Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Light at the End of the Tunnel (Opioid Addiction and Suboxone)

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Light at the End of the Tunnel (Opioid Addiction and Suboxone)

    Hello everyone!

    My name is Dave, I am 35 years old and currently live in Michigan. I am going to try to keep this post short and to the point, but be warned, my story is long. On December 28th 2006 at 9:38 PM I was in a terrible car accident caused by another motorist that resulted in me breaking my left femur. I was wearing my seat belt, but I was still thrown into the steering wheel of my vehicle, which is what broke my left femur, the impact of my leg hitting my own steering wheel. I was sober at the time. This was before I had ever even dabbled in taking HydroCodone or anything even remotely close. I had smoke pot before, and drank alcohol occasionally, but that was it. Never had a real addiction problem. I was 21 years old when the car accident occurred, and my friends and I were actually on our way back home after picking up a few bottles of booze for a rather large upcoming New Years Eve party. Needless to say, I missed that party because I was in the ICU with a pretty nasty broken leg.

    Once I was stable and had a bed in the hospital, I was given a morphine drip that was rigged up to a button. I could press the button once every fifteen minutes for pain. This entire situation was the most physical pain I had ever endured up to that point, so I obviously hit that morphine button every fifteen minutes like clockwork. This went on for the next 8 hours. The following morning of December 29th, I underwent a three hour long surgery to insert a titanium rod inside of my left femur bone attached at my hip and knee with screws. After the surgery I was in the hospital for observation for another day and a half and then sent home.

    Throughout the recovery period after my initial surgery I was on prescription pain medication. I started on Vicodin 750 milligram ES three times a day. I took them as needed. I did not abuse them in any way. I was aware of that Vicodin was a narcotic and carried the possibility of abuse with it. After my prescription for Vicodin ran out I was then put on Ultram, and after that Darvocet, and then back to the Vicodin. The reasoning from my orthopedic specialist’s point of view was that this rotation of pain meds would help to lower the abuse potential that these drugs carried. I had absolutely zero issues with abuse or dependence during this period. So the strategy of rotating these drugs seemed to work.

    About a year and a half later (right around 2010) I began to notice SEVERE pain while bending over in a certain manner. I mean, like excruciating pain, like I had not felt since I was first put in traction on the side of the road when the accident happened. One of the pins that held the titanium rod in place would catch on a tendon or something in my left hip, and when this would happen it caused immense pain until I moved my leg around in just the right way to free the stuck tendon or whatever it was. The solution to this issue was another surgery to remove the titanium rod and screws holding it in place. My femur was fully healed by this time and the titanium rod was really no longer necessary. This surgery took a fraction of the time to do compared with the previous surgery to put the rod in. The recovery period was also shorter for this surgery, about two and a half months.

    After the second surgery and several months of physical therapy, I began to notice other painful issues with my left leg and hip as well as my lower back on the left side. If I stood in one position too long, sat in the same position too long, or if I were to go on too long of a walk, I would get a burning type of pain in my left hip combined with a weird numbness and tingling that traveled down my left leg into my knee. The second thing was that along with the numb, burning pain in my left hip and leg I would also have some pretty terrible left lower back pain, radiating up into my back from my left hip and buttocks.

    The Drugs

    Both of these issues were quite troublesome to me so I began ongoing treatment with my family doctor, who almost instantly put me on Norco 7.5 milligrams, (an opioid narcotic containing hydrocodone), three to four times a day, or as needed. Again, I knew that these types of drugs carried the potential for addiction, but to be honest with you, I really did not understand addiction, drug tolerance, or that some addictions carried a physical withdrawal period associated with stopping after long-term use. My doctor failed to explain the perils of addiction to me completely. And yes, I failed to research them on my own at this time. These types of drugs did not honestly take the pain away, but they made the pain seem easier to tolerate. Little did I know that I was heading down a slippery slope, ever closer to physical dependence and psychological addiction.

    After many x-rays and MRI scans, along with a few other tests, it was clear to both my family doctor and my pain specialist that my issues were being caused by a laceration of my sciatic nerve on my left side. This type of nerve damage is not uncommon in patients that have sustained the type of injury that I had.

    Nerve pain is commonly referred to as neuropathic pain. My team of doctors first took the route of cortisone injections in my left hip area to see if it would alleviate some of the pain. To be perfectly honest I was all for anything that held the potential of giving me some relief from the pain, but the cortisone injections simply did not provide this. The next option was a procedure known as a rhizotomy to sever the nerve roots from the spinal cord and thus bypass the sciatic nerve completely. The nerve roots will grow back and the procedure will have to be repeated every six months. The problem was that I was not getting six months worth of pain relief from it. The procedure helped with my lower back pain for about a month but it did not help with any of the other pain I was having, and the rhizotomy can only be done once every six months, so it was not really a plausible solution for long-term pain relief.

    After a few more tests and failed treatments, I was diagnosed with spinal stenosis, sciatica, and sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Spinal stenosis alone can cause severe weakness and numbness that radiates from the lower back down through the legs and buttocks, especially when the patient is physically active. Sciatica also causes chronic and debilitating numbness and burning pain, almost like as if your nerves were on fire. The sacroiliac joint is medical jargon for the hip joint. Dysfunction of this joint causes severe pain that also radiates down through the legs. These two conditions combined with a lacerated sciatic nerve make for a pretty rough time.

    During this entire time I was being prescribed the Norco 7.5 milligram pills. In fact I had a prescription for them for over seven years! At first I was for sure NOT abusing the pills. I would just go about my day and when I began to have pain I would take one or two. But after just a couple months of this, one or two pills was simply not doing it any longer and I would have to take two or three. I figured it was not a big deal. The dosage instructions said to take 1-2 pills, three times a day. But by now I was beginning to realize that something really was going on. I would begin to wake up feeling sick every morning until I took my morning dose of Norco. It eventually got to the point where I was running out of pills before I could get my prescription refilled at the end of each month. The first time I did not think anything of it and I called my doctor to see about having her send my refill to the pharmacy a few days early, and it was not a problem. But the following month I did the same thing and to my surprise, my doctor seemed upset or annoyed that I was calling to get my pills early again, nevertheless, she refilled my prescription early. But boy was I in for a shock the following month.

    A couple of weeks later I got a letter in the mail. It was from my doctors office. I thought that it was kind of odd, as they rarely ever corresponded with me via snail mail. I opened the letter to find out that my doctor could no longer see me as a patient! I was devastated. It had taken me quite some time to find a doctor in the first place that would take the no-fault auto insurance coverage as health insurance. I work on a farm in a small town and the money I make is generally spent before I even get it. Needless to say I was worried for several reasons.

    I was addicted to the opioid pain killers I had been eating for the past six and a half years. Plain and simple. After I lost my doctor and blew through the last of my prescription I decided to try to quit cold turkey. That was a HUGE mistake. I was so sick. Vomiting, nausea, feeling cold and clammy, sweats headache, and on top of all of that my normal leg, hip, and lower back pain. I could not do it. The withdrawal was too difficult. It was like the flu multiplied 1000-fold.

    By the end of day two of going cold turkey, I was losing my mind. I began searching out anyone and I mean anyone who would sell me ANY opioid drugs on the street. I found, that without the aid of insurance covering the cost of my addiction that I no longer had enough money to pay my bills and purchase enough drugs to keep withdrawals at bay. By this time, I had actual health insurance for the first time thanks to the Affordable Care Act, but I had not found a doctor that would accept this insurance yet and simply could not wait. I had to work, and in order to not be sick and be able to work and keep my job, I had to use drugs. So that is exactly what I did. I am ashamed to even say it, but it is the truth.

    I used for another year and a half or so before finally learning about Suboxone, which is an opioid replacement therapy medication. You take the Suboxone in place of whatever opioid you were using before, be it >>>>>> or Hydrocodone. In a perfect world, after you have been on it for a few months or so your doctor should begin to lower your dose bit by bit. Milligram by milligram. Until you are at such a low dose that you don’t even notice when you forget to take it, and then…. Eventually, you forget to take it permanently.

    As of making this post today, May 03, 2020, I have been using Suboxone for almost two years. I have tapered myself down to around 4MG a day, sometimes only 2MG a day. I am so so so beyond ready to get off of this stuff. I actually went and found a different Suboxone doctor, because my previous doctor just was not leading the way with tapering and did not really even seem to care. That is all a different story with my new doctor. My new doctor listens to me, and gives me advice and allows me to make the choices in tapering or not. The current plan is to just continue my taper as low as we possibly can and then I will jump. Mentally, and physically, I AM ready to be done with Suboxone and any and all other opioids as well. Last year I came very close, I tapered down to about 4MG and tried to jump, only to fall back into taking suboxone after about ten days of pretty difficult withdrawal.

    I have my mind made up though, this is it. I am going to do this and get through it. I hope that my story can, eventually turn into a success story and in-turn help others dealing with similar issues. I want to thank anyone and everyone who has taken the time to read my short novel here. Any advice or criticism is welcomed. I am new here, so be nice.

  • #2
    To taper the subs you need to make sure that your doses are accurate and you take your doses at the SAME TIMES every day 8-10 hours apart! For example: if you are currently taking 4mg/day then you would dose 2mg at 10am and 2mg at 7pm. Once you get down to 1mg/day you will switch to dosing just once per day, again, at the same time everyday!

    There is a sub therapy/taper plan that is used here on the forums that has provided thousands upon thousands of success stories! Here's a link to Robert's sub plan - https://forum.drugs.com/suboxone-tre...apy-66109.html

    You'll skip the induction part of the plan because you are already using subs but follow the rest of the plan as outlined? Let us know if you have any questions and/or concerns? Keep us posted? God bless us all!

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Ricky71 View Post
      To taper the subs you need to make sure that your doses are accurate and you take your doses at the SAME TIMES every day 8-10 hours apart! For example: if you are currently taking 4mg/day then you would dose 2mg at 10am and 2mg at 7pm. Once you get down to 1mg/day you will switch to dosing just once per day, again, at the same time everyday!

      There is a sub therapy/taper plan that is used here on the forums that has provided thousands upon thousands of success stories! Here's a link to Robert's sub plan - https://forum.drugs.com/suboxone-tre...apy-66109.html

      You'll skip the induction part of the plan because you are already using subs but follow the rest of the plan as outlined? Let us know if you have any questions and/or concerns? Keep us posted? God bless us all!

      I want to reiterate that you should be dosing twice a day, 8-10 hours apart! It's EXTREMLY IMPORTANT that your doses are accurate and you dose at the same time/times everyday in order to keep a level amount of sub in your system which in return will have you feeling the best you can while you are on sub therapy. Again, once you taper down to 1mg you will switch to dosing just once a day for the rest of the taper! Most people taper all the way down to .25mg/day (one quarter of one milligram) or less before making the final jump! By the way, what's your current dosing schedule? Are taking the sub films or tabs? Update when you get a chance? God bless us all!

      Comment

      Working...
      X