Tuesday, April 4, 2017

I need my Dr not the DEA

Sometimes the kids will pick at me and call me the selfie queen. I don't take them quite as often as I wish I could because the hard, cold truth is, I only take them on the days I feel "good". When I look back at my Google Drive timeline I see the days, even weeks there's no photos of myself and I am saddened. You see, everyday of my life for over 15 years I have relied on narcotic pain medications to be able to have some resemblance of a normal life.
   17+ years ago my life was forever changed when a guy under the influence decided he had sat at a red light long enough, floored it and crashed right into the drivers side of my car. I had already been through 2 surgeries to try to help a birth defect in my spine and keep me from needing more complex, life altering surgeries, but he ruined that. The only saving grace was our youngest, Colbie was in an excellent carseat and properly restrained. His carseat was made of this high-tech foam used in the walls of Nascar tracks and inside the wall of airplanes. His carseat had a 1-2 inch impact indention and the worst of his injuries were from his sippy cup popping him in the face and then flying out of the busted back windshield. It was found over 100 yards from the scene.... I however wasn't so lucky, my spine and neck took the brunt of it and so my fusion surgeries began... So did the constant, unrelenting, disabling pain.
    I realize the stigma related to pain clinics and I've watched personally as a very caring and what started out as a very careful and responsible pain managment Dr. that gave me my life back, was recently demonized and crucified for his prescribing practices. I know the heart of this man and his belief that no one with legitimate pain should suffer. For the past 3 years he had to start backing patients off of certain medications and sending them to other specialists for some medications, cutting back on many others, and changing medications altogether. He was making every attempt to statisfy the agencies that were pressuring him, but nothing seemed to really help. He eventually retired his practice and had a deal with another group to come in and take over his practice but the new group backed out days after he retired, leaving many patients with no alternatives but to seek methadone clinics (which are truly meant for drug addicts NOT pain patients, and in my honest opinion are far more dangerous and have more abuse issues than legitimate pain clinics)
  After watching the news media, and even some people that call themselves my "friends" put ALL people using narcotics on a daily basis as addicts or worse I became defensive and FAST... WE ARE NOT our conditions, nor the medications we responsibly take, WE ARE HUMAN, just like everyone else. After all of the media and the lawmakers and DEA, CDC, even the Surgeon General himself, decided they know more about ME and every other pain patient than our physicians, I decided to make some changes.
I am slowly quitting smoking, which I know contributes to inflammation. I am voluntarily reducing and even weaning off the medications that are being targeted by the DEA, CDC, and lawmakers, mostly out of fear that I am eventually not going to have adequate access to these therapies.
  I am excited and so proud of myself for it, but it is coming at a cost.... More days not able to pick up my precious grandbabies, more pushing through the pain and trying to become more active, but there are just no ways around the increase in days I'm just not up to doing all I want to do. I've struggled greatly with increased anxiety, frustration, anger, depression, and sadness. I'm just not able to do the things I could on those medications. I have been able to be an active parent to my kids, chaperoning games, trips, and volunteering at their schools when they were younger. I even took on part time work to try to help supplement income because let me tell you, disability payments in most cases, won't cover much of anything. Then add the expense of supplemental insurances, deductibles, copays for Drs, surgeries, medications, etc. many people are left with nothing.
  Now giving up/reducing these medications has lead to the need to add more than 8 new medications to help combat the pain and symptoms. Now how does that sound reasonable?           My hope is that this is just temporary as my body adjusts and hopefully gets stronger.
   I've also learned the medications have been managing/masking some pretty severe pain or warning signs that another back surgery is in my very near future....
   I can't help but feel for those whose care has been mismanaged by Drs and pharmaceutical companies who prey on those during their weakest moments and abandon them leaving them to turn to street drugs and the like. When I hear Macklamore's song "Drug Dealer" it hits my heart hard. I've lost too many people to abuse and overdose.
   My own sister lost her life because she was so ashamed of her past she wouldn't or couldn't seek life saving treatment of something as simple as seeing the right Dr's and feeling able to discuss her past openly and honestly without fear of judgement and mistreatment.... That simple. I fully believe she would be here today if she had access to appropriate treatment. But you see, she felt like she didn't deserve help.
   The pain management system is flawed. When a patient is left unable to fill VALID prescriptions because a pharmacy is scared to take the risk of fines, others just can't meet the demand because of limits on the amount of narcotic drugs they can order per month.... That's a problem.
  The technology exists to monitor every single patient, every single prescription, and monitor for those abusing the system, those "Dr. Shopping" for multiple meds. It just takes using the technology and expanding the capabilities to a nationwide database. Add to that routine drug screens, mental health evaluations, and abuse risk screening, (most ALL reputable and responsible clinics already do this)
  Have Drs who manage pain patients take continuous training so they have every new treatment, technique, technology, and medication examined and are properly informed, instead of some drug rep bringing "gifts", rewards, and incentives for Drs writing their newest drugs. (not ALL do this and Yes it is no longer allowed, but it does still happen quietly) Yes, I also feel the legalization of medical marijuana, even just the oils, could help the "opioid abuse epidemic".
   It ALL angers me and frustrates me. No other specialists have the worry or pressure to answer to all these entities just to treat their patients, nor do their patients have difficulty getting access to their medications. Why should legitimate pain patients be treated any different...

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