Opiate Q&A Part 1…

Q: You wrote early in your blog that you followed guidelines for post-acute
withdrawals (PAWS). Can you give us a little insight into what those
guidelines entailed; were they shared by your doctor?

A: I was not given any information by my doctor on PAWS. I was actually told word for word, by my primary doctor at my 6months mark off all opiates, “There is no way you are still having withdrawals.” Completely dismissing me and what I was going through due to quitting 195mg/day of opiates cold turkey. Now looking back I would have done a MUCH slower taper to have not had such severe PAWS, though at the time all I knew was what I had researched and that was how to survive the acute withdrawals. I stumbled upon PAWS once I had already quit the opiates.

I have attached the link to one of the best descriptions of PAWS I have found.

https://mentalhealthdaily.com/2015/06/12/post-acute-withdrawal-syndrome-causes-symptoms-treatment/

 

Q: You were tested for numerous conditions based on your symptoms. What was
that process been like and what did you discover or learn from the process?

A: Long and daunting. I was pretty much left to figure out what was going on with my body on my own. It’s been 14months since I quit the opiates. I took the approach that I was having problems in multiple areas so I broke them down and started with what I thought could still be causing me these debilitating issues. I came up with the possibility of something wrong with my four level cervical fusion, MS, Fibromyalgia and possibly Arachnoiditis due to severe reactions from previous steroid injections. I started with my neurosurgeon to go over my fusion. Everything looked good there, just a bit more arthritis in my C7, T1 vertebrae. I was previously given the diagnosis of a “failed back surgery” by my new pain clinic so I wanted to see what my neurosurgeon thought. His words, “Absolutely not, you do not have a failed back surgery.” I said, “Okie dokie!” Then we went over my three pages of symptoms and he felt it was neurological (brain) so I was referred to a neurologist. The whole process from neurosurgeon to neurologist to getting some answers, took me 5 months. I have what is called Cognitive Disorder NOS. It’s unknown at this point if it’s from being on opiates long term, from quitting cold turkey or a marker for Dementia, Parkinson’s Disease or Alzheimer’s. All three run heavily on both sides of my family.

I’ve learned that we are our own advocates every step of the way, sharing our stories is what helps one another, especially dealing with an industry in denial or suffering a lack of knowledge. The lack of information as to what really happens from long term opiate use or from abruptly (cold turkey) quitting the opiates and the effects they have on the body makes it difficult to get answers. I highly recommend joining support groups as you will gain lots of useful information by others going through exactly what you are dealing with. One of the positives of social media!  I also encourage you to share your story on your personal Facebook page. Being real opens many doors and gives others the courage to talk about these real issues many are facing. It was astounding the amount of support I received from my children, my family and my friends on social media. You will also find out very quickly those in your life (or on your page) who are not as open to real, brutally raw honesty. Don’t pay any attention for those people (you’ll know instantly what I mean.) That is why there is an amazing option called, “Unfriend/Unfollow” Use it!!!!

 

Q: In terms of your 13 years working in the medical field, what was your
specific profession/degree? How did that experience benefit your diagnosis
and treatment plan?

A: I worked as a patient care technician for 13yrs in Kidney Dialysis. Unfortunately algebra and chemistry in the greater realm (outside of daily usage) wasn’t a strong point for me and I didn’t finish school to obtain my RN licensure. I did however score 100% on my final exam in dialysis after being out for a year. The only person to ever get 100% on the test so I’m pretty proud of that and I had amazing skills in sticking the needles needed for dialysis and high critical thinking skills to run the patients treatments. Many times the RN’s were so new to dialysis they would seek my advice which was something I have been very proud of. Unfortunately I am unable to return to this type of work due to many health issues I’m currently facing and healing from. Having the critical thinking skills to see a problem and find a solution, looking from every angle possible is what made this “come natural” for me in accessing my own health care.

 

Q: You mentioned that you had helped a few people through a similar process
by talking about your experience. What 3 main pieces of advice would you
offer someone about to go through an opioid taper or discontinuation?
A: First, educate yourself on how to do a proper slow taper as this is best on your body and may even lessen the long term effects or duration of effects. I would also strongly research suboxone and methadone. These were made for opiate withdrawals so there is nothing to stop the withdrawals from these. And with the health system (DEA,CDC,FDA,Politics, Pain Clinics and big pharma) controlling a billion+ dollar industry I wouldn’t count on them not cutting suboxone or methadone as well suddenly down the road. Needless to say I don’t trust them. I just knew the taper I had started was too fast (down 10mg/wk) I made it one week and it felt like an extremely slow excruciating death in all honesty. That is what made me quit cold turkey. I felt like everything awful that I was feeling would be gone once the opiates were out of my system and I’d start producing my own chemicals in no time. More than likely the trauma of quitting 195mg of opiates (Combination of percocet and morphine ER) abruptly is what is causing my continued issues. I’m not sure though as another thought by current doctors is that the opiates masked other symptoms. Time will tell.
Secondly, be prepared for pain. Just know the initial pain you feel is going to be multiplied for awhile (varies per person) and it’s not “real” pain, I use that loosely given it sure feels real no doubt, just know it will subside in time. Take lots of epsom salt baths! Also, know that things are going to be like a roller coaster for awhile, follow the PAWS timeline so you know what to expect. It was said at 6 months off opiates is when most people will relapse. This is because out of no where you get “sucker punched” with feeling awful which feels like a major set back when it hits you. This will pass and you will gradually start feeling better again. Compared to the acute withdrawal phase, ANYTHING is better, than reliving that time.
Thirdly, I can’t stress enough to be kind to yourself and to your body. Be patient with yourself and ask for help when needed. I can’t stress this enough. I have been unable to work, I’ve struggled severely financially, physically, mentally, emotionally and cognitively. I can barely do a load of laundry let alone deep clean my house. This is where I have to be patient and know I can only do so much in a day. I also strongly suggest going to YouTube and watching Ryan Donnelly, his videos are very informative either way, if you are an addict or a dependent.
Here is a link to Ryan Donnelly and his amazing and extremely educational videos.
Q: At various times in your blog, you describe the importance of mental
health therapy. Why do you think this is an important factor to chronic
pain management, and how did you go about seeking this therapy? In what
ways did it help specifically?
A: Mental health is so desperately needed for many factors I believe. During the acute withdrawals and for me, the months to follow, were very rocky emotionally. I couldn’t have done this without the support of my therapist. All of the other doctors wanted to throw me on an antidepressant. NOPE! I was dealing with my brain reprogramming years of emotions and memories and countless outside stressors. Guess what? That’s “normal” I didn’t need another medication shoved down my throat to cover yet another symptom. I wanted to find the cause and then find a solution. At one point I arrived to my therapists office and I looked at her, shook my head and said, “If I walked into a doctors office, I would diagnose myself with Bi-Polar!” No joke. I was so up and down hour to hour it was unbelievable. I knew, this was all part of healing by educating myself prior to stopping the opiates which was extremely helpful. What I have noticed is this, almost all addictions are a coping mechanism that for an addict they are using to numb deep rooted pain. This deep rooted emotional pain, for most, unknowingly occurred in their childhood. I was dealing with a 20 year on again and off again relationship with my ex husband that I was struggling severely with in addition to my researching my sons issues to get a diagnosis so we could get his therapy started. During this time I trusted my pain clinic and wasn’t following my care as I should have. Which lead to way too many medication increases in a short amount of time. I was trying to maneuver in uncharted territory and I was an emotional wreck, that is when I sought therapy for myself.
A year later, I was absolutely terrified that I wouldn’t wake up after yet another dosage increase by my pain clinic. This fear I shared with my therapist and realizing the opiates had gotten to the point where they dictated everything. I was no longer in control, the opiates and pain clinic were, due to increases and building a tolerance. In addition, I couldn’t imagine my son who is seven years old, who happens to have Autism, finding me unresponsive or worse yet..dead.
I am my son’s only primary care giver 24/7 and I am also his biggest advocate. Just the thought of me not being here for him absolutely terrified me. I will tell you this, mental health therapy one hour a week, EVERY week is necessary through this process. To fully understand the big picture with this false opiate crisis put upon us and to understand the difference between Addiction vs. Dependency. And to navigate these uncharted waters as a lot changes once your brain goes through the “reprogramming” or healing phase.
I believe there is a time and there is a place for opiates. I would use them ONLY as an “as needed basis” (as in 2-4 pain pills taken in total for a month) and only, ONLY after being off them for at least one year. I think 12 pain pills for 3 months isn’t asking a lot. Yet it is and isn’t being acknowledged by medical professionals. I can tell you that I have faced many nights/days in terrible pain due to other issues going on, yet it is impossible due to the strict opiate cuts and doctors not prescribing narcotics any longer. Which will ultimately lead people to the streets, exactly what the big wigs are all claiming to target and claiming to want to stop.
Now I’ve left out a lot of information though I touched on the most important areas as there just isn’t enough space in a Q&A to cover everything in detail. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my story in the hopes this will be helpful to medical professionals, dependent chronic pain patients and for those with addictions.
Lisa Lucking
Lucrative Lives Opiates 2018

 

 

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Narcissist And The Last Match…

I’m done crying and I am done trying. I am done listening to the narcissist’s constant spew of ever flowing lies. It’s making more and more sense.. The lies, the twisting and the debilitating way he preys on my kindness and understanding with no remorse, guilt or admission. He moves on to his next victim as he entertains and dances his grandiose version only he thinks of himself and which he tries to portray to his children and closest enablers. The selfishness in hurting your own children in this manor should be an act punishable by law. It clearly is child endangerment, mental harm and setting them up for a life of disillusion, confusion and trauma and ultimately recovery or a life of hell.

Yet nothing will be done. They will fall through the cracks of our intensely messed up society and continue a life long trail of harm. Because there is ALWAYS another victim to replace you. Always.

Ultimately a breech of contract within our own ten commandments surly punishable for an after life in hell with their father, Lucifer.

How does one wrap their head around this calculated and masterminded torture that starts from the very moment you fall for their false persona? How does one make sense of this? Educate yourself, take a look at yourself and if you see you are always hurting in your relationship with occasional bouts of happiness with someone. If you keep changing to make things work yet it’s never enough and there is always a higher bar, always just out of reach and never acknowledged. If you are a positive and optimistic person who is pulled down constantly by their negativity. If  you find yourself believing in their potential more than they do, yet that doesn’t come to light until they no longer can suck anymore  life out of you or when they see you’re catching on and standing up for yourself. Then, you are no longer any good to them and they will leave you. Then you look back and you see it’s been years in the making. You wonder how in the hell all of this happened?

It happens because you are a kind, loving, emotional, giving and positive human being with a soul. That’s why they seek you out. If you lived in a toxic environment growing up infused with alcoholism, mental and physical abuse you are a target. Don’t second guess yourself. Ever. You are the target. It will change your life more than you could ever even possibly visualize or fathom. Until the day the relationship ends and you see how quickly they move on to the next victim as though you are absolutely nothing to them.

They get you to go through a phase where you are trying to explain how you know what’s happening, you bargain to work with a counselor because you dove in so deep educating, trying to find a reason for the constant chaos, then you realize it was their plan all along. They sense your coming to terms and they start to retreat. They surround themselves in the company of their enablers and reclaim their pedestal. Abandoning you. If you’ve been set up over a long period of time you may be so invested, financially it will take everything in your power to be released from their grip. You can and you will. You are fighting for your life now.

Life shattering.

This is the only way I can explain this new found information. How it all comes together to  make perfect sense in it’s true timing. Do not and I repeat DO NOT think poorly of yourself for falling into this awful trap. It’s extremely deceiving and you really are being preyed on for your gift of empathy, your caring, honest and loving personality. DO NOT change this about yourself! Be single until you have dealt with the damage, processed and moved forward from it. You need to make sure you don’t fall for this again! I see all of the red flags looking backwards now.. I see all of the “hooks” he used to keep me constantly hoping for a partnership and family life. It would never happen this I have now learned.

I will not allow myself to be in this type of relationship ever  again. That means my eyes are wide open, my lessons have been learned and I will conquer my past blind mistakes. I am using my pain to push me forward.  I am finally standing up for myself. I was traumatized throughout my childhood and into my adult years by my own blood. I trusted in them to not hurt me. I learned from a very young age and by their teachings on what love is..

THIS IS NOT LOVE!!!!! THIS IS NOT LOVE!!!! THIS IS NOT LOVE!!!!! THIS IS NOT LOVE!!!

This is what you do. You pick yourself back up, you dust yourself off and straighten that crown! You distance yourself as much as possible from them. Mark my words, if you don’t, they will pull you back in and play off your emotions, trust, heartbreak and pain. They are testing their boundaries with you. They will lie to you, they will guilt you and they make you feel like they want the same out of the relationship. When in fact they don’t want anywhere near the same as you. They are so emotionally dead inside they are not able or capable to love. They are so weak and damaged and they will never ever do anything to change it! They are content moving from one victim to the next and never having to face their demons. They will never see their wrongdoings nor will they ever fully admit to them. I fell for the partial smoke screen admittance, don’t do it! They will eat you alive if you let them.

Physically, I can feel the burning flames and see the clouds of smoke, smoldering around me that I am left and abandoned in and struggling to breathe. Holding onto my children for dear life, giving them any ounce of oxygen I have left to give. He casually walks away, as if to have thrown the final match, never once turning back for even a glimpse. A glimpse would mean he has feelings, emotion or empathy. He is dead inside. He has not an ounce of emotion for others let alone for himself. It’s “His way or the highway.” He walks away from the burning flames and into the arms of the new embers he has so delicately and meticulously cared for in preparation to throwing that final match.

He goes on, never looking back and never having any regrets…for now.

 

Remember this…

Actions truly speak louder than words. And this goes for ourselves and others.

Everything we think we have stuffed or buried within ourselves or ran from will catch up to us…one day it will ALL catch up!

 

 

 

Beginning My Best Journey Yet…

A lot has happened over the course of the past few years, more downs than ups, yet what a ride it has been! You wonder why this happened or that has happened time and time again. Then you take a deep dark look at yourself.

I’ve learned my alcoholic step-father did leave a very heavy and large imprint on my life. I carried the toxic chaos with me through out my entire life. I unwillingly and naively allowed it to follow me through my life and sabotage every relationship I held so dear. Knowing what I know now, every relationship, was doomed from the beginning. It wasn’t until, of the most meaningful relationship I’ve had with a man, who I love dearly and deeply came to an end. A very long, drawn out and difficult end. It wasn’t until looking inward and trying to figure out  why this relationship would not work out, no matter how incredibly hard I tried, it failed. It started with me, as most of us initially do, I was looking at him and what was wrong with him. I found out. He is a narcissist. He is an alcoholic. He is a sex addict. And more than likely has undiagnosed Autism.  He also agrees.

Then I looked at myself and thought, “How in the hell did I choose a man like this?”

This is where the table turns..

I was so secretly and unknowingly broken inside that even I didn’t even realize the toxic men I was attracted to were because of living in toxicity for all of my childhood years. It’s what I knew. It’s what was “comfortable” because it was familiar. Anyone else would have been “boring” uneventful and I surly would have pushed them away.

I always thought I put the past behind me. I always felt I was going to have everything I didn’t as a child. I would not live that way in my adult years. I would be happy. My children would be happy. I would have the best relationship and family ever. Boy was I wrong. I repeated exactly what I didn’t want.

Until now.

I understand now I can’t help or fix my ex. I also know he loves me and he tried with all his might and within his capabilities to show me. I wish I could take all his pain away and start fresh with the understandings I’ve found within myself. I know this is not possible. He would have to take a personal inventory journey of his own. From what he has told me, he doesn’t have the strength to do this. I give him credit for knowing his limitations. I always have seen more in him than he has seen in himself. I know I will go the rest of my life having the gratitude of knowing him and experiencing all that I have with him.

If it weren’t for meeting him and going through all of this together. I may never have found myself where I am today. For that I say, “Thank you.”

But I’m not letting him off the hook that easily.. 

I think if the relationship truly meant that much to him he would have decided to put in the required work and make the changes for himself, for his children and for our relationship. 

Instead he’s choosing the easy way out and that is by his own choice. 

I’m not going to lie. I wish he could see what I see, I wish he had the strength to pull himself out of his own misery. But I could be completely wrong maybe he enjoys it?  Maybe those deep, seemingly meaningful conversations we did have once upon a time, where all lies? I don’t know..

I do know that if you can acknowledge what you were doing wrong you have the ability to change. It’s a matter of choice..

He made his choice in not considering his children or myself. Only his selfish needs and wants.

I am a caregiver by nature. I want the best for those I love. I don’t intentionally hurt those I love. If I hurt them I try to resolve it and not make the same mistakes. So I don’t understand how it’s humanly possible for others to knowingly continue to hurt those they claim to love.

So my thank you is also a big fuck you!

I’ve learned to focus on love for myself now. I always want what is best for my children. And I will always want what is best for my ex even if he doesn’t care.

I have evaluated the roles my step-father, my step-mother, my own mother and father and their parents have played in my life. I’ve also evaluated my own choices. I now know, the choices I will make from here on out will not include the influences the above people have made in my life. I will make positive choices. I will make choices that reflect what it is I truly want in this life. I choose to leave the toxicity behind. And I pray my new found knowledge is in time for my children to make healthy choices that are for their best success.

I always told myself I wanted to be the one to “break the cycle” and look at me, here I am, breaking the cycle!

A young, innocent child is so absorbing in those youngest years. It is our responsibility as adults to protect our children. Which means we need to take accountability for our mistakes and learn to lead by being a positive role model. Not unload our baggage onto our children. It’s far to heavy for them. Christ, even we as adults barely can carry our own baggage..

This is why I am choosing to remain focused on leading a healthy, nontoxic life so my children can hopefully bypass the challenges and the hardships I have endured. I hope to be an inspiration to others, men and women, suffering in our own demise. It is something so moving to see things with new vision. I’m content. I feel at peace. I still am sad about my ex and I not staying together, goodness, all of this hard work and you would “think” we would be on the homestretch now! lol! I know we deeply love each other. Yet, love alone is not enough to sustain a relationship. A lot of very hard work, understanding, compromise, respect, trust, honesty and self reflection is needed by both partners. Willingly, by both partners, not by force.

I truly believe that if more people looked at their situations, if individually they did the  best they can to improve the relationship by improving themselves, more relationships would survive and co-parenting would go much smoother. Ultimately making everyone involved a lot happier!

If you take anything away from my article please take this…

If you know everything about your partner that is flawed to contribute to the relationship stressors..

Now ask yourself, “How did I choose this type of partner?”

I also suggest reading up on Narcissistic/Co-Dependent relationships. You also may have to factor in other issues. (learning disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Sensory)

It all comes down to how we choose to COPE with childhood trauma. There is a long list of addictions that stem from how we chose to COPE.

Look deep within your own past and find your answers. And know that somewhere along the way, you have made an impression on your partner. Breathe, accept what is and move forward putting the hard lessons to good use, you’ve put a lot of years into getting here!

I hope others are able to work as a team, save marriages, for some it’s refraining from marriage if these things are present in your dating history. Realize what you bring to the table. Then do the work necessary to be the best version of yourself that you can be!

To my ex,

I thank you so much for coming into my life, for giving me beautiful children, sharing those amazing times we did have together! Thank you for giving me all that you were capable of giving. I hope one day you can see what I see and genuinely be happy, you deserve to be happy! Thank you for, unknowingly, being the man I needed in my life to see what I see now. I love you and I Thank you.

(And… when you’re being difficult and cruel, I’ll still forgive you, as you haven’t seen the full journey yet and I understand this.)

For everyone reading this,

Choose HEALTY decisions when coping… Your life depends on it.