I have an appointment with my Doctor on Monday morning. We are both working with a pharmacist in her office to come up with an effective drug treatment plan to manage my chronic pain, because even after two years at a Chronic Pain Clinic, a handful of specialists,and the long long long list of medications I have tried, we are still not able to ‘manage’ my pain…. frustrating? Unbelievably!….. Scary?…. Yes….. It is also discouraging and deflating sometimes, but so far, I haven’t given up. I keep telling myself that there has to be SOMETHING that works… I just haven’t found it yet.
The problem with many of us that deal with chronic pain, is we have MANY symptoms, and there isn’t a drug on the market to take care of all of them… so then we are left either treating the worst symptoms, and putting up with the other ones, or we have to combine medication.
Currently I am on 5 full-time medications, and one that I use as needed (Please don’t judge… I can tell you that I loathe every single one of them). My life revolves around what time I need to take this, and what I need to eat with that to prevent nausea, and battling side-effects all day long. It isn’t fun in the least, but it is the only way that I have been able to gain back some quality of life. Before being medicated I was bed-ridden, and my social life consisted of chatting with people in scrubs in the ER. I spent over a year in bed… and it was devastating. So, no matter how frustrating treatment is for me, I remind myself that it could be a LOT worse…. It HAS been a LOT worse…. and I am blessed to have the ability to get out of bed in the morning, unfortunately medication is what allows me to to that.
I started a new medication about a month ago, and the side effects are pretty nasty. It is a tricyclic antidepressant that is used not as an antidepressant, but as a sleep aid in people who suffer from chronic pain. I have tried a ‘sister’ drug to this one before, and it has no effect, but I told my medical team I would give this one a try. I am starting out on tiny dose, and I will work my way up from there if we think it is making a difference. Among the side-effects, people generally experience Dizziness; drowsiness; dry mouth; excitement; headache; impotence; nausea; nightmares; pupil dilation; sensitivity to sunlight; sweating; tiredness; upset stomach; vomiting; weakness; weight loss or gain. Sounds like a great deal of fun, doesn’t it?? There is NOBODY out there that would sign themselves up for that if they didn’t have to!
What becomes insanely frustrating is when a medication doesn’t give you relief, or doesn’t work the way it is supposed to, and then you are left dealing with all the side effects on TOP of all your pain. When you resign yourself to try something, and you know what it is going to cause you discomfort, but you are willing to fight through that part in order to get ‘better’, is is maddening when it doesn’t work, and then you are left feeling worse than when you started.
It is a leap of faith to put your life in someone’s hands… and each time you have to head back to the starting line, it becomes harder and harder to take the leap of faith. Am I alone in this?
There are two newer drugs that have been FDA approved for the treatment of Fibromyalgia and CFS, Lyrica and Cymbalta. My medical team would like to to incorporate one of these drugs into my treatment plan to see if it might help me. So that would be SIX drugs then, that I would be on. And I am terrified. I have heard that these drugs have a TONNE of side-effects, and not everyone who takes them has had relief from them.
Nobody understands better than I do, that the treatment plan I am currently on is not working. I am the one who has to live through it everyday! But I these two drugs really scare me, and I am just not sure I am ready to play with yet another drug, live through all of the side-effects that come with them, just for them not to work, or not work as effectively as I would hope, and then I have to go through the disappointment and emotional downfall AGAIN!
So I am reaching out to you for some support today….
If you have been on one of these drugs, or know of a personal experience you can share with me, could you either please leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org please?
And this question in the comments section…..
WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST FRUSTRATING MEDICAL EXPERIENCE YOU HAVE EVER HAD?
Whether you have chronic pain or not, I think we have all experienced frustration in our medical system, with uneducated opinions from health practitioners, or not being taken seriously…. So please share them!