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  • I am very frustrated with the stigma associated with narcotics. If I told people that Massage, PT, or Acupuncture kept my pain in check, they would say "Cool". If I said I'm managing my pain using a neuropathic med such as Lyrica or Neurontin, they would say "Okay". If I say that I'm using Hydrocodone or Oxycodone, the unsaid assessment is "drug addict". Is that paranoia on my part? I don't think so. Even my own NS has told me that despite my INCREASED pain since my fusion in January, he wants me to decrease from 6 hydrocodone pills per day to 4. I challenged him on that because it seemed totally arbitrary -- my pain is worse, so why would my treatment decrease? I submitted to trying Lyrica after giving up on Neurontin. I seem to be back in the "Okay" category for now. The truth is that the only thing that is taking my pain away is the narcotics. The rest of this is just window-dressing as far as I'm concerned.

    Meanwhile, I just went back out on partial disability (12 hours per day will now be 6 hours per day) to protect myself in the likely case of my job performance being impacted by all of this medicine as well as a reduced work schedule. Reduced narcotics = reduced working hours for me. My NS is forcing my hand. I guess on a positive note, he is supporting my reduction in working hours in order to alleviate pain from sitting. Thus, reducing the need for narcotics?

    I will miss working fulltime. Work has been my primary social outlet.
  • :OO

    I went down that road till I ended up abusing my body to work. Has anyone addressed the legal aspects of liability when driving on meds. Before I had to file for disability I had to take my two norcos and soma and hope it was enough for the next 5 hours. Just a warning trying to compete with our old life and expectations just will not work.
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  • Yes I relate to what you said.
    I finally had call it quits this year. Surprisingly I got the SSI in about 4 months! and that was with mostly spine issues and I nowhere near as bad off as others here. I got a letter from SS that my appeal was noted and that it could take anywhere from 14 months to 48 months! 45 days later a letter from SS that I was approved for total disability. Received a check for about 9 months but I had to return that to my disability company as agreed. So I'll get half from SS and half from the disability insurance company.
    I was more or less forced to "retire", at 56 that could be a cool deal except after an hour of driving I'm in quite a bit of pain. Mostly hang around the house these days. After this med check (ten days) I'm going to see about moving up to something stronger than this NARCO so maybe I can do some traveling or a little more yard work. As far as being addicted I'm not and you probably aren't either. As others here will agree with addiction is a state of mind a craving for the drug. Not for getting rid of the pain. While you might be physically dependent on the narc's you just taper down and maybe take some clonidine to help and your off. But if your still having pain that OTC or Neurotin (hated that med) can't help with, then the best thing is the opiate based med. Gosh they've been around for years and other than those idiots who steal "your" meds to get high, most of us have no problems. I believe that because we are in and have pain issues the drugs acts differently on us than on someone who isn't in pain. (?) That's my take on it anyway. Good luck to you.
    C3-4-5 fusion 2005
    C-5-T-1 disk bulged
    L-4-5 bulge to the right, with Microdiscectomy, failed
    L5- Bi-Lateral bulge
    Pain in right foot -loss of feeling
    Left butt, hip and front thigh pain with bad shooting pain into inside ankle sometimes
  • On the way up the medication scale we always perceive that it will bring that expected relief and it is just a phase to imagine that medication alone can be our sole improver. The notion that imposed pacing will reduce the necessity for taking less medication does have some merit and when the pain increases the first thing we do is rest and over time that in itself does reduce the symptoms hopefully.

    It is never easy when the financial constraints of having to work require us to continue while in unmanaged pain, it becomes our normal and acceptable. As alcb said, work where possible, fills that void where how we feel about ourselves develops and I did some voluntary work that made me feel better about who I was, knowing that staying at home just created unique problems in itself. The dilemma is that even when we know working and having to go is mandatory, we have to be realistic, where that point is when we have to stop is imposed by our physical condition or we pre-empt that change and stop sooner, even without financial security. Jobs do give us self-worth, confidence and that inherent value of surviving.

    We are not drug addicts because we use medication, any association between our prescribed use and others usage for alternative reasons has to be separated, the reason we use them differs, it is naive to amalgamate all usage as the same and shows a lack of understanding behind our underlying condition, had our lives continued in the healthy persona we once may have been, we would not be using medication in any form.

    I try to associate with others who can help me, encourage and be supportive of my goals and aspiration, working has not become achievable because the pain has reduced, only that the need to be included and those detrimental nuances that were on the horizon could be managed more effectively once I was feeling better about who I was. I would say that my physical capability has reduced over the years and I need to be more productive for reduced results, the pain has never diminished, and I too am questioning my capacity to continue for something I worked so hard to acquire.

    Take care

  • I was unemployed all of last year, so I had no health insurance. I'm single and could not find and Orthopedist who would even see me w/o insurance. I went back to work as a high school teacher,for just the insurance. I knew I would not be able to hold up and function satisfactorally.

    I started seeing an Orthopedist and the referred me to an Ortho Pain Mgmt specialist. I have Spinal Stenosis in C7(not bad) last epidural last barely a year. I knew from the pain since '03 in my lower back something else was going on. MRI showed medium to severe issues from L1 to S1. First set of epidurals in lower back did nothing but I was in the ER 36 hrs. after with Diverticulitis.I knew I had Diverticulosis but this was my first attack of Diverticulitis. Due to the possible problem of corticosteroids side effect my Dr. decided not to continue. Dr. tried a medial lumbar branch nerve block. Did give me relief, so I guess before
    my insurance runs out in August, she will do a Neurotomy in this area. I've been living on Norco 10/325 since last Oct. barley makes it tolerable and have other health issues, TIA in Jan. '09

    If I get relief great. It will be only temporary, 12-18 months at most. Texas had massive RIF's in public education and I was one of them. At the age of 58,things are going to get tough. The Dr. said I am not disabled. I was thinking of applying for my teacher disabilty but she's being a real bitch about it. I told her it wasn't SSI. I'm having other prevenative medical procedures done since my insurance will lapse at the end of Aug. and I can't affor $500+ a month. Am I pretty much screwed? I
    can take early retiremnet but it would reduce my pension almost in half. With my other health issues of cardiovascular disease, hypertension. I take about 7 medications a day since my mini-stroke between them and pain meds, I'm so lethargic, I could do my job as a classroom teacher proficiently if I wanted to. I missed over 50 days out of my
    187 day contract this year. Any suggestions

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  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,385
    re' the disability...I'm not sure if I am understanding..is it your pain management doc who said you are not disabled?

    I think most of us here share in having more than one system of our body acting up on us. Each so individual and complicated. As you, I have circulatory and GI issues.

    Without my pain doc..I'd be in the ER twice a month or more. SO out of control. I now take meds that ususally take the edge off the pain...but nothing takes it away.

    I went to a Disabily attorney the first week I decided I no longer can even fake it at work any more. The pain..and all..I couldn't do it anymore.
    I was granted disability 6 months later.
    We don't pay the attorney's fees so that is such a win-win.

    However, you do need your docs to recognize the shape you're in. Really clear communication about what you can't do and about your body's response to activity.

    At times it may seem difficult to explain..thinking you are complaining..but for the docs it needs to be loud and clear. If they just "look" at you and you "look" like you're handling things...then to them you are.

    For me, I focused on the pain and everything my body was and was not doing..with my docs.
    I spoke with others re' how to get by and live with what I had and what resources are available to me.

    It can be a lonely and desperate state of affairs. Take a deep breath and keep on taking care of yourself.
    Best of luck to you!
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • Savage thanks for your comments. Just recently my General Practioner after I had a blood chemistry done, called and told me I had diabetes. I knew I was marginal and it so easy to fall of a diet regimine. Most of problem in this area is from me drinking too much beer.
    After my first series of lower epidurals, I had an attack of Diverticulitis. Knew I had Diverticulosis but never had a flair up like that. Before deciding to go to the E.R. I had a fairly good idea that was what it was, after check symptoms and location of pain, I was correct, still went to E.R. though becuase I just have never had such pain in my lower left abdomen. 10 days of Antibiotic, I was fine. There is documentation that corticosteroid can cause really serious G.I. problems but they are rare.
    So I have a Coloscopy scheduled, it's over do anyway.
    The I start on Lower lumbar/sacral neurotomies one session right next left side. With all my cumulative health issues and 10 meds daily, I plan on applying for disabilty retirement through my teacher's disabilty retirement system. All they can do is turn me down but it shouldn't be as strict as SSI.

    I want to do something productive, even if the disabilty is granted. First priority if neurotomies work as they should, is start getting exercise, start walking a quarter mile and see how it goes, my weight is probably adding to my back problems. Let you guys know at the end of August, how everything turns out.
  • Other than the soreness to injection areas. I can already can tell pain is gone, in two weeks we do the left side. I plan on recuperating at least a month or so before I start looking for work again but being a teacher, I'll have to take what's available just to stay in my Teacher's retirement system. Just glad pain is gone but I have to get active to really gauge the success of procedures.
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