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Just Awful...

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  • Just Awful...

    A cautionary tale about Suboxone, it is the devil, get away from it anyway you can. I started on 4mg when I was taking it legitimately (if thats what you would call it). , (I had a legitimate back problem for a bit over 11 years, I was put on a regiment of 10 mg of Hydrocodone (loracet, lortab, w/e you want to call it) and never took drugs casually or recreationally. Though now, if I could take it back, I would never have touched an opiate, they have wrecked my life so much worse than my injury, instead I should have kept going to doctors till I found one that could have done something about it, but at the time I was ignorant, and really needed relief from the pain.
    Over a decade of MRI's and various (10-30 medical professionals, at least 1/3 being specialists in the back) not being able to identify the problem. I am amazed they kept writing the pain medicine if they could not tell what was wrong with me, though they were milking my insurance like a cash cow. With injections all up and down my spine and the sac-a-something joints, physical therapy, along with so many other treatments, specialists, and changing doctor?s in hope of finding one that could do something permanently to fix it.
    Either way, ten years later one doctor (actually not even a doctor, some twenty-something P.A. who was still in school when I injured my back) gets it in his head I must be faking, and then proceeds to cut me back. The fact that it was not even totally controlling my pain to begin with did not seem to matter, and if they really thought, I wanted to have painful injections in my back every three months, pay exorbitant costs, even with insurance you still pay quite a bit, and live my life by a 4 hour at a time schedule. (The pills do that, after so long you start living around them.) Not to mention the endless other loops they put me through called, ?treatment?. Now, keep in mind I had endured this attitude before by this time, I had seen so many doctor?s and it seems that is their first assumption in almost every case, but at first I just took it as a hazard of them not having enough information. Then after MRI?s were had, well I just told myself it was probably me (I dress pretty casually and I know appearances have a lot to do with perceptions) Problem being my pain made it hard for me to actually dress in anything but pull over t-shirts and shorts that could be slid on and off.
    Nevertheless, all of this, not just cutting me back, but his smug attitude, ten years of being told nothing?s wrong, while my body is telling me (in the best words I could describe it. It felt as though I had a piece of metal stuck along my spine, and any attempt to move would bring that rod straight against my spine and cause more pain than ?resting level? pain. Then, you have the leg pain, the pain that feels like (bear with me here as I have never had molten steel poured down the inside of my leg, but I can imagine and on the worst days that is the best thought I could approximate it to. He basically told me I did not need it, and, for the very first time I was so outraged that I managed to get myself fired from that doctor with some choice words I had for him concerning my prescription being lowered and with the facility in general about their awful P.A. Soon afterward, facing massive withdraws and excruciating pain. I reached out to my doctor and apologized (those words were so bitter in my mouth when all I wanted to do was call him every foul name in existence). He then referred me to what he called a pain clinic, (in retrospect, I should have been very suspicious of him, and a doctor?s office that requires a $200 dollar deposit before my check and insurance cleared. Hilariously at the time, I knew nothing about suboxone and thought this was just another painkiller, and I was just at a pain clinic). Luckily for me the suboxone did actually /mildly/ address pain.

    To be perfectly honest, I believe my Suboxone doctor had already made his judgment and assumed that I was just an addict that defrauded the medical system for 10 years. Not long afterward, he made that abundantly clear as he quickly as he cut me off. I was seriously hurting, withdrawals (A novel situation for me, I had never been in withdrawals before, I truly pray and hope all of you currently in it find peace, happiness, and beat the pain, but I could not. So, after ten years of legal drug use, I was finally pushed to the street to find more suboxone. I have been getting suboxone where I can (it is rare and/or overpriced on the street) and xanax to help on top of that. Here is the funniest part; right as my suboxone doctor began waning me off the drug, my insurance was paid up and my co pay met so I figured, I'm still having pain and I got to figure out why, so I get yet another MRI. ? the fifth, as for injections I've probably had 25-40, among many other of what I now consider fraud on their part milking my insurance policy for money ? (I actually had really good insurance).

    AND GUESS WHAT?!? The DR. (god bless this man) who examined my MRI films said it jumped out at him immediately, that he couldn't believe I had gone this long with what he imagined was so much pain. I was not prescribed pain medicine though, and given I was already on Suboxone pain medicine was not a option anyway (and honestly at this point it wasn't for me either, I've had my fill of opiates). Two weeks later, I am in pre-op. (if you ever are to have surgery while on suboxone make sure to tell your doctor, it was not a problem but I?d hate to see what problems it could cause if they don?t know). Once I get out of surgery it turns out it was worse than even he had thought I've had two problem disks, 1, they called black, apparently the minor one of the two, (explained to me as it lost all lubricating liquids), and the other had actually fractured into multiple pieces.
    Those pieces caused scar tissue to form in the area L-7 and generally cause my back pain early on. The kicker was that scar tissue - formed over at least a year, possibly a year and a half - had pushed my sciatic nerve between these two disks. This happened at some point in the past 8 or 9 years, guessing as that is when my leg pain really picked up. So either my doctors (I ended up seeing at least 4-5 clinics with doctors as primaries for my back, and countless facilities for injections, physical therapy, and so many other things. All I can say is either my Doctors were grossly incompetent, or they were actively malfeasant. Either way, none of them caught this, and this doctor (Go to Reedsville GA, if you want someone who can actually read an MRI, this trip was a good deal further for me, but worth every drop of gas.

    Now the sad part, the fact that I actually had proof that I was in awful pain (the doctors were amazed that I had not made a much larger deal of my pain.) The suboxone doctor was not swayed from his quick detox schedule, insulted as I was (It really still felt like he thought/treated me as if I was just some drug addict that was 100% to blame for his situation). My doctor wanted me off suboxone fast, and I think he did me a horrible disservice because I faced such bad withdrawals, I for the first time turned to family, friends, any black sheep I could think of to find something, anything to help. I simply could not function at all. I managed to find a very small source for suboxone, starting with my original dose (that he cut me off at) I have weaned myself down to 1 mg a day (just this week). I simply do not have the resources to keep this up though; I have wiped out savings doing this. At the same time, whenever I try and skip a day, I may make it 5-8 hours past when I would normally take the medicine and then my family & friends tell me I?m blowing up at them (yelling) for no reason, I pace, I itch, cold sweats and hot sweats among many other things. Such as a (God I hope) Phantom pain, as though my legs (both, never had that when I was in real pain) are generally sore all the time, the constipation has not stopped at all (if anything it has gotten worse) Not being able to sleep until I literally pass out. (I have controlled this recently by talking to a doctor to get a prescription for Ambien, which strangely enough does not work all the time (I was told this could put a rhino down).
    I feel as though I might not have been on 1 mg long enough to try skipping but its begin that now or very soon go from 1 mg a day to nothing at once (which I can imagine would be that much more awful). All of this should have been handled correctly and I would be much better off now financially, medically (who knows what all the chemicals I have took have done to my body), and psychologically (I?m beginning to wonder if I will ever be able to beat addiction the way people talk on these forums).
    Unfortunately doctors were too concerned about whatever it was that kept them from identifying what was obvious (I had him look at my earlier MRI?s as well and he told me they should have seen it) to take a closer look at an MRI of something I was told should have JUMPED out at them. Not to mention the detox doctor and his attitude of me without even taking the effort to verify anything I said past my referral from a previous back Dr. All I was to him was an addict, and he made that very clear when he cut me off by letter (hilariously just as it was proven that I had been dealing with terrible pain since before 2000). Though I suppose I should have been suspicious of any doctor?s office that requires a cash deposit until they can clear your first check.

    Thanks for reading this very long post, Josh

    P.S. Any advice, on how to deal with this situation would be greatly appreciated, as I am seriously scared. I just want to continue to be a functional member of society, I?ve started taking classes again at state college, not to mention I have to take care of my father who has suffered from a stroke, and from my small taste of withdrawals, I really don?t think I will be able to handle my obligations under their effects.

  • #2
    Try going to .75 a day for 4 or 5 days then keep reducing 25% till you get to .25 a day befor you stop using. 1 mg a day is to high of a dose to jump off at.



    • #3
      Firstly, I am so sorry that you have had such a terrible ordeal with incompetent medical (un)professionals. I think it is fantastic that you finally found a doctor who can actually do his job (wonder of wonders). Unfortunately you are in a situation now from which there is no quick resolution. The first step on the process may seem counter-intuitive, but it is critical that you accept it if you are going to one day be drug free.

      1. You must not be afraid of staying on the Suboxone as long as it is helping you and until you are physically, mentally and spiritually ready to stop using it. You will be able to stop taking it when you are really ready.

      2. Take it every day, avoid breaks at all costs (unless directed by a doctor, say for surgery then get right back on it asap).

      3. As the other poster indicated, you will want to come down very slowly (don't rush it! no more than a 50% reduction each time -- or as the other person suggested go down in .25 increments) until you are taking 1/8 of a 2 mg film. Each time you reduce your dose stay with that dose for at least 2 weeks to allow your body to fully adjust (this is very important -- don't put yourself at risk or in unnecessary discomfort 4-5 days is not long enough to fully adjust to the change. Your body needs 2 weeks to become completely adjusted to the change). When you do come off completely at .25 mg expect to have a period of about 3-4 weeks where you feel pretty blah... Concentration may be difficult and creativity very low. You can take non addictive comfort meds to make this period less uncomfortable, but you should not find it terribly difficult if you stay distracted and don't dwell on how you feel. You may also find it almost impossible to sleep more that 1 or 2 hours each night, try some melatonin or get a script for ambien if the natural supplement doesn't work for you. These things will pass -- the key to making the time pass quickly is to get involved in healthy activities, whatever you enjoy doing, to keep your mind on other things and not dwell on your detox. That is one of the problems that almost every addict must contend with; we think (obsess) about the drug and how it is making us feel when in fact the way we feel has more to do with attitude than anything else. Your goal should be to be able to manage your pain with 1 600 mg Motrin three times per day. A support group can be extremely beneficial in the process of repairing your mind and spirit as well -- the power of being able to talk with other people who understand what you are going through because they're are in the same boat is the main principal on which all recovery programs are based. I'm not religious... I don't believe in Jesus, or any other storybook gods, but I do know that human beings have a spirit and that spirit is just as real as our flesh and blood. Your spirit has been injured by the things you have had to endure, and peer groups are a great way to feed your spirit with good healthy sole food! You may have to try more than one before you find one where everyone is sincere about getting off drugs and there are people who you can really relate to. Don't give up, the help is out there, it's just not always easy to find a group that is good for you right away.

      Lastly, I hope you are able to find an affordable Suboxone clinic quickly. Buying on the street is extremely risky. Sometimes we are forced to do it, but try to avoid that route as much as possible. If you lived in Philadelphia I could refer you to a very good clinic. Seek out your peers... they are the ones who will lead you to a good clinic, not the money hungry, litigation fearful doctors.

      Love and Peace!


      • #4
        You don't need to stay at a dose for 2 weeks, I'm posting a link to the taper plan most of us have used to get off subs. 4-5 days is the optimal time at each dose, never drop more than 25%.

        This plan works, people have been using it for years, there are plenty of success stories here. You won't be able to escape with no w/d symptoms but whatever you feel should be minimal and tolerable.


        • #5
          Hi there. Hope you're well. Listen to Sharks, she successfully tapered off subs using the taper plan she linked to you. I'm tapering as well with the same plan. I have chronic back pain too and had back surgery in 2007. The plan is very easy if you follow it. I've had very few symptoms and have been on subs and Norco for many years.

          Good luck!