It's not what you are eating, it's what's eating you…

Archive for the ‘Prescription Drug Abuse’ Category

STIGMA IS AS STIGMA DOES- Honoring the legacy of Carrie Fisher, the activist and amazing human being almost 6 months after her death….

I knew I’d eventually get around to writing a blog about Carrie Fisher’s death, I knew that 48 hours after she died and then her mother, Debbie Reynolds, passed on, that I would, I knew I probably would wait until all the media attention regarding Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds’s deaths had subsided.

Unfortunately though, the coroner’s full report was made public, regarding Carrie’s death, a few days ago and now her death for all the wrong reasons, is back all over the media.

There has been NO ONE celebrity, actually NO ONE HUMAN BEING,  that has done more to remove stigma about mental health and drug addiction, than Carrie Fisher.

In my last blog of 2016, which was written before her death and were few and far between, I did talk about Prince’s death. As well as most of my blogs of this year have been super serious between trying to start a dialogue about the super stigmatized subjects such as murder/suicide and the opiate epidemic.

This is where things get kinda  tricky for me, to keep on talking about removing stigma regarding mental health and the opioid epidemic, as they do go hand in hand.

While it’s possible to have mental health issues and not have an opioid addiction, it’s not vice versa, and I know better than anyone, to know how lucky to have escaped that, as far as I’m concerned.

But being the activist that I am, I have to choose my words, kind of carefully. I’m not a psychological or medically trained professional, the only reason why I’m writing yet another blog that involves opiates, is because I don’t think that what was in Carrie Fisher’s body at the time of her death, is what necessarily killed her.

The coroner’s report can’t be conclusive of that, for the matter. I will go out on a limb and say that I think that stigma kept Carrie Fisher silent this time, regarding being back on drugs. I think we live in a society where actresses, even if they are beloved legends, aren’t supposed to age or gain weight.

Even actresses who are legends like Carrie Fisher has been, the last 40 years. Add bipolar disorder and a past history that she shared quite freely regarding drugs and alcohol, that unfortunately with most of the psychotropics that are used to treat mental health issues cause excessive weight gain.

I know that better than anyone, that’s how I was able to gain almost 100 lbs, in under 2 years even with serious gastric bypass complications that while I’d crave massive amounts of food, I hadn’t had a prayer of being able to eat enough or keep anything down, to gain that amount of weight.

And while I’ve said in past blogs and it’s true, being fat again after weight loss surgery wasn’t the worst thing to ever happen to me, I’m NOT in the public eye, either.

Absolute NO ONE gives a crap about what I have to say, what I look like when I say ( well except from a few haters).

Which is something I’m extremely grateful for.

Which was one luxury and neccessity that Carrie Fisher NEVER had, when fighting her own demons that caused her to have those drugs in her system, at the time of her death.

Unfortunately and heartbreakingly whatever reasons she had, died with her.

Carrie Fisher, in the last year or 2, in her life both doing publicity for her last book and for Episode VII would make a joke, which now in hindsight, is NOT  funny in the slightest. She’d joke about that they only wanted to hire “3/4th of her” and she was expected to lose some weight to be able to be cast in the Star Wars franchises, 35+ years after the first one.

I can’t help but think that being on tour and living in a society that’s so weight and looks obessed had some part in her returning to using drugs and not being able to talk about it, before her death

While she felt compelled in the past to talk about mental health and drug abuse to remove stigma, there’s only so many times when celebrities regress, that they can help without risking their careers and I think that’s what Carrie was up against, should she have sought treatment, again.

I, unfortunately am not even 1/100th of the activist that Carrie Fisher was. I can’t act, I can’t sing and I obviously am not a thriving writer.

And the last thing I want to do as an activist is concentrate on the circumstances of her death. I’d rather concentrate on how she lived her life. Being an amazing activist, actress, writer and singer.

But it does haunt me that for someone who did so much to try and remove stigma, that she possibly died in part, because of stigma regarding mental health, drug addiction and relapses, not just necessarily due to mental health and drug addiction.

But because of the looks obsessed society we now live in.

So hence, the reasons for this blog. To try and remove stigma by creating an honest dialogue about addiction, in hopes of it saving lives. To try and create a dialogue of needing more treatment options that don’t have horrible side effects where that people don’t have to choose between gaining a lot of weight and their sanity, as well as other medications in therapy classes that have almost more adverse side effects than they eradicate in both medical and mental health issues.

We need to be able to have honest and open dialogue between patients and providers. We need as a society that anyone who is struggling with drug addiction can be able to talk about it without stigma. Which there is still so much stigma out there, that people are willing to risk their lives, by finding a dealer versus a medical and/or mental health professional.

We need to stop putting pressure on human beings to be at a weight that is not feasible for them. And to stop putting pressure on both women and men (although this does happen more to women) of expecting them to not age, and expecting them look like the did in their 20’s, when they are in their  early 60’s.

But we don’t have a prayer of eradicating deaths and all the life ruining issues that are still around due to STIGMA.

STIGMA IS AS STIGMA DOES…IT HURTS AND IT KILLS…

Rest In Peace, our beloved badass Jedi Princess Carrie Fisher…..
And Rest In Peace, Debbie Reynolds, an amazing activist and entertainer…..

Note: Comments that are potentially triggering to anyone will NOT be published….

How many MORE people are going to have to DIE , before we can talk about Opioid addiction and other addictions without STIGMA???

(Extremely important disclaimer: I’m NOT  a clinically trained professional. If you or someone you know is in acute medical or mental health crisis, PLEASE seek immediate/acute professional help, in an acute care facility.

Because this blog is about the fact that clinicians are only human and can be in crisis, too, this is WHY I’m pressing for honest dialogue in our society about the Opiate Epidemic and removing the stigma that exists that presents a barrier for so many people being able to get the help they need that hopefully, save their lives)

http://www.cnn.com/2017/5/24/us/drug-counselors-overdose/index.html

Most of my blogs, as of late, have had to do with the opioid epidemic. Some of the blogs, have been out of concern of the war on drugs, having a potential to harm those who use prescription opiates, responsibly, but as a last resort to treating severe chronic pain.

Some of them have included though, the very real crisis that we are in because of opioids both prescription and illegal opiates.

My very last blog (which was extremely wordy, even for me) , had to do with my getting labeled at a an appointment with a pain management specialist, who had labeled me, due to my mental health issues and that I had very temporarily abused opiates, both almost 9 years ago (for 5 days leading up to an intentional overdose with pain meds that had been prescribed for me) and almost 7 years ago for 2 days both situations involved both being in medical AND mental health crisis.

And I’ve discussed those issues ad nauseum, in previous blogs, quite a bit, since I’ve launched this blog, almost 4 years ago.

I also had mentioned in my last blog, that I had done an internet search on that physician, prior to that appointment almost 2 weeks ago and had found that pain management specialist I had seen, in addition to being “pro Butrans”, which I didn’t think was appropriate for me, neither did she, also had nearly had her own medical license suspended due to opioid addiction, less than 2 years ago. And had multiple conditions to be able to continue having her suspsension stayed, by not being able to prescribe controlled substances, let alone be in possession of them.

It was never my intent in my last blog to shame that provider. What I did find offensive, is my history being a barrier in my getting medical care, with bias, because I had been labeled PRIOR to ever being on opiates and as someone who has a very short history that I’m not usually believed by most providers, with temporary drug abuse, just because I have mental health issues and even BEFORE my mental health issues were diagnosed in my late 30’s, just because I was a bariatric surgical patient.

The above link on my blog, that I just came across tonight, was about 2 drug counselors in a addiction facility who overdosed on heroin/fentanyl combination in Pennsylvania on Monday.

I have never not known or acknowledged that the Opioid Epidemic, not only is a VERY real crisis, not just nationally but globally, but that clinically trained medical and mental health professionals, whether they are physicians, drug counselors or any kind of practicing clinician, also can be patients with the propensity to have serious addiction problems that can be fatal, just like to any other human being.

Also, I’ve said as a mental health activist who’s also written multiple blogs about murder/suicide, what I talk about is, NOT the means of how people choose to kill themselves and MURDER others , but the desire to kill to begin with.

It’s not to minimize when I bring up gun control initiatives when talking about that. I say, with being crystal clear, that I’m not a medically or mental health clinically trained professional and/or in public safety or law enforcement professional, that taking away the weapon of choice, isn’t getting to the heart of the matter, when it comes to these tragic deaths.

That if people want to kill, if they can’t get a gun, there are many other ways that they can and WILL find to kill people.

The same applies to drugs, when it comes to addiction. If people even start out honestly because of severe chronic pain or any kind of severe pain, such as surgical or due to an accident  and whether or not,  it becomes their gateway to drug addiction and/or they just go straight to illegal drugs for emotional and or mental health health pain and find a dealer, unfortunately, it’s not always predictable who will find themselves in crisis of life ruining, if not life ending consequences due to that addiction.

Or ANY type of addiction and that’s one of the  the points of this blog. If we can’t talk about the multiple ways and multi-faceted reasons that play into addiction, honestly without stigma, whether it be drugs, alcohol, tobacco, food, social media/internet/phone that present potential for abuse, addiction, the risk to public safety/personal health threats on humans and the fatalities that are occuring , we don’t have a prayer of reducing them.

It’s becoming obvious and it doesn’t take a clinically trained professional to state, that you can’t legistlate away addiction, it can make it only slightly harder to get drug of choice, it doesn’t take away the propensity for addiction, away.

Unfortunately, while it’s a lot easier to identify what barriers we are experiencing as a society when it comes to these threats, it’s a lot harder to find out what it’s going to take to make inroads in reducing addiction and both accidental and intentional overdoses.

But we  can’t just continue to believe it’s the epidemic itself, that’s killing so many people and/or ruining their lives.

Because the truth is, the STIGMA  and reluctance to have an open and honest dialogue is equally to blame.

This can’t continue to be a “don’t do drugs” or “ban all drugs” conversation, as prevention initiatives just aren’t working for so many. I’m in no way discounting them. They have value, it’s just not enough.

It has to become, why we are a globally, humans who can be prone to addictions of different natures that can be life ruining and life ending for almost anyone and everyone, which almost all of us, know someone who’s life has been ended too soon or ruined due to addiction, as well as loved ones who are effected by these crisies.

How many people are going to have to die, until the dialogues start and more initiatives are in place for study of, evaluation and better treatment options of disease of addiction themselves that don’t have the potential to lead to other addictions or other potential serious medical/mental health issues????

Note: I’m hoping this starts an honest dialogue to help. I always appreciate differing opinions if shared respectfully and responsibly.

Any comments that could be potentially triggering or are not constructive, will NOT published.

(Edit Note: Unfortunately, slight edits that were made before publishing didn’t take when blog was posted. It didn’t effect greatly my intention with this blog, just clarifying that I apologize that, it wasn’t as clear as intended it to be, from the start but also with the fact for new readers, I am a disabled blogger who writes about disabilities, in addition to topics like this one, that I feel passionately about)

“MD-PTSD”….When doctors do more harm than help…

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and I hoped that the next blog that I would write, would be in the realm of activism regarding mental health,  not talking about another devastating encounter with a new physician.

I admit that I  not an easy patient to treat. As I’ve said in previous blogs that my disabilities make it hard to express myself in logical sequence of order and in complete thought processes, which can make me difficult to understand.

It’s compounded a bazillion times, between anxiety, due to the fact I do have mental health issues, I have temporarily abused drugs, twice, in my life, that I’m quite forthcoming in this blog about that and the labeling I’ve experienced.

I had seen my long term PCP 2 weeks ago. Because we were at an impasse with my medication management, I had agreed to see a pain management specialist to give insight to the both of us, of what would be the best course of action.

As my physician didn’t feel comfortable increasing my dosages and I metabolize meds or have bad side effects to so many medications.

Or they just don’t work at all.

I was able to get into pain management today. I had anxiety of course, which I explained and it was hard for me to be concise.

While the pain management specialist was forthcoming about that she didn’t necessarily agree with my medication regimen, she didn’t agree or understand that after all the doctor visits I’ve had in my life, in the last 10 years between mental health and my gastric bypass complications, that I at this point didn’t want to see a bunch of doctors again and because of the severity of side effects from so many drugs, I didn’t want to try any new medications.

Nor did I want to be taken off the medications that I was currently on.

It was a long intake appointment with the understanding that while she didn’t agree with my being on opiates, that she’d leave that up to my long term PCP and she said, very clearly, that  she wouldn’t interfere with that.

So I did shoot off my prescribing physician, a few hours after I got home, a message of what transpired in my visit with her, while it was fresh in my mind, as I knew that it wasn’t a stellar visit for either one of us.  I detailed what she agreed with my physician, and of her urging me to be under the care of clinical mental health professionals and follow pain management modalities .

Unfortunately for me, I took her at her word that she said she would NOT interfere with my doctor continuing on my current medication regimen. That she appreciated as a pain management specialist, that I am concerned between having mental health issues, that I don’t want to have addiction issues and I would rather not be medicated at all for pain then risk addiction and becoming either a prescription drug addict or trying street drugs, something I’ve never done.

I try to treat myself, from a patient perspective, because I have an addictive personality and mental illness, of knowing that could be the case and it’s a mixed blessing that opiates don’t work as well as they should, because if they did, my circumstances could be a whole different story, and I’d have full blown addiction issues, which I don’t, but it’s nothing short of a miracle that I don’t.

Things that I’m completely honest about. Among other humiliating things in my life.

So imagine my surprise, after shooting my long term physician,  a recap of my visit, tonight, then deciding to check out my after visit summary from my appointment this afternoon, that not only did she think I was somewhat a mentally unstable non compliant  hypochondriac but that she was recommending I get taken off my medications.

Which is a complete contradiction and LIE, from with her at the end of my appointment clearly telling me that she would not interfere with my medication management being done by my long term provider.

Unfortunately for me, it’s my word against hers, a physician.

I’ve had doctors tell me, straight out,that they think I’m a drug addict. I’ve had ER docs when I’d be in the ER for my gastric bypass complications, at Fairview University Medical Center,  even bringing my meds and being compliant with controlled substances, having a ton of them, in their bottles, of them thinking I was drug seeking, when I wasn’t looking for drugs, but diagnostics such as with the pesky intractable projecile vomiting blood due to my ulcers both prior to gastric bypass reversal and after it.

Just based upon the fact I was a bariatric patient with my one and only suicide attempt, trying to use controlled substances to intentionally overdose, that’s explained on my 1st blog on here, in greater detail .

As well as being honest about an inability to be compliant on non controlled substances like ibuprofen (which I didn’t take much of prior to my gastric bypass reversal or of meds like Imitrex, PPIs, and meds in other therapy classes, other than controlled subtances, because I metabolize medications so bizarrely).

Which I’ve been quite forthcoming with providers as well on this blog. There are shades of grey, with patients’s prescription drug use. I’m obviously not compliant with most meds, it’s impossible to be, because my tolerance to so many meds, in so many therapy classes, not just with narcotics, is so high. But I by no means habitually abuse controlled substances, something that she said herself and somewhat congratulated me for, towards the end of my appointment.

Both unfortunately for me and HER, the pain management specialist I saw today,  I did do a Google search before my appointment, to get an idea of her medication philosophies (usually pro Butrans, something she thought I should consider, but apprently not, given her recommendation to my long term provider).

I also found that she nearly had her OWN license suspended due to drugs. Almost 2 years ago and the conditions of her “stay of suspension”, so that she could keep practicing medicine. Her conditions of being able to retain her license, which she is now under, is the fact she can’t be in possession or write a script for controlled substances for 5 years, in addition to other requirements for her to retain her  license and/or be eligible to apply for losing those conditions.

I don’t take any satisfaction in that. Both as a patient and as an advocate who’s trying to de-stigmatize and create dialogue about drug addiction amongst both providers and patients.

As well as in doing all the research I had to do past blogs, as a medical activist, as well as make an informed decision about my medication management I’ve thought about discussing physicians who struggle with drug addiction and trying to de-stigmatize that, too.

Because I fully am aware and sensitive to the fact, that physicians are patients, too.

It’s absolutely  NOT  okay, what I was put through today by her. It’s now going into a weekend.  I can’t talk about this to my own provider, until early next week. I did write a scathing message to the pain management specialist about her lie, and I am now  going to  be filing a grievance against her with the hospital system. And also against the hospital system, themselves.

Which I’ve talked about “md-ptsd” and I have filed one grievance before, with that hospital, which is in another blog.

I’m just beyond stunned, of  the hypocrisy that the hospital has, as well as that provider. They have a a more stringent standard of expectations on their patients, that they don’t even have for their OWN physicians. As it’s a travesty that my suicide attempt and being mentally ill, that history is held against me, apparently for the rest of my life by any provider, but her own isn’t?

How is that ethically fair? To not only as me, as a patient but any other patient who is seeing this physician, have any chance to be treated ethically and honestly, as she has bias, in addition to her own mental health issues and addiction issues  that create an inability for her to be effective of in providing fair  care to her patients.

Especially, especially, ESPECIALLY given the specialty she’s treating patients….

Lisa definition of “md-ptsd” (a “Lisaism” you won’t find in DSM V) – extreme psychological and physical distress of seeing clinically trained medical and mental health physicians, due to my being labeled as drug seeking hypochondriac, post epic mental health breakdown and suicide attempt in 2008. But I have also mentioned that I was drug tested prior to being put on opiates, during ER visits, since I had my gastric bypass.

So now, it’s made my “md-ptsd” expotentially  worse. I don’t love when doctors treat me like crap. That’s why I rarely seek medical attention, any longer. What I usually did in the past with unpleasant encounters when I’m being treated clearly with bias, due to having mental health issues, is I leave. I’ve left ER visits, including ones that I needed further attention. I’ve left appointments in the middle of a visit. I can be mean and not mince words, when doctors treat me like an unstable drug seeking hypochondriac, but I only use words and leave, if I’m going to be reactive (which most of the time, I’m NOT) . That’s it.

You want an example of that? Certainly. I’ll say to a doctor when they come off condescencingly and judgemental that I’m a mentally unstable and drug seeking hypochondriac with maybe other bias towards me (such as weight and being a cigarette smoker) that I’ll say “Wow, I didn’t know Walmart had a school of medicine!!!”.

I’m appalled and devastated, though that a pain management specialist with her own drug problems would do that to a patient who admitted everything I’ve said in this and in past blogs, would lack empathy and lie to me.

I’m devastated that I can’t trust most  doctors not to label me for the rest of my life, given my complicated issues with compliance of non controlled substances due to how bizarrely I metabolize most medication or have severe side effects.

I’m incensed as an activist that other patients might have gone through this and they don’t have a voice. I know almost 9 years ago, when I was acutely suicidal and in so much physical pain and had mentally disintergrated, that  I didn’t have a voice and no support. I write this blog, so that other patients don’t nearly lose their lives from being treated this way or have themselves AND their care compromised due to bias.

I’m hoping that if anyone has gone through this, they will message me privately, if they don’t feel comfortable commenting on my blog.

But I am going to fight back, an ethical fight. By filing a grievance and while I said in my very concise message to her that I hope she loses her license, I hope really she learns from this and at least gets reprimanded.

Although if she doesn’t learn from what she did to me today and has done that to other patients, maybe she should NOT be practicing medicine, any longer.

Because no mentally ill and medically disabled patient who’s been as forthcoming with providers, should have to go through what I keep going through with most physicians.

Actually, it’s been my hope as an activist and blogger, for years,  to encourage honest dialogue between patients and providers, whether mental illness is a factor or NOT, that patients aren’t necessarily penalized with non compliance of ANY medication.

Not only does that increase the risk of patients LYING to their doctors, if they are abusing drugs, it puts them at risk of getting involved with street drugs and the risk of safety and or accidental overdose and addiction to them.

And I didn’t fight so hard to stay alive and try to retain what’s left of my sanity, to let a doctor do something so unconscionable like what was done to me, today (It’s still  5-12-2017 in MN), but I’m going to try that some greater good comes out of it.

For both patients AND providers.

Not just for myself, but for many patients who experience bias and compromised medical and mental health care because of bias that physicians carry due to mental illness and other still stigmatized patient disorders.

Wish me luck…

Note: I have no problem publishing differences of opinions, if stated respectfully. And unfortunately my normal disclaimer of “seeking professional clinical trained professional guidance when in medical or mental health crisis”  doesn’t apply, because I’m not at that point but I’m seriously distressed that my anxiety is in overdrive and my medical care has been compromised by a doctor that knew fully my history and lied to me that way.

Especially given how vulnerable I was due to my medical health issues at that appointment and my mental health issues, as it was difficult for me to get to that appointment with my barriers, as I was exhausted physically and mentally frazzled due to some scary encounters on 2 crappy local buses and walking part of the way in the sun, which I have photophobia.

Again, I own what’s multiply frustrating by me, for ANY provider, including the most non biased clinical professional, of what it’s like to treat me. I’m not a fun patient to treat and I can get defensive. I’m wordy and all over the place. But I tell new providers that those are my barriers, from the start.

And the truth is, most patients are vulnerable, in some way, when seeing a provider, especially given all the factors that played in my visit.

Also,  I don’t believe all doctors are bad. Largely due to my long term physician, where we have a stance to agree to respectfully disagree, given what I’ve been through with mental health and having weight issues even with my needing a gastric bypass reversal.

And I realize other Fairview medical professionals who I know are excellent and ethical physicians, as well as other physicians from different hospital systems both locally and globally.

But regardless of a terrible experience with a doctor, I’m going to ALWAYS recommend that if a patient-provider relationship is not working for a patient, that they try to get help from another provider, whether in acute crisis or not.

Just please forgive me for being kind of a hypocrite about not being too terribly excited about seeing new doctors, in the short term, given my circumstances.

Also note: Unfortunately, I had to do some major editing, 10 hours after I first published  this, because I was so frazzled between being in a lot of physical pain and heightened anxiety, which was was made so much worse, after her saying one thing to me and a few hours later, she completely saying another, as far as her final recommendation would be, made this not as clear as I would’ve liked.

This still isn’t clear, due to the fact I am a disabled blogger who writes about disability and bias. But I feel like I’ve honestly and better presented a fair description of what I go through as patient, but at the same time, being fair with providers who have to treat me.

The OTHER “O” Epidemic- Truths & Consequences regarding the Opiate Epidemic……

Note: Sometimes I have to digress to make a point, due to disabilities . I’m continually told as an activist but not a  clinically trained professional that my insights are valuable to others, by both patients AND clinically trained professional medical and mental health professionals who’s guidance and input I seek, both personally and in regards to the activism I do.

Because I realize that not only do I have to be my strongest advocate in my own care, but for those who don’t have a voice. Or those have consequences due to stigma due their own truths, for many reasons, personally and professionally.

While I will always strongly preface any of my (or anyone else’s) medical and mental health blogs that nothing can replace evaluation and treatment for  medical or mental health issues , in person, especially while a patient is  in crisis, the obstacles that both patients and clinically trained providers are up against,  will be clearly evidenced in this blog.

Here we go….

According to the National Safety Council, in 2015, over 38,000 people died due to traffic fatalities. Another 4 million people had to seek medical attention of some kind, due to being in a traffic accident.

That’s the largest increase in 50 years, which is quite alarming. While I could hypothosize the many reasons what’s played into that, such as distracted drivers, there’s probably many variables that I’m sure anyone could get more information on, by researching like I have, statistics from Department of Public Safety, National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration and other related organizations.

This has to STOP. And the best chance of doing this is by making the manafacturing of cars and motorcycles, purchasing them and driving and riding in or on them, ILLEGAL. There are many options to reduce the need for cars and motorcycles these days.

People could take public transportation, people could live close to their workplaces and their children’s schools. There’s bicycles and of course walking which also has the added health benefits of exercise.

Although anything potentially on wheels, can have grave if not fatal consequences on people and people DIE everyday as a result of that.

Win/Win situation for EVERYONE, right? I mean everyone knows someone who has been seriously injured, if not sadly killed in a traffic accident.

THINK OF HOW MANY LIVES COULD BE SAVED IF WE BANNED MOTOR VEHICLES for the private sector and strongly regulate ANY form of private non motorized transit that’s on wheels?????….

And before you y’all think I lost what’s left of my mind and spelling abilities when I reference the “other O epidemic”, I know automobile is spelled a-u-t-o-m-o-b-i-l-e not o-t-t-o-m-0-b-i-l-e, and NO, that’s not what I’m really referencing or the reason for this blog.

The reason for this blog is the “Opioid Epidemic” and how the fear of both prescription opiates and illegal drugs is causing not only a war on drugs but a WAR on patients who need these medications, not only as a last resort but also as a long term solution for their severe chronic pain.

I don’t discount at all, from all different agencies, whether it be the CDC, NIH, FDA, SAMSHA and AMA, the concern about how many people are either accidently overdosing on prescription opiates, or it becomes a gateway to illegal drugs and not only the deaths that go along with an overdose with drugs like that, but what tragic deaths that also OCCURS, in the process from manafacturing, distribution and consumption of all these illegal drugs that are out there, is also killing thousands of  people.

In 2015, the death rate was approximately the same for drug overdoses as it was from traffic fatalities-approximately 33,000 people died from overdosing, annually.

People might think that I went way out of my way to be wordy ,with my ridiculous traffic analogy, but that’s what type of excuses are used by medical and mental health professionals when it comes to prescription medications, medications I’m talking about are prescription opiates.

I’ll give what I think the AMA and physicians, especially are up against as well as organizations in defense of them fearing narcotics:

Patients LIE to physicians and psychiatric professionals, like all the time. They also self medicate with medications for reasons such as trying to control emotional and mental health pain and mental health issues with both prescription narcotics and illegal ones. I mean I get that Oxycodone is meant for severe pain of a broken back, it ain’t meant for a broken heart or busted psyche.

OR patients due to barriers don’t realize they actually have both a physiological and psychological dependence on medications that DO make them more of  a risk for abuse, addiction and that addiction can ABSOLUTELY lead to both intentional and accidental overdose to either prescription opiate or illegal drugs.

Sometimes with the aid of alcohol contributing to that, sometimes, not.

I’ve also had friends die due to accidental illegal drug overdoses, very innocently starting off with severe chronic pain or medical emergencies that lasted a long time (such as what I do in the weight loss surgery community when it comes to long term severe complications status post gastric bypass, that’s what the reference of the “other O epidemic”, because I write about bariatric surgery and “Obesity”, on occasion) that started with prescription opiate needs that did cause them to become addicted to IV meds that they made their opioid  tolerance so high, they did end up transferring to illegal drugs such as Heroin, when not in weight loss surgery crisis and found themselves in a different kind of crisis with addiction and ended up looking for a dealer instead of help and accidentally overdosed and that’s devastating and tragic.

So it’s NOT that I don’t have an idea of the fears and consequences by the both professional medical,mental health providers, government and society in general,  when thinking about the consequences that these medications potentially come with.

Because I’m definitely NOT discounting at all how serious and real, this all is.

And that these medications and the potential consequences of abuse and addiction, can be fatal to patients and devastating to both providers AND loved ones who are left behind.

Physical pain is also VERY subjective at times as far as what’s considered to be unbearable pain.

Not to mention, statistically as most physicians (including my own, who does all my medication management) will state,  that the longer a patient is on narcotics, the more their medications are increased, eventually they will hit a wall, so to speak, where their tolerance will become so high that not only increases their chances of potential of addiction, abuse as well as both accidental and intentional overdose, it also counteracts the effectiveness of opioid medications and they will NO longer work. PERIOD.

Also, unfortunately, sometimes patients have a sudden adverse reaction to a narcotic even with perfect compliance. Even if they are on an opiate the first time or a short time.

This actually happened to me with Fentanyl (duragesic patch). When dealing with hospitalizations due to my gastric bypass from 2003 to 2011 and certain procedures IV Fentanyl would make a procedure barely bearable. And I would get bounceback migraines from it, which I do from any IV narcotic, as well as hives.

I was put on my 1st trial of the Fentanyl patch, almost 7 years ago in Spring of 2010 and couldn’t keep the patch on and was put on oral pain meds which I had been off for almost 2 years, due to the time I was in the system (I did get narcs when hospitalized for ulcers while in the system from 8-2008 to 1/2010. It also bears mentioning I got OVER $17k in backpay in 2 installments between late 12/2010 and mid 1-2010) and when off narcotics with money did NOT go looking for a dealer prior to being able to get treated again by  my long term PCP.

2nd trial of Fentanyl in Summer of 2011? Not so lucky, as the first where just one patch fell off and it was too problematic to wait another 72 hours, so I had also gotten a special adhesive to keep the patch on for 2nd trial (I was also allergic to the adhesive OF the Fentanyl patch) and 26 hours without any abuse, meaning I put patch on appropriately and as directed, projectile vomited the whole entire 26 hours which I spent in my bathroom and then went through FIVE days of hellacious opiate withdrawal.

That came with the NOT so fun side effects of intractable shaking , vomiting, sweating and auditory and visual hallucinations, which I’m not prone to with my particular mental health disabilities, when going through serious opiate withdrawal.

Which I’d caution ANYONE from going through any kind of withdrawal without medical supervision like I did.

This ALSO occurred from a low amount of  of Fentanyl, 25 mcg q 72 (meaning 25 micrograms every 72 hours). Because I’ve had adverse reactions to quite a few other medications in all different therapy classes, I already knew that unless I was at home or in a hospital, NEVER to start a new medication, unless I’m at home.

So the above is not meant to be a “patient” insight portal, I’ll make that point, soon enough.

Most of my doctors would agree, including my Primary Care Physician, who’s been my doctor for almost like 18 years now, does ALL my medication management would agree, I’m not easy patient to treat. I don’t have anything resembling a predictable outcome when it comes to both medicine as a science AND medicine, well from a pharmacology perspective.

Both my bariatric surgeon and my PCP have seen me bizarrely be completely lucid to medications that knock out most of their other patients and be practically knocked out by IV Compazene, which is anti-emetic, but I’m a difficult patient to medicate, overall due to how bizarrely I metabolize meds.

And most people don’t nearly die from technically performed perfect gastric bypasses, pregnancy and childbirth and IUDs like I nearly have. Most people don’t usually get as many adverse side effects as I do from a lot of medications, in all different therapy classes and delivery systems.

And it doesn’t help in my case, that medicating me for one aspect of my medical issues can cause a trigger or side effect for another.

But while I can say as an activist that some of us may be harder to treat with our own unique physiological makeups, from a patient perspective, we ALL are unique in our own way and deserve an individual patient tailored approach to medicine.

That’s where the silly car analogy that I used, isn’t so silly when you think about it. The hoops that severe chronic pain patients have to jump through now, who aren’t addicted and are honest about their narcotic usage, are going to possibly lose the ONE AND ONLY treatment option that does HELP.

And while I believe and will write in seperate blog, about the need for more treatment options when it comes to everything, those of us who are in need of long term solutions to managing our pain, have tried EVERY other non narcotic or even non medication treatment out there and pain medications are a last resort, it’s a last resort that we are seriously in danger  of losing completely.

I wish there could be more of an honest dialogue by both patients and providers in the evaluation of how to treat severe chronic pain that isn’t caused by a terminal disease, long term.

And for those who suffer from addiction issues to be forthcoming with their providers, that take in account their physiological and psychological makeup, because it isn’t fair that just because while thousands of people do habitually abuse controlled substances or are at risk for transferring to illegal drugs, will ruin it for those of us who aren’t at risk and this is not only a MAJOR quality of life issue, this becomes a potential life or death situation, in those of us who aren’t medicated at all or are undermedicated for our own unique physiological makeup but would NEVER obtain medications illegally.

Now in my case, I have very temporarily when in crisis both medically and  mentally, TWICE now in my life abused narcotics. Once for 5 days proceeding and including my suicide attempt in 2008 and 7 years ago, for 3 days when in medical and mental health crisis.

And I know if I’d EVER do that again, I’d be cut off. But we are talking a period of 8 days of non compliance total in a span of almost THIRTEEN years, that I’ve been on them.

IF though I really believed as a medical activist that drastically regulating narcotics would save people’s lives, I’d be the first one to defend that. I had a horrible outcome with a gastric bypass, I don’t tell people not to have bariatric surgery. I had 2 pregnancies and 1 delivery that nearly killed my daughter and I, when she was born, I don’t tell women not to get pregnant or have children on the offchance their lives will be endangered if they have a baby, and I also don’t tell women not to have IUDs given after what  I went through with Mirena.

And even though I was in a serious car accident in my late teens, I don’t tell people not to get in a car or drive in one, even though I witness reckless behavior with drivers, EVERYTIME  I leave my home.

And if I’m going to be honest, I think Fentanyl IS an EVIL drug. And I couldn’t truthfully say that if I didn’t go sick from it, that even with compliance on it, that for how I reacted once I was able on my 2nd trial to keep a patch on for longer than an hour that if I could become physically addicted being compliant on such a small amount, it was nothing short of a blessing to me, that I got so sick to be spared an addiction of that nature.

More bizarrely, as physically sick that I became on it and with going through opiate withdrawal, I remember one thing that stands out.

It actually DID treat the pain that it was prescribed for me, it just wasn’t worth it, obviously, due to the nature of the horrific side effects.

But at the heart of the matter, all the stringent regulations and elimination of usage of opioids in pain management, could possibly do is actually kill more people. If people have a predisposition to addiction or even if they don’t, those who can’t  obtain  prescription opiate drugs legally will obtain them illegally.

And with these medications being eliminated will only create a market for more illegal medications to be manafactured and distributed.

OR you’ll have patients like me, who has to take an enormous NSAIDs to get the effect of the high strength but very controlled in doses of opioid medications, that I’m on, I’m feeling that I and others like me are  being sentenced to die as a result of that.

Because it’s not realistic that those of us who are narcotic compliant and have exhausted non opioid treatment therapies are just going to take NOTHING for severe chronic pain that already greatly limits our lives.

My heart hurts though for those, like myself who’ve lost cherished family members and friends due to opioid abuse.

But banning opioids or stringently regulating them, isn’t going to save lives until we address further the human nature of addiction, with a patient tailored approach to medicine which we are sorely lacking, is going to increase the danger of illegal drug abuse, addiction and fatality, it’s not going to reduce it, without a more through dialogue between patients and providers and government.

In the meantime, I make NO apologies for being both angry and terrified that I fought so hard to stay alive, to make this little crappy life of mine have some meaning, where I’m going to die a long drawn out physically even MORE  painful unnecessary death due to NSAID usage, when I’ve been 99.9% of the time medication compliant on opiates, which I’m still on, but not for much longer.

So this is going to make things a lot worse, not just for me, but millions of other people with severe chronic pain who aren’t terminal, until we can have an honest dialogue about human nature and addiction and have better treatment options for so many physical and mental health diseases, syndromes and issues that actually don’t cause more problems than they create.

I’m in NO way saying, that there shouldn’t be regulations in place, such as having systems in place for those who “doctor shop” or illegally obtain prescriptions and/or use multiple pharmacies to get scripts for abuse, addiction or to illegally sell on the black market. I’m also not saying that prescription opiates shouldn’t be a very last resort in treating severe chronic pain.

I am not adverse to being drug tested or that others should be  and I think it could help if we could talk about as a society, addiction and abuse should that happen, that patients don’t get penalized if they aren’t engaging in illegal behaviors or that present a danger to themselves or others, of being able to tell their physicians that.

But at the rate we’re going in society, thinking that eliminating prescription opiate usage as a last resort for some of us, making them INACCESSIBLE ,  is going to be present a bigger threat to our safety and lives, than the usage of these medications could ever be a threat to us.

Note: Respectful disagreement of opinion or in dialogue, encouraged. Disrespectful comments will not be published. Thanks….

Also note, this is where somewhat of an explanation of my perspective, is helpful to have a balanced dialogue. And why I couldn’t just write as an activist “Don’t eliminate prescription drugs for everyone because not everyone abuses” wouldn’t do anything for the cause,  other than being concise, BECAUSE, I freely admit, I have EVERYTHING to lose, especially my life, at this point…..

 

Tag Cloud