Politicizing the Opioid Epidemic at the Expense of Chronic Pain Sufferers

On a cold, wintery day in NYC, I drove my wheelchair from my law office in the financial district to Beth Israel in Union Square. Frozen to the core and in tremendous facial pain from the cold wind striking my face, I entered the waiting room of the pain management clinic. On a break from work, I arrived in my typical designer suit and shoes, but out of the remaining twenty patients, only one other patient even resembled me. The waiting room was filled with typical looking addicts waiting in line for their next fix. Their hair was uncombed, their bodies and clothes were filthy, their bodies exposed from immodest clothing, and their voices were loud and agitated. My chest tightened with anxiety and fear. Is this how I, too, would end up?

The nurse called my name, and I followed her to the examination room with baited breath in the hopes that this doctor could help me fight the cruel pain of trigeminal neuralgia (“TN” also known as “the suicide disease” because 50% of patients kill themselves from the unbearable pain). As we approached the room, I dodged a doctor-patient altercation. Screaming, the patient insisted on more drugs. The doctor, unphased by her patient’s behavior, retorted, “absolutely not! Your last prescription should not be empty already. Please leave.” After earning a BBA and JD, I never thought I’d be going to the same doctors/drug dealers as junkies.

Unfortunately, the appointment made my future seem even grimmer. After being on 26 different non-opioid drug therapies, trying hypnotism, medical massage, cupping, Chinese medicine and acupuncture, as well as a failed open craniotomy, my options were few and discouraging. I could try another anti-convulsant, but chances were, it wouldn’t help the pain and would turn me into a zombie. So, I chose, with the doctor’s advice, to go on a long-term regiment of Percocet. 

While it took the edge off of my suffering, even the opioids couldn’t eliminate my pain. The pain was so intense that neighbors often heard me screaming and would come to my rescue. I would regularly be forced to run to the doctor’s office on deposition lunch breaks for injections of Toredol, a non-opioid powerful anti-inflammatory, just to have the ability to mouth the word “objection.” Ultimately, I had gamma knife brain radiation, where a halo was screwed into my skull while conscious, to blast the nerve. In addition to gamma knife, I also subject myself to bimonthly nerve blocks through my skull. However, with all of these procedures and desperate attempts to eliminate my pain, I am still forced to take a daily opioid regiment. 

Before becoming ill with TN, I never used controlled substances. In truth, I abhorred the sensation of being high. I felt my brain was being fried like the eggs on those “just say no” commercials of the 90s. And a family member’s opioid overdose in 1997, caused by his doctor’s failure to properly treat his cluster migraines, was devastating enough to deter me from ever experimenting. 

I have since learned that, when used to fight pain, opioids don’t cause a high. Rather, they level out our body’s pain receptors and assist in returning the body to its intended state of calm, lowering our elevated heart rates and raising our blood pressure to normal healthy levels. For me, taking an oxycodone is the difference between being rushed to the emergency room and remaining in my bed, rocking back and forth in a fetal position with boiling rags applied to my face until the pain is ameliorated. 

Daily opioids provide an effective method to combat pain in chronic pain sufferers. Yet, time and again, we are accused of being addicts and interrogated like criminals by everyone from pharmacists and doctors to our politicians and the media. Even when Prince passed away after suffering from chronic pain and epilepsy, the media smeared him as an addict because he had a bottle of narcotics on him. In reality, chronic pain sufferers are forced into opioid dependence and then shamed for it.

The issue has become so politicized that politicians like Bernie Sanders tell those in agony to do yoga and guided meditation to ease our suffering. The sheer insinuation that yoga or guided meditation would help a war veteran with phantom pain from an amputation is insulting and only demonstrates an utter ignorance on the issue. Politicians do not need to deprive us of the medication we need because of the few who can’t follow the established regulations. 

Narcotics dependence isn’t something, which only affects the homeless, criminals, musicians, artists and junkies, like those I saw and feared at the pain clinic. This dependence takes prisoner those with chronic pain, like myself, war veterans, or those with such deep emotional pain that, they, too, seek relief. As much as opioids have saved me from ending my own life out of desperation, it has just as easily ruined my life, whether it be from liver damage, severe withdrawal or exacerbated pain. No one chooses this life. I would do anything to flush my pain killers. But, for now, I have no other option. 

So, to all those politicians who ignorantly tell chronic pain sufferers to strike the lotus pose the next time we’re in pain and accuse us of being addicts, let me be clear: Keep your uninformed opinions to yourself. We aren’t addicts. We’re survivors. 


54 thoughts on “Politicizing the Opioid Epidemic at the Expense of Chronic Pain Sufferers

  1. I’m also in pain management; good physicians in this area use a multidisciplinary approach. Several years I was doing physical therapy in warm water (paraplegics get relief doing this, being lowered into the water with a special wheelchair) and met a firefighter who had been injured by falling through a burning floor. His face had the famiiar gray pallor I’ve seen with people suffering unbearable pain. My heart ached for him. A few years later he again was in the warm water therapy (I had never stopped). It took me a few minutes to recognize him; his face was normally colored, he smiled and chatted with the others who were there for therapy. I told him I remembered him from an earlier time, and I couldn’t believe the change in him. What had happened? He pulled his swimming trunks down a little to show me a mass in his abdomen. He had, as a last resort, received a Methadone pump in his abdomen, and it gave him a new life. He was back to work, not as a firefighter of course! “I feel like a man again, not a crying child!” He was there due to a back strain, and physical therapy was all he needed.

      1. It’s kind of sad. When I hear that about addicts, I think, “I’m an addict, too.” But not really. In my doctor’s pain management practice, clients have their blood tested now and then (no notice) to make sure they are actually using their medication and not selling it. My level of pain varies, hence the amount of medication I need varies. I’ve been with him for twenty years (he was my rehab physician after my accident) and there is a level of trust there, which I like.

  2. I am so sorry for your situation. I cannot imagine chronic pain like that. I’ve gotten through major surgeries and chemo and likely recovered faster because of opioids. I’ve also had pain as a side effect of other drugs. But in all cases I knew it was short term. So when I say I can’t imagine chronic pain like that, I truly can’t. But I do know that no matter what you take, it merely takes the edge off. I had a morphine pump in the hospital and was still writhing in pain. There is a perception that these things completely address pain, but as far as my experience goes, they just make it bearable. Sometimes.

    My friend Ann Silberman has metastatic breast cancer (stage IV, incurable) and is frequently in acute pain. But she lives in CA and has to jump through so many hoops to get opioids, and to get enough opioids (I mean, she’s dying, so really?) She posted the below article recently I thought you might find interesting.

    No words for what you’re going through…except I wish it wasn’t so…


  3. Chronic pain sufferers don’t expect cessation of pain. We want enough relief to make it possible to function. Pain is still constant; just tolerable.

    1. Yes when I lived in CA. It was helpful but didn’t eliminate the pain as much as I had hoped. In NC it’s illegal. So I have to take Marinol which is synthetic thc.

    2. Good lord, marijuana is a loaded subject. While being a resident in Los Angeles, I have easy access to high quality legal stuff, I did actually try a prescription for it at one point – and used it for too long in my early 20s. Took me 3 1/2 years to realize that all it was doing – while, admittedly helping some of my physical symptoms – it turned me into a paranoid schizophrenic. I don’t say that lightly either, as mental health issues are overly stigmatized in today’s society, but for a solid 3 year period I would have met the DSM definition of “paranoid schizophrenic” – and it was entirely induced by the marijuana. Ceasing that fixed those issues, and I’ve learned that it’s not for everyone. Opioids were my ‘fix’.

      1. Interesting. I hate with a passion the high from marijuana. You get so paranoid and dumb. Edibles with cbd don’t don’t do that as much though.

  4. The art of prescribing medications is basically a game of roulette, I’ve learned. And while today I’m taking enough opioids to kill an elephant (thanks to tolerance built up over the past 10 years), it’s really what I need in order to function. I’m good to drive on 320mg of oxycontin while doing calculus.

    Everyone reacts differently, between different rates of metabolism, how many mu-opioid vs k-opioid receptors you’ve got, and so on and so forth. It’s a mess, and difficult to do. And every single political statement I hear is how they need to stop opiates from being prescribed, end the “epidemic”.

    It’s simply solved. Legalize it. All of it! And tax the crap out of it to fund harm reduction programs and healthcare programs for those who are addicted to these things. Let the doctors prescribe what’s necessary for their patients. The metaphorical hoops I need to jump through to get enough pain relief in order to function and hold down a job (software engineer here) are staggering – provide a blood or urine sample every other week? I mean, this has gotten silly, and I have been exploring options to leave the country because I know I can get medical treatment elsewhere without the hassle and exorbitant costs involved. And while I do hold Italian dual citizenship, I can’t relocate over to the EU without an employer ready to take me aboard – and I don’t speak Italian.

    C’est la vie.

  5. I have never been a smoker, so I was unable to inhale and hold, making it pretty expensive. My husband would bake it into brownies, which worked (relieving but not eliminating pain) but I noticed it causing short term memory loss. My mother had dementia, so I’m very apprehensive about anything that causes that. Back to Vicodin. When the pain is especially bad (it has woken me every night this week) I take a naproxen with it, but naproxen is so toxic I don’t want to make a habit of it. Right now it’s especially bad, but I want to wait until closer to bedtime before taking one.

  6. Spinal Stenosis/arthritis/100 other things sufferer here. I go to a pain clinic at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. First time I walked in I felt the same way except I was the only one without an assistive walking device or cancer. It made me feel like the scum of the earth compared to others bc I was 24 at the time (27 now) and obviously young person + pain meds = druggie. They have me on fentanyl patches and vicodin and I just barely function. I can’t work, can’t clean my apartment and I only feel well enough to leave my apartment twice per week. I should either be 120% pain free or high as a kite yet I’m laying in bed writhing from having gone to lunch with my best friend, wandered through two stores for 15 mins each, then sat at a book store and chatted in comfy chairs for two hours. No wonder people “overdose” trying to get relief, whether they’re aiming for temporary or permanent respite from the suffering. I don’t want to live long if this will be my life. I hate that our government has such a huge influence on what my doctor feels “safe” to give me. That’s the reason my doctors kick me around like a tin can because they become afraid to give me anything stronger.

    1. I have stenosis and degenerative disc disease + other things. Steroid epidurals helped for several years but eventually they pooped out. My pain became disabling. I could only walk a few steps at a time. Opioids helped a little but it was 6 months before I could get into surgery. My pain doctor gave me a cocktail of methadone and Cymbalta (neuropathic pain); it worked like a charm. I finally had a five segment fusion which has helped a lot.

  7. Like yourself, I too have to take a regimen of both opioids, neuralgia medications for the burning and other painful sensations, and I also take an antidepressant as most people with chronic pain have to deal with this 24/7. The syndrome was due to the spinal cord being crushed slowly over time. This resulted in Myelomalacia which is a softening and sometimes deteriorating spinal cord. It is PAINFUL! The pain specialist asked me to try acupuncture, guided meditation, etc. For years I dealt with the pain but was miserable, moody, and unable to function. Finally, after trial and error, I was put on my current regimen, which as I said doesn’t begin to reduce the pain to nothing, but it allows me to get up, and do household tasks. The recent attention of the CDC and politicians to Opioid use concerned me so much that I finally asked my Doctor. She said that in my case, it’s a provable problem shown by MRI or CT Scan, that this wouldn’t apply. I still worry. I know I have a dependency, but I am not addicted. I firmly believe addiction occurs when you take a drug and you really don’t need it. I’ve gone off of these medications and the withdrawal lasts a few days and passes, but then the pain is unbearable. I just wish they would focus on the fact that the tightening up of guidelines surrounding Opioid use has caused this dramatic increase in heroin use. As for my, I know the rules, I’d never break them and as long as I follow the guidelines I should be safe. I Hope. Thank you for sharing your story. You are not alone. Many of us are sufferers.

  8. Thank you for your post…My 28 year old daughter with CFS and Fibromyalgia has been ill since she was 15. Opioids have been what has allowed her to be functional. She is a careful consumer, and I have to say that all the bad hype lately has me scared that at some point they will tell her that she has to suffer rather than take the medication. She uses CBD (patches) and other CBD products and it has been beneficial for her, and with the Percocet she has found a balance that works for her. I only hope that she is allowed to continue with what works rather than knee jerk it out from under her…thank you for balanced information.

  9. Thanks for the article. I recently saw a special on opioids on either frontline or 60 minutes. It really ticked me off though, they interviewed the doctors, pharmacists, researchers and everybody but the patients! I have back pain, leg pain, radiating to my foot, and had a multi level spinal fusion 11 months ago. I am on daily 10 mg oxcyodone and can sort of function. But I very much resent my government telling me what I can or cannot take for my pain. I sympathize with you so much! You are a brave gal, and I hope you get better! Another thing, now Medicare won’t pay for muscle relaxants I have been on for more than a year. Their suggestion? Take ibuprofen or naproxen! Really gets me! And I don’t know who to talk to, and how to effect change in this toxic political environment.

  10. I also take an opioid for chronic pain. Without the dose I take — and have been taking responsibly for the past nine years — I would be unable to walk or function normally. Like one of the commenters above, no matter how nice my doctor is and how well she knows my case, I am always fearful that one day they will say, “sorry, can’t give you these anymore, you’re out of luck.” If I were not able to control my pain I don’t think I’d be able to continue. Nobody would ever dream of pulling any of my other maintenance meds or insist that I take something less effective with more side effects. It’s acknowledged that I need those meds to sustain my quality of life and ability to function and that my doctor and I have made an informed decision to use them. The same should be true for pain meds, and patients who require them shouldn’t be punished because some people have been irresponsible.

  11. Well it happened in Buffalo NY and is coming to a city near you…..our worst nightmare ! Our largest pain management practice doctor here has been indicted on numerous charges by the county health department and DEA . Weather or not he is guilty of the numerous charges ranging from illegal perscribing to problems in record keeping is not the the point let the court desiderate the issues here is the way it was handled without any plan in place for his patients to continue there treatment . It his caused the multi provider practice too close down for two weeks why the doctor daughter others to take his place as he was forced to surrender his ability to prescribe any medicine or oversee his mid level providers in there perscribing . As you can guess this left thousands of patient’s without treatment including people on opioid as a lot of there primary provides out of fear, refused to treat them even temporarily and the remaining pain management practice could not absorb the large volume of patients who needed care. This was done , according to authorities to help curb the opioid epidemic in this city . So incentives people suffer in withdrawal or if lucky enough to find another provider with changes in there care. The practice has reopened temporarily they say and they are attempting to accommodate patients in need of meds and other treatment but there is a waiting list to get a new appointment and fear by those involved that they will be closed in the near future.

  12. I too resent the implication that opioid users are in the anteroom of addiction. I take tramadol (an opioid) and tylenol (which work synergistically) three times per day for pain related to osteoarthritis and bursitis. The only time I ever exceeded that dose was just before a root canal when I took two pills instead of one (which was still within the parameters of my prescription). I’m also more than a bit annoyed that my use of tramadol disqualifies me from getting long-term care insurance (the insurance companies cherry pick policy holders and will only sell policies to the people least likely to ever need it).

    1. I, too, was turned down for long-term care insurance because I was on tramadol. The insurance company was, however, willing to consider insuring my husband, who is significantly older than I am and had more serious health problems, including coronary artery disease that had required stents. This was over 10 years ago. I imagine it’s even worse now.

      I had a compassionate doctor for 15 years (who himself had suffered with trigeminal neuralgia and other pain for years, so he got it). But then he died two years ago. Nobody — not even my neurologist(!), who said she won’t treat a chronic pain patient — would help me, not even temporarily. I almost couldn’t get another doctor at all. Even the clinic here that is supposed to take everyone refused to take me as a patient because I took pain meds. I’d always taken my medication responsibly and had never misused my meds. Ultimately, I was forced off the medication I was on for 13 years. My doctor, as you can imagine, had quite a few chronic pain patients. I have since heard that most of them also wound up being forced off the medications that had kept them stable for years.

      1. Sorry you’ve been forced off medication that helped you, E.J. Makes me appreciate my rheumatologist here in Brooklyn, NY who prescribes tramadol.

  13. I just happened across your outstanding blog and as a fellow random Ashkenazi mutation chronic pain sufferer, wanted to shed at least a ray of hope. I’m a medical researcher and we are actively working on a new generation of opioid pain medications. It will take a long time — decades, perhaps, for them to translate to the clinic — but the science is maturing and the data indicates that we can develop opiates with enhanced analgesia and reduced side effects (respiratory depression, dependence, etc.). I’m cautiously optimistic that it will get better!

    1. That’s the best news I’ve heard all day. Opioids are such a necessary evil. Yesterday I ended up in the ER via ambulance with a pulse of 136 Bp of 160/110 and elevated white count just from pain bc the new stupid opioid the dr prescribed, nusenta, did nothing for me and made things worse. Best one I had was the butrans patch but I’m allergic to latex. So I got chemical burns and blisters from it. And I chose that over the underlying pain.

    2. Do you know what happened with the frog poison sac research? Do you have a website where we can follow your trials? What do you think about the safety of morphine vs. Percocet? Are there trials with LED red lights, with or without anything else? Do you know the best websites for following the evolution of pain treatments? (not to take advantage)

      1. Chronic pain sufferers have learned, through long experience, that care providers who tell us to “try yoga and meditation” are really saying (channel W.C. Fields here), “Go away, kid, ‘ya bother me!”

  14. There are truly many that need opioid pain management. But there are way more abusing, many of whom will die from it.

    I understand your frustration, but as a recovering opioid addict with over 6 years clean, who has watched a dozen friends die from opioids in as much time, I do not agree with your use of the word “few” in “because of the few who canโ€™t follow the established regulations”.

    In my community many of us treat major pain without opioids, we have found these methods because to do otherwise would result in imminent death.

    I may not know your pain but I survived passing an 8.5mm kidney stone, 80% of the way through my uritur before have in surgically removed and replaced with stint with only the help of the toradol you mentioned and celebrex. Not to mention this was in my early recovery when my body had not managed to product any of it’s own endorphins yet.

    It is not black and white, as I said I do not question your health situation and means of treating it, but to condemn politicians for finally recognizing the opioid epidemic that has killed so many in not fair either.

    1. Actually only 1/16,000 deaths is opioid related. http://nypost.com/2016/05/17/no-cracking-down-on-painkillers-wont-save-lives/ while it is an issue that should be addressed for addicts. Chronic pain sufferers should not be forced to suffer because some people use them to get high.

      I’ve had 8 kidney stones in my life, all of which were over 1 cm and had to be surgically removed through a hole in my back. And that’s not even the pain I take opioids for. Please don’t try to imply that I’m a whinny little girl because I use opioids. I did not choose to use them the way that you did, and I’ve never in my life gotten high from them because they do nothing but work to solve my pain. Im glad you’re in recovery. I know that it isn’t an easy road to follow for addicts, or so I’ve heard. But when an addict tells me that I can do it with a Celebrex or toredol, meds I also take in addition to opioids, it is what makes us resent addicts. Your addiction problems should not dictate my medical treatment.

      1. I made it very clear that I did not question your use of opioids. I am not questioning it at all, I have no reason to doubt your need. I am not sure how to make that more clear so you stop feeling the need to defend your need of pain management. If someone is accusing you making you feel this way, it is NOT me.

        I am accusing you of disregarding the severity of people who are abusing opiates (again NOT you).

        And you have done it again in your reply to my comment. You have minimized the severity of death caused by opiate abuse by referring to it as “only 1/16,000 deaths is opioid related”, how nice of you to act like 29,467 deaths in 2014 are not much my dividing them by all deaths. Very convenient that you did not do this math when mentioning that trigeminal neuralgia was aka “the suicide disease” when it looks like there was less than 40 TN related suicides in the whole world in 2014, what would that be 1/1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (dramatic exaggeration, I didn’t really do the math).

        We get it your disease is a terrible killer and opiate addiction is not, thanks for your empathy, here have mine.

        Thank you for reminding me why I never read The Post. That article itself probably killed a dozen addicts. I would love to see what The Post wrote about TN.

        In all honesty my frustration and hurt my your reference to my disease is not solving anything. We are both human and have our opinions and beliefs. I wish you the best life possible.

      2. The epidemic of opioid addiction, serious enough that states are making the antidote for overdoses available without a prescription, is a huge public health problem, as is inadequately treated chronic pain. I lay the blame for the addiction problem at the doors of physicians who overprescribed medications for problems better treated in different ways. Government chose to handle the addiction problem by making opioids very difficult for _anyone_ to obtain, which has now resulted in a return to levels of heroin addiction not seen since the 70s. These two public health problems need desperately to be addressed, but the different nature of these problems require entirely different interventions. Each of us maintaining that our own concern is of more import does nothing to help any of us. You might remember, 211j, shiksappeal’s original post was about her search for pain relief for a problem that rendered her quality of life, nil. It appeared the physician she saw for this need, appeared to be more a person who focused on treatment for addiction. Pain management is a specialty that has, thankfully, evolved into a medical specialty all its own. The finest practitioners use a multidisciplinary approach, but these specialists are not the people to see for treatment for addiction. Both are life-threatening, and each should be regarded with the respect other specialties like, say, surgery are. I understand you feel your concerns have been treated dismissively, and for that I am sorry. It is a reaction we (sufferers of chronic pain) have been on the receiving end of, too often. By perhaps this is not the best forum for you.

      3. I did not intend to imply that the opioid epidemic is not serious or a problem. My own brother died from it. I’m sorry if I made you feel that way. It was not my intention. I know, all too well, the devastation it can cause, and I don’t mean to belittle it at all.

        Telling me that you managed to make it through a kidney stone with no opioids was a direct implication that a person can get through their pain with non opioid medication and strong will. I’m happy you were able to do that. But some people live through that kind of pain and worse on a daily basis. Sure, there weren’t that many deaths due to TN, but that’s also due to the fact that it’s incredibly rare and typically only affects the elderly. So the number would be low. But TN is only one of many terrible pain conditions that people live with. Comparing deaths by chronic pain sufferers to deaths by addiction is unnecessary. Why is there a need to compete. Both need to be treated. Chronic pain through whichever method works for that patient and addiction through rehabilitation clinics and support services. It doesn’t need to be one or the other. Simply because some have addiction problems, which is a health issue, does not mean that those with other health problems should be denied the care we need.

      4. Thank you @Jill Spriggs for being so open minded. You are correct this is not the forum for me, I was only hoping to leave a contrasting viewpoint, in case an actual drug addict fighting for their life found themselves on this article looking for a rationalization to keep using. I wore a suit arriving at work 5:30am every day, during my heroin abuse (that started with pain pills), I would be sad to see an addict draw a conclusion that if they don’t “look” like an addict, then they must not be one.

  15. In defense of Sanders, it was an idiot volunteer who told you to do yoga. I do yoga. I was doing yoga more than anyone reading before the violent spasms that disabled me. And meditation. Looking at you @cory_booker! Won’t debate these people. It’s like arguing with Climate Change Deniers.

    * Not a fan of naming my Med
    I take 90mg of a drug that is non- toxic but considered a narc.* Thankfully, non-toxic and not a political football this year. (It has been. Forever tarnished.) I was gonna do an endoscopy 8 years ago (non-invasive procedure) and the docs said they’d give me 50mg of it. I laughed. 100. “I can take up to 120mg per day and not sleep.” They were stunned. They had to use a real anesthetic. They don’t even know how these drugs work! Mine* is banned by Bush under Part D. Must use a charity. I can take up to 500mg per day and barely tickle the antibodies fighting it. Honestly. But I don’t. I do some yoga. I hate people assuming I don’t try.

    I know two aopiod addicts. One is unaware, Says the doctors prescribed it, while I see people whisper behind his back. The other friend has been forced to go to street bc his medication was cut off bc of docs playing games and the constant Doctor changing games, etc. It’s insane.

      1. Bernie Sanders has four issues. Economic equality, single payer health care, free tuition for undergraduate education, and breaking up the big banks (Wall Street). Anything else gets little to no attention.

  16. I was desperately seeking any alternative to opioids for several years for my fibromyalgia, and eventually my latest doctor did find a livable solution in lyrica (anticonvulsant i believe). It’s not perfect and i still miss a lot of work, but it’s livable.

    To anyone who is fortunate enough not to have to live with chronic disabling pain, or, far worse the pain you describe, i can only suggest; be grateful and trust us who live with it to know what we need. Just like we need to trust trans people to know who we are and women to know what is right for their bodies. If it doesn’t describe you, please do not think you know what the legistlation on it should be, for goodness sakes!

    I think this is essentially an indicator in the direction that we all in the current society could have much greater empathy for, and respect for, others. This need is so great; and is perhaps part of the solution to that other great need; the capacity for deep empathy and respect for our own selves.

    1. I tried lyrica. One of the 26 non opioid meds I tried. It didn’t help at all and just made me a zombie. So happy it helped you though! I wish I could get off these damn meds!

      1. Oh, sorry, I did not mean to imply you should try it. I was pretty sure from what you described that you had already! I know what you mean about wanting to go off your meds though; at least i should say, i know what i mean when i say that. I spent the last year dosing myself down to nothing for the lyrica; it cost me a great deal of time off work each time i stepped down a hundred mg (I take 600); and then after a couple of weeks it became very clear that I could not work without the stuff. And felt so much better on it anyways. Those of us who take meds really don’t want to, and many of us try a lot of things to avoid it or to be able to stop them; I do yoga and meditation, and while it has helped me immensely to have a good quality of life, much less pain and a great deal more self-love and self-respect, it has not, even after 15 years, enabled me to stop my meds. I so wish people, including public figures like Bernie and other legislators understood; while some may abuse meds, the vast majority of sufferers from illness just take them to help us with our symptoms. While we need better solutions than the current available meds, WE DO NEED THEM–REALLY–until better solutions are (hopefully) at some point found. So, yeah–I have no doubt that lyrica did not make a dent in your pain. And, If people knew anything about the person you are (from reading your blog), they should know you would probably go through hell rather than take them if that were a solution. You clearly make your own way. I can’t begin to imagine that kind of pain, let alone on a constant basis. And, I’m glad i don’t have to. They should be glad too.

      2. I called it Lugubria. I’m happy for whoever can find any benefit from it, truly, but I’ve known far more people who haven’t than who have. My pain actually improved after I stopped taking it, the side effects were so bad!

  17. It’s interesting how meds can help in totally unanticipated ways. I have a friend who has suffered from irritable bowel syndrome her entire adult life; she’d do anything to avoid the colectomy her doctor recommended. Hearing about this affect from another physician, he prescribed Lyrica for her, and for the first time she can eat without having to be aware of the location of the nearest bathroom. You never know. No side effects for her.

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