this appointment, and I haven't heard it since, which is nice.

I went to go get an EMG done with a local neurologist who does the test himself, and for anyone who's gotten it done before would know that it is not very comfortable. Bearable though. Surprisingly, the test showed no nerve damage, which is what my spinal surgeon thought was the cause of my pain. The neurologist shed some light on this, and it made me look at the situation differently. He told me that if my nerves were damaged, that I would be feeling some sort of weakness, pins and needles, and numbness throughout my leg and into my foot. He said that because I was experiencing so much pain, it makes sense that my nerves weren't damaged, because if they were I might not be in as much pain as I am. I was happy that I didn't have something else to have to tend to though. It also gave me another reason to doubt my original surgeon.

This test was about two weeks ago, and I was not able to get into to see the neurosurgeon since. I also wanted to and still want to get a second opinion from another neurosurgeon.

I've really had no reason to distrust my spine surgeon; he answers all of my calls, calls back on Saturdays and Sundays, and goes out of his way to make sure I am treated the best way possible. My parents finally spoke to him over this past weekend, and they relayed to him the opinion of the neurosurgeon that he knows and had made an appointment for me with. He didn't doubt the neurosurgeon, but truly didn't remember anything impressive about my last MRI. So, he scheduled me personally, once again, for a myelogram coming up tomorrow. I am a little apprehensive about it, and I'm tired of getting all these tests done, but it does make sense to get an additional test done before I go ahead with surgery, especially on the advice of a doctor I believe I trust and respect. So after tomorrow, I will see my spine surgeon on Monday, and see where to go from there. It's very frustrating to keep going back and forth, mostly because I just want a synonymous answer to getting me better. But I'm being as patient as I can.

Aside from all of this, I really have never been this depressed before in my life. It's just not in my nature. All of my friends from home have returned to school, and all of my friends from school are back there. It's very hard to accept that I'm missing an entire year of school. But, if it ultimately helps me in the long run, I'll be happy about the decision. I've been seeing a psychiatrist, who I'm not so happy with, but I'm going to continue with her as I check out a few other psychologists. Don't know why I started with a psychiatrist, but I've got time to play that field.

The most frustrating part through all this is that I am emotionally drained, and I'm constantly dealing with pain. My PM doctor and my psychiatrist won't prescribe me anything for anti-anxiety, as I've been dealing with panic-esque attacks. Also, my PM doctor is at a complete loss as to how he treats me. As I found out the last time I saw him, his group and himself really specialize in injection type treatments, and as those are ongoing, they prescribe medications. Because most of the common meds are usually effective, my PM doctor has admitted that he is no way a medication specialist. He asked me last time I went to him what I thought I wanted, and I told him the Duragesic patch, and he agreed, while telling me that he didn't think it was going to work. I would expect such a strong medication to make at least some minimal impact on the way I'm feeling, to the point where I'm able to differentiate between being on it and off it. And I haven't been able to do that. I'm willing to continue trying LA pain meds, but if he's not willing to prescribe me breakthrough meds, I think it's very risk to make a month long commitment to a medication that may or may not work, especially with my previous success. I'm kind of tempted to just ask my doctor on Friday for Norco, which was working for me, while only for short periods of time, more than any of these other strong medications. I just want some relief, and if I know I can get if from one medication, I want to take it. My PM doctor has referred me to a neurologist who specializes in pain management, and supposedly he's one of the best pill specialists on Long Island. Ironically, my surgeon and neurosurgeon independently recommended me to this doctor when I mentioned my situation. I do not have an appointment with him until the end of this month. Do you think it's worth it to just take Norco or Vicodin for the next few weeks until I see this new doctor, or should I go ahead and try another LA med like Opana or Avinza. I just don't know, I'm really at a loss. I figure that if this new doctor really knows his stuff, than he will absolutely prescribe an LA med with a breakthrough medication as well.

I also changed from Lyrica to Neurontin, which I know is not a normal switch, and when I take the Neurontin with the Soma, I get very tired, which doesn't happen with the Soma and any other medication I've taken. Should I completely rule out both Lyrica and Neurontin and try something like Topomax? I've also been on 60mg of Cymbalta once a day. Any recommendations as far as medications go I would really appreciate; I'm at the point where I'm desperate to find relief.

Additionally, if anyone has any ideas about where to go from here, or just share their own similar experiences with me, that would be great.

Thanks a lot for asking Brian, and I'm sorry to make the message so long. I guess that happens when I wait so long to respond and when I have nothing to do all day everyday. Thanks for your support everyone. Even if it's not directly towards me, everything posted on this board helps me and reminds me that there are other people who share my frustration. Feel good all.

Zach